How to Create a Social Media Plan
1) Determine Your Goals
In order to create a successful social media plan, you need to know what goals you want to achieve, and how those goals will be measured.
Are you looking to increase the number of people who sign up for your e-mail? Or are you trying to create more leads from Linkedin? Once you’re able to determine your short and long term you will be able to use social media much more effectively.
2) Conduct a Social Media Audit
Most people miss this step, but it’s important to look back and give yourself a social media audit as part of your social media plan. This is because if you don’t know what you’ve been doing in the past, you are likely to repeat the same mistakes. A social media audit will give you insight into creating your new social media marketing strategy
An audit is about taking an honest look at your marketing efforts and asking yourself what’s working, what’s not, and how to make your marketing efforts even more effective.
3) Study Your Competition
To create a successful social media plan you need to know what your competitors are doing. The worst thing that can happen is that you accidentally copy another company’s strategy. This will also help you differentiate your brand from others in order to stand out from the crowds of businesses that are also using social media.
It’s good to find out what types of social media platforms that they are using, how they’re engaging fans, and what types of messages they’re conveying on these platforms.
4) Determine Your Target Market
Social media is so massive, and with more and more baby boomers jumping aboard, you need to determine who your target market is. This will allow you to be more careful with your time and budget when trying to aim at a specific group.
It’s important to understand the demographics that are available on these different social media channels If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to find out, then I would suggest looking at different infographics. They’re always packed with demographic data. If you want easy access to infographics, go to Pinterest and search for them.
Your target market may also include contacting specific social media influencers that you can form a mutual relationship with.
5) What Are Your Key Messages
Part of any goal, is to also convey what the key branding messages are about your business. While Coke may have many goals in mind for specific contests and giveaways, they have one message they like to focus on, and that’s happiness. Other large companies such as Nike focus on finding your inner athlete to be better and to get things done.
When you understand your messages you’ll be able to co-operatively create opinions with your social media followers.
6) Determine Your Social Media Channels
There is more than a hand full of social media channels you can go with, but you need to truly understand which ones will benefit you the most. Often times it may not be the obvious ones such as Twitter and Facebook, you may find out that you’re having much better success on Linkedin if you’re holding professional seminars.
However if you’re designing crafts, you’ll most likely find spending time on Etsy and Pinterest may be the best win for you.
Don’t be afraid to look outside the box. For example if you’re looking to grow your presence within China, then you will need to create a presence on Sina Weibo or We Chat.
7) Create an Editorial Calendar
Creating an editorial calendar will be your life saver. Plan out what you want to share, and plan ahead to see if there are ways to incorporate special days or themes into your postings. Oreo did a fantastic job in planning out their social media content to celebrate 100 years. There’s no doubt it took a lot of time and effort, but it’s paid off big time.
A lack of an editorial content can lead you to wasting a lot of energy planning out what to say day after day. Make it easier on yourself and your team and cut down the amount of decisions that need to be made on content, so that they can focus on engaging customers and influencers on the different channels.
Ensure that you create a timeline for all your goals and milestones. If this is your first social media plan, it’s reasonable to plan out for 90 days.
8) Determine Who is Responsible for What
If you’re doing social media planning all by yourself then that’s an easy one, but if your content focuses a lot on pictures, a lot on sharing articles, and engaging, then it’s important to understand the role that each person plays.
Play on your team members’ strengths. I wrote an article about how extroverts and introverts operate very differently on social media and how their role in the execution of social media strategy will differ.
9) Measure the Results
It’s important to understand how successful you were in achieving your goals. And so you need to measure the results. Ensure that you’re measuring results that truly matter to your organization. I’m still not big fan of Likes or Followers on Twitter, these are soft metrics.
The most important thing I was taught about measuring results was why is that measurement so important to the overall plan. How is the number of likes important to the strategy?
Those are 9 steps to take to creating a social media plan. Is there anything you would like to add? Feel free to let us know in the comments section.
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Photo courtesy of Kalexanderson.