When I first meet with a client, I learn everything I can about them and their business. No matter how much I know though, I can’t just jump into managing their social media. I have to create a social media marketing plan before I do anything.
If you’re starting from scratch, I’m sure it feels exciting and overwhelming. You know what you want to do and why. You see others succeed, but you don’t know how to get there yourself.
In this blog post, I am going to guide you step-by-step on how to create a social media marketing plan.
Time to get social!
The first thing you must do is a bit of research to clearly define the following:
- What are your social media goals?
- Who is your target market?
- Where is your target market? (which platforms?)
The first thing every single business owner should think about before starting with social media is their goals.
You need a sense of direction – a clear vision of where you want to go and what you want to achieve from your social media. What do you want to get out of your social media? I’m sure your first reaction is probably going to be “more sales,” but you need to think about what actually drives those sales? Another thing to think about is what engages your community? Establish a purpose that aligns with what your community responds to.
What is the end goal of your social media?
- Increase awareness & brand loyalty
- Increase traffic to your website, blog, or offers
- Build relationships with customers, vendors, & partners
- Gain more prospects & sell more
- Increase the size of your email list
- Increase sales to your products & services
By identifying where you want to end up, it’s easier to create a strategy and connect the dots to your ultimate goal.
It’s about being laser focused.
Want to learn more about setting social media goals? Read my recent blog post here.
Who’s your target market? Is your target market small to medium sized companies, large companies, do you sell to B2B or B2C, how much money do they make, male or female, age range, location, etc.
Understanding your audience is one of the most important aspects of any marketing strategy.
Figuring this out will help guide you to the social media platforms that will work for your business.
Do your homework first before you assume your audience is on all of the social media platforms.
This is where your target market comes into play. Once you find out where they are, make sure you understand what they are doing there. Watch how they interact with brands and then determine if you should be there.
What platforms are your competitors using?
Make a list of your local competitors and see what platforms they’re on, what they’re doing, and what’s working for them. Jot down what you like because that is something we can work into your social media strategy.
Then look at other companies who are not local, but still in your field, and look at the same as mentioned above. This will help us decide on the platforms to focus on and what types of content may work with your audience.
There’s no rule that says you can’t spy on your competition!
Take a look at one of my blog posts, “Tips For Selecting Social Media Networks” to help guide you.
Remember, that each network is unique, with its own best practices, own style, and own audience. You should choose the social network that best fits your strategy and the goals you want to achieve on social media.
Complete your profiles
Fill out your profiles completely. A completed profile shows professionalism, cohesive branding, and a sign to visitors that you’re serious about engaging with them.
Usually, when it comes to creating social media profiles, there is the visual aspect and the content.
You want to make sure your visuals are consistent with every profile. You should have the same profile picture for each network as well as similar cover photos. You can create cover photos for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
For the content, the main areas to complete are the bio/info sections.
- You want to show what you have done instead of tell your audience
- Have keywords that are related to your audience
- Avoid buzzwords
- Think about what your customer’s pain point is and tell them what’s in it for them
- Show there’s a human being behind your brand – be personal and personable
- Revisit your profiles often to freshen them up
Now, it’s time to strategize!
Write it down….
Write down your monthly goals – create a list of things you need to share this month. What is important for you this month? This is where your goals are going to be important.
- Are you launching a new product?
- Are you hosting an event?
- Do you want to sell a certain number of products?
- Are you trying to add a certain amount of people to your list?
Your content is going to support your overall monthly social media goals. Sharing content you create as well as other people’s content that is relevant to your audience. Share different types of content such as articles, images, and videos. What you share should be something of value – educational, motivational and inspirational.
When it comes to sharing content, remember the 80/20 rule….
80% of your content should be valuable content and 20% should be about your business, such as promotions.
Tip 1….Create a resource list – websites where you find useful information and social media profiles
Tip 2….Create a secret board on Pinterest where you can save content that is of high quality and things you know your audience would love. Gather enough content that you can share throughout the month.
What should you share….
