Social Media Marketing: How to Create an Impactful Strategy for Any Business | Maggie Stara | Skillshare

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Social Media Marketing: How to Create an Impactful Strategy for Any Business

teacher avatar Maggie Stara, Creative Marketer & Top Teacher

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Setting Expectations


    • 3.

      Audit Your Current Efforts


    • 4.

      Ask The Hard Questions


    • 5.

      Work Backwards


    • 6.

      Define Your Audience


    • 7.

      Analyse Your Competition


    • 8.

      Craft a Content Strategy


    • 9.

      Amplify Your Social Strategy


    • 10.

      Create a Strategy Document


    • 11.

      Document Your Activities


    • 12.

      Measure Your Success


    • 13.

      Make Ongoing Adjustments


    • 14.

      Thank You!


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About This Class

Are you looking to develop a social media marketing strategy that will grow your business, strengthen the relationship with your audience and differentiate you from your competitors online? If that’s sounding like you, welcome... this class is just for you!

I know first hand how difficult it can be to know exactly where to begin with the process of developing a social media strategy. Do you begin by checking out what the competition is up to? Analysing your own efforts? Talking to your customers? 

And what do you actually need to look for in determining what’s working and what isn’t? Or to make things even more complicated... What if you’re starting completely from scratch?

Don’t worry, we will be answering all of these questions and much more within this class.

By the end of this class you will know how to:

  • Assess the success of your business' current marketing activities and decide what to amplify, maintain and stop doing. 
  • Find your competitors and learn from their strategy on each network.
  • Identify your audience’s needs and behaviours and use this to direct your strategy.
  • Understand where to direct your social media efforts and resources in order to have the most impact on your business objectives.
  • Tap into the creative flow of your team and the wider business to create a strategy that’s uniquely your own.
  • Create and present a strategy document in a way that wins over the decision-maker.
  • Measure the success of your strategy within Google Analytics and other analytics dashboards.
  • Make ongoing adjustments in the future..
  • ...and more!

We’ll be going through and filling out the supplied documents and spreadsheets together step by step. And will be walking away from this class, confident in making recommendations to your business on how to move forward with your proposed social media strategy.

If you have any questions throughout the class, please don’t hesitate to pop into the discussions section and ask away! I’ll be happy to support you in whatever way I can.

Thank you so much for being here and I can’t wait to see you in class! 

ps. finished watching this class? Make sure to check out my complementary class on Content Planning below:

Meet Your Teacher

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Maggie Stara

Creative Marketer & Top Teacher

Top Teacher

Hey I'm Maggie - your creative instructor!

I was first introduced to the world of social media marketing in 2016. I was SO excited about the possibility of working online but I was really struggling with the lack of honest, authentic, and high-quality information out there for beginners. So before I even began working in this world, I knew one day I'd want to create the kind of high-quality resources for aspiring marketers that I felt were missing in this space.

Why my classes:

