For those of you looking to kick into full gear and get yourself set up on social media, creating a plan is a necessity.
A social media plan is just one of the ways of getting the most out of social media marketing.
To see the 9 other effective strategies, Click Here to read my article about the 10 best social media marketing strategies.
Back to social media marketing plans…
Creating one will guide you through your actions and will let you know if you are succeeding or failing.
The more specific you make your plan, the more effective the execution will be.
Try to keep it very succinct.
Do not make your plan so broad that it’s unobtainable or impossible to measure.
If you are thinking that it will be difficult, I want to let you know that it isn’t, as long as you follow these 7 steps I will be sharing with you now.
Step 1: Set Your Goals
The first step to creating your plan is obviously to establish your objectives and goals.
Without setting the proper goals, you will have no way to measure your success.
When I am struggling to make my goals I refer to the acronym S-M-A-R-T.
- Specific – Be specific of what you want.
- Measurable – Make it something you can measure (e.g. get 1,000 Twitter followers, make 5 videos, etc.).
- Achievable – Something that can realistically be accomplished in the period of time selected.
- Relevant – Something relevant to the end goal of your business.
- Time limit – Give yourself a limit on the amount of time it should take to complete.
Following those criteria is an important way of ensuring that your goals will actually lead to real business results.
Step 2: Learn About Your Target Audience
Knowing exactly what it is your audience is looking for is vital to your success on social media.
Without knowing this, you will have know idea what content to create that your audience will like, comment on and share.
This is also a critical part of planning how to change the fans of your social media into customers of your business.
To do this, try to create audience personas, which will allow you to think of your fans, followers and customers as real people with actual wants and needs, which will allow you to better understand what it is you want to offer them.
Be sure to not make any, and I mean any, assumptions. Check everything before you make a conclusion on what is better.
Social media analytics can also provide tons of valuable information about who your followers are, where they live, which languages they speak and how they interact with your brand within the platform.
This knowledge will allow you to refine your strategy and better target your social ads.
Step 3: Study Your Competitors
The odds are your competitors are already using social media, which is great, that means you can learn from what they are doing and how they do it.
And if you have no competitors using social media, it may be more difficult to start from scratch, but if you are ahead in the game and will see greater success.
I would recommend that you conduct a competitive analysis (“Identifying your competitors and evaluating their strengths to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to those of your own product or service”, according to Entrepreneur), which will allow you to better understand who your competitors are and what they are and are not doing well.
Just enter some keywords you want to rank under into Google and see who the competition consists of.
Then look at who your target audience is following on social media. If you see brands like your be sure to write them down.
Once you have a list of competitors, choose 5 strong competitors on that list to benchmark against.
Any more than 5 will be information overload for you and you won’t know what to do with all of it.
Any less and you won’t have enough data to paint yourself an accurate picture.
Once you identify your competitors, check and see what social platforms they are thriving on, make a list of which brands are on which social network.
If you see a platform that the competitors aren’t doing so hot on (or aren’t even on) use it to your advantage and build you audience there!
Doing this will give you a good sense of what’s expected in your industry, which will help you to set some better targets of your own.
There are other ways to track your competitors such as social listening, but that will take a long time to explain and will be talked about at a later date.
Step 4: Setting up Your Accounts
As you decide which social channels to use and not to use, you want to also clearly state your strategy for each.
Let’s say you selected Twitter and Pinterest as your social media platforms.
You will then want to designate each to perform a specific function for your business.
You may decide that you want to use Twitter as an account for customer service and to use Pinterest to share with your audience what you are up to.
I think it is an amazing idea to create “mission statements” for each social network you decide to use.
If you cannot create a solid mission statement for a particular network, then it would probably be in your best interest to reconsider if the platform is worth it.
Now that you know exactly what you are going to be using your account for, it’s time to create your profiles/improve your existing profiles so they align with your plan.
For the most part, make sure to fill out all of the profile fields and use keywords that people will use to search for your business within.
Use your logo for your profile picture, and use really nice and catchy cover photos that can even be used to promote new product releases.
Quick Note: Make sure to use properly sized images for each network, it looks sloppy if otherwise.
Step 5: Create Content Calendar
Sharing your content properly is essential to success, and have a plan for when you will share your content is how you can do this most effectively.
Your social media content calendar should list the dates and times you plan to publish types of content on each channel.
It should include both your day-to-day posting and content for social media campaigns.
Your calendar will help to ensure that your posts are spaced out appropriately and published at optimal times of day.
Your social media content calendar also needs to state the allotted time you have to interact with your audience (although you also need to allow for some unplanned engagement as well.
Also be sure to plan out the different types of content you plan to release on specific days. For instance, you may decide that what works best for you is:
- 50% of content will drive traffic to my website.
- 20% of content will be from other’s websites that I found to be interesting and relevant.
- 20% of content will lead to sales (promoting a product).
- 10% of content will be about my personal life.
Placing all different types of content in your calendar will help to ensure that you maintain the ratio you planned.
If you are struggling to come up with the types of content you would like to post, use the plan above or follow the simple 80-20 rule:
- 80% of your content should inform, educate, or entertain your audience.
- 20% of your content can directly promote your product or brand.
Also give the social media rule of thirds a try:
- 1/3 of your content promotes your business and generates profits.
- 1/3 of your content shares ideas and stories thought of by leaders in your industry or like-minded individuals.
- 1/3 of your content involves personal interactions with your audience.
These are just some ideas to give you a bit of an idea if you are starting from scratch, but I would highly recommend that if you have a bit of experience you go and form one yourself best-suiting what your audience wants.
Step 6: Check on Your Progress
To make your social media even better, you will want to take a step back and look at what you have accomplished thus far.
Ask yourself these following questions:
- “What’s working for me and what’s not?”
- “Who is connecting with me via social media?”
- “Which social platforms have most of my audience?”
- “What am I doing to set myself apart from the competition?”
With this information gathered you should have a solid understanding of what to do to improve your results.
You should now have a clear picture of what each of your social accounts serve.
If the purpose of an account isn’t clear, think about if it is worth using or not. It could be a great account that just needs to utilize strategic redirection, or it may be an outdated account that you should no longer support.
To decide whether or not you should support a specific social media account, consider the following:
- “Is your audience there?”
- “If they are, what are they using the platform for?”
- “Can this account be used to help me achieve my business goals?”
If you ask yourself these questions now, your business will greatly benefit from the changes you make, rather than you continuing to do what you’re doing now, which may or may not be working for you.
Step 7: Test, Analyze Results, Adjust Your Strategy
Social media is an important part of your business, and also a very difficult part, don’t expect to get it spot on first try.
As you start to experiment with different ideas and track your results, you will find that some strategies work better than others.
In addition to tracking your analytics within each social network, you can use UTM parameters to track your social visitors as they move through your website, allowing you to see exactly which social posts are driving the most traffic to your website.
Once you start to get some data coming in, use it to improve your strategy regularly.
Constant testing will allow you to understand what works for you and what doesn’t, so you can make your strategy the best it can be.
You can even try conducting a survey asking your social media followers whether or not you are meeting their needs on social media, and what they would like to see more of.
Take this to heart and make some changes to deliver what they tell you.
In terms of social media, things change fast, you see new networks come out of no where and become super successful, while you see others that were once very popular, declining in users significantly.
Your business will experience change as well, and the best way to keep up with it is to regularly look at your social media strategy and refine it as needed.
Thank you very much for reading!
If you have any questions or comments at all, be sure to leave them in the comment section below and I will reply.
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