Social media has become an effective marketing avenue for many businesses. There are many benefits, but perhaps the most appealing aspect for many is its affordability. However, one thing businesses run into frequently is that they reach a plateau. While they may rack up a few followers and gain some interest, things can go stagnant quickly without a plan.
Like any type of marketing, social media marketing requires some thought. Without it, you may end up with a marketing attempt or campaign that’s unsuccessful. With the multitude of platforms available, it’s essential to do some research before putting together a strategy. Here are the steps you need to take to create and implement a social media marketing plan that has far more potential to be effective.
Step 1: Find Your Audience
To gain followers and leads, you have to know who’s going to be interested. You can achieve this a few ways. Utilize whatever data you have within your business as to whom your customers are. Are they young, old, male, female or across the spectrum? What are their hobbies, interests, and general buyer personas? If you haven’t figured out your customer base, then that’s where you need to start.
After you’ve got a good handle on whom your service or product attracts, you can determine where they are. Each social media platform draws different types of users. The information is readily available. For example, Business Insider recently had a social media demographics report. Tools like this one will help you list some platforms to target for your social media marketing plan.
Step 2: Explore Your Platform Options
It’s tempting to try it all when you’re first starting out. That can backfire on you by splitting your attention and efforts in too many directions before you’ve found your rhythm. Instead, narrow it down to a few platforms to begin with. Look at why they may work for your company. Some things to think about are:
Do we have a creative team that will make interesting and unique content for this platform?
You may have a skilled photographer, or someone whose passion is making and editing videos. Perhaps you have an excellent writer, or someone with incredible graphic skills. Pull on talent that already exists within your company.
Use something old and new
You may be tempted to go to the hottest platform, or maybe the most established. It’s nice to have a mix. The established platforms stay valid for a reason, while you may want to catch some leads from the new popular spot.
What is your goal?
Your end goal for using social media may determine which platforms you choose. Do you want customer feedback? Do you want people to buy your product or service? Do you simply want to gain notice as a business? Choose the platforms that will help you reach that goal.
Step 3: Determine Content
The most crucial part of content is quality. Don’t slap up retweets or poorly written content, but instead research what does well in your industry and find ways to offer it in a new and engaging way. Create a theme and brand, so you become recognizable. If you’re unsure about how to do this, research what successful social media use looks like. You can even find examples for specific platforms, like Facebook.
Step 4: Determine Frequency
There is an art to social media. You don’t want to overdo it and become a nuisance, but you don’t want to under do it either. The key is balance. You can get started by looking at well-researched data about what frequency is just right.
Step 5: Put Together a Calendar
Use the editorial calendar concept for your social media as well. In fact, there are free templates floating around the web that will help you stay on track.
Step 6: Launch Your Social Media Marketing Plan
Once you have a strategy, the content, and a calendar, launch your social media marketing plan. Choose a launch date, and get yourself out there.
Step 7: Stay Consistent
This is essential! Stick with your plan. That means posting consistently and whenever your calendar tells you to.
Step 8: Interact and Respond
Don’t solely rely on your calendar. If you gather followers and start getting interaction, take the time to respond. It will only boost your presence.
Step 9: Note What Is Most Popular
Keep track of posts that get a lot of traffic or increase your followers.
These are the ones you’ll want to focus on when designing new content.
Step 10: Stay Creative
Always be ready to add platforms, switch them, and come up with new campaigns to stay valid. Your social media marketing plan will be an ever-evolving thing.
To learn more about implementing a social media marketing plan, check out our white paper, "What is a Digital Content Strategy? And Why You Need One."