My online skills have led to working with an exciting range of talented people, from sole traders to multi-million dollar businesses. And in addition to working as a freelancer, I've also worked in a digital marketing agency and an in-house corporate role. With this wide ran... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Welcome!: Strategy, analysis, planning, documentation, let's face it, these are not the most fun things for us to tackle for a lot of our social media creatives out there, but I'm hoping to help change that with a bit more of a holistic approach to social media strategy development within this class. What that means is that we'll still focus on the analytical strategic stuff, but it will also involve discussions around things like utilizing and developing the creative skills of yourself and your team as a part of this process, and really understanding and representing the unique needs of your customers and a few more topics that really stem from my passion for organizational psychology, which will allow you to look beyond just posting on social media for the sake of posting and consistency and really think about how you can make a really long-term and long-lasting impact on your audience with your online presence. If this is our first time virtually meeting, I'm Maggie Stara. Over the years I've worked as a social media and digital marketing strategist in freelance consulting agency, and in-house environments. So it's safe to say, big picture thinking is my thing, and it's this passion for looking at the long-term big business objectives and then breaking those down into small, logical, and achievable steps and catering to these with your social media efforts. That's what I'm hoping to share with you within this class. By the end of the class, you will know how to analyze your marketing efforts as well as those of your competitors and identify any key areas of focus. You'll be confident in making recommendations to the wider business on where your social media efforts should be focused in order to have the greatest impact on your overall business objectives. You'll also have clarity on how to measure the success of your efforts to make ongoing adjustments to your strategy based on what's working, and what isn't, and how to adapt to any changes in the social media marketing world. It's definitely a lot to cover, but we're going to be making it really fun. I have also created lots of helpful class materials for you to help streamline your strategy planning process. We're going to be going through everything together step-by-step, so you can be sure that you're going to be walking away from this class with the knowledge and the tools and the resources to go away and really create an impact for social media strategy for your business. Hope you're really excited and I can't wait to see you in class. 2. Setting Expectations: To kick things off, I'd first like to start this particular lesson by managing your expectations for this class. I'm going to be very upfront and honest with you to say there's really no one way to do a social media strategy. Just like there's no one way to do anything in the marketing world. It's the beauty of this field. But it's also super frustrating for us as marketers because it does require incredibly flexible thinking. It means that we're always looking at something and going. "Okay, well, how does that actually apply to me and my business?" The reason I'm telling you this is because all of the tips and the tools that you're going to learn about in this class, need to be adapted to you in your unique situation. Within the projects and resources section of the class, you're going to find your class guide, and inside of it you're going to find all the links to everything we're going to be talking about within this class. You will have your own version of all the documents and spreadsheets we're going to be filling out within your own Google Drive. Go a little bit nuts, make it work for you. Delete things, add things, make it your own brand colors, share it with people, do whatever you need to do to make it work for you, and I promise not to get offended if it looks totally different from the originals that I'm supplying you with. The second thing that I wanted to mention within this particular class is that it's going to be very focused on social media strategy specifically, and giving you the skills to plan a very impactful strategy for moving forward with your execution, but not actually focusing on the social media content creation specifically. If that's something that you want to upskill yourself on, whether it's before taking this class and proceeding with it or afterwards. Just make sure to check out my other Skillshare classes that are little bit more focused on the implementation side of social media. I should also note at this point that my approach to social media strategy and marketing, in general, might be a little bit more holistic than what you might expect or what you might have experienced with other instructors. That's just because for me, social media marketing and marketing in general is about so much more than just meeting big business objectives or being better than the competition. To me, it's about constantly thinking outside of the box in terms of utilizing your best and biggest asset, which is your humans behind your strategy. I believe there's real value to be gained from answering questions around how your humans actually fit into your social media strategy. Questions like, does each of your team members feel like their ideas are being heard and explored? Do they feel the psychological safety and support to admit when they've made a mistake or share without fear of judgment? Is there someone in another department or another team may be in HR, or accounting, or development who might have an incredible idea for a social media campaign, but has never had the opportunity to share that with you? Do your customers feel represented in the content that you're actually creating online for them? As we go into the rest of the lessons, I also want you to know that any grade strategy will focus on impact above all else. So always, always keep thinking about what's really important to you and your business, and keep sharing this with your internal team and your social media audience and giving them a real chance to align themselves with your values and connect with you in a deeper level. Then once it's time to actually go and execute your strategy, I know it's really easy to get caught up in the metrics. But I promise you that if you focus less on the surface level metrics like your followers, and more on really creating something that's really worth following, you will give yourself the best chance of success. These are all the things that we're going to be bringing into our approach along with the strategic planning and analysis, of course, because whether you're a B2B, B2C, the small business, or large global corporation. At the end of the day, it's the people behind the scenes and then the people on the receiving end of your marketing materials that can really make or break your strategy, and also how your stuff is actually perceived on social media. We're going to get into all of that shortly. Now, if you're ready to deep dive into this amazing world of social media strategy. I'm so excited to get it into the next lesson, where we're going to talk a little bit about how to approach a bit of self-analysis with your existing marketing efforts before deciding on the best ways to move forward. I'll see you then. 3. Audit Your Current Efforts: To kick off this process, the very first thing we need to do is figure out what's currently working about our existing marketing activities and what's not working so well. The great thing about this is that it's actually going to be the very beginning and the very end of this strategy process. Because the best marketing strategies out there are constantly evolving by assessing what's working, what isn't, and why. Simon Sinek talks a little bit about this infinite mindset in his book, The Infinite Game, which is one I really highly recommend for you guys to read. It's the same approach that we'll be taking to our approach to social media strategy. The reason for that is because probably my most hated phrase in the business world as a whole, as an answer to the question, why, is because that's how we've always done it. I really believe that the best and most successful businesses out there would never ever use that as an excuse to keep doing something long after it's finished serving its purpose and serving their goals. We'll go more into that in the next lesson. But for now, let's talk a little bit about what you actually need to do in order to assess your current marketing efforts and figure out how to move forward. For those of you who might be watching this lesson and starting from scratch, not to worry because as I said, this is a continuous reflection that we're going to build into your social media strategy workflow, where you're going to keep assessing your efforts as you're moving forward. It's still really useful for you to know, even if maybe you don't have existing marketing materials to review. Let's now go into how to actually assess what's working and what isn't before deciding on how to plan for the future. Let's get into a few examples that I've created for you within the social media strategy document template. You'll find a link to this in your class guide that's going to allow you to make a copy of this whole document into your own Google Drive so you can edit and tweak as you see fit. Basically, this document is going to provide you with a really good basis for what could form your social media strategy document. The thing that you'll probably notice straightaway as we jump into here is that it's divided into categories that are very similar to the way that this class is outlined. You'll find that we'll be filling it out and going through it together step-by-step. By the end of the class, hopefully you'll have a really good basis for what to include in your strategy document because of this template here. All the details about how to use the document are just at the beginning. Then you've got your summary statement, whether you choose to include that or not, it's totally up to you, but I find it really helpful to have some context for a strategy document, especially if it requires approval for multiple people. I may not necessarily be present to actually explain the document to them or talk them through that document. The summary statement is a really good opportunity for you to just summarize the entire document for them and say, here's where we're at, here's what we're hoping to go and here's how we're hoping to get there. That's especially key if you're asking for additional resource allocation or you're looking to hire a new team member, or spending more budget on paid ads. All those things are good to include straight away and then you're using the rest of the document to back that up really. But the bit that we're going to really focus on at this stage is our social media audit summary. Anything that's in red here is basically stuff that you can delete and you can also copy your copy of these documents so you can always retain the original copy for your reference. But then you can delete this stuff. It's mainly just to guide you through the document in case you ever need a refresher. I've also included examples for every single thing that we're going to be going through. If you ever need to remember what we were talking about in any of these lessons, you'll have that there for you as a guide. Now in terms of your social media audit summary, I've made a simple version and then a slightly more complex version for those of you who might need to show a lot of work and/or want to really deep dive into your analysis before implementing your strategy. The simple version here is, this is an example of how it might look for every single channel. I've got a blank template here that you can then copy and fill out for every single network that you are on. But effectively here is what you would fill out. You would say, what network you're focusing on, your handle, your channel owners. If there's a particular team member that's responsible for that particular channel and then what's your mission statement on that particular platform, which might be very different based on the platform that you are focusing on in this audit. For example, Twitter might be a lot more about engagement with the community, customer service, social listening, all those things. Whereas your Instagram might be solely dedicated to your company culture and focusing on attracting new employees. It's a good idea to just summarize what this network is about, what we're hoping to achieve with it and then any KPIs attached to that. At this stage we're really not focusing on the setting KPIs. If you don't already have KPIs for each individual platform, don't worry about it. I've got a resource here for you if you do want to check it out. But we are going to get into that when we talk about working backwards and how to set your business goals and your social media goals and your KPIs attached to those. We're going to get into that in a later lesson shortly. If you don't have KPIs already, you can leave that blank for now because at this stage we're really only interested in the retrospective. This is just where we're at at the moment. If you don't have KPIs, that is something that's worthwhile actually noting and saying, currently we don't really know what we're measuring on this platform and that's still a part of yourself audit because then you can go, my recommendation is that we start measuring what we're actually trying to achieve on this platform. With your top content, it should be really highly related to what you are trying to achieve. If your KPIs are attached to engagement then your top content would be the content that's been most shared, most commented on, most liked. But again, if you don't have KPIs yet, then your top content would just be whatever has performed for you the best in terms of reach or impressions or engagement or whatever you decide is the content that you felt really resonated with your target audience. Then it's a good idea to identify who's actually following you on the specific network and how much or how little details you want to provide about your audience for each network is entirely up to you. But we're going to get into which analytics use on different platforms to actually determine where your audience lies in just a sec. Then you could identify on Instagram, I've got an audience of primarily 18-25 year-old women from North America, which is US and Canada. Really at this point, our purpose is just to go, well that's confusing because our target market is actually 40 plus men living in the UK. It gives you an idea of, well, we've got good content, people are engaging with it, but actually none of these people are our target market or not enough of them are our target market so we need to change our strategy. Then I've just got whether or not you actually want to make a suggestion for whether this network is worth your time, at least for the upcoming strategy cycle. It doesn't have to be forever. If you decide Instagram is just not worth focusing on for the next three months. If that's your strategy cycle, then it might be good idea to just make a recommendation for that. Or if you think, this is actually something we can really amplify and ramp up, that's where you could make that recommendation as well and then any additional notes here. This is the simplest version of it where you would just copy this table and then fill it out for every single network. But if you do want a deep dive even further, I've got this big spreadsheet here for you and you just going to be able to copy that into your own Google Drive as well. Let me just zoom out. I have only got it for a couple of networks. You can always add additional networks as separate sheets. But effectively what you're doing here is just a more elaborate version of that table we have in our Word document. You would still include things like your handle and who is responsible, your mission statement, your top content. But then you would also include things like, are there any particular hashtags that you're using that are working really well. Then are you able to identify your most recent posts which can really quickly tell you how frequently that network is actually being posted on if the most recent posts was from four months ago. Now in terms of your KPIs and your audience and your goals, that's going to be more relevant moving forward because we're going to be setting these KPIs for you so that when you actually implement your strategy, you can go, yep, we met our KPIs. Here's how it all went and this is where you could then track your rate of success and same with your audience. At this stage, you could identify who your audience is and then make it a part of your process to sit down once a quarter, twice a year or once a year as a team and then you can mark down your year-on-year change or whatever makes the most sense to you. It doesn't have to be year and year, whatever period makes the most sense for your business, that's where you would note that down. If it's every quarter, then you can say, yep, quarterly change is we've grown by 300 followers and then you can start to see how that hopefully grows exponentially for you. Next we're going to get into some SWOT analysis details. You can identify your SWOT analysis for every single network if you wish. That will make it easier for you to get a really good comprehensive look of where your strengths are, overall, where your weaknesses are, where your opportunities are, and where your threats are. That's why I've just included this at the bottom of every single tab there for you. Your potential strength could be that you have really good Facebook reviews. Your weaknesses could be that you just don't have enough team members to monitor comments so people are leaving negative comments on your ads or your organic posts on Facebook and you're not able to actually monitor that quickly enough. Your opportunities would be anything that your competitors aren't doing that you could potentially do to differentiate yourself. If you see that your competitors are not doing Facebook ads, that is a potential for you to then jump into that space if it makes sense for your business. Then threats is anything that your competitors are doing, that you're not doing, or that they're doing really well, that you're not doing very well at the moment. You could do that for every single one of these networks and then jump back on over to your Google Doc, let me just zoom back in, and then identify that in a SWOT analysis here by going for Instagram, this is our strength, our weakness, our opportunity and our threat. For our Twitter, same, for our Facebook and Pinterest and LinkedIn and YouTube and whatever other network you're on, TikTok, you could basically identify all four things. If you find that you don't have one, that's fine, just list three for that particular network. But then what that might mean is that by the time you're presenting your document, you could have six or seven strengths that you are like, cool, this is stuff we can really highlight to our audiences as something we're doing really well. Weaknesses are things that we could potentially look at resolving. Opportunities will be a really big focus for us because it's somewhere where we're different from our competitors. Threats might be something to really monitor to track that this is something we're looking to improve or it's something that our competitors are not going to take us over on completely. You would have noticed as well in this big spreadsheet that every single one of these tabs at the top has a resource there for you for how to actually access your analytics for that particular platform to be able to fill out some of this stuff in a way that pertains specifically to your business. Of course, you have to have an account set up. Generally speaking, you have to have a business account setup for platforms like Instagram in order to be able to see all the stats about your demographics and your best-performing posts and all of that. But at this stage, really all we're looking to do is just get a really solid overall baseline for where we're at before we can decide on how to move forward. If you don't have a great amount of detail about all of this stuff not to panic, honestly, it's totally fine. Some of you might be starting from complete scratch here and you might not have any of this data or you might just have some in bits and pieces, that's totally fine. Make it work for you. Delete things as you see fit. You can include some of these, all of these, or none of this really, it's just provided for you as a guide. So you're not starting from complete scratch and thinking, what the hell do I actually include in my strategy document? Again, so don't panic if you don't have any of this stuff or if you're missing some of these details because really the important part of this class is going to come in next are we actually get into identifying our objectives, understanding our audience, analyzing the competition and all that stuff in later lessons. With that in mind, in the next lesson, we are going to get into asking some pretty tough questions that are really going to help you make the most impact moving forward, so I'll see you there. 