Of all the marketing strategies available today, the most successful by far is a social media marketing strategy. As a result, it doesn’t need significant lead time to provide satisfactory ROI. Further, it could yield quick results consistently and without much effort. Additionally, it guarantees increased customers and sales and is free—or costs very little. But, to derive all those benefits, you can’t use social media marketing haphazardly. What your business needs is a social media marketing plan. Therefore, here’s everything you need to know to create a successful social media marketing plan for your business.
What is social media marketing?
It’s a marketing strategy that uses social media platforms to connect with people. Moreover, you could promote a product or service, build a brand, drive website traffic, and increase sales.
How to create a thriving social media marketing plan
Above all, every business must have a sensible social media marketing strategy. However, there is no single solution, and every company’s social media marketing plan will differ depending on multiple factors. So, read on to know how to create a workable and successful social media marketing plan from scratch. Or, if you have an existing strategy—how you can improve it.
1. Understand what you want to achieve (goals) from your social media marketing plan.
Now you might think, “Well, that’s a dumb question. Of course, I want to increase sales – isn’t that the whole point of a social media marketing plan?” The truth is, that’s not the only point of social media marketing.
Therefore, you can use social media to:
- Get noticed and build your brand.
- Reach out to your customers.
- Generate leads.
- Increase sales.
- Grow your audience.
- Drive more traffic to your website.
- Improve your business’s ROI.
- Engage your social media followers online.
- Introduce and create a buzz around a new or upcoming product.
And, you can use social media for all the above purposes or just a couple of them. But keep this in mind:
- Set SMART goals: For example, I will generate (specific) 20 leads (measurable) every month (achievable and realistic) for the next 12 months (time-sensitive).
- Your social media goals must always align with your overall marketing objectives.
- Your marketing strategy will depend on your end goal.
- You can use different social media sites to achieve different goals. For example, you can use Facebook to engage your audience and attract leads, and Twitter to provide news and updates about your business.
2. Set key metrics.
Does that sound complicated? It’s not. It simply means that you should decide beforehand how to measure your success on each social media platform. So, here are some ways to measure social media success.
Engagement: That is, how engaged your audience is with your brand or content. You can determine success by the number of likes, shares, clicks, and comments that your social media content generates. Further, it also includes organic account mentions (for example, @mentions) and posts engagement (how many people find your posts engaging and interesting).
Share of voice: Meaning, how many people (from your audience) are talking about your brand (as compared with your competitors). Moreover, it also includes whether they say positive or negative things about your brand.
ROI: Measuring social media referral traffic driven to your website and the number of conversions of potential customers to paying customers.
Customer care: Your customer’s experience with your brand on social media platforms. In other words, how many customers reach out to you, how many customers you respond to on social media platforms, and how quickly you can reach out to them.
Awareness: The number of times a post is displayed on someone’s timeline (awareness) and the number of unique viewers who see your post (reach).
3. Understand where you stand with your current social media marketing strategy.
This point is relevant only if you have a social media marketing plan/strategy in place. Therefore, if you’ve never given your current social media strategy a second thought, now’s the time to do so. Moreover, you must know how successful it is to be able to make improvements. So, here are some questions to think about and answer honestly.
- Which social media platforms are my business most active on?
- Are the profiles on these platforms optimized?
- How many followers do I have on each of these sites?
- Which social media platform works best?
- Which social media platform does not work for our business?
- How does our social media presence compare with our competitors?
4. Decide on the social media platforms you will use.
If this is your first experience with social media marketing, know this: you don’t have to be on every social media platform available. Therefore, when choosing social media platforms for a social media marketing plan, consider:
- Which social media platforms your customers use.
- Which social media platforms are your audience most concentrated.
- The social media platforms your customers and potential customers are most accessible.
- Where your target audience actively engages with advertisements.
- When choosing the perfect social media platforms to use, consider the number of accounts you can have, the kind of content you can share, and how much content you can share per day.
Are you unsure about which platforms your audience uses? Whatever the case, get to know your audience—their age, location, income, typical job, industries they belong to, interests, etc.
Here’s some help:
Facebook: As you know, this is where you will find high-earning users, making it the ideal platform to promote ads. Also, it’s the best platform for entertainment and news, so keep content light. And remember, it’s the best site for video content because of it’s footprint.
YouTube: This social platform is fantastic for video-based ads, thanks to its high-earning users.
Twitter: Here, you’ll find a more mature user-base here. Also, it’s a great site to share news about your brand, new products/services, etc. Don’t forget to ensure you use relevant hashtags.
LinkedIn: This platform’s where you’ll find an educated and highly professional user-base. Also, it’s the ideal platform to promote industry-specific content and data.
Pinterest: The platform boasts of a user-base that consists mainly of women and social shoppers. Further, you’ll find people on the lookout for inspiration use this site extensively.
