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Fine! You finally have a great grasp of what social media marketing really entails. You’ve taken courses and done loads and loads of research on it. You even a few secret tips and hacks which you hastily jotted down while watching Youtube videos that you can’t wait to implement.

But, do you have a plan? You can be extremely knowledgeable about social media marketing but without curating a plan, your marketing antics are a recipe for disaster.

What is a social media marketing plan?

A social media marketing plan is a carefully curated outline of all the strategies you want to use to boost your social media marketing. You are able to identify what you need to achieve for your business, how you plan on generating traffic needed and all the steps of implementation. You are able to discover who your target audience are, the platforms they can be found in and the content form that will appeal to them.

The moment you have been able to map out all the strategies you need to get to work on your social media marketing, you can then begin to work on honing your content, adjusting it where and when necessary as well as analyzing the engagements of your followers. When drafting a social media marketing plan, your main focus should be building a long lasting relationship with your audience. Nearly every business has a social media presence. But succeeding on social networks takes more than just posting daily updates.

 You need to know what your business goal is and what you are hoping to achieve with it. You need to be knowledgeable about the kinds of content that your target audience will be able to relate with more. You need to become conversant with your audience’s language and things they really care about. To identify all of these, you need to have a social media marketing strategy.

9 steps to creating a social media marketing plan for your business

Photo Credit: Socialmediaexaminer.com

1. Identify your goals

This is the first step to mapping out your social media marketing plan. What are your key objectives for your business? Where do you see your business in 5 years time? What new things do you want to incorporate in your business? It is not just enough that you identify those specific objectives and goals, you have to be certain they’re attainable. You do not want to set goals that are not conceivable because you are guaranteed to be on a long term wild goose chase. Your goals should always align with the current data of your industry and the current needs of your target audience.

A great way to ascertain if your business goals are achievable is through the level of your brand awareness, your website traffic, your social media engagements, and your video views.

Always set a time to achieve your targets and you should fix small targets at first, then as your business grows, you can increase your business monthly or yearly targets. E.g. to increase website visitors by 50% year on year, or to gain 100 new followers in three months.

It can be a bit difficult setting a target as a newbie in the digital marketing space, its completely okay. You can review them on a consistent basis to find out what works and what doesn’t.

2. Identify who your target audience is

You need to know who your target audience are down to their dislikes and likes. It’s one thing to identify an audience for your business, but now, you need to break it down bit by bit until you have successfully discovered an audience that will find your products or services very appealing. Since you are identifying them online, you need to know the major details that influences their buying decision online.

Ask yourself, where do they live online, what platforms do they use? How do they use these platforms? What are they interested in? When it comes to social advertising, having this information will be very useful, and will put you in the best position to utilize the extensive targeting opportunities available to you.

3. Research on the best social platforms

What are the social networking platforms you need to use? This is an important question you should ask yourself. You cannot decide to start marketing on social media platforms you feel comfortable in or platforms you think your target audience will be in. You need to carry our loads of research and survey to be certain that a large audience that wants you exists in the social network you plan on using. There are so may different options to chose from such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Tiktok etc.
Having a strong presence across multiple platforms is a great asset–such as helping you dominate the first page of search engine results for your brand name–but there’s no point in creating a profile on a platform that your audience doesn’t use, or starting an account and leaving it dormant.

Remember that each platform has a different purpose, style, and audience, and you need to make sure it’s right for your business.

4. Create a defined structure

This is where you dive into the details of your strategy. What are the activities that need to be put in place before you begin to market your business on your social media? Identify your brand message and be certain that it completely resonates with the message of your audience. Go over your goals and objectives again, critically look at the initiatives you are planning to use and envision how the outcome of all your activities will look like. This helps give your marketing ideas a defined structure which will be easier to implement.

There’s a lot to jump on when giving your plan a structure because there are various pre-existing marketing strategies already. You have to make yours unique to your business and audience and always have your key message and objectives in mind.

There’s a lot to get excited about here, but make sure you always have your objectives, audience, and key messages in mind.

5. Time your marketing campaigns

Once you have a defined structure, next on the list is creating your social media marketing time table. You need to schedule all your marketing activities across your social channels for the year. What are current trends in the industry and society at large that will influence your marketing campaign. You need to identify important periods in the year, celebrations and specific events that you can leverage on to optimize your social media marketing efforts.

Schedule the time and dates for the specific social media marketing campaigns and if possible draft a plan that will stretch for a whole year.

6. Create valuable content

This is the moment you need to create the contents which will help you carry out your strategy. This is the most important aspect of your social media strategy. What type of contents will you be creating? blogs, videos, graphics, or images or just written content? You also need to figure out the different tones to use, what kind of copy you should be writing and how your messaging should look like. You need to figure it out and mix them all up if you need to.

Your content is what will sell your brand and business to your audience, every other strategy will augment your content creation efforts. This means that you have to intentionally create content that gives value to your target audience. It must be catchy, understandable, relatable and helpful.

Think about your content strategy, what kind of blogs will you write to promote your social media marketing efforts? will you include user generated content? how will you repurpose evergreen content for multiple uses? Plan time for content creation at multiple times throughout the year.

7. Implementation 

Finally! You can begin to implement all your strategies. This is when you should start rolling out all your carefully planned out ideas across all your social media platforms.

This is where you carry out your strategy by following your social media marketing calendar, content posts, ads, and carrying out scheduled activities.

8. Analyze your implemented effort

During the implementation process, it is important that you track your progress and measure your results. You need to monitor your campaigns and compare them with previous ones done to determine the best and most productive approach.

Rather than just posting your content and never looking at it again, make sure you are checking in to see what worked and what didn’t and update your approach accordingly.

In particular, when running social ads, it’s important to monitor the results–are results slowing down, is the cost per result going up, is the frequency of delivery getting too high? If something isn’t performing well, pause it, take action, and change it up.

9. Review

Take out the time to schedule reviews for your social media marketing campaign. You have to deliberately review your activities consistently and at each new stage of your social media marketing campaign. This has to be done across all social media marketing platforms you are using to market your business. You should ask yourself questions like How can I improve? Did I achieve your objectives? Were my targets met and were they realistic? These questions will help you understand how far you have come in your business strategy and the work that still remains to be done.

If you follow through with every step on the list and stick to it on a consistent basis, you will be able to significantly impact your social media to drive traffic to your website and eventually generate lead.

This is why you should have a social media marketing plan?

Almost all small businesses use social media to attract new customers. But, over 80 percent of business owners aren’t sure what social media tools to use and 63 percent of consumers who search for businesses online are more likely to become consumers of brands with an established social media presence.

This demonstrates a huge potential for social media marketing to increase sales but a lack of understanding on how to achieve those results.

The consumers are there, itching to become brand ambassadors, but where is your business? Social media marketing helps to validate your brand and it’s no longer optional.
It’s an essential way for companies to reach consumers. And when done correctly, tells those consumers that their brand is active and focused on communication.

The longer you wait, the more you have to lose. When done effectively, social media campaigns can lead to more customers, more traffic, and more engagement.

Having a social media presence without an active social media marketing strategy can be just as catastrophic for your business as having no plan at all, this is why your social media marketing strategies should be thoughtfully and carefully mapped out. When done right, your social media marketing efforts will be successful.

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