4. Ask The Hard Questions: Before we get into the next lesson where we're going to talk about how to work backwards from your overall business objectives and header cater to these with your social media strategy. I just wanted to briefly talk about the why behind your efforts in this particular lesson. What I mean by that is that really any great successful social media strategy has to consider the purpose behind the activities that you're planning to execute. Because like I said in the previous lesson, that's how we've always done it is actually not a valid reason for anything to be a part of your marketing efforts. As we go into the next few lessons where we talk about how to identify your areas of focus, your target audience, your distribution channels, and everything else that goes into creating an awesome social media marketing strategy, I wanted to encourage you to always keep asking why, and on the other side of that coin, always keep asking why not as well. Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn't mean it's the right way, and just because something has never been done a certain way doesn't mean that it shouldn't be done. Don't forget that Facebook started as a platform for college students. Instagram started as a platform where you could share real-time photos of your burrito bowls. Linkedin first launched as a paid membership platform, and Netflix used to mail people DVDs. As drastic as it might sound in the world of business and marketing, it's a little bit of an evolve or cease to exist situation. Hopefully, with the tips and the tools that you're going to learn from within this class, we can make sure that you're on the Netflix side of things rather than the blockbuster side of things because you'll know how to continuously improve and evolve in this sort marketing landscape. Let's now get into the questions that I really want you to consider when developing your social media strategy as we go into the rest of the class content. As always, I have included these in your class guide so you can always refer to them there. You don't have to scribble to write them down right now they're going to be in your class guide, so make sure to check them out there if you ever need to refer back to them. First of all, why do you actually want to include a particular element or effort in your marketing strategy? Are you creating real purpose-driven content? What's the purpose behind creating a piece of material? Then, I want you to consider how does it actually help your intended audience, and is it representative of your intended audience? Can your customers really see themselves in your social media content? Then think about how it actually helps the business or does it actually help the business? As in, is this really aligned with what the business is hoping to achieve as a whole? Finally, has it been done before? If it has, is there maybe a new angle or perspective that you can try to keep things fresh? Or if it hasn't been done, figure out why it hasn't been done. I would encourage you to get outside perspective on this from the wider business or an outside party or a focus group. Because there might be a really valid reason for why something hasn't been done or maybe the reason is just that no one has ever thought of it, in which case, great, you're well ahead of the game. Now let's talk about one of the most critical questions maybe even the most critical question for you to answer, which is, what are you actually working towards? It's important for you to remember that social media is about standing out, not fitting in. I know so many people out there will say consistency is key, and it is, but consistency without a plan and metrics attached to that plan so you can actually measure the success of your efforts it's a little bit useless. I mean, I know for me if I go for a run every single day from now until the day I die, I'm still not going to make it to the Olympics, and I know that and that's okay with me because that wouldn't be my objective with that. It might be to lose weight or just be healthy and have more energy. But social media is a little bit like that. If you're just posting every day because someone at some point told you that if you do that you will be successful and you're doing it because you love it and it's fun for you then yeah keep doing it because honestly, that is a valid reason to post on social media. But if you actually have a goal you're trying to achieve with your content, then you really need to know what you're working towards before you begin working towards it. An additional point that I'd like you to consider at this point is that if you find that you're coming up against a little bit of resistance from your manager or your client or an additional stakeholder, it might be time to think about how to make a business case for the changes you're trying to make in their language. What you're working towards might be to gain 10,000 views on your YouTube channel in the next three months. But then how you communicate this objective will really depend on who you're talking to. Always ask yourself, what does this person need to hear in order to approve my strategy and cater to that. For example, your chief financial officer or your finance team may not actually care if a new software you want to get for the video production or the workflow of your YouTube content is going to cost two grand. If you can prove a business case for how it's going to save your team time and money, both in terms of man-hours and other expenses. Whereas a chief technology officer would likely care a lot more about how that software is going to integrate with existing systems you already have in place. Then your marketing manager might just care about how it actually contributes to your marketing goals and how you're going to measure your success. Whenever you're presenting an idea that disrupts the status quo and is different from what's been done before, especially within an established business, always think about how you can use the pinpoints and the language of the person that you're trying to get approval from. That doesn't mean that you might end up presenting the exact same idea to five different people in five totally different ways because they might have different communication styles, but that is the best way for you to really help the business evolve. Don't be afraid to let your passion shine, and always remember to ask the hard questions. Now in the next lesson, we'll start to actually think about how to begin developing your strategy, so I'll see you there. 5. Work Backwards: As we now go a little bit more into discussions around wider business goals and how to cater to these with your strategy, I wanted to preface that by saying that it's my own personal limited experience. You might not find this to be an issue with your organization, but it's my experience that the bigger an organization seems to be, the more communication seems to be like a one big game of telephone. Where at one point it was really clear what was happening, what the objectives were, and who was responsible for what, and then as things get passed down from one seniority level to the next, by the time something gets to the intern who's been there for two weeks, it's often not very clear what's actually happening and why. That interruption in communication can end up creating a bit of a divide between departments and just actually overall executing on the wider company initiatives. Because when there's three or four of you on a team or maybe it's just you and your client, it's really easy to actually physically see what's happening and what everyone is up to day to day, and are we meeting our goals or aren't we? But as soon as there's multiple teams, multiple departments, maybe many teams within them, and maybe you're even working with external contractors, all of the sudden things can get quite messy if you're not organized or you don't have a process around the flow of information. Depending on your own particular set of circumstances, I would just encourage you to develop some process that works for you that would allow you to check in with different departments and figure out how to stay up to date on any changes that are happening within the organization or an evolution of your business objectives. But first, of course, you have to understand what the objectives are, so that's exactly what we're going to be focusing on in this lesson. We'll be breaking this down into four simple steps. The first is beginning by writing down the overall long-term business objectives. Then any specific initiatives the business is hoping to tackle within the shorter term. Then determining how your social media goals need to fit into these wider business objectives. Finally, deciding on how you're going to measure the success of your efforts as they pertain to your social media goals through specific KPIs. Let's start with that first step and talk about long-term business objectives with a bit of an example. Way back in 2012, YouTube had the objective of achieving a billion hours of watch-time per day by the end of 2016, which was 10 times what they were at, at the time that they set this big, hairy, audacious goal. They used their OKR framework to help them get there. This is roughly what it looks like where they've had this big objective, and then the key results attached to those would be the many steps that they would take in order to get to that goal within four years. There's no numbers attached to this, because YouTube shared their overall approach but not the exact figures, but you can get the gist of it. They originally aimed for the end of 2016, and they announced the billion hour of view per day mark in February 2017. They were just a couple of months off. Since these big long-term, OKR objectives are meant to be a bit of a stretch goal, that's actually a success even though technically the timeline was off by a little bit. We'll jump into our document in a sec. But maybe just start thinking now about what your big stretch goals might be for your business in five or even 10 years into the future, and how you might be able to start working towards these with some more short-term initiatives that you could focus on like the following. In any given strategy cycle, we could focus on brand awareness to establish a presence or increase your reach on socials or traffic, because maybe you want to get more eyeballs on your website. Or maybe lead generation is a really big part of your business growth goals, so you really want to start driving traffic to your newsletter sign-up pages or your opt-ins. It might seem obvious that every quarter your goal should be revenue and increasing sales and meeting your sales targets, but that's maybe not the case. Sometimes it makes sense to really build the foundation by focusing on goals like engagement or community building or even customer service. Because maybe there's been a mishap with how your brand has been represented in the media, so you really want to focus on building your brand visibility and your brand reputation up through these more engaging community initiatives, and sales isn't huge part of your short-term goals. In that case, if that is something that you're focusing on, public relations could be a really big part of that as well. Where you really want to get your brand name out there, especially if you're a startup and that you want to build your reputation through some pieces around thought leadership. Or maybe you're at the very, very ground zero of your business, and you just want to focus on really understanding who your customers are, what their needs are, what is the industry really up to, and how you fit into that. A part of that might also be hiring and recruiting top talent. These are just some of the short-term initiatives you could focus on in any given strategy cycle. You might find that your business has totally different ones that are totally outside of these categories, and that's fine. At this stage is just about gathering some ideas for what you could work towards and the categories that these initiatives could fall under. But it's a good idea to not pick too many of these for any given strategy cycles. I would say, pick two to three that make the most sense and that are the most urgent for you to tackle. Then it's time for us to talk about that third step, which is to set social goals that align with the identified objectives. In order to create a real impact with your strategy, the goals you set for yourself have to be smart. They have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. They have to be specific, because vague goals are bad goals. Often people fail at meeting their goals because they are not specific enough. It's like saying, "My new year's resolution is to hit the gym," versus, "My new year's resolution is to go to the gym five times a week or to lose 30 pounds." It's very, very specific, which means you have a much better chance of attaining it. They have to be measurable, so that you know when you've actually accomplished your goal. If you just say we want an increase in traffic versus we want to increase our traffic by 20 percent, it's a very, very different measure of success. In terms of attainability, look, it's good to be ambitious, but the phrase under-promise, over-deliver exists for a reason. If your goal that you set for yourself is to make a million $ in sales in the next two weeks of your strategy, you're going to have a really bad time executing that. You need to make sure that things are pretty realistic, and then maybe over-delivering on those and impressing the pants off off everybody. But not setting these high, short-term goals that are just going to set yourself up for disappointment. Your goals, of course, should be something that matters to your business right now. That's why it's good to set the objectives in a way that is from most urgent to least urgent in the next couple of cycles. Because it's good to actually focus on stuff that's relevant in your current climate, in your current sales cycle, and as it pertains to your business objectives right now, and your goal should be timely. Just like being measurable, you also need to know when you are hoping to achieve your goals by. Because just by saying we want to increase our traffic by 30 percent, is that in a week? Is that in a month or in a a year? You need to put a little bit of a timeline on it, so you know when you've hit it and you also know what you're working towards. Now that we know a little bit about these, let's jump into our social media strategy document template, so we can have a look at how to actually identify these and write these down. Part of identifying your business objectives and setting your goals is actually looking backward. Or at least I will encourage you to look backward at your past business objectives over the last 12 months, and has your social media catered to meeting these objectives? The answer might be no, and that's actually not a bad thing because it might mean that it gives you a bit of a jumping-off point for setting a strategy moving forward. But it can be a good idea to give people a bit of an understanding of what's been happening, especially if you're presenting your strategy to somebody who really doesn't have an in-depth knowledge of what's been happening with the marketing team. Because either they're new to the business or they've just never really been involved in the conversation. That happens quite a lot, so it's a good idea to give them a little bit of context around what's been happening thus far and then going on moving forward. I do like the OKR framework that Google has. Obviously, they have it for a reason, but I know it can make some people anxious. Just set these really giant long-term goals, especially if you yourself have been in the business for two weeks and you are required to set this enormous goal for yourself. Do keep in mind that these are not necessarily marketing objectives, they are these big, hairy, audacious goals that the business has for itself for the next five or 10 years. They're not really supposed to be smart objectives. They may not be entirely attainable, but they will have some key results associated with these big objectives to make sure you're still working towards this big objective. If your company can set one for itself, it'll make it a lot easier for you to work backwards from this big thing, and then say, if in the next year, this is what we focus on and if in the next quarter we focus on this even more in-depth, it's eventually going to get us to a point where in five or 10 years we're able to really look at achieving this really, really big company vision. All that these stretch goals have to be, is answer the two questions, where do we want to go and how will we pace ourselves to get there? You can read a little bit more about them here. If it's not appropriate for your business model and you just want to start with the short-term initiatives, absolutely feel free to delete it. I just wanted to give you guys a little bit of context there for something that you could do. But really our focus is going to be on the shorter-term initiatives, which will be in the next three months or six months, whatever is appropriate for you. Where you set your short-term initiatives, so that's what you want to achieve, and then your short-term smart goals, which is how and when you will actually take action. I've got some examples here for you that might give you a bit of a bouncing off point. But let's say my objective was to drive more leads and sales, because that's something that's going to get me a little bit closer to this big goal that my company has. Then my social goal could be to increase conversions. A part of how we would make that goal smart, would be to say, we're going to increase our sales attributed specifically to the YouTube platform by five percent by April 10th, which makes it really easy to measure whether or not that is something that we are able to achieve by the specific date. Then I would maybe break that down further by platform and say, well, if we want to increase conversions, we also probably want to increase leads because that's a part of this bigger objective. Let's say we know that historically speaking, LinkedIn has been a really good source of leads for us, then another social goal is to increase leads. I would measure that by saying, we want to 10x our leads coming through LinkedIn by the end of February, let's say. I've got this here as a reference for you. Again, you would delete this if it's a part of your strategy document, but just so you know that these are the types of objectives you could focus on. I've also got some examples for what a good goal might be and what a bad goal might be, and some resources for you if you ever get stuck on how to actually create goals for yourself that are really relevant to your business. Really the key is just to be as specific as possible. Just saying, we want to increase our Instagram following, that's cool, but why don't we put some measurements around that by saying we want to grow our Instagram following by an average of 100 new followers per week by June 30th. Then if somebody asked why, then hopefully you've actually set a short-term initiative as in why we actually want to achieve what we want to achieve, and that might be because our focus is on engagement or community building. In which case, growing our Instagram following really falls really well into that category. Hopefully, you're starting to see how everything's going to play together and how your strategy can develop itself around the wider business objectives. In the next lesson, we're going to get into talking about our audience. I will see you there. 