Every action you take on social networks should be a part of a larger social media marketing strategy. That means every post, reply, like, and comment should all be guided by a plan that is driving toward business goals. It might sound complicated, but if you take the time to create a comprehensive social media strategy, the rest of your social efforts should follow naturally. Everyone can do this if they approach it correctly. To learn what a social media marketing plan should include, and follow our step by step plan for creating your own.
What is a social media marketing plan?
A social media marketing plan is the summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve for your business using social media networks. This plan should comprise an audit of where your accounts are today, goals for where you want them to be in the near future, and all the tools you want to use to get there. The more specific you can get with your plan, the more effective you’ll be in its implementation. Try to keep it concise. Don’t make your social media marketing strategy so lofty and broad that it becomes unattainable. The plan will guide your actions, but it will also be a measure by which you determine whether you’re succeeding or failing. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure from the outset.
Step 1: Create social media objectives and goals
The first step to any social media marketing strategy is to establish the objectives and goals that you hope to achieve. Having these objectives also allows you to quickly react when social media campaigns are not meeting your expectations. Without goals, you have no means of gauging success.
These goals should be aligned with your broader marketing strategy, so that your social media efforts drive toward your business objectives. If your social media marketing strategy is shown to support business goals, you’re more likely to get executive buy-in and investment.
Go beyond vanity metrics such as reshare, reposts, retweets and Likes. Focus on advanced metrics such as leads generated, web referrals, and conversion rate etc. You should also use the SMART framework when setting your goals. This means that each objective should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
For example, “For Instagram we will share photos that communicate our company culture. We will do this by posting three photos a week. The target for each is at least 30 likes and 5 comments.”
A simple way to start your social media marketing plan is by writing down at least three social media goals. Make sure to ask yourself what the goal will look like when completed, and use that to determine how you will track it.
Step 2: Conduct a social media audit
Prior to creating your social media marketing plan, you need to assess your current social media use and how it’s working. This means figuring out who is currently connecting with you via social, which social media sites your target market uses, and how your social media presence compares to your competitors. Once you’ve conducted your audit you should have a clear picture of every social account representing your business, who runs or controls them, and what purpose they serve. This inventory should be maintained regularly, especially as you scale your business.
It should also be evident which accounts need to be updated and which need to be deleted altogether. If your audit uncovers fraudulent accounts e.g a fake branded Twitter profile, report them. Reporting fraudulent accounts will help ensure that people searching for you online only connect with the accounts you manage.
As part of your social media audit you’ll also want to create mission statements for each network. These one-sentence declarations will help you focus on a very specific goal for Instagram, Facebook, or any other social network. They will guide your actions and help steer you back on track if your efforts begin to lag. Take the time you need to determine the purpose of every social profile you have. If you can’t figure out its purpose, you should probably delete that profile.
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