TOMSTER for Target, Objectives, Message, Strategy, Technology, Evaluation, Resources: the model serves as a support to guide the development of the company’s social media strategy, and frame its implementation. The 7 steps follow a method of reasoning based on logic, which however deserves to be formalized to ensure structured work, a guarantee of efficiency that is all the more useful when the task involves multiple issues. Digital marketing director, social media manager or even community manager: each profession involved in social media strategy is based on the TOMSTER model, intuitively or consciously.
What is the TOMSTER model?
The TOMSTER model is the acronym for Target, Objectives, Message, Strategy, Technologies & Touchpoints, Evaluate, Resources. It is a mnemonic device to organize the social media strategy, from its creation to its follow-up. The methodology is proposed by the co-founder of “Hub Institute” Emmanuel Vivier.
Why use TOMSTER?
54% of the world’s population, all generations combined, actively uses at least one social network. Among these users, more than 1 in 2 uses social networks to search for products. This means that the business opportunities are considerable, provided that you make strategic use of social media. However, the landscape is extremely changing, the proof is with the TikTok mobile application: in just 4 years, this social networking medium has managed to conquer 800 million followers worldwide. In this context, the strategy must be constantly renewed, and this requires not only advanced knowledge of social media marketing, but also good organization. It is for this purpose that the company can use TOMSTER in the development of a social media strategy.
- The team develops the social media strategy following the chronological steps of the TOMSTER model.
- When implementing the social media strategy, the team can refer to its TOMSTER action plan to verify execution compliance.
How to use the TOMSTER method?
Define the “Target”
“T” for Target: the first step in the TOMSTER method is to define the target. It is a question of drawing the typical profile of the buyer persona, in a precise manner, taking into account a maximum of characteristics: age, income, centers of interest or even current and future needs. Drawing a faithful portrait of the audience it targets allows the company to solve two key issues when creating an effective social media strategy:
- Identify relevant social networks.
- Create relevant content.
Illustration: the company that markets payroll software is more efficient in using LinkedIn to reach its B2B audience, while the clothing brand has a better interest in favoring visual content on Instagram to promote its products.
This step also allows the company to see, when several profiles emerge, the opportunity for a social media strategy differentiated by target. Furthermore, in terms of ROI, defining the ideal client helps to optimize costs: the company does not invest its resources in useless actions, the right content is published in the right place so as to reach the audience.
“O” for Objectives: the second stage of the TOMSTER model aims to determine the objectives. Note that in practice, the objectives of the campaign on social networks are often defined upstream. Anyway, this step is essential not only to refine the social media strategy, but also to measure its effectiveness. The strategy can be implemented for various purposes, for example:
- Improve brand awareness, either by increasing the engagement rate or by growing the community.
- Convert new customers to increase sales, pushing products online with sustained frequency.
- Build loyalty, by animating networks reactively or through contests.
- Generate qualified leads, with a targeted paid advertising campaign.
The means of action on social networks are numerous, and determining the strategic objectives makes it possible to identify effective actions. Illustration: the SMA, for Social Media Advertising, is useful if the goal of the company is to gain subscribers at the launch of the brand. Note that at this stage, the SMART method can enrich the process: the objective is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Temporally defined. The notion of measurability implies quantifying the objective. Thus, the social media manager easily appreciates the effectiveness of his strategy at the end of the campaign, and can provide a tangible report.
Create the Post
“M” for Message: the third stage of the TOMSTER model requires thinking about the message to be transmitted, in order to be able to apply a relevant and coherent editorial line. The substance and form of the message depend on the target, the objectives but also the brand DNA of the company.
- The persona’s age and level of education, in particular, determine the form of the message. Article, infographic or video: the level of sensitivity to a publication varies from one profile to another.
- The objective of the social media strategy determines the content of the message. The publication indeed can encourage to buy a product, to share a content or to participate in an event.
- The brand codes guide the content and form of the message. The visual content indeed takes up the graphic charter and the editorial tone permeates the texts.
At this stage, it is also a good idea to draw up the communication plan on social media, in the form of an editorial calendar: the rhythm and timing of content distribution impact the effectiveness of the strategy.
Formalize the Strategy
“S” for Strategy: The fourth step of TOMSTER involves putting the strategy in writing. In the form of a presentation slideshow or an internal white paper, the format conforms to the practices of the company. The document takes up the guidelines defined in the previous stages to formally record the decisions. Written in this way, the strategy can be consulted regularly by all stakeholders, as a reference in the operational implementation of the campaign on social media.
Formalizing the strategy is all the more useful in the context of a major action plan. When the company targets several personas, when the strategic objectives and the messages are multiple, the organization must be carefully framed.
Invest in Technologies
“T” for Technologies: TOMSTER’s fifth stage requires investing in the social media landscape in accordance with the strategy. Note that the company has previously listed the social networks adapted to the target.
- The newly created company registers on the planned social networks, creating a professional profile for the brand.
- When launching a new offer, the company can create a specific account for the product or service.
TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter or even YouTube: the features and best practices evolve regularly. This step is an opportunity for the community manager in charge of executing the social media strategy to familiarize themselves with or update themselves on trends, to fully master the company’s social networks and exploit their full potential.
Know the Evaluation indicators
“E” for Evaluate: the sixth step of the TOMSTER model requires choosing the key performance indicators to evaluate the effectiveness of the social media strategy. Click rate, CPM, number of views, conversion rate or engagement rate: many KPIs are ideal for measuring the performance of actions. Based on the calculated results, the company decides whether to continue its strategy, adjust it or change it.
“R” for Resources: in the seventh and final step of the TOMSTER model, the company plans the resources to be deployed in terms of time, budget and human resources, to implement the strategy. If it does not have the skills in-house, the company can then consider recruiting or outsourcing.
To go further in your strategy, download this free guide andLearn how to set up an effective social listening project that will help you take strategic decisions.