6. Define Your Audience: No matter where you sit on this sliding scale of familiarity with your target audience, whether it feels like you're talking to yourself or to a best friend at a party or a total stranger who you have nothing in common with at all, it's really important for you to actually sit down and understand them a little bit better in terms of what problems do they have? Where do they look for solutions? Where do they hang out online? Who else do they follow and aware and how you should actually be communicating with them online. Doing all of that is also going to really help you zero in on their buyer's journey, which is essentially the path that they take from not knowing anything about you or your business through to becoming a customer and hopefully a repeat customer long-term as well. Because if you find that your target customer is analytical Anne here or spreadsheets Sally, who are going to research everything about you and your offer and your competitors for weeks or even months before making a decision, you'll know that you need to cater to the topological detail-oriented mind. Versus if you find that your target customer is impulsive, Ivan, you know that your marketing strategy's going to be very different. At this point in the class, I would encourage you to fill out the document I've provided you with in your class guide about who your audience is. Jumping into the understand your audience section of your strategy document template, you'll notice that you have three options or options to create three ideal customer avatars. You may have more, you may have less but three is that sweet spot, in my opinion, which allows you to really target and segment your social media efforts to these three individual and unique customer avatars or buyer personas, depending on what you refer to them as. Much like we talked about with analytical Anne or impulsive Ivan, it's a good idea to give each of your buyer personas a name to represent them, to make it a lot easier for you to actually chat about them in your strategy sessions with your team, and you can say, okay, we're doing this campaign, how are we going to really cater to the pain points of analytical Anne? You don't have to call them that, they can just be Anne or Ivan or what have you, but make it fun for yourself and make them really human in your eyes. I think that's really key as to go, okay, Ivan is a dad. He lives in this part of the world, he speaks this language, this is his job, these are his values. This is the stuff he's struggling with, and these are the other people that he falls in line. These are his interests outside of work or within work, and then these are the potential objections he would have to signing up to our business as a customer. You may not be able to get all of this information just from your analytics. You might have to combine those more personal touch points with your audience where you actually survey them and talk to them with your overall analytics. But you can get a lot of data just from looking at your overall analytics. These are just questions that will provide you with a bit of a guide for what you could identify about each of your customer avatars. It does not mean you have to answer every question. Just keep that in mind. I do have an example here for you of one of my customer avatars who is Ellie, she's 27. She lives in Melbourne, she has a master's degree. I've just created a persona around Ellie. Again, Ellie is a fictitious person. But this gives me a really good idea of how a particular piece of social media content can really target to the stuff that Ellie really likes or some of her problems and pain points that I can then alleviate with the solution to these with my paid offer. Of course, feel free to delete this and feel free to make two columns out of this or four whatever suits your needs, but just so you have that there as a guide and your business of course, might already have this in a separate document. It's just there so that if you don't already have customer avatars or buyer persona's for your business it's something that is quite key for you to keep front of mind as you go into creating your social media strategy because it really needs to cater to these segments of your target audience. In addition to all these general persona categories, there are a few additional things that I wanted you to consider, which might have to first do with behavior patterns that your target market might have. For example, sports fans might be likely to be online before, during or after big sports event to find out details about it and consume content about the event or maybe new moms might be scrolling social media in the middle of the night while they're breastfeeding. Knowing your audience inside and out like this is not only going to help you understand what content to create, but how frequently and what times of the day you should be actually putting content in front of them. The other thing I'd like you to consider has to do with topics around representation or the lack thereof. Because unfortunately as marketers, the chats we're having a lot of the times still don't include conversations around this as it pertains to things outside of what we can actually see inside of our analytics dashboards and things that we can target off of. For example, we might talk about language and location of our target audience, but not brace disability or gender identity. A lot of these categories have been removed from analytics to actually protect users from being discriminated against, which is a great thing. But the downside of it is that these might be parts of your audience's identity that they really strongly identify with and are being left out of the conversation, which is then leading to that lack of representation on social media potentially. That's also because people get really focus on what their analytics are telling them instead of actually talking to their audience to find out more about them on a more personal level. I'd like to encourage you at this point to get to know your audience outside of what you can see in an analytics dashboard. Yes, that does require a little bit of vulnerability on your end and a commitment to change going forward based on the feedback that you gather from your audience. I do, honestly, I promise that this is how strong brands are built and this is how you create that long-lasting impact for your audience. Now in terms of how you actually gather your data, it's totally up to you, and depending on what you have access to within your business and what tracking pixels you have set up already. You can do quite a bit with just the free analytics within like Creator Studio, within Facebook and Instagram, and Pinterest and Twitter and LinkedIn. They all have their own native analytics dashboards and you can get quite a bit about your audience from there as long as you're quite active. What I mean by that is that sometimes they are little bit limited in terms of the actual duration or the date range of what you can look at. I'm here in my Instagram dashboard and I can really only look at the last 30 days. I can go and have a look at my audience here and get a bit of a sense of what age and what gender my content is most resonating with or who's following me online, what countries they're located in and what cities are located in, but that's pretty much it at this stage, you can get some more data within Instagram itself and within Facebook itself from business manager and all that. But if you do want to get really in-depth with it, I would really recommend that you look at the stats that you're able to get from your scheduling tools and your social media management tools. Obviously there are free schedulers that will have very limited data as well. The more you pay, the more in depth you can go into this. Whether it justifies the cost of these tools for you to actually have this transparency in your data is up to you. But I did want to just briefly take you around Agora polls because that's what I have access to. It allows me to also have all my accounts in one place and check out the analytics on all of them all in one place which I really love and then I can create custom reports. If I was doing this for clients, it makes it really easy for me to go. Here's a comprehensive look of how you're tracking on all your different dashboards. It also means that I'm able to get a really good sense of how my audience is actually tracking over longer periods of time, not just the 30 days that you might be limited to what they're engaging with, where they're tagging me, what content they're consuming, and then when they're most active as well, which is very key for determining my frequency and the times a day that I choose to post as a part of my strategy. Then of course, at the bottom I can also have a look at the demographics that my stuff is most popular with, so 25-34 year-old female in United States. That's pretty much my key target market, so that might be one of my customer personas. Then I have another one, and that's in Australia because its my second most popular country. I can see the language that they're speaking. I could then go into my content performance to see which type of content they're most engaged with depending on my KPI. Is it more important to me that they comment on stuff or that they save my stuff because it means that they maybe are actually keeping it for later? Whatever you're most focused on is what you can actually filter by. Go, what was the most engaging post that I created for this audience? How can I repeat that and recreate that in the future with my strategy? Now, the holy grail of analysis and analytics is always going to be Google Analytics, and the reason is because you're then able to actually see how your audience is interacting with your website if you've got the Google Analytics tracking installed on your website. I would really recommend that you do that so then it can actually read your customer data. You can actually see how your audience is tracking with meeting your website goals. If lead generation and sales are really big part of your objectives and the KPIs you're looking to measure and how your social media efforts are contributing to these, then Google Analytics is going to be really great for giving you an overview of this in a way that your scheduling tools, your social media management tools just can't really measure. This is your time then to go and actually check out your audience. On here you can see things that they are liking, their interests, their geographic location, how they're moving through your website, all those things that might make it quite a handy asset to just narrowing down who your customer avatars actually are, but then we can actually see how these different people are tracking in terms of meeting your goals. Going into our demographics, and of course, I've just extended this out, but then I can just jump down into any of these more narrower categories and have a look at how these age categories are tracking, not just in terms of sessions, but also in terms of the goals that they're completing. At the moment, my conversion there is just set as all goals because I'm not tracking any monetary value in my conversions on my website. The goals I've set up inside of Google Analytics are all related to my newsletter subscription. I can see that although these guys are attributing to most of my sessions on my website, actually, this age category between 45 and 54 has a 14 percent conversion rate for actually signing up to my newsletter. That shifts my perspective slightly because then I could go, who I thought was my customer avatar maybe actually isn't the target market that I need to focus on if my overall goal has to do a lot more with lead generation than just social media engagement. Because while these guys might be a little bit harder to target through social media because they're a little bit less active, if they had a really significantly higher percentage of completing the goals that I want them to complete, then I might really think about how to focus on them on social media to try and get them through to my website and become a lead, because those efforts might be a lot more worthwhile for me because they would have had this significantly higher chance of getting onto my email list and then hopefully also becoming a customer, which is something I could measure here as well. The difference between 14 percent and 12 percent, in this case, because we're really talking about just tens instead of hundreds or thousands of subscribers is not a massive difference for me, but it's just a really, really good idea for you to jump in here and get a really good sense of whether your target personas are actually going to be likely to be the people who will allow you to meet your objectives. This will allow you to also take your own bias out of this, because a lot of the time I see people creating customer personas that they think would want to participate and engage with their business, but then they look at their analytics and the data says something totally different. That's why it's important to deep dive into this, and I'll be able to see that actually 59% of my traffic is female, but it's almost an even split in terms of the percentage of male and female users that have actually converted into subscribers. I want to encourage you to really take a look at your own analytics and see what you can really find out about your audience based on how they're actually interacting with your website. But keep in mind that as with everything in this world, as your business evolves, your customer avatars need to evolve as well. A really clear example of this that comes to mind is Canon. In 2010 when I was backpacking through Europe, no one really had smartphones yet. Everyone had point-and-shoot cameras. If you saw someone with a big DSLR, you assumed they were a professional photographer who made their living off it, but now these days, DSLR cameras are super affordable, and so Canon's marketing now caters a lot more to that 18-35 year-old creative crowd. That's just because the relationship with their customers and the landscape has changed. So they've had to evolve with it. Always keep asking yourself why and is this still making sense. If you already have customer avatars as a part of your brand document for your company and it was something that was created five years ago or even longer, just really ask yourself, does that still make sense with what our business is about now, or should we add to these or maybe subtract from these customer avatars? Is it still reflective of where our business is today or is it a little bit outdated and needs to be updated? I'd encourage you to just go into that document, write 2-3 customer personas and analyze how these will fit into your wider strategy. In the next lesson, we're going to talk a little bit more about analyzing your competition. I'll see you there. 7. Analyse Your Competition: Much like with your target market, your competition is just something that becomes a lot clear the longer you're in business. If you're not at a stage of your business yet where you can be very clear on who your competitors are off the top of your head, don't worry the tools we're going to be using within this lesson are something you can still use to gain inspiration from people within your industry, even if they're maybe not your direct competitors. In terms of why this is so important, we already talked about the inspiration and innovation side of things as in keeping tabs on your competitors for that whole business evolution in terms of like Netflix and Blockbuster and making sure you're matching their evolution spade, but also now it's time for us to think about how to match or even overtake your competitors in terms of your customers expectations. To give you an example here, here in Australia, the two biggest supermarkets are Woolworths and Coles. In 2018, they both release statement saying they're going to stop giving out plastic bags, and begin charging a very small fee that would incentivize people to start bringing their own bags. Woolworths went ahead with the change as well as adding a lot of conversations around sustainability into their social media strategy and Coles gave into the loud voices of the minority and just continued to distribute plastic bags way past their so-called deadline. Now, this cause long-term damage to their brand especially from environmentally conscious consumers. The lesson in terms of marketing is that, if you see your competitors making really big moves like this, it's important to consider how these changes, the expectations of your own customers from what they expect to view now and how your brand is going to adapt to those expectations. Because they can just as quickly switch to your competition if your social media initiatives and your marketing initiatives don't match their values. Not to mention that analyzing your competitor's social media presence can also give you performance benchmarks for your own business, ideas for a best time to post and how frequently to post, also an understanding of your potential customers pin points and new ideas for content that you could create that could resonate with your audience based on what you've seen your competitors do, and maybe content to avoid because maybe some things haven't worked so well for your competitors. You will also understand how to actually effectively communicate with your audience on different platforms, and you might just get really good ideas for how to actually differentiate your brand from your competitors. Now, we're actually going to go in and jump into some free ways that you can figure out who your competitors are online and how they stack up against you, and how to track their stats within the spreadsheet that I have linked within your class guide and within your social media strategy document in the section on competitor analysis, and then we'll also talk about some paid resources that will help you automate competitor research for those of you who might have bigger budgets to work with. I know this is a social media strategy, not an SEO class, but you can get a really good understanding of who your competitors are based on Google search results, and that's especially true if your competitors are on YouTube since Google and YouTube are effectively the same search engine. The easiest way to do that, is through Google Search Console. I wish this was easier to seeing Google Analytics. It doesn't seem to be the case. I know it's another tracking thing that you have to set up, but Google Search Console is actually quite easy to get started, and it doesn't backtrack again like most of these tools but, once you have it set up, it'll start tracking all your data for you. It'll also identify any performance issue with your website. The key thing that it allows you to do, and a performance and you can set in your date range, it'll tell you what search results you actually came up for. This is a really interesting wide overview to see where is your stuff actually showing up online. Is this something you really want to be known for as well. For me for example, I really like my ikigai video and blog posts, but it's probably not the thing that's going to actually move the needle for me in terms of people signing up for my page itself which is my courses. Whereas, is digital marketing a good career to have in 2021? That's something that's really hyper related to the stuff that I teach and actually make money from, so that's a really good search term to be showing up for. But this also tells me that my average position is 43, which is not great, and my average click-through rate is 0.7 percent, also not great. Now, for me SEO is not a huge part of my strategy. I'm a lot more focus on different parts of my social, so it's not a devastating realization, but it's a really good overview to go. Well, these are the things that people are searching for in order to find me, and then I could put some of these things into Google and actually see what other people are coming up for those same search terms. One of the things that I would