You need a social media plan to make it on social media as a business. It helps you guide your actions, track your efforts, and drive revenue for your business on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other networks.
If you’re new to social media for businesses, we’re here to help. We’ve laid out a step-by-step social media plan you can use in your marketing strategy.
Before you start a social media plan, be aware that you may not see amazing results at first. This is especially true for new businesses that haven’t been on social media before.
It’s important to be patient and persistent once you learn the ropes. Post at different times, try new content, and track meaningful metrics. Soon, you’ll discover which content, timing, and frequency are right for you.
The Social Media Plan
Here’s a tried and true social media plan that can help your business get more profit and recognition.
1. Set Your Goals
Your social media plan should have goals. Otherwise, you won’t be able to track your return on investment. Also, your social media goals should align with your business goals. Therefore, analyze how social media can impact your business.
For example, you may want to:
- Position your company as an authority in your field – by sharing high-quality content, answering questions, etc.
- Drive traffic to your website – by sharing blog posts, links to your site, etc.
- Learn more about your customers – by watching their interactions, engaging with them, etc.
- Generate new leads – by reaching out to the vast audience on social media.
- Grow a follower community – by creating and sustaining Facebook groups, Twitter chats, and more.
- Grow your revenue – which is a key goal for most businesses.
Building strong brand awareness doesn’t mean creating many promo messages. To do that, share meaningful content and display a unique brand personality on social media.
2. Set Your Audience
Knowing your target audience is key to creating content they will engage with. It’s also important to plan how to turn your social media fans into loyal customers. Marketing to the wrong audience can spell disaster for your business.
You likely have a specific target audience, so try creating audience personas. Consider the real needs and wants of your fans and prospects. That allows you to adjust your tone and social media content.
To create a focused buyer persona, consider criteria such as age, gender, location, job title, income, and pain points. Their frequented social networks and the devices they use also matter.
For example, you identified your ideal customers as homeowners. That’s a good start, but you may want to narrow down the criteria. A homeowner in the United States between 35 and 65 years of age earns over $50,000 and mostly uses Facebook – as a better client persona.
3. Analyze Competitors
While you should keep your content on brand and unique, there’s no harm in watching the competition. Chances are your competitors are on social media, meaning you can peek at what they’re doing.
Run a competitive social media analysis to learn what your competition is doing well and not so well. That also helps you know if your audience is on a specific outlet and what content they like most. And while you’re at it, why not draw inspiration from them?
Also, Facebook provides great case studies of social media campaigns from top companies. The Facebook Awards and The Shorty Awards are great sources of social media inspiration as well.
4. Choose Your Social Channels
You don’t have to be on all social media networks. Choose the ones that your audience likes the most. The no-brainer ones are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and Instagram. Pinterest and Snapchat are also very popular, but these aren’t suitable for all businesses.
When choosing social channels, take into account their demographics. For instance, Facebook is where millennials and Gen X’ers are most likely to engage with content. However, Instagram is dominated by the 18-29 age demographic.
Once you decide which channels to use, you also need to adjust the direction of your social media plan. Which platform will you use the most? What type of content can you make? Is that content suited for your targeted networks? Answering these questions can help you refine your approach on each platform.
5. Fill Out Your Profiles
Once you’ve chosen your networks, make sure to fill out your profiles completely. If you already have profiles, improve them to suit your social media strategy. Fill out all profile fields with accurate information, including keywords. Also, use correctly sized images that match your brand image.
Be careful how you write your company description. Avoid jargon, tailor the keywords to your audience, and keep the language fresh. And most of all – spell out the benefits (what’s in it for your followers?).
Use the same profile photo (with the right size based on the channel) on all your networks. It’s also important to monitor your profiles to keep them complete and updated. A completed profile showcases your professionalism and that you’re serious about engaging. Also, ensure your profile photo and cover image match your website style and reflect your branding.
6. Establish Your Voice and Tone
Your voice and tone should reflect your unique personality. You may want to use a more professional tone if your target audience is businesses. But if you target consumers, keep your tone more friendly and approachable.
Besides the text, your tone and voice should also apply to your visuals.
Moreover, use a consistent tone and voice in the blog, copy, and other original text you create. Consistency improves clarity and avoids confusion among your followers.
If you’re not sure about what tone you should have, ask yourself:
- What kind of personality would my brand have if it were a person?
- What personality traits would my brand persona not include?
- What’s my brand’s relationship to prospects if it were a person?
- What should customers think about my company?
7. Create Content and Choose a Posting Strategy
Your posts should reflect your social media goals. This way, your content works to support your business goals. As such, mix your content to align with those goals. For example, try the 80-20 rule:
- 80% informs, educates, or entertains your audience
- 20% promotes your brand
Alternatively, try the social media rule of thirds:
- One-third: Market your business, convert readers, and generate profit.
- Another third: Promote ideas and stories from leaders in your industry.
- And lastly: Share personal interactions with your followers.
Popular content types include:
- Blog posts
- Landing pages
- Website pages
- News announcements
- Customer Testimonials
Furthermore, think about how often to post. Note that the frequency of your posts depends on the network, your industry, and the quality of your content.
As a general rule, share this many posts each day:
- one or two posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram
- three or more on Twitter
- five or more times on Pinterest
Once you’ve laid out your content, organize it in a social media posting calendar. You can find many free templates online. Assign posts on each day of the month ahead of time. it. Posting content using a schedule saves you time and makes your content look more organized.
Use branded images for each social media post. Posts with images get considerably more engagement than posts with just plain text. In addition, add calls to action in your posts that promote your products or services to your audience.
And remember, you don’t only have to post original content. Links to articles on other websites also attract viewers, provided they are relevant to your business.
8. Automate Your Content
A social media plan wouldn’t be complete without a social media automation tool. Whether you use Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, or another, they help you save a lot of time. Most of these tools have a free plan with support for a few channels and a paid plan to accommodate hundreds of channels simultaneously.
Simply create all the content you want for a time frame, then schedule it based on your social media calendar. You can always come back and edit/delete the posts as you wish.
Also, don’t be afraid to post the same content on all platforms. However, your posts might require a few tweaks, depending on the platform. For instance, interactions are highest on Instagram posts with over 11 hashtags.
Do you value your time? Use an automation tool!
9. Track Efforts
See what posts engage more with your followers using analytics/insights and use the information to improve your content.
The key metrics you need to track should align with your social media goals. If you want to measure awareness, track metrics like reach and impressions. To measure engagement, look for likes, shares, and comments. To measure traffic, count the clicks and conversions. And so on.
Use the built-in analytics tool on each platform to find this information. Most major networks have one. Yet, if you’re serious about social media, look for third-party social media analytics tools. Many of them offer advanced insights to help you market your business on social media.
Over time, you’ll need to adjust your social media plan guidelines to achieve the best results. The social media industry is ever-changing, and what works today may be obsolete six months from now. As you work on your social media presence, you’ll learn your audience’s preferences and the best ways to reach them. Experiment, post great content consistently, engage the audience, adjust, and you’ll soon reap the social media rewards.
Ready to Roll?
If you need a social media plan and don’t have time to go the DIY route, we can help! Although we like working with many types of businesses, we have created a social media and content marketing strategy just for franchises. Call us today!