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When you start to do research around creating a social media marketing strategy, you’ll inevitably end up more confused than you were when you first started. There is so much information out there, much of it conflicting. What you will likely not end up with, is a clear outline, or functional plan.
We’re here to fix that!
Working with clients in several different industries and with different products & services, we’ve had to create a process for coming up with individualized social media plans. We’ve worked and re-worked this process over time to come up with something that works every time, and something you can do for your business.
Although, you might find yourself spending a few hours on this plan up front, it will save you several hours and many headaches in the long run. Your social media strategy will also serve as a reference when you feel stuck or find what you’re doing isn’t resonating with your fans.
The “Secret” to Creating a Social Media Plan for Your Business
Pro Tip: Create a document separated by sections and write your notes as you come to each section
Setting realistic goals is important. Your goals need to be manageable and achievable. Although you will want your goals to be sales oriented, don’t do this.
Example of a sales oriented goal:
Get 1400 fans to increase sales -or- Use social media weekly to get $100 more a week in sales
Example of a solid social media goal:
Post to Facebook a minimum of 2x weekly to start. -or- Respond to every comment on our Instagram photos
As a business you want sales, we get it. If you are approaching social media as a sales tool, STOP NOW! Although social media can result in sales, approaching it as a sales tool will show in your content therefore it will be sensed by your fans and it will turn people away. Do NOT post about your product or service regularly. Social media is a tool to ENGAGE with people. If you remember that, you will go far.
We can not stress how important it is to research your company name to find mentions and feedback. So many businesses are unaware of poor reviews, feedback, or damaging information on the internet pertaining to them. It’s also important to note if there is a different business with the same or similar name that may be affecting your brand perception.
Research and document what you find about your company on search and on review sites including where you show up on search. This is important to note, as your end goal should always include showing up higher on search.
Take an audit of your social media accounts
Document the following:
Do you have a profile and header image for each site?
Do your header and profile image fit properly? Are they stretched out or cut off? (If so, this needs to move to top priority)
How many followers do you have? (this is important to note so you can track your progress)
What does your current content look like? What has the posting schedule been (weekly, monthly, sporadic?)
What is your interaction? (Likes, comments, shares, etc)
Write all of this information down and separate it by social network
Look at your competitors/ industry leaders
Look at what other people in your industry are doing. This includes your competitors. Take note of what they are posting as well as how many fans they have and what their interaction looks like. You will get a lot of ideas during this process, especially if you look at leaders in your industry.
Use the results of this process to inspire your own content, but do NOT copy other people. Your social media plan is all about your businesses and should be reflective of your strengths and what you have to offer. Be unique. You may find out that your industry is pretty dry and no one is getting great interaction. In which case, you may find your plan is to do something completely different than what everyone else is doing, and that’s OK!
3.Form your plan
Look at your compiled information as if you were looking at someone else’s business. Oftentimes approaching business from an objective perspective will help us see things much differently.
Write down your ideas for each network. Include ideas for content as well as a posting schedule and ideas to interact with other people.
Your ideas will be vast and different, and that’s OK. Just do your best to make them realistic and doable. Having goals that are too large will discourage you from continuing your plan.
After writing down all of the ideas you can think of start forming a plan that can be executed. Be sure to include networking and interacting, social media is not a one-sided conversation.
4.Keep It Real
Do not make a plan that is so ambitious it is unrealistic. Make sure it’s something you can easily do, or hire someone to do on your behalf. We would all love to have production quality videos for every post, but that may not be realistic. It’s also not very flattering to your brand to have all of your content posted as generic links or shares from other people. Find a balance and keep it doable.
Initial steps to get started
Writing down the first steps you need to take including fixing any header or profile images will keep you organized and on the right track. It will also keep your plan clean so you won’t get to you work only to realize you forgot where to start. This will alleviate a lot of headache for your team while also giving them a place to pick up from when you hand tasks off.
You are welcome to use this as a guide and cater it to your business. If you find there are changes to the process that work better for you, we’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Looking for even more great ideas or help with your social media campaign? Contact us for more information!
Mandy Davis is the owner of Ingrain Social Media a boutique marketing agency in Bend, Oregon that specializes in digital marketing with an emphasis on social media marketing. Mandy helps clients from all walks of life and industries get their brands found online.