like to be ranking for, is social media marketing for beginners. That's when I would go into Google, put that in there as a keyword and have a look at who else is ranking for that, and then determine whether there are real competitor or not. Now, those of you that are a very location-specific businesses would have location-specific keywords which would be like, dentists in Brisbane, Australia and that will tell you who your local competitors are. Whereas for me, I have global competitors, so it's not very location-specific, which makes it easier and harder in some ways as well. But, I know that HubSpot will rank really highly for this, but I don't really consider HubSpot a huge threat to me because there are huge organization with lots and lots of employees, and even though they do offer courses for social media marketers, their primary paid offer is a SaaS platform. It's not quite a direct competitor of mine. Whereas someone like Latasha James, I know her quite well in terms of her content, and yes, she is someone who I would actually consider a competitor same with Neil Patel, even though again his brand is a lot larger than mine, but someone that I would potentially put down as a competitor just to get ideas for what he's doing that I can incorporate into my own strategy. If I go into view all, you'll start to notice that actually my video on YouTube does pop up for the search term. Even though my actual blog posts SEO is not great, my video SEO is great. You can definitely narrow this down based on what's best for you and what works best for you. For me I would probably look at my video competitors a lot more than my actual written SEO competitors. In that case, Neil Patel, John Lee I'm not sure who he is, but I would maybe check him out and Marley Jaxx as well, and you can definitely do this within YouTube itself as well. Inside of my YouTube Studio channel analytics, I can then go into my Avanced Mode and have a look at my traffic sources, and go down to YouTube search, and see that social media marketing course is actually the keyword that has brought me quite a lot of views, quite a lot of watch time, and a pretty good average view duration as well in the last 28 days. Then I would pop on over to YouTube and pop that in as a search term, and have a look at people who are advertising for the search term, as well as people who are ranking for this organically. Hopefully if I scroll down, I'll see myself somewhere in there, awesome, and then I'll see a lot of other channels that are could then check out and see if I'm a direct competitor with them, are they people that I could put into my spreadsheet and analyze their stats, or are they may be really big brands that I'm not really going to be looking to compete with? Then the same thing on Instagram as well. If it's somebody that you are already following like, amyporterfield here, I can click on this little arrow and it'll tell me what other accounts Instagram thinks I should be following based on me following amyporterfield. That's where I can see, well, Ashlyn looks like somebody that might be somewhat related to this account that I have chosen to follow because Instagram is basically saying these accounts are related, and then I can keep going down that rabbit hole and see what other accounts it thinks are related to Ashlyn and then Social Curator which is by Jasmine Star and I can keep on going down this rabbit hole and find lots and lots of people who are related to me in my industry if I'm struggling to find my competitors out there. Similarweb is another tool that I quite like, but as great as it is, it's a little bit limited with the data that it has on smaller websites. If you're looking for really big global competitors like Neil Patel over here, you're going to get a lot of really good data on where their audience is and where they're coming from, whether they're doing organic or paid search and what they're actually ranking for and paying for, and then where their social efforts are actually focused, which is really handy, because then you can go or at my competitors are heavily focusing on YouTube or their audience is largely coming from YouTube, that's where I need to focus my efforts on, and you can get a really good deep dive into their actual audience, what they're interacting with, what topics they're interested in, and then further go into more competitors that are similar to Neil Patel and keep going down that rabbit hole. I absolutely love it. But again, if you don't have really big competitors like Neil Patel, it may be quite limited, but definitely give it a crack if it's like a really small local business that you're looking at, you may not find a huge use for this, but for those of you who might have big global competitors, I wanted to just mention it as a resource because it can be quite good if you find the right side. At this point, you may want to jump into the spreadsheet and actually record some of the stats that you have observed with your competitor analysis, and you may want to just delete whatever columns you don't see the type of data you want to be collecting on your competitors, and you of course want to put in their names and your name and links as well to their websites. You may want to also include links to their social profiles, which will make it a lot easier for you to access all their profiles every time you're doing this exercise. You'll notice I have a stats recorded on column, which means that every time you do this, whether it's quarterly or yearly, you could then go in and duplicate the sheet, and then put in the actual dates that you are doing this analysis. You can see how everything's tracking over time. Feel free to add or subtract these networks. I've also got an SEO research columns. If you do want to track what keywords you're ranking for versus your competitors, whether they're ranking for it on Google or YouTube, and if they're doing better or worse than you, what position they're on, and also any relevant links. If you find that competitor 1 has an awesome YouTube video that you really love and you want to create a competitive one, because you think it's something that your own audience would get a lot of use out of and you've got a unique angle, then this is where you might want to go. Actually this is really great. I'm going to use this as inspiration for suggesting the types of content that we could create in the upcoming quarter. Then your SWOT analysis here is cumulative as in it's just a combination of all of your different competitors and the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities and threats you see to your business with them as a whole, but you can also just duplicate this and create an individual one for all of your competitors, depending on whether you just want to do it as an analysis of the competitive landscape, here's where we're really strong, here's where we need to work on, here are some really good opportunities because our competitors are not doing these things, and these are things that our competitors are doing that we really need to get on top of, otherwise they're going to overtake us. But again, feel free to make this spreadsheet your own and make it work for you and your business and your unique needs and goals. Now, finally for those of you who want to take some of the manual labor out of this process, and you want to automate things but you also want to get quite elaborate with this part of your process as long as you've got the budget for it, you might want to explore some social media monitoring and social listening tools. Social media monitoring tools look at metrics like engagement rate and number of mentions of your brand online and social listening tools. Look beyond the numbers to consider the mood behind the data, which can help you understand how people actually feel about you and your competitors. Now, I've provided a few different options for you within your class guide of tools that specialize in both areas, as well as things like your social share of voice, meaning that they monitor how much people actually talk about you versus how much they talk about your competitors. But how much or how little time and money you spend on competitor research and analysis is entirely up to you. But it's definitely a good idea to keep tabs on what your competitors are doing, but your strategy shouldn't be dictated by their actions unless it's also aligned with your own mission and vision. Now in the next lesson, we're going to explore the types of content that are most likely going to have the impact on your growth and actually achieving your social media goals. So I will see you there. 8. Craft a Content Strategy: Now, the time has come for us to actually focus in on the stuff that people are actually going to see through your social media strategy, which is the things that your competitors, your customers, your potential customers, and everyone else is actually going to see online, which is specific to your content that you're producing. But we are going to be specifically talking about it in relation to strategic content planning rather than the actual content creation itself. As I've said before, if that is a topic you want to deep dive into and get to know a little bit more and upskill yourself on a little bit more, make sure to check out my other Skillshare classes that are very specific and dedicated to the implementation and content creation side of things. Now at this point, it's really worth me pointing out that there really is no magic number for how often you should post something on Facebook or YouTube or release a blog post or a newsletter or anything in the marketing world. There are rough guidelines and best practices, but it all comes down to your own objectives and the returns of your efforts. If your focus for the next quarter is lead generation and historically you've seen that 50 percent of your leads are coming from YouTube and only five percent are coming from Facebook, even though you're spending equal resources on these two platforms, then that's an issue. I'll be jumping into Google Analytics with you in a later lesson so we can actually take a look at how you can see what's having the most impact for you and your goals. If you're not a hundred percent clear on this yet, don't worry because we're going to get into it a little later on. If any of you are starting from scratch with this and you're really sitting down going, "How often should I actually be posting? Where should I be posting?" The easiest way I've found to figure out your strategy is to first figure out what's actually achievable with your resources and your team members, and then figure out where your time is best spent to have the most impact on your goals. You're always going to be better off to heavily focus on one, two, maximum three platforms, rather than focusing on five, but not giving them the attention that they deserve. To give you an example, one YouTube video is definitely going to take you a lot longer than creating one tweet, but you can then re-purpose it into an IGTV and a LinkedIn video and a Facebook video. You can even embed it on your website with a transcript and suddenly it's a blog post that you can then share in your newsletter. It's so versatile. It's a little bit more work up front, but the longevity is there and the impact is definitely there. But it's also important to remember at this point, your not actually creating anything. You're just proposing the strategy for what you think is possible and doable and where the impact is going to be created with your social media if you were to move forward with your strategy and you're looking for approval on that as it aligns with your business objectives before actually creating content and moving forward. Now, jumping on over to our social media strategy document template, in the content strategy recommendations section of this Google Doc, you're going to see a few things that are going to guide you through this as to how to make recommendations for your content strategy that will actually make it a lot easier for your team to then sit down and go, okay, according to the strategy we set out for ourselves for the upcoming quarter, we have to create this many informational videos, this many informational post, this many sales materials, this much promoting our customers, this much promoting our upcoming event, and etc. Like I've said here, you don't actually have to go into huge amount of detail here yet. This isn't your actual content plan, it's just the recommendations for how you think is best for you to move forward, which will be driven by your objectives, what your competitors are up to, what's worked for you in the past, and what you think could work in the future. Because at this point you identified what is your best performing types of content, what's working well for your competitors, where are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and now you're going to go into and identify your content pillars which will serve as your larger themes that you could create content around. Then we're also going to talk about how to actually divide how much of your content will be spent on promotion, how much will be spent on education, etc. Let's get into it with the actual content pillars. I've provided some examples for you of how I would do this for my own business that might really help you to understand how you might be able to do it for yours as well. You'd be surprised as to how many businesses actually don't know what their content pillars are. They might know what they do and they might even know who they do it for and why they do it, but they've never actually sat down to go, okay, what's our industry and how can we break this down into really narrowing in and becoming experts and thought leaders in a particular area of our industry, not the industry as a whole. Let's now get into it with some of the examples that I've written in here for you. I've got what I would call direct and complimentary content pillars that are really going to drive and help you figure out what content to create that directly corresponds with your customer's pain points. For my own business, it is within the digital marketing space. In terms of my target customers' pain points and the things that they're struggling with would be things like learning social media marketing as a complete beginner, learning content creation, changing careers and the difficulties that come with that, and those sorts of challenges and problems. Then my solutions to that would be my Skillshare classes around these topics that directly provide a solution to their problems that they're struggling with. What that means is that my direct content pillars, which are topics that are directly leading my audience to my paid offers as a solution to their problem, would be creating content around things like marketing funnels, Instagram marketing, Facebook marketing, mastering Canva because these are all areas that create that connection between my ideal customers' pain points and my solution to their problems. Then I would have some complimentary content pillars that are topics that may not directly be ones that I sell a solution to. They're not directly related to my paid offer, but they are still pain points for my target audience and would add value to their lives. But in a way, that's non promotional because it doesn't actually align with my paid offers and still speaks to their needs. For example, for me it would be things like struggles in client relationships because a lot of my students are new to freelancing, are new to handling remote client relationships. That's something that they would struggle with or experiencing burnout and lack of motivation, the challenges of time management as a freelancer. These are all topics I could explore through my social media content that I wouldn't then necessarily say, are you struggling with time management? Hey, PS, I've got a Skillshare class on those because I don't, but it's a really good way for me to still connect with my audience through complimentary topics that still educate, inform, and help my audience. My recommendation for you would be to do this exercise for yourself, starting with your ideal customer pain points, which you hopefully know a little bit about after going through our lesson of understanding your audience, you probably already know the solutions you provide with your paid offer. Then think about what topics you could talk about that directly connect these two things and then what topics you could talk about that you don't necessarily sell a solution to, but are still really helpful for your audience. Then let's talk about how to actually present a strategy for how you're going to divide your time and resources. Much like with frequency of posting and types of content to post, there is no standard for how this should be done. A lot of people will talk about the 80-20 rule, which will mean 80 percent of your posts and videos will aim to inform, educate, and entertain your audience and then 20 percent will directly promote your brand, your offers, upcoming events, any promotions, anything like that that's directly related to your sales. It's the case of 80 percent helping, 20 percent selling. Some people will choose to use the rule of thirds, which is one third of your content is going to promote the business, convert your readers, generate profits. That's that sales element. Another third is going to share ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses. Then a third of your content is personal interactions with your audience, which could involve community management, but it could also be you re-posting user-generated content. Content that your audience has tagged you in or events they've attended and re-purposing some customer stories that's not necessarily promoting your brand, but it's engaging with your community and sharing their stories. If you're just starting out of this, you may choose one of these two approaches because they are quite a logical break in your activities because effectively what you would do is go, okay, out of every 10 posts, two are able to be salesy and promotional and eight should be all about informing and educating and entertaining the audience without asking for anything in return. But if you do want to get really specific with it, you can also create your own custom division based on your overall objectives because if you know your objective is to really get people engaging with your website and increasing your website traffic because that's your primary objective for the quarter, then you may decide that actually it's worth dedicating half of your content that's going out on socials towards getting people to read the content on your website. News outlets, for example, will largely dedicated probably even more than 50 percent of their social media content to teasing out little bits of their latest articles and then saying, "Hey, check out the link in bio or click view to the post to read the rest." Because really their aim is to get people back to the website and reading their stuff. Then you could say, all right, well the other 50 percent can be split up by sharing other people's content. Twenty percent can also be all about newsletter sign-ups, e-book downloads, anything that's going to generate leads and promote people jumping onto your newsletter. Then the last five percent is going to be about company culture because maybe you know that you're coming towards the end of a particular cycle and you will be looking to hire again for a new position or a couple of new positions, so you do want to focus a little bit on sharing things behind the scenes with potential employees out there. This division of your time is not necessarily required as a part of your strategy document, but it really does make it a lot easier when you actually sit down and create content because you will have your content pillars so you'll know what kind of content you want to create. Then in the next section we're going to talk about your areas of focus and frequency. But it can be a really good idea to just be, what are the biggest areas of focus in terms of our calls to action with our content? How much of it do we want to dedicate to promoting our brand, promoting other people, educating, informing, or driving traffic to our website? It doesn't necessarily mean you're actually going to stick to these percentages exactly, but it does allow you to then guide your team and the content