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3 Things Every Social Marketer Should Do the First Week in 2018

Maybe you’re still nursing a hangover. Maybe you ate so much during the holidays that you’re lost in what feels like a permanent brain fog. Believe me, we feel you.

2018 Social Media Marketing Planning Guide

When I’m feeling overwhelmed and tired, I follow Glennon Doyle Melton’s advice to “just do the next right thing.” You might not be able to finish your whole 2018 plan this week, but you can take some important first steps. This first week is the perfect time to set your foundation and tone, and make 2018 your best year yet on social.

1. Audit Your Previous Year 

This step will most likely take you the most time during your first days in 2018, since it involves looking at your data and drawing conclusions from it. The opportunity to develop stronger, more effective social campaigns in 2018 begins with a thorough social audit of 2017. The social data we collect throughout the year can be the fuel that powers our future social marketing efforts and business as a whole.

Stage 1: Analyze Your Data and Content

Using a social analytics solution or your preferred method of collecting data, analyze and interpret your social data and look for trends.

Day 7 Audit Your Content
Simply Measured Social Analytics

Determine which types of content were most effective and contributed to high levels of engagement and social sharing.

Conduct a Content Audit
Simply Measured Social Analytics

Stage 2: Report Out

Report what you’ve learned to your marketing team and discuss ways to use that data to build a stronger 2018 social strategy. This can be formal (with a deck and a meeting) or informal (over Slack or via email). 

You should format this reporting in three categories:

  • Goals and Results
  • Lessons Learned
  • Plans/Goals Moving Forward

In the next section, we’ll walk through setting your goals for 2018 using the conclusions you generated from your audit. For a deeper dive into auditing your 2017 content, check out our audit guide. 

2. Set Your Goals

Now that you have all the information about what worked in 2017 and what didn’t, you can set your social goals for 2018 with confidence. Your goals should be specific, include the metrics you will use in future analysis, and touch on expected business results.


When you’re putting together your goals, keep the S.M.A.R.T. framework in mind:


Key Questions: Is the goal well-defined? Does it align with overall business objectives in a way that is clear to leadership?

How specific you can get with a goal often increases your chance of achieving it, because you focus better and your creativity kicks in.

For example, say you want to increase engagement on Facebook.

What about increasing it by 8%?

What about increasing your engagement with videos?

What about increasing video views by 8%?

Instagram Video Views
Simply Measured Social Analytics

See where we’re headed there? The more specific the goal, the more likely that you’ll focus your energy on achieving it.


Key Questions: How is success or failure of this goal defined? What are the tactics associated with this goal, and what is the point where a pivot or optimization is needed?

Here at Simply Measured, we’re really into, well…measurement. Determining in advance the analyses you’ll do to measure every goal you set is the smartest, most pro way to lay out your plan. You could compare improvements month over month, compare performance of a particular video on different channels, or set goals for web conversion from promoted Tweets.

Let’s pick a example. Perhaps you want to track web conversions from Twitter comparing Tweets with photos of Justin Bieber versus photos with kittens. This would be a riveting race to watch.

Simply Measured Conversion Tracking
Make sure you’re using analytics to understand the impact of your activities as you go along, so you can make the necessary tweaks.

What are your goals for each? You’ll need to set a baseline based upon your previous photo posts and then stretch those goals a bit, planning on optimizing for really great photos or more frequent posting of each kind. (If you run this test, please share your results in the comments below. I’d love to see the numbers.)


Key Questions: Is this goal even possible? Is the goal aligned with an understanding of the audience and interest around the product or initiative?

Sometimes our dreams are out in the stars and we’d really be better aiming for the cloud-layer of the earth’s atmosphere. Making sure your goal is attainable requires that you already have a good sense of how you’re doing. Baselines, people. The more of them you have, the better you can set yourself up for reasonable stretch goals.

Let’s say you’re a new clothing brand looking to grow your audience on Instagram. You’re going to hashtag, cross-promote, and influencer-mention your way to success. How has your audience been growing, month-over-month, for the last three months? Would 5% growth in one month be a realistic goal? Maybe it should be more like 3%. You’ll know by checking your past performance.


Key Question: Does this goal fit with overall business objectives in a scalable and manageable way?

As you set a goal for a campaign, you must have the overall goals of the business in mind. (Hopefully, they’re S.M.A.R.T., as well. You might want to mention that to your CEO.)


Key Questions: What is the time frame for this goal? When have other brands in the same space reached similar objectives?

Urgency is a great motivator. When you add a deadline to your goal, you massively boost the chance that you’ll hit it and come up with ideas on how to do so. In fact, a useful approach is to set a long-term goal, then work your way backwards, setting smaller goals along the way that will get you there.

Let’s say you’re looking to improve your audience engagement on every network where you have a social presence. This seems like an important, but large, goal to go after. You need to figure out by how much and by when for each network. That way, you can get down to the different Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other network tactics that will get you there, and plan your roll-out over a six-month period, perhaps.

3. Choose Your New Channels

New year, new you. Pick at least one new social channel or strategy you can learn about, invest in, and grow your business with. Here are some suggestions:

  • Instagram Stories: Instagram Stories are a feature of the Instagram platform, allowing users and brands to post photo and video content that disappears within 24 hours, creating deeper engagement, producing greater reach, and supporting brand discovery by users likely to buy your product/service. Did we mention that Simply Measured can give you the data you need to track success with this feature? Learn more here.
    • Influencer Marketing: In our 2017 State of Social Marketing report, we found that brands are using influencers for a variety of reasons, including extending their reach, sharing branded content, and promoting products and offerings.
How Do Brands Use Influencers?
From the 2017 State of Social Marketing Report

Consider leveraging influencers in your 2018 plan. Check out best practices here. 

Once you’ve gone through the process outlined above, you’ll be well on your way towards a solid 2018 plan. But to put together a full plan, you’ll need to know how to budget. Download the guide below to learn more.

Get everything you need to analyze the metrics that matter

2018 Social Marketing Budget Guide


Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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