How to (and Why) Make a Social Media Marketing Plan

As you struggle with all the ins and outs of posting to all the different social media platforms , you may have figured out that actually sitting down and making a plan might be a good idea. Actually, it’s a GREAT idea!

It really is very simple. Everything you do with social networks should be part of a bigger social media marketing strategy. Each post, like, comment, reply, call-to-action should have a purpose. It might be to create a buzz around your brand. Maybe you want to create sales leads. Sometimes pure entertainment can spur action to find out more. Anytime you reply to a comment, you have the opportunity to steer them in a direction that benefits your business. If you take a moment to think – what do I hope to accomplish here? – before you type or post, you might actually find that your results are much better in the long run. It doesn’t take a master’s degree to figure out how to make social media work for you, it just takes some time.

Your social media marketing plan is simply a strategy to achieve your business goals using social networks. When you started your business, you had a plan and goals you wanted to achieve. Now, put those same thoughts into a marketing plan – online – with social interaction.

A social media marketing plan is a nice way to say – think it through! Your marketing plan will likely include everything you plan to do and hope to achieve for your business using social networks. This plan should include several key components like goals for what you want your social networks to do for your business and a detailed schedule for what you will try to get there, then a way to measure to see if you did.

 

For most people the problem is where to start?

Here’s a 5 step plan that can jump-start your social media marketing plan.

Set Goals

What do you want to accomplish?

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Generate new leads
  • Grow revenue
  • Build a community around your business

Not everyone wants to stop and think about what to accomplish on social media, but if you want to achieve great things for your business on social networks, it’s a proven fact that if you set a goal, you are more likely to achieve it. Reaching for the stars or just being active on social media does show people you are interested, but a greater benefit would be for your business to target these efforts and know you are achieving a goal.

Set your goals to be attainable and reachable and to suit your business needs.

Make a Plan

How do you want to accomplish your goals?

Choose a platform – Not every platform will work for you so pick one you are familiar with and get started. If you don’t have one, start with Facebook, it has the the easiest market reach, your friends and family. Make sure you complete the full profile and include photos!

Choose how often – How often do you want to post every week, every month? Set this low to get started. You don’t want to be considered spam! 2-3 times per week is acceptable. You can always increase it as you see the benefits increasing.

Choose what – What do you want to post? Text, Photos, Images, Both. What do you want to say? Do you want to inform, entertain, suggest, help? Do you want ask a question? Create interaction? Use a coupon? Sign up for something? Give something away?

Choose who – Who do you want to reach with this each type of content? Who is your target audience? Do they have limitations or expectations for content? Is there a color or content that reaches them best?

Choose days/times – What days/times suit your potential clients best? Are they on early in the morning or late at night? Which day is best? It all depends on the goals you set and what you hope to accomplish.

These are all great ideas! And, there are more! Read my blogs or conduct some research of your own.

I have 2 blog posts that will help:  What to Post on Social Media     Best times to Post on Social Media

 

Measure Your Progress

Did you accomplish your goals?

There are three basic measures to see if your marketing plan is successful; reach, engagement and conversion.

REACH – How many people could have seen your message?
Notice I said, could have! Reach is simple the number of possible connections that had the chance to see your post, not necessarily that they did. Check your social networking site metrics to track things like followers, shares, likes subscribers, visitors and more

ENGAGEMENT – How many people did see your message and reacted?
Engagement measures the actions people took after viewing your post. Check your social networking site metrics to track clicks, retweets, mentions, shares, comments, replies, ratings and more.

CONVERSION – How many people followed through on an action?
Conversion is counting the number of people that took the next step, they actually did something you can measure! The best way to track this is to point them to your website to complete an action like signing up for an email list to get a free download, register for an upcoming event, complete a contact form for leads, make a phone call and more. Integrating Google Analytics on your website can track several of these items and the behaviors that led to them.

Evaluate the Plan

What is working and what is not?

Did you accomplish the goals you set? If so, why or why not? Did one of your posts work differently than you thought is would? Why or why not? Is your plan realistic? Did you overplan? Which content worked the best? Did your posts compliment each other? Did you have several different kind of posts both for content and for visual affect? Ask other people, even customers, to evaluate your posts. What did they think? Were your posts consistent with your brand? These are all good question to ask when evaluating your social media plan, but it’s ok to think outside the box too. Remember, just because something didn’t work just the way you thought it might, doesn’t mean it wasn’t successful or can’t be used again. Maybe it just needs a little fine tuning. Learn from your mistakes and be sure to admit them. Your viewers will begin to trust your honesty and see you as authentic.

Do it again!
Modify or delete and repeat!

Make sure your plan is specific, but attainable. Don’t be too lofty when setting your goals.

Specific is terrific! Be specific with your plan. Figure out who will do what to make it work. If you need help, ask for it. There are plenty of social media apps that can help you schedule posts when posting to multiple accounts. Your social media marketing plan will guide your actions, but it will also help you know how and what to measure your success and failures. It’s ok to take your time and start slow. Build your plan as you gain confidence and success.

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