creation process really clearly when it comes time to actually sit down and plan the type of content you're going to create. Again, whether or not you actually have to make recommendations for the frequency with which you want to post on different channels within your social media strategy document is totally up to you. I really prefer to write as many detailed elements of what I'm thinking in these documents as possible. But like I said here, just delete whatever is appropriate for you to actually include and not include. You might say, what are our channels of focus for the upcoming quarter and you might also say why. You might say we are going to maintain Facebook, but we're really going to focus on creating hyper-relevant, original content for Instagram and YouTube, and here's why. Then if you're saying these are the channels we're going to focus on, then you might want to say, this is the frequency with which we want to be posting on these channels. We've identified that four posts per week and then stories on two days per week are going to be what we want to try. Then on YouTube, we want to do one longer video per week which is roughly 10 minutes or more, and then one shorter video per week, which is going to be two minutes or less. Just be prepared that people will likely ask where you came up with these numbers or why you're making these suggestions. So anytime that you can add a little bit more of a blurb about why you think that this is the best way to move forward, it will save you a lot of time down the line because it's going to decrease that resistance to getting your strategy approved. Then maybe having a little bit around what team members are going to be responsible for each of these platforms, any approval processes, or company resources required for the strategy to be executed. The reason I wrote that there is because you may not have an in-house video editor, for example, and that's something you're going to need to outsource. But you're confident filming and planning and scripting in-house, but you're going to outsource to video editing, or with your Instagram, you're going to have an external graphic designer who's going to execute on ideas that you present to them once a month. They're going to batch all your content for the upcoming month and this is where you could provide a little bit of detail around that. Finally, you may want to identify any opportunities for user-generated content. If you've done your competitor analysis and you've realized that none of your competitors are promoting any user-generated content, it could be because there's a reason for it and it's not right for your business, not right for the industry. Maybe there's even sensitive issues around privacy, which is always the case with anyone in the health or mental health sectors, for example, where you're not really able to actually share personal information from past clients. But maybe it's just because it's something they haven't thought about or they don't have a good process for gathering user-generated content or testimonials. If there is possibility for you to actually use this as a part of your strategy, this is your chance to brainstorm and go or who are our best customers and can we actually get them to be featured somewhere on our YouTube channel, or on our website, or on our Instagram using our product or service or just raving about it, because people will always trust other people who are like them who are already trusting you and working with you than they will ever trust the actual brand and company itself when they talk about how amazing they are. Likewise, if you can ever just feature any of your internal team or your company employees on socials in an authentic way, that will really help with recruiting new talent, but also featuring your company culture to your potential or existing customers in a way that makes them really want to work with you as well. All right, guys. Go on and brainstorm some ideas in your content strategy recommendation section of this document, and I'll see you in the next lesson. 9. Amplify Your Social Strategy: By this point in the class, you should have a pretty good idea of what platforms you're going to be focusing on in terms of your organic efforts. But I did also want to talk about how you can amplify the success of your organic efforts through some other methods, like, collaborations, and paid ads, and brand ambassadors, and maybe even PR opportunities. Whether or not these, one of these, or all of these are right for you and your business is entirely dependent on your unique situation, your budget, your audience, and your overall strategy, and what you're hoping to achieve. But I just think it's important to talk about the fact that social media doesn't exist in a vacuum. I think it's important for us to talk about how other areas of marketing and business can fit into your social media strategy and hopefully help to amplify as well. Right now you're sitting there thinking, okay, these are things that are way outside of what is possible with my budget and resources. I just want you to keep an open mind because, just because maybe these are not areas that you and your team are responsible for right this second, and maybe it's not something you're hoping to pursue yet. Doesn't mean that there's no value to be gained here from something that you might explore down the line. Just want you to keep an open mind as we go into this discussion. Because you might still get a lot of value out of it, even if it's not something you're hoping to implement straightaway. It's important to first talk about engagement and the differentiation between social media platforms that really require engagement from you and your team, versus others that probably care a little bit more about how your audience is actually engaging with your content. Really the two main platforms that will sit on the latter part of this are YouTube and Pinterest. These are intent heavy search engine based platforms that essentially just track how people are engaging with your content, that it's popping up in their search results and whether or not it's providing them with value and whether it's showing up for the right search terms and all those things. Then they decide whether to show it to other people who are searching for similar things. That means that regardless of whether or not you spend time on these platforms like YouTube and Pinterest, although it definitely helps, your success will be a lot more determined by how well your content is actually optimized for clickability, relatability to the search terms, and in terms of YouTube, the actual time people are spending watching that video, are they liking it, are they commenting on it, are they engaging with it? All those things are really going to play into whether or not your content is actually successful on those platforms. Whereas for platforms like Instagram, and Twitter, and LinkedIn, and even Facebook to an extent, really care about how you're engaging with your audience on these platforms a lot more than YouTube and Pinterest. What that means is that these platforms will actually push your content out to more people if you are engaging with the content and with your community on these platforms and that is specifically the case for Instagram, where your content is going to get pushed out to people you engage with the most and that you provide personal one on one value to. Your interaction with your audience has a lot to do with this on these platforms. But regardless of the platform, active community engagement can be such a powerful strategy to help not only amplify your content, but really get to know your audience and maybe even gain inspiration for future social campaigns. Be prepared to allocate a little bit of time and resources to community engagement in order to see real success on these platforms. That could be done through getting your audience to ask you questions and then you answer them in your stories or through your posts. Or you could ask them questions, and that can really help you understand what they're struggling with and what they want to see more of from you. Finally, you can also take people behind the scenes of your business and make them feel really involved. If there's anything to be learned from watching the show how it's made, or practically any video on TikTok, it's that as humans, we love knowing how things work behind the scenes. Don't be afraid to involve people in this. Next, let's talk about brand collaborations. Probably one of my favorite companies in terms of how they handle their brand collaborations is Airbnb, who has partnered with everyone from Barbie to the Olympics to create incredible campaigns. Let's have a look at some of them and it might just help you gain some ideas for how you could leverage something like this for your own business. I've linked to you guys to this in your class guide but they have an entire page just dedicated to all their amazing brand partnerships. But the ones that are I really really love are Barbie, because they basically did this to celebrate Barbie 60th anniversary. Where they made Barbie's Malibu DreamHouse, which was epic. Make sure to go and check out the link if you want to see how they went about this and obviously it was just to drive awareness to the amazing creative Airbnb that you can actually rent out and also celebrate Barbie. But the campaign I wanted to look at a little bit more closely with you is their Night at the Louvre, which was a collaboration they did. The marketing agency that was responsible for the execution was called, we are Amplify. They actually have stats on exactly what the challenge was, what their strategy was, their solution, and then also their results. As you go through this, you'll notice that this is something they put together to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Louvre Pyramid. Naturally you wouldn't think that a museum and Airbnb would be good natural collaboration. But it worked really well. It was essentially them advertising a temporary structure, which was going to be a mini pyramid that was built inside of the world-famous Louvre Pyramid. Where you could essentially, and you have the Louvre to yourself for the night and if any of you guys have been to the Louvre, you will know that having the Mona Lisa room to yourself like this, is very unique and you don't have to be surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of tourists. It was a really cool campaign and they had all of these amazing stats to back it up as well. They had 471 Snapchat swipe-ups, 182,000 competition entries, 56,000 likes on Instagram, 1.5 million website hits, and 5.9 million YouTube video completions. It was obviously a really big success in terms of this collaboration. I would encourage you to think about how you might be able to seek out similar collaborations with brands who can help you to really amplify your organic or even paid social media strategy. Along the same lines, let's now talk about brand ambassadors. I'm a big fan of thinking outside the box. I know that a lot of companies still don't necessarily consider influencers as a worthwhile investment to their marketing strategy. I'm going to be using the term brand ambassador here instead because I think it's a little bit more all encompassing. With brand ambassadors, of course, there is the obvious amplification strategies with utilizing people who are existing customers. They already know, love, and trust your product or service and are happy to promote it to their audience for a set fee, or a percentage of sales, or discount on their ongoing service fee with your company. Of course, ideally assuming that their audiences also very closely aligned with your target audience. But for some industries and some businesses, this just doesn't seem feasible because maybe they want to retain control over any marketing assets that promote their brand, or maybe their customer just don't have the social media audiences to leverage this strategy. For this reason, I also wanted to give you two examples of how you still might be able to leverage the power of brand ambassadors in a bit of a different way. Firstly, I've got this example from Hello Social, and again, check that on your class guide. But essentially, it's a method of hosting an event for people in your industry where you can promote these to your audience or to their audience by targeting off of their brand through paid efforts. But it means that they're not actually responsible for creating anything. You retain ownership over creating all the assets. These guys obviously had videographers and production teams on hand at the event that could do these mini interviews with experts or industry leaders. It's still counts as user-generated content and leveraging their authority but in a bit of a different way. Make sure to check out the full video if this is something you can see leveraging for your business. Now, the other strategy that I love is actually a Skillshare strategy that you probably might have even seen already, which is to essentially create all the assets for the brand ambassador. But then they advertise it through their own accounts. JVM from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is an example of how Skillshare has done this with his new Skillshare original class, which was completely created and produced by the Skillshare team and then these marketing assets and these videos were also created by the Skillshare team, as was probably the copy around it or anything like that. But then the ads are actually running from Jonathan's account. Another example of this is from Lilly Singh, who is a comedian, and a YouTuber, and a video content creator who has a Skillshare original. Skillshare was able to supply the marketing materials for her to then advertise through her accounts. Which is great because her audience already knows, likes, and trust her. If she's promoting Skillshare to her audience in this way, it's a lot more powerful than Skillshare themselves promoting these videos with their account, because it may or may not reach Lilly's audience. But if she's going to be promoting it through her accounts, then absolutely will reach her audience. But they still get to retain the ownership over how the brand is presented through these video assets. Next, let's talk about press and media opportunities. Even if you maybe don't have the budget to outsource PR to an agency or have internal resources to allocate team members to this task full time. It still might be worthwhile for you to just make a list of industry publications, podcasts, YouTube channels, TV networks, or any other form of media that's relevant to your industry. Maybe just see where you might be able to add value to their audience through the lens of your particular expertise. Now, pitching for guest features is really only as complicated as you make it out to be. Of course, the bigger the media source and the more popular, the harder it's going to be to get in there. But if you can get a few smaller sources to really feature your story, it will be much easier to then use these as leverage for the bigger guys. Finally, let's talk about paid ads as a way to amplify your organic content. Likely you have weaved by socials into your strategy by this point, especially if lead generation or direct sales of your products are a big part of your overall goals. But I did want to just include it here as well as a strategy for amplifying your organic efforts. Because some of you might still very much be thinking about social media strategy on an organic level only, because maybe the idea of paid ads in your head means needing thousands or tens of thousands of $ of additional budget that you might not have. That's totally fine, it really has to be right for you and your unique business. But I would really encourage you to at the very least, just explore paid ads as they pertain to your already well-performing organic content. Setting up a paid Facebook or Instagram ad campaign, for example to just essentially expand the reach of your posts is relatively simple and it can make a big impact. Because remember that only a very small percentage of your audience actually get to see your content even if they're actively following you. Even if you're just putting a little bit of budget behind your organic posts and your videos and showing them to your existing audience on socials, that can still be a really worthwhile effort that can bring a lot of value to your overall strategy. All right guys, I hope you found that helpful and now in the next lesson, we'll really start piecing all of this together in a cohesive strategy documents. I can't wait to see you there. 10. Create a Strategy Document: Hopefully by this point in the class, you've been filling out some of the documents that we've been looking at along with me, and you're starting to get a pretty good idea of what you could include in a social media strategy document. Really whether you're working for a company in-house, or you're working agency side, or you're working externally for clients, it's quite important to actually get an idea of how you're going to put all of your different ideas together in a document, or maybe in a presentation format if that's what's required of you, or maybe you're looking at doing a blend of both. This is for two reasons. The first is that with any strategy, there will generally be one or more people who have to sign off on your proposed plan before you're able to execute. The second thing is that it's going to allow you and your team to have something to continuously refer back to, during and after the proposed timeline of execution of your strategy so that you can continuously check in and see if you're still aligned with the initial proposed strategy. There are really lots and lots of different tools and softwares and ways that you can put together a strategy document. If you are working for an agency and you're required to pump out dozens of proposals every single month, then I would suggest looking into a software like Proposify, even PandaDoc that will allow you to essentially templatize parts of your proposal like your company bio and your team bios and your terms and conditions with all of your beautiful company branding that's going to really save you lots and lots of time. Then you can just customize the actual strategy components, and any pricing tables or any specific things for each and every single client. This type of software is super handy because it gives you 100 percent transparency because you get notified whenever proposal email is opened by client, you know exactly how long they're spending reading each page, and they can even write notes and suggestions in, they can sign off on it and they can pay the fee all within the software. But it is a little bit on the pricier side because of all the different capabilities. For those of you who might not be required to create that many proposals because you're in-house or you're freelance, then I would also just recommend putting something together in like a Google Doc or in Canva. How you choose to do that is really dependent on who's going to be on the receiving end of that information. Because some people are really visuals, some people are very logical and their different communication preferences will really determine how you choose to present your presentation or your strategy. For me, for example, should come as no surprise to you guys taking this class, I'm a really visual human. I love numbers, but I almost use numbers as a way to justify a visual connection or a gut feel. Whereas some people might see that visual element part of your document as a waste of company time especially if you're doing it on company time, and they'd prefer that you just cut all the fluff and get to the point. So really consider who's going to be actually receiving that information. Then if you choose to present or you are required to present on site, you can do that within a software like Canva. If the person that you're presenting to still quite tactile, they may actually want to have printed a PDF document even as you're presenting to them. It can be a good idea to either create a PDF of your actual presentation or a complimentary document that your stakeholder, your manager, your client, whoever you're presenting to, is going to be able to actually flip through as you're presenting. Let's now jump in and just have a quick look at how you might be able to actually