ADV 442 Final Project:
Data-informed Social Strategy
Your final project is to develop a data-informed social media strategy for your client. You will complete an overview of this strategy (and the data that informed it) in a final report at the end of the semester. The required elements of the final project are described below. This is a long document: Please read it carefully and refer back to it as you complete the project.
● All presentations and appendixes are due April 22, 2022 before Midnight. 30 points and 10 points.
On D2L, under the Final Project Tab, you have access to social media (Facebook and Twitter) information about several companies (Excel and CSV files). You should pick one of those companies as your client for this project. On D2L, you are also provided with a statement of the client’s problem or opportunity related to social media; and the social media goals the client hopes to achieve. This information is the same for all clients and is the prompt posted under “instructions” on the Final Project D2L page – the same page where you downloaded this document.
Your goal is to produce a data-informed content strategy for the client’s social media, including specific recommendations about how the client should use Twitter or Facebook (Optional: Extend your strategy to other social platforms). To do so, you must (a) do research to better understand the client’s target audiences, (b) analyze how the client uses social media now, (c) examine what kind of content from the client produces engagement on social media, and (d) compare the client’s use of social media to at least one competitor. Then, you will use the results of this analysis to develop a content strategy for the client, describing (a) what kinds of posts the client should focus on, (b) how often the client should post to each platform, and (c) how the client should use paid social. Finally, you will set clear objectives for the client to meet and explain which KPIs the client should use to evaluate their success.
Your final products will be: (1) Two interim reports that show your data analysis work and (2) A final report (PowerPoint) that includes an executive summary of your analysis, describes your strategic recommendations, and presents your data analysis work.
Each of the steps in the process is described below, in brief. Your TA will work with you closely in recitation to support each step in the process.
Step 1: Research the target audience
You will need to decide who the client wants to target. You will need to research that audience using library databases such as eMarketer, Ad$pender, Marketresearch.com academic, Mintel, and SimplyAnalytics. The outcome of this research should be two specific social media personas that describe the kind of people for whom you are creating content. These personas should be based on research, for example: What are the demographics of the target audience? Where do they live? What social media platforms do they use? When? What kinds of content do they prefer? What is their existing relationship with the organization? Here are a few additional resources to help you get started: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/building-social-media-brand-personas/512744/; https://www.socialbakers.com/blog/why-the-buyer-s-persona-is-even-more-important-on-social-media; https://anchovyinc.com/blog/creating-customer-personas-define-target-audience/
Step 2: Conduct a social media audit
Your next step is to conduct a social media audit for your client. You should identify a platform the client uses (NOTE: Select the platform for which you intend to provide a recommendation), along with the following information for the selected platform.
● Facebook: Average number of posts per day for the full provided dataset; average likes, shares, comments and reactions per post and per week for the full dataset.
● Twitter: Average number of tweets per day for the full provided dataset; average likes and retweets per post and per week for the full dataset.
Step 3: The “what works” analysis
This analysis asks you to combine a content analysis with your analysis of engagement. [See the video on D2L for a review of this method.] You must randomly select 100 Facebook posts or 100 tweets for analysis. For each tweet, you should code whether the post includes text, video, photo, and/or link (this analysis is already done for you in the Facebook data). You should also code at least three content categories for each tweet. [For a refresher, see the City of East Lansing example in the Week 7 lecture slides.] This will require you to develop a codebook, as taught in class. Once your content analysis is complete, you’ll compare your content coding information with your engagement analysis to answer these questions: What kinds of posts get the most overall engagement? What kinds of posts get the most likes? The most shares/retweets? The most comments? Are there certain times of day or times of the year that posts get more engagement?
Step 4: Competitive analysis
You should identify one competitor for your client. The competitor may be an aspirational competitor. Compare your competitor’s social media performance to your client, including the size of their social media audiences, their average Facebook or Twitter engagement for at least two weeks. The best projects will also compare their client’s content to competitors’ social content. To do so, you might conduct a “what works” analysis on the competitor or simply compare the client’s top 5 most engaging posts to the most engaging posts from the competitors.
Step 5: Develop a data-informed content strategy
You should create a data-informed content strategy for your client. This includes a content strategy statement and an explanation of how your data analysis helped you identify this strategy. You must include recommendations for organic social posts and recommendations for paid social posts. If using Facebook, you may also identify at least three target audiences in Facebook’s Ad Manager.
