Developing a successful social media marketing plan is an essential part of a business in the 21st century. Unfortunately, there are too many businesses who ignore social media, or are mismanaging their social media presence. Fortunately, these can be easily fixed, as there is a plethora of tools to help even the smallest businesses have a larger-than-life presence on social media. You would not build a house without first drawing up plans, would you? A social media marketing plan will help you reach your business goals.
Set Goals For Your Social Media Marketing Plan.
On that note, the first step in creating a social media plan is to flesh out your goals. Do you want to sell? Do you want to increase brand awareness? Do you want more leads? Do you want to mine your fans for opinions about your products? What are your goals? When developing your goals, keep them very cut and dry. Have a measurable goal (example: Obtain 5,000 follower over the next three months) and define what that goal will accomplish. Keep re-evaluating your goals.
The next part of your social media marketing plan is to define your target market. What do they love to see on social media? Most importantly, what is causing them stress, worry, or pain? What problems or needs are they trying to solve when they visit your page? Once you figure that out, define how you will solve their problems while providing value at the same time.
Social Media Marketing Plan – Choose social networks that are relevant to your business.
Doing research into the demographics and what types of content are most compatible with each social network will make it quite clear which social networks you should be using. Facebook is by far the largest social network on the planet, with about a billion users. Virtually all types of content can be used on Facebook – copywriting, photography, videography, graphics, etc. If you are a wedding photography business, then your social media marketing plan should include Pinterest.
The majority of Pinterest users are women. Pinterest features graphics and pictures. LinkedIn and Slideshare have the highest percentage of users with graduate degrees and are ideal for publishing written content. Video marketers definitely want to use YouTube. Facebook is like an umbrella which covers all, so it is best to use Facebook in combination with one or two other social networks. Incorporate them into your social media marketing plan.
Choose main ideas and build value around discussing them.
Once you have chosen which social networks you want to use for your social media marketing plan, start mapping your content. If you sell web hosting packages, perhaps you want to educate your audience about the benefits of using different platforms like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc. You can shoot videos about the benefits of dedicated hosting. Perhaps you can show people how to create content for their websites, the difference between a blog and a static website, or how to drive traffic. Create infographics that show how blog posts can be syndicated for ideal traffic flow.
Social Media Marketing Plan Tip1: Weave your own products into the feeds by mentioning that you offer the services you discuss in your content. Some content can be geared to new customers, some to get customers to upgrade, and others to affiliates. Mix up your content to measure what your fans prefer using social media analytics. We will discuss social media analytics more in a moment.
Determine the frequency of posts.
Every social media marketing plan needs a good strategy on how frequently to post content. This will depend on the fans and the type of content. If you publish mostly photos and pictures to a hungry fan base, you can probably post several times a day. If you have an intellectual fan base who likes to take their time studying content and you publish mostly written content, then perhaps you should post once or twice a day. With some exceptions, you should not publish less than once a day.
Your fans will be online at different times of day and may miss most of your content if you publish every three days at 8 am, as an example. Mix up the times that you publish and see when you get the most views and engagement. Publish more frequently to see if you get more engagement. If you post content often, and start losing fans, publish less often. Always be flexible even if you find a balance. Trends can change quickly.
Get actively engaged with your fans.
Getting active with your fans as a social media marketing plan is simple. Like their comments, encourage them to share, reply, interact in discussions. Before you do, be sure to include in your social media marketing plan a policy for how to reply to comments, when to share outside content, writing out rules, what to do with trolls or unhappy customers and other engagement issues.
One thing you should NOT do is ignore your followers. Use social media tracking tools that will send you messages when someone has been active on your social media account. This will help you not miss anything, especially as your social media fan base grows exponentially. These tools will also save you a lot of time, because you won't have to be constantly watching your accounts.
Social Media Marketing Plan and Statistics: Use Your Stats to Guide Your Activity
It has been mentioned several times before, but an integral part of a good social media marketing plan is to watch your stats closely. There are social media management tools which can help you watch analytics across several platforms. Here are some things to track:
- Views (impressions)
- Comments (replies)
- Responses to each post
Include other types of data, such as format of the post (written, video, etc.), time of day, and social network. All of these will help you determine what type of content you should be posting to increase engagement, fans and sales.
Social Media Marketing Plan Recap
Twenty years ago, social media did not exist. It has become one of the most far-reaching, inexpensive and powerful marketing tools since the Internet itself came into being. Create an excellent social media marketing plan and it can pay off in spades.