put something together as a document and as a presentation as well and what's available to you. The entire purpose of this document template that I have here for you is that really if you have been going along with this class and filling everything out, and of course, we do have a few more lessons to go through which will continue filling out this document. But you should really have a very good chance of actually having a strategy document that's pretty much ready to either be presented on, or be given to somebody as a proposed strategy document. Keep in mind, of course, you would have to go through and delete anything that I've provided in here as examples. You would delete things like how to use this document, and you would make it really customized to your business. But then you could effectively just go through, download this as a PDF, maybe with your company branding as a header and a footer or even your company fonts and all of that. It's nice and branded, but that might actually be enough for some people. I've definitely had cards in the past that really don't like fluff, so they would actually really prefer to just not have any extra bells and whistles. They just wanted to understand what my proposed strategy was, why, and the timeline of execution and the measures of success. But then I've had other clients who really love the visual elements and they actually use those visual elements to understand the strategy. If that is your particular case, you may want to go on over to something like Creative Market and you can actually buy really handy beautiful templates for presentations or even strategy documents that are already for you. You can actually get them already predesigned inside of Canvas. You can just find a Canva presentation or a Canva strategy document that's able to be copied over to your Canva account so that you can customize it to however you need. Of course, there will be lots of these minimalistic, quite feminine course and coach bundles, but there will also be some more formal pitch texts and presentations that are suited more to a corporate feel. I have included some links within your class guide for ones that I think are relatively suitable to just about everyone, like this one here, which is the brand expert welcome kit. Keep in mind, yes, it's a brand expert welcome kit but it's really just a show for your information that you're going to be putting in there. The reason I like it is because it does actually have an invoice page, a terms and conditions page, which is something that some of you guys might need in your strategy document, if you're doing this as a contractor on behalf of a business or on a freelance basis as well, where you might actually have to put some numbers behind your strategy. But it also has things like timelines and branding kits, which is something that we are talking about here a little bit as well. Some team intros and things like that. If any of you are working agency side, that's something that I would definitely include inside of a strategy proposal which would be things like, this is the team that is going to be working on executing your strategy, which is something that your clients might want to know a little bit about. I do really like this one. But again, if you don't want to pay the money for a pre-designed template, you can also just make your own. Canva has some beautiful templates already to go for you to customize with your own brand styles and all your numbers and everything else. If you're pretty new to using Canva and you want to upskill yourself, again, make sure to check out my other Skillshare class that's dedicated to this. But Canva is also just very intuitive and you will be able to get the hang of it pretty quickly. I would just search for the presentation template. You would just writing presentations. You could either start from scratch and just go for a unrelated presentation, or you can say, show me anything that is a social media strategy. Then under categories, I would just narrow that down to presentations only, unless you wanted in a bit of a different format. But this is the most comprehensive one that I found. Then hovering over it, it'll tell you how many pages are within that strategy. If it's not a video, this one's one of 14. It's got 14 pages in there, all pre-designed for you. As soon as you click into it, you're going to be able to view some more details, and then just say, yeah, I like this one. I'm going to customize this template. Then you could create your presentation in here and then either create a complimentary PDF to give to somebody, or you can actually just download your presentation as a PDF to hand to somebody so they can actually flip through a physical document while you're doing your presentation. Honestly, some people are just so tactile that unless you give them something to play with while you're presenting, they're not paying attention. They also like writing questions on those slides, that are in front of them, so they don't have to interrupt you while you're presenting. I've actually found it to be useful even for me as a presenter, to hand a document like this to my clients a couple hours or even the day before I present, and it allows them to flick through it, write down any questions, and then as I'm presenting, they're also able to write down questions and then ask them all in one go at the end so it doesn't disrupt the flow of me presenting. Not to mention that now you actually have the option to present within Canva and hand somebody a presentation link, or you could do it similar to what we're doing here, where you actually just record your voice as you're presenting this document. You could send them like a Loom video where you go, this is what we're going to cover in today's presentation. Here's a little bit about us. Here's this and this. Or if you want to present it live, instead of choosing standard, you would just say, we're going to choose Presenter View. Then this would be the actual screen that you share with your client. This is what they would be seeing. You could be seeing this where you could have your notes in here in terms of what you want to talk about with your slide and you can flick through everything, which is really handy. If you are presenting to multiple people as well, you can now present your Canva live as well, which will allow multiple managers or stakeholders even from different time zones and different locations to all come in at the same time and also be able to chat through the chat system, similar to the way that you would on a webinar. Of course, the stuff that's actually going to be included in this presentation, is just everything that we've been filling out throughout this class in our actual Google Doc. One additional thing that doesn't have a place in an actual presentation, but could be something that you include in a strategy document for the benefit of your team is a brand identity guide or brand identity document. If your company doesn't already have a brand document, or even if it does, it can still be a good idea to include key elements of that brand document as they pertain to social media in that social media strategy document, especially if it's something that you and your team are going to be referring back to quite a lot as you're executing your strategy. That could include things like your company logo and acceptable uses. For example, you could say it can be used as a black logo on a light background, or a white logo in a dark background, but no other colors should be used. Then you turn a voice. Are you speaking in a really fun and lighthearted way, or a more professional and corporate? Are you going to be speaking on behalf of yourself or the brands? Are you using an I and a me or we and us? Then what's the brand mission? What are the fonts? What are the hex codes for your brand color palettes? You can also include a list of words that might be really unique to you and your brand. For example, travel brand T-Adventures uses the term CEO to address their tour guides because within the context of their brand, it means chief experience officer. Likewise, Starbucks refers to their employees as partners. These are all things that would be included in your brand guide already. But like I said, you may want to just pick a few things that you would also want to include in a social media strategy document for your reference as you're creating content, and for your team just to make sure everyone's on brand at all times. Within your class guide, I've also included a few additional points that you might want to clarify within a brand guide, social guide, or directly within your social media strategy document, depending on what's right for your circumstances in your workflow. But these would be things like the correct use of branded hashtags, or do you use emojis or don't you? Either any emojis that are not okay to use, or do you have guidelines for how to repurpose user-generated content? All that fun, very nerdy stuff. Make sure to check it out within your class guide. In the next lesson we're going to talk a little bit more about the fun of documentation. I'll see you there. 11. Document Your Activities: At this point we've done the hard work, we've done the planning, we've done the strategy, we've presented strategy. It's hopefully been approved and it's time to celebrate and also actually execute on the things that we've planned, which is the fun bit. But also I wanted to talk about a few things in these last few lessons because I think that these things are the things that are potentially going to be just as critical to your success as the actual strategy itself. That will revolve around processes that you have in place that will allow you to actually adjust the success of your strategy and evolve the strategy over time. Let's get into everyone's favorite topic documentation. No, I know it's not a fun topic. At least it's not for me. If you are a creative doer like me rather than an analytical planner, it's not the fun thing to do and it's also not something that comes naturally. But if you can evolve and hone in your documentation skills, I promise you that whether you're working for a single client or a startup or an established global corporation, this is a must have skill for success and it's also going to make you a real asset to the business. Because the worst thing that can happen is that you become the only person in the company who knows what's going on with the marketing activities. The worst thing that can happen is that something you execute in the marketing activities actually bankrupts the company. But this is a close second because it can be a total mess. What if you have to, unexpectedly, go on leave? What if you have to leave the company altogether? It's not just a temporary leave of absence, but you have to actually leave the company. What if you're the only person who knows what's going on or what if you stay, but you have no sense of organization or processes or documentation, so you have no idea what happened to that one critical asset from a campaign you did two years ago. It's really important for you to actually document everything and create processes around everything. Also never assume that any task is too small to have a process allocated to it. Because to you it might be super obvious, but to the person who's just come straight out of uni or has switched careers and is really brand new to the world of marketing, to them, it's a really big thing that you have a process around that. To be honest, every single company and business has their own weird, quirky way of organizing stuff. It actually doesn't really matter if it doesn't make sense to anyone outside of your team. It's just important that it's consistent and that you are not the only person who knows how to navigate through it. There'll be many things for you to document and create processes around that will be specific to your business, but the following few are just a few things that are a must do for every marketing team in my opinion. Starting with the brand kit with specific guidelines around using your brand assets. We've already talked a little bit about this in the previous lesson, but you should also have a real in-depth brand document that is able to be accessed by everyone within the business, not just the marketing team, as might be the case with your social media strategy document. While your internal marketing things can be in your own lingo, these main brand document should really be very, very easily understood by everyone from your development team to HR and everyone else in the business. I once worked for a business that had a brand kit of 70 pages long, which was a little bit too intense. It doesn't have to be this long, but really as long as it includes some of these key things like information around your brand including messaging, and tone of voice, and your typography, your brand colors, your logos, and their acceptable uses, as well as some contact information for key people to get in touch with for more information about the brand kit. Or in case of a brand emergency, if that's a thing, I guess it's a thing, it definitely happens. It's good to include that in a brand document if people need a little bit more details. But really the length is not that important as long as you can look at that document and know that if anyone within the wider business and even external partners will read it, they should know exactly what they can and can't post on LinkedIn, how they can talk about your brand online, where they can put the logo and all of those sorts of things. Then it's a really good idea for you to create some standard operating procedures or SOPs for frequent marketing activities. Now personally, I think this is just a fancy term that we throw around, but really anything can be an SOP, it can be as simple or as complex as you make it. I once had a client give me a Google Doc that just had screenshots of how to actually resize an image to be used in blog posts. It was just a couple of sentences. Again, that might be something that might seem really obvious to you, but it's really good marketing practice to never assume that someone else knows what you know and really SOPs can be so helpful with your onboarding and making sure that everyone has the same way of doing something within the team. Now along similar lines, a big mistake that I've seen a lot of businesses make is not taking note of any content that needs to be updated, when it should be updated, and who is responsible for updating it. Because that can lead to you advertising your Christmas sales until February if you're not careful. If you know that you have an upcoming launch or an event or a holiday that you're promoting through your social media banners and maybe pinned videos or posts or maybe even paid ads. Just make sure you have a process for swapping these over once that thing is over. Now let's talk about process around inventory of content and how to categorize it. This is a real biggie for me and something that still really slips through the cracks for a lot of us, even really big businesses. I just want you to get into a really good habit, no matter the size of your business, to create a process for keeping all of your publicly facing content accessible for people to use. This is especially true for inventory content that you can pull from again and again for your audience. Doing this is going to allow you to do regular scans over all of your content to determine whether anything needs to be updated or maybe even when it's time to actually promote it again to once your audience has grown, so it's a new audience or you're promoting it in a slightly different way. As an example, if I had a blog post that was the 10 things you need to know about social media strategy in 2021, I might then update it to the 11 things to know about social media strategy in 2022 and 2023, and so on and so forth. Doing that can give it really good SEO power, but it's also a better experience for my audience when I'm sharing that content on social media if it's really relevant and quite timely as well. It'll also help me pull seasonal content really easily. If I had social tips for this Thanksgiving, I could pull that post or video every year around that time. It's also going to help me really easily interlink between my various types of content online because I would have all the links in one place. Something like this can be quite difficult to picture, if you haven't done it before. I haven't found a lot of good templates out there for it because it's so unique to your business and the platforms you're focusing on. But in the interest of giving you a little bit of inspiration, I'm going to briefly show you one of my documents that I have created specifically for organizing my YouTube content. Just to give you an idea of what you could do for your own social and web content to keep a record and a process around everything you're creating like this. Things are to get a little bit nerdy and don't feel like you have to go to this extent or you can go even to a greater extent with your own organization. It's totally up to you whether you decide to do it in a spreadsheet or in a project management system or however you want to categorize your stuff. I just wanted to show you how I've done it for YouTube, because it's a little bit more visual than other types of content as well. It might give you some creative ideas about how you might be able to do this for yourself. Essentially, in this one Excel spreadsheet, I've got all of my YouTube videos and their titles here, their thumbnails here, so it makes it really easy because obviously I remember what the thumbnails look like. I could just scroll straight down and pick the one that I'm looking to include in something, but keep in mind that I don't actually have that many videos live yet. There are some people who have 200, 300 videos, in which case, scrolling through 200 thumbnails would get really tedious. I want to get into the really good habit of having a primary category and a secondary category about what each video is about. Then I've got a little bit of a legend here on the right-hand side as well, so I know what the themes are. Then if they're talking about a specific social media platform, I've got that there as well. That would allow me to basically Control F this. Then say, show me anything that's got freelance tips. Then I could just go through and scroll through any videos that mention that as a category. What that allows me to then do is grab the links to these videos, whether it's their regular link, which will just link somebody to that actual video, or it's a playlist link, which will allow people to binge more of my content. I've got different playlists and some videos are multiple playlists. That's why, let's say if a new video that I'm coming up with is very specific to content creation because maybe it's a Canvas tutorial, then I would know that I would include this video in the description, but I would link the content creation playlist not a digital marketing or video marketing playlist, because this is going to be hyper relevant to the video itself and make it a lot more likely that people will actually get there and watch not just this video, but all the other videos in that playlist. I'm going to jump into YouTube and show you exactly how I go about doing that. But then I've also got my affiliate links and my guest features down here that allow me to keep track of any links that I also want to use for my YouTube content specifically in terms of linking. Every time I create a new video, I have a process around my actual description to make sure that it's SEO friendly and everything else and some things I definitely swap out, but it really depends on the content of each video. This one was about creating video ads for Instagram and Facebook. That means that this would essentially in my actual process document would be blank. Then I would go to my spreadsheet and pick out videos that are very related to Facebook, Instagram, and video marketing. Then I've obviously grabbed these playlist links and said, if you liked this video, why don't you watch these ones next? Then if somebody was going to go and actually click on that, you'll notice that it is a playlist link so it's going to have all of these other videos in there for them as opposed to just linking to the video itself. This helps me really stay organized, but it also helps me increase my watch time. It just