Not all social media is created equal.
Here’s what you should know – Facebook is social, Twitter is microblogging (short and sweet), LinkedIn is professional, Pinterest is visual (think of it as a visual bulletin board), and Instagram is visual and social.
Here’s some examples of type of content to share:
- Motivational Quotes (create a graphic with your logo)
- Videos (tips or training)
- Articles written by you (blog posts)
- Articles written by other people
- Freebie or offer that gets people to subscribe to your list
- Ask questions
- Promote your business (remember the 80/20 rule)
- Show the human side of your brand (behind the scenes look, family photos, etc.)
- Helpful tip
How to share your content:
- Pinterest and Instagram users want to see an image that is eye-catching
- Twitter and Facebook would be good for graphics as well as text statuses with links
- LinkedIn is good for a text status with links
- Facebook is great for video as well as Facebook Live
The big thing to remember is to create content specifically geared for the platform you are sharing to.
When it comes to videos, Facebook videos get higher engagement than link posts or image posts (source: BuzzSumo). On Twitter, videos are six times more likely to be retweeted than photos and three times more likely to be retweeted than GIFs (source: Twitter).
How often should you be sharing?
There’s been a lot of data about how often to share to social media.
Here are some guidelines to help you succeed:
- Facebook – once per day – Hubspot found that pages under 10,000 fans experienced a 50% drop in engagement per post if they posted more than once per day.
- Instagram – once per day and no more than three times per day
- Twitter – anywhere from once per day to 51 times a day – Tweets have an incredibly short shelf life, so it’s important to spread your tweets through the day.
- LinkedIn – at least twice a week and no more than once each business day
- Pinterest – recommended minimum three pins per day, maximum 30 pins per day (see below on which tool to use to schedule your pins)
What time should you post….
This does require a bit of research on your part as well as ongoing monitoring. Each platform will have different times that work as well as different days. This is why using a tool such as Hootsuite will save you a ton of time. Schedule everything at once and at the right days and times.
One thing to consider is your target audience. If you are sharing to professionals, you would probably use LinkedIn and share something at 8:00 in the morning. If you are sharing to a stay-at-home mom, you might share at night (when the kids are in bed). Knowing your audience will be very helpful in determining the best days and times to share.
If you are using Facebook, take advantage of your Insights. If you look under Posts, this will tell you the days and times your audience is on. Then you can schedule your posts for the most popular days and times right from Facebook.
You can only check your insights on Instagram if you have a business account, then it will show you the days and times your audience is on. Learn how to create a business account on Instagram here.
When it comes to the other social media platforms, do a Google search for tools that can show you the best days and times.
Download this cheat sheet I created. I would recommend experimenting with the times on the cheat sheet as well as using the times in your insights.
I am a big fan of Hootsuite for scheduling my content as well as my client’s. Because I manage more than 6 client’s social media, I use the paid version, but for a single business owner or small business, you can get away with using the free option. You can schedule posts to Facebook, LinkedIn Profile and Company Page, Twitter and Instagram.
If you do decide to use Hootsuite, you can install their app Tailwind, which allows you to schedule posts to Pinterest.
Engage and listen
Doing all of the above is great, but it doesn’t end there. Social media requires engagement – being social 😃
When people talk to you, make sure you are talking back. Set aside time during the day to follow up with conversations that are happening on social media. These are conversations with potential customers, friends, and colleagues. They’re too important to ignore.
PRO TIP: Plan your strategy out before the first of each month. If you know you’re going to be sharing Quotes on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram, create those images and get them scheduled. If you want to change the days and times later you can. At least they are already scheduled and all you have to do is reschedule them. For instance, I share Quotes on Monday’s (#MondayMotivation) – I find or create my images and use Hootsuite to schedule them all for the month. By doing this, you will be able to focus on commenting, liking and sharing as well as engaging your followers.
Now it’s your turn….
I’d love to keep the conversation going in the comments. If you know someone who could use this, feel free to pass this along. If you can use it yourself, let me know how it goes!