When someone first attempts to create social media marketing plan it can be quite challenging. Just like any other type of planning it’s important to know where to start and what is important enough to be included. If you’ve never done it before it may feel both exciting and overwhelming. Maybe you already know what should be done and why, but you’re just not quite sure how to put your knowledge and thoughts into an effective plan. In this article, we will put together an easy-to-follow, step-by-step blueprint that will help you get started. If you are ready to build your social media marketing plan, the following is a lot of the information you’ll need.
Social Media Marketing Plan
From start to finish, here is an overview of how you can build a social media marketing plan. Here’s what we are going to cover:
Step 1. Choosing the right social networks
Step 2. Filling out your profiles or company pages completely
Step 3. Finding your voice
Step 4. Selecting the right post strategy
Step 5. Analyzing and testing
Step 6. Automation and engagement
Step 1. Choosing the Right Social Networks
There are various social media networks that currently exist. The truth is, many are quite similar in some ways. However, each network has its own policies and regulations, style, and audience. You should only choose social networks that would contain your target audience and would fit your strategy.
You do not have to join every single social network
It’s not about how many social networks you are on, it’s about WHICH networks you are on. You should only join those that make sense. For example, if you are marketing to businesses you may choose a social network like LinkedIn because it is more focused on a professional audience.
How much time can you dedicate to posting?
You will not have to spend all day every day posting on your social networks, but you will need to start with at least one hour a day. Once you have gotten the hang of it, you can use tools like Hootsuite to schedule posts.
What resources do you have available?
Do you have any employees who are social media-savvy? Social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest rely heavily on image posts while networks like Linkedin and Google+ are focused mainly on higher quality content. If you do not have someone who can create images or high-quality content you may consider outsourcing.
Where is your target audience?
Which social network will allow you to reach your target demographic? If you have absolutely no idea you can look into a survey conducted by Pew Research which breaks down the demographics of various social networks.
Step 2. Filling out Your Profiles or Company Pages Completely
Having a complete social network profile ensures that your branding is cohesive and gives off the impression to your audience that your company is not only professional but is also serious about engaging with them. Things like cover photos, avatars, and bios must be complete and have up-to-date information. Profiles and company pages will need two things, images, and text.
Images should always be consistent in order to ensure your audience will always associate them with your brand. Your avatars and profile pictures should match, as should your cover photos. Here is a great link that will help find the sizes for social media images--it is kept updated by SproutSocial.
Your text areas will be the bio and info section, which should include what your company offers (services, products, etc.), some keywords to help your audience search for you, and should avoid buzzwords. Check back regularly and update whenever necessary.
Step 3. Finding Your Voice
Now that your profiles have been set up you may be excited to jump right in and start posting, but before you do it’s important that you determine what you want your company’s voice to be. In order to determine that you will need to come up with some marketing personas. Having a marketing persona will help you maintain a constant voice, so here’s what you need to ask yourself:
If my brand was an individual, what type of personality would it have?
If my brand was an individual, what type of relationship do they have with my customers?
What type of adjectives describe what my company’s personality is not?
Who are my competitors? How is their company similar to mine?
How do I want my customers to view my company?
Once you’ve answered all of these questions you should be able to create a list of a few adjectives that best describe the tone and voice of your company. Create a voice that is appealing to your customers, that way customers will be happy to become brand ambassadors.
Step 4. Selecting the Right Post Strategy
How many times should you post each day? How often should you be posting? What time should you post? The truth is, it depends. These questions can only be answered with time because what works for one company may not work for others. That is because your audience may respond differently than that of another company. Until you begin posting you will not be able to determine what exactly the right time is to post or the number of posts share. Here’s some information that should help you at least get started:
What should your company post?
Images seem to work best. As your look around your streams next time you log onto Twitter or Facebook, you’ll notice quite a few images posted. That is because images get more clicks, “likes”, shares, and views than another type of posts.
Facebook photos get up to “53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click through”, according to HubSpot.
Twitter conducted a study that looked into over 2 million tweets from across various industries and found that photos get about 35% more retweets, videos get 28% more retweets, Quotes get 19% more retweets, hashtagged posts received 16% more retweets, and posts that included a number in them received 17% more retweets.
Now that you understand what has gotten the best responses you can put it all together into a social media marketing strategy. When you first start posting you may want to post the same updates across all social platforms until you are better familiarized with what works where. Just remember some social networks, like Twitter, have a limited word count.
How often should your company post?
This really varies from industry to industry and platform to platform. You can start with 2 to 3 posts a day on Twitter, once a day on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, and continue to increase every week until you are satisfied with the response from your audience, or until you notice that your engagement has dropped due to oversharing. You can then adjust accordingly. If you share good quality updates there’s a good chance that your followers will love your updates and that means you can get away with sharing more posts.
When should your company be posting?
This, again, will vary on your audience, which means you’ll have to monitor your posts to see what time gets the best response. If you are just starting out and you still don’t have much of an audience to gage you can use the following information which was published by SumAll, who combined research from websites like Search Engine Watch, Visual.ly, and Social Media Today. Here’s the breakdown by social network in EST:
Facebook – Between 1 and 4pm as well as between 2 and 5pm during the week.
Twitter – Between 1 and 3pm during the week.
Tumblr – Between 7 and 10pm during the week as well as 4pm on Fridays.
Linkedin – Between 7 and 8:30am as well as between 5 to 6pm Tues through Thurs
Google+ – Between 9 and 11am during the week.
Instagram – Between 5 and 6 pm during the week as well as at 6pm and 8pm Mondays.
Pinterest – Between 2 and 4pm as well as between 8 and 11pm weekdays, and anytime weekends.
Step 5. Analyzing and Testing
The more posts you share, the more you’ll be able to gauge what content, timing, and frequency works best for your company. How will you be able to determine that? By using a reporting tool. Most established social media networks will provide basic analytics, but it’s much easier to have a single analytics dashboard that will monitor all of your social profiles. Analytics reporting tools will often break down the engagement and performance of posts into views, likes, clicks, comments, and shares.
In order to shape your social media marketing strategy into a successful one you’ll have to use your reporting tools to analyze your posts. Here’s how you can gauge your efforts:
Collect your data and set a benchmark
After about a month of posting on social media you should look into your reports and find the average number of likes, shares, comments, and clicks per post. This will allow you to set a benchmark that you can use to compare on a regular basis as your followers and engagement increase.
Try something new
Now that you have reporting tools and a benchmark you can try new types of posts to see how your audience responds. Will videos get you better click-through rates? Can a contest get you more followers? Don’t test multiple things at once. By testing one to two things at a time you will be able to better gauge the response.
Check your stats
After you have done your testing for a few weeks it’s time to compare the results to your benchmark. If you had success then obviously you should add it to your marketing strategy, if not get rid of it and try something else.
Step 6. Automation and Engagement
Now that you have a basic idea of how to put a marketing plan together you’ll have to get familiar with tools that will help you maintain those profiles.
To remain consistent create at least a month’s worth of posts and use a tool like Sprout Social to schedule the posts ahead of time. This will ensure your posts go out every day at the same time without you having to put everything down to publish a post.
It’s important that you also understand that social media networks will require engagement from the company as well. If someone messages you, tags you, or comments on your post it’s essential that you respond. Set aside a bit of time every day to follow up with social media conversations.
Tools like Mention make it easy to keep the conversations going because they monitor social media platforms for any mention of your company and then sends you an alert if it finds anything.
We'd love to answer any other questions you may have or hear any additional tips you have on creating a great social marketing strategy!
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