Instagram: The site is mainly made up of millennials and Gen Z. So, it’s a fantastic platform for image-based content and is used extensively by visual brands. Remember, short videos do well here.
TikTok: This platform hosts a community of vibrant, young, fun-loving people.
Note: In sum, you mustn’t make assumptions regarding your target audience or where you will find them. So, base your findings on extensive research and social media analytics.
5. Create your social media profiles.
Once you know which social media sites you want to use, it’s time to create your social media accounts. Thus, if you have existing accounts, you might want to consider aligning them with your new social media marketing plan/strategy. Remember, bear these key points when creating your social media accounts:
- Complete your profiles. In short, don’t leave any of the profile fields empty.
- Also, add keywords that your audience will use to search for your business.
- Remember, be consistent with your voice and branding (images and logo), so you will be easily recognized across social media platforms.
- And, always use high-quality images on social media.
Also, here are some profiles you might want to consider creating:
- Facebook business page
- Instagram business account
- Twitter business account
- LinkedIn company page
- YouTube Channel
- Snapchat account
- Pinterest business account
Again, only focus on social media sites your audience uses and what works for your business.
6. Create a content strategy for your new social media marketing plan.
Know this, a whopping 51% of customers unfollow brands on social media because of irrelevant content. Also, over 40% unfollow brands because of excess ads or promotional posts. So, while your content strategy must meet your overall marketing goals, it must also revolve around your audience and include information that interests them. That includes:
- Helpful information that solves your audience’s problems.
- Entertaining content.
- Guides that help spread awareness.
- Freebies and contests.
- Promotions and coupons.
So, if you’re fresh to social media marketing, try the 80/20 rule:
Know, a good social media marketing plan consists of 80% of your posts must educate, entertain, and inform your audience. And 20% must be dedicated to promoting your brand.
Also, if you’re hesitant about what type of content your audience would like to receive from you, ask them:
Choose the correct type of content for the right social media platform:
That way, you maximize engagement and ensure maximum reach and brand awareness.
A diverse content strategy for a successful social media marketing plan includes:
Content to read. For example, have your own blog, and also create featured articles, and case studies. So, create valuable content to control and promote on social media to attract potential leads to your website.
Share content on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.
Content to view. Remember, use visual images to create a compelling story. Also, create social graphics that are engaging, informative, and fun, and attractive for microblogging.
The best microblogging sites are Tumblr and Twitter.
Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram are great for share photos.
Content to watch. Video is a critical part of social media messaging. As a result, every social media platform now allows you to reach your audience with this very engaging type of content. As you know, videos are more engaging than written content. Therefore, your audience will retain information shared through videos better and for longer than the information you share through any other medium.
The best video-sharing sites are Facebook Live, Vimeo, YouTube, and Periscope.
Content to listen. Not everyone has the time to read your blog or watch your videos. So, that’s where podcasts help. In short, they will get your message across to people who prefer to listen.
You can have a section dedicated to podcasts on your website while promoting them through microblogs.
As well as sharing the content that you create, you must curate content:
Curated content is content created by other people or companies that you share with your audience. It could be in any form—blogs, videos, podcasts, etc., that you believe your audience will appreciate and enjoy.
Don’t forget about social media interaction – they are critical to your social media marketing plan:
Your social media calendar must also include the time you spend interacting with your audience—existing clients and potential clients. And, that includes answering questions, liking, commenting, and sharing information.
7. Create a social media schedule.
Now that you are sure about the platforms you will use and the content that you will be posting, it’s time to decide how often you will share content on each site. As you guessed, that can’t be a random decision. In other words, a science defines the best time to post and the number of times to post on various social media sites.
So, here’s a schedule you can follow for your social media marketing plan:
Social Media Platform
Best time to Post
One to two posts a day; curate one post a day.
Post once at 11 am on Wednesdays. Or, post the first post between 8 am and 9 am and the second post at 2 am.
One to two times a day; curate one post every other day.
Between: 11 am and 4 pm on Wednesdays; 8 am and 12 pm every Tuesday/Thursday; 1 pm and 4 pm on other days.
One to five Tweets a day, but you can even go up to 15 new Tweets a day; curate about seven Tweets every day.
The best times are: 2am, 3am, 6am, 7am, 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6pm, 9pm, and 10pm.
One a day; curate one every other day.
Post at 9 am on Tuesdays/Wednesdays and 10 am to 11 am on other days.
Now that you have a complete social media marketing plan in place, it’s time to start putting content out there for your audience. No matter your social media marketing goals, you can achieve them by defining your goals, understanding who your audience is—their needs/expectations, and then creating a clear content strategy. Finally, you must measure your success at regular intervals. Understand where your social media marketing plan succeeds and fails, and make changes accordingly.
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