makes a lot of sense if somebody else was to come into the business and really find their way around and have direct access to all of my YouTube content. One thing I've gotten a little bit lazy with is actual descriptions of each video and that's just because I don't have anyone else working with me at this time on my YouTube content, so I know what the videos are all about. But maybe once I get to a few more videos, it's going to get a bit messy and I'm going to forget what everything's about so I might actually go through and fill in all the descriptions. But hopefully you're starting to get a really good sense of how you might be able to categorize your content in a similar way that would make it really easy for any new piece of content to link to any of your older stuff or if you even see your audience online asking questions. I get a lot of DMs asking content creation and digital marketing questions. Then I'm able to come into this document and go, hey, you want to learn a little bit more about creating social media videos with Descript? Cool, why don't you check out this link? Then I can just paste it into the conversation. It saves me a lot of time and effort. Finally, I'd like to encourage you to create a process around the exploration of new ideas. It will probably come as no surprise to you when I tell you that I am that person when it comes to entering any new business. What I mean by being that person is, I'm the person who comes in and questions everything and has a million different creative ideas about what could be done differently. Then my success and my longevity in any role is really dependent on how that creative insanity is received by my superiors. The thing is, and you'll start to notice this a little bit more after you've watched this lesson, but companies will actually advertise for this ability. They're looking for unicorns who will come in and change things and shake things out. You'll also notice people writing about unicorn employees, like the Co-founder of Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes, where he is talking about the five signs that you might be a unicorn employee and what that could potentially mean for businesses in terms of the value you can provide. It's no wonder that companies are specifically advertising for these characteristics, but then nine times out of 10 people actually have no idea what to do next once they get those unicorn employees. The solution usually becomes, let them just get used to the way that things are. That's a huge problem, but there is a way for you to actually let these creative ideas flow without disrupting the day-to-day operations. It's something that I came up with as a solution to my own creativity being stifled a lot over the years by my managers. That is to just have one full day a month or a quarter, whatever works for you to just have creative idea flow. Throughout the month, you can basically encourage your team members and people outside of the marketing team to submit ideas through Google form or type form or something like that or things they've seen online. What are the competitors doing? Screenshots of stuff they've seen online that might be cool ideas that they have for what you could do. Then have a process around sitting down and actually letting people talk through these ideas without fear of judgment. You'll be amazed to see what happens when people feel like their ideas are being heard and explored. It doesn't mean you have to execute on every single idea, it just means you have to explore it. You just never know when someone completely outside of the marketing world can have the most brilliant idea for a campaign. Then you get to potentially feel great about helping them execute it and they can feel great about seeing their idea, that was just once an idea, come to life and feel like they were a part of that journey. 12. Measure Your Success: You remember from earlier lessons, we've already talked a bit about working backwards from their overall goals and identifying the metrics that you wouldn't track based on those goals. While this class is definitely focus on the strategy development side of your social media marketing, I thought it was important for us to actually look at where you can measure the results of your efforts to then determine what's working and what might need to be adjusted because maybe it's not working quite as well as we hoped. Let's have a look at where you can actually analyze your stats, and then we'll go from the cheapest but most manual options, to the most expensive and most comprehensive, but also the least time intensive and more automated options, so then you can decide what's right for you and your unique needs and your resources within your business. Of course, the least expensive and easiest option would be to just read your stats directly on the dashboards of all of your individual social channels, so YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, all of these guys have their own dashboards, but they're quite simple and they can be relatively limited in terms of the data that they show you, and in some instances, like is the case with Creator Studio and Instagram, you may not be able to see past the 30 day marks. If you're trying to report on the past three months, sometimes these guys won't allow you to do that. But the work around this, of course, is just to schedule a day for yourself to go in and analyze your stats once a week, for example, and that is how I used to do it when I first started working as a social media manager. It's definitely doable. It's a little bit of work up front. But once you get the hang of it, you can do that pretty easily, and then just report those stats in a spreadsheet or something like that. But then there are also other relatively inexpensive tools that can give you more in-depth analysis of your social media accounts, that often specialize in creating content and analyzing just one or two particular networks. For example, I use Flick for my Instagram account for hashtag research, it's like 10 pounds a month and as a part of that, I also get access to really in-depth analytics that have reports sent to me on a weekly basis with things within whatever time period that I want, and it will also tell me things like my website clicks, my follower change, ranked hashtags, my audience activity, all of these sorts of things. Within the actual hashtag section, I can not only tell what hashtags I use, but also my percentage in ranking, the times I spent was ranking about 53 hours in this time period, and my average rank and everything else within my actual hashtag analysis. Which is really handy for that organic analysis, and then getting the reports automatically sent to you. Another tool I love for this that's really specific to a particular network is Morningfame that I use for my YouTube channel. They banned my YouTube channel a little bit recently, but it's really, really handy because you can go in and see exactly which of your videos had the best performance in terms of your views, or your likes, or your subscribers gained. If you have these as a particular social media goals and your goal is to gain a certain percentage or a certain number of subscribers, then you could go, "Well, these videos performed really well for me, and maybe I can create more like it." A tool like Morningfame actually does that for you in their strategy section where they tell you how you're performing against the industry averages, with the option to actually upskill yourself in these different areas with their workshops, and then it'll tell you, "Hey, these guys did really well. Why don't you try creating more videos like these?" Then they've got really in-depth research tools that allow you to create more content, or like your best-performing content. Then there are the middle ground tools, I suppose, that will give you stats on multiple platforms at once, like Later. I don't have a paid account with them anymore, so I can't actually see the stats, but they do have analysis of Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. They don't have it for Facebook for whatever reason. But that does allow you to have a dashboard where you can have your stats for different platforms all in one go, and buffers, and other really great option for that. I've included links to both in your class guide where you can get a little bit of stats for all these different platforms. But again, it really depends on how in-depth you want to go with it, because this is still quite limited in terms of exactly what you can see in comparison to something like Agorapulse or Hootsuite, where you can see everything in terms of your actual percentages increase, your audience growth, your engagement, user activity, impressions, and your growth in terms of brand awareness and all of this for whatever time period you want, and you can even have stats in your community management. I don't use this tool to reply directly through Agorapulse, so I don't have an average response time in here because I reply through the apps. But if I had a team managing this, then I would get them to reply directly through Agorapulse, and that would allow me to go. Well, if one of my social goals was to decrease our average response time from two hours to one hour, I could see how we're tracking with that within the dashboard here. Then I can create reports based on all these different platforms, and I can create customized reports that only show the metrics that are really important to me. It's really, really in-depth. But of course, agorapulse comes with a heavy price tag as a result. At the moment there at $199 a month, for their monthly plan, and Hootsuite is currently at AU$169 a month for their team plan. But I would argue that actually it's their business plan that has most of the advanced features. This is a bit of a crazy price tag, but the things that come along with that are really great for the corporate environment where that price tag is really justified in terms of the actual return on that investment. Then you're able to actually track things like your return on your investment with your socials and make a data driven decision based on how to adjust your strategy going forward. It's important for you to know that things are available to you, but also important to know that this is the price tag that's associated with making really big moves in the social media game. Manage your own expectations and also manage the expectations of your stakeholders and your clients, because you can really only do what you can do with the resources that are available to you. Don't feel like not having these tools is a barrier to success in any way, but just know that they're there if that is within your budget and resource allocation. Again finally, let's talk Google Analytics because it seems to be the kryptonite for lettuce social media managers. But I promise that if you learn to love it, It's such a powerful tool. In terms of your organic content, you can measure so much. At the moment, I'm just in the acquisition and overview section of my Google Analytics, and I can already see each for this particular time period, that social was a really big part of what's driven people to my website. Organic search seems to be a lot higher in terms of the actual new sessions that these contributed to. But if I look at actual conversions, my social conversions are a lot higher than my organic search conversions. The moment my goal completions are just newsletter subscribers, I'm not measuring anything else. I don't have any other active goals in my dashboard. In terms of getting people into my email list, my socials are doing really well. Then I can click into it and have a look at which social platform is actually contributing to that success, and I would very quickly find out that it's pretty much all YouTube. When you're making recommendations for time and resource allocation, this is a really good way to do that. You can screenshot these things and go, "Hey, currently most of our actual subscribers, if that's a social goal for you, are coming from YouTube, but we're spending most of our time on LinkedIn." Maybe we should actually readjust thought for the next quarter and try something different because our analytics are telling us that actually this is where our time should be spent because that's what's having the most impact on our goals. If you're not super familiar with Google Analytics and how to set up your goals, and how to track things in here, and how to actually analyze them, make sure to check out your class guide. But I promise you, if you can learn to love it, It will love you back for sure. Now, with any paid campaigns, you're probably going to be measuring things within your actual paid campaign dashboard. If you're doing Pinterest ads, it would be in Pinterest, if you're doing Facebook or Instagram ads it will be in your Facebook ads manager. But it's a good idea to also measure that within Google Analytics because then you can check for any inconsistencies, but you also have a bit of a different vibe from the two different dashboards in terms of what you can actually look at. The way to do that and the best way to do that is through setting up your UTM parameters. If you haven't done that before and you really want to get in-depth into measuring the success of your efforts, I would really encourage you to read this article that I linked you to in your class guide, which will allow you to create these specific links that will allow you to really track the results of where people are coming from and how they're interacting with your website. Most people talk about UTM parameters in terms of paid ads. You might have two different versions of your ad that are both going to one place, and you want to see which one is performing better for you. You will have one with a particular UTM link, and another one that will have a different UTM link, and you can say, "Okay, ad 1, got me 10 sales, ad 2 only got me three sales, so let's continue to put money behind ad 1." But you can do so much more with these guys, including things like your Instagram swipe up links, your links in bio on Instagram, and even things like Facebook groups or links shared through Messenger or other private chats which normally are a bit difficult to track. Check out this link if you really want to get to know UTM parameters and how you can best use them for your business to track the return on your investment through organic and paid social efforts as well. It's important to check your metrics regularly to make sure you're on the right track, but it's also important to not calculate the actual success of your efforts in your social media marketing ROI too early, because any new strategy needs a little bit of time to work itself out. Especially, if you're jumping onto a new network, you're not can be famous overnight, things are not going to happen for you straight away, so give it a little bit of time to breath. Also manage your expectations, and your expectations with your stakeholders, and your clients, and your managers to say, "We're going to need a couple of months to really test this out and see if it's working for us." Then when it comes time to actually present your stats, just make sure that you are referring back to what we talked about earlier, which is to present these stats in a way that really talks to the business objectives and your social media goals, and also remembering who you're presenting to and things they want to hear, because you might be super excited that oppose that you made went viral and got lots and lots of shares, but chances are the person you're presenting to and sharing that information with, might have other ideas about what's important to them, because it might be more compelling for them to hear, "Hey, so at the start of this, our goal was to increase sales by 10 percent, and here's how this particular social media network contributed to us beating that and actually increasing sales by 12 percent." Rather than saying, "Hey, we've got 500 shares of our Facebook posts this month." It's a really big difference in presentation, but the stats are still the same. All right, guys. Hopefully that helps. At this point you could then continue filling out your handy dandy audit spreadsheet that we filled out at the beginning, and keep on tracking your efforts in there as you go through different strategy cycles. Now in the next lesson, we're going to talk briefly about what to actually look for when thinking about making adjustments to your strategy moving forward. 13. Make Ongoing Adjustments: As I said at the beginning of the class, this is a never ending process because as you and I both know very well, marketing never really stops evolving, so, neither should you. Honestly, even if it's just a sit down and pat yourselves on the back with your clients, your stakeholders, and your team to say, "We did an amazing job, let's not change a single thing." It's still a valid reason to just take some time to reflect, and assess, and figure out what went right. Even if there's no changes, you should still make some time for assessing the potential of adjusting. By the way, it should never really happen that you sit down and go, "Yeah, let's not change a single thing" because even if it's just the tiniest change, there is always room for improvement and you should always be aiming to make, even if it's just the slightest improvement with every new strategy cycle. As we did at the beginning of the class, we did a blank, slight deep dive into everything from your business, your competitors, the marketing landscape and everything in between. The ongoing adjustments you'll be doing on a more regular basis will be slightly different because you'll have all of that data already, so, the rest will revolve largely around the following. Based on your analysis of how things are going, you should identify what you need to stop doing because it's not working so well, what you should start doing because it's maybe something you haven't tried yet but you think it's worth trying, well, you need to just maintain because it's maybe not huge asset to your business, it's not going to hugely move the needle for your goals and your objectives, but it's something you want to maintain, and then what you want to amplify and allocate more resources, more time, more budget, maybe even new team members too, because it's working really well and you can see value in allocating more resources to it. The last point here has an asterisk next to it because it's almost a bonus one, but, I would really encourage you to determine whether everyone in your team is actually happy with what they're doing and how they're doing it. Just because something is having a really big impact on your business goals, doesn't necessarily mean it's the right thing by the people who are executing it, and just because someone was hired to take over a specific area of your strategy, doesn't mean it's where they're going to thrive once they're actually going to be responsible for executing it. It's important for you to really see past job titles and the list of duties that are supposed to come along with that job title, and actually just recognize when someone could potentially thrive in a different area and give them that opportunity whenever possible. 14. Thank You!: That brings us to the end of the class. I wanted to take this opportunity to really thank you for wanting to learn from me here in Skillshare. It's a real privilege to get to do what I do every single day and share my knowledge of the marketing world with amazing humans, just like you from all over the world. I'm continuously improving my skills and my knowledge and my teaching style, so if you do have any questions or any feedback that you'd like to share with me I'd absolutely love to hear it, so please don't hesitate to let me know. If you'd like to continue being virtual friends, you can follow me here on Skillshare so you can be the first to know when I release a new class, and you can jump on over to my teacher profile to find new ways to connect with me online. Of course, feel free to jump into the discussion section at any point to ask for extra support or clarify any questions you might still have that are specific to your own unique situation, and I'll be able to help you out there. Thank you guys again so much for being here today and from wanting to learn for me, I hope you enjoyed the class and I can't wait to see you in my next one.