Step 6: Create SMART objectives and evaluation plan
Develop 1-2 SMART objectives (specific, measurable, actionable, results-focused, and time-bound) for your client. Make sure you create objectives to support your clients (two) goals. Your objectives should include quantitative benchmarks that are based on your analyses, above. (e.g., By October 2021, we will increase engagement in FakeBrand Facebook posts by 20 percent compared to our current average of 12 engagements per post.) In your final report, you should explain how your content strategy will help achieve those objectives. Your slides should also describe how you will use digital data to evaluate your progress toward your objectives. Make sure to describe the KPI’s you will use to evaluate your success.
Interim report 1
Your interim report should be turned in as a Word document. Interim report 1 should include the results of Steps 1 and 2 listed above:
● Two social media personas the client should try to reach the selected social media platform.
● A bar chart summarizing the size of the client’s existing audience on Facebook or Twitter (optional: Add Instagram or another platform.)
● A chart showing average likes, shares, comments and reactions per Facebook post.
● A chart showing average number of tweets per day, and average likes and retweets per post.
● A line chart showing average engagement per post by week on Twitter or Facebook (for the full period of the data provided on D2L).
● Concise (3-5 sentences) answers to each of the following questions:
1. How did your secondary research inform the social media personas you created? Include citations for the reports you used for your secondary research (APA style strongly recommended, but not required).
2. List at least three insights you learned from the social media audit that might help you develop social media strategy.
3. What, if anything, are people saying about your client on social media?
Interim report 2
Your interim report should be turned in as a Word document. Interim report 2 should include the results from Steps 3 and 4 above:
● The results from the “what works” analysis (see Step 3 above)
o A description of your coding categories: What variables did you code for?
o A screenshot(s) of the spreadsheet in which you coded at least 100 Facebook posts, selected at random, or at least 100 Twitter posts, selected at random.
o Screenshots of the pivot tables for each analysis, comparing coded content types to average engagement.
● The results from the competitive analysis
o A bar chart comparing the size of the client’s Facebook or Twitter audience to at least one competitor.
o A bar chart comparing the client’s post frequency on social media platforms to at least one competitor (for at least a two-week period)
o A bar chart comparing the client’s average Facebook engagement to at least one competitor (for at least a two-week period)
o A bar chart comparing the client’s average Twitter engagement to at least one competitor (for at least a two-week period)
o Screenshots of the top 5 most engaging posts from at least competitor on Facebook or Twitter
● Concise (3-5 sentences) answers to each of the following questions:
1. What kind of content is most effective for your client on the selected social media platform? List at least three insights you learned from the “what works” analysis that might help you develop your social content strategy.
2. Imagine you are talking to the client. Briefly summarize how your client stacks up against the competition.
3. List at least three insights you learned from comparing the client’s social media content to the most engaging content from the competitor that might help you develop your social content strategy.
Note: There is no interim report for Steps 5 and 6. Please be prepared to meet with your TA in recitation during Week 13 to get feedback on your strategy development.
You will approach your final report (PowerPoint) as if it were a presentation to the client. Historically, students have given their presentations in their recitation section. This year, students will record themselves giving their presentation and submit BOTH their PowerPoint and them giving their presentation together. The recording can be accomplished in a number of different ways (see Week 9 Project Video and you will not be penalized as to how you do it.
The final report must be beautifully designed and full of data-driven insights. Pay careful attention to creating consistent, easy-to-understand visual displays of your data.
Part 1: The first part of your report should provide the executive summary and describe your strategic recommendations. You should not include all your data analyses in this portion of the presentation. Recall Cole Knaflic’s statement that you have to open a lot of data oysters to find one data pearl. This portion of your PowerPoint should include only data pearls: Charts and data insights that help persuade the client that your proposed strategy is the right one. Feel free to be creative with how you put together the presentation. Make sure you cover each of the below:
● Remind the client why they hired you: “You came to us with these goals…”
● Tell the client what you did: “We analyzed these channels, these data sets, compared you to these competitors…”
● Use data to tell the client how they are doing on social media. Does their content work? What works best? How about compared to the competition?
● Tell the client what you think their content strategy should be going forward (make sure your strategy considers the client’s different audiences and different goals). Include a content strategy statement. Consider: What channels should the client focus on? What kind of activities should they do on those channels? How often should they post? Should they pay for visibility? To what audiences?
● Explain to the client how they can measure the impact of their new strategy. Given them measurable objectives (“SMART”) and show them what KPIs they can use to benchmark their progress.
Part 2: The second part of your report will serve as an appendix to Part 1. These slides should include screenshots or images of all your data analyses, including everything from the interim reports (revised per your TA’s feedback), all the elements of Steps 5 and 6, and any extra analyses you conducted along the way.