7 STEPS FOR AN EFFECTIVE SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING PLAN
Do you have a social media marketing plan?
If your answer is no, I want you to ask yourself the following questions:
Do you want to connect more with your target audience?
Are you wondering how to create relevant social media content consistently?
If you plan your social media content strategy, not only does it keep your marketing on-brand, but it also makes it more likely that you’ll reach your business goals.
In this article, you’ll discover how to create an effective social media marketing plan for your business.
First though, let’s run over the social media strategy definition:
A social media marketing strategy is an overview of everything you plan and hope to achieve on social media. It guides your actions and lets you know whether you’re succeeding or failing. The more specific your strategy is, the more effective the execution will be.
Now we know what it means, let’s get into the tips.
P.S. To get started mapping out all these tips, be sure to download the free content calendar template by clicking the image below!
#1 | Understand How Your Ideal Customer Moves From Awareness To Conversion
Whether you’ve been in business for 10 weeks or 10 years, defining your target customer is crucial. You may think it’s easy to define your target customer. Don’t you just base it on the usual demographics, like age and gender?
You need to go beyond just identifying their marital status, where they live, and what their hobbies are.
We live in the era of “experience”. That means you need to give your customers an experience they’ll fall in love with. Think about Uber and Airbnb. They have grown to be successful companies because they provide a great customer experience while fulfilling a need.
Put yourself in the shoes of your target customers. What is their first thought when researching a product or service? How do they progress from there? And most importantly, what’s the final question they ask before making a purchase?
I know this can be difficult to wrap your head around (especially when it comes to social media marketing). So to better understand, lets analyse two hypothetical customers, Michelle and Jack.
Michelle is a creative entrepreneur and a visual learner (both in her business and life). She’s passionate and inquisitive, always asking questions before making a decision to buy a product or service. Some of her research methods are:
Calling her friends on the phone
Searching in Google
Searching in social media
Michelle’s way of finding answers is through a Pinterest infographic or an Instagram post.
This is how you might identify Michelle’s thought process when purchasing a product or service:
Early ==> What is?…
Middle ==> How do I?…
Late ==> Where can I?…
Jack is more analytical and methodical when it comes to his career and home life. He’s more interested in facts and figures than Michelle; but like Michelle, he talks to his friends and uses Google to collect information. He prefers LinkedIn’s approach to getting answers to his questions.
This is how you might identify Jack’s approach to purchasing a product or service.
Early ==> Do I really?…
Middle ==> What’s involved?…
Late ==> How much?…
The three stages in the customer acquisition journey are always the same, but with a different human approach. Your ideal customers are asking different questions. Your business can build trust by answering their questions and providing valuable content. This can come in the form of:
Take the time to do market research and understand how your target customer thinks. This way, you’ll better understand what content will resonate with them and how you can earn their trust. This is the start of your social media marketing plan.
#2 | Decide Why You’ll Use Social Media For Business (+ Identify KPIs)
Think of KPIs as goals. Defining a goal for your social media efforts is crucial. Because without a goal, you can’t assess the successor failure of your plan.
Here are three potential goals you may have and how to measure them.
Build a Community
Let’s say you’ve spent 12 months building a closed community of people who have engaged with you and bought your product or service. You’ve grown a private Facebook group to 350 members. This may not seem like a lot (considering you have a database of 15,000+ email addresses), but the group is by invitation only and full of nurtured customers.
These are the metrics you can measure when looking at the growth of this specific community:
Number of group members
Engagement on your live videos
Engagement on your daily posts
Questions your group is asking
Increase brand awareness
The biggest reason business owners use social media is to build brand awareness. The average person will spend over 2 hours a day on social media. This is why brand awareness is a key goal for businesses.
Let’s say Twitter is your platform of choice. These are the metrics you could measure to assess brand awareness:
Mentions and shares
Top tweet (to help you understand what content your audience engages with the most)
You can find this data in Twitter Analytics.
Engagement is the second most important metric businesses use to measure social media success. Boosting engagement helps you build brand trust, recommendations and perception online. Engagement is especially important on Facebook and Instagram because their algorithms prioritise posts with higher engagement. These are shown in the feed before posts with less engagement.
For this KPI, you’d want to analyse engagement metrics similar to those discussed above. Also take a closer look at the number of community members who reach out to you on a daily basis through retweets, like, questions and any other communication.
#3 | Choose The Best Social Network To Engage Your Audience
If you have a social media channel strategy that targets every network, you won’t see the results you’re looking for. Especially if you don’t look at each platform’s demographics.
Before deciding which platforms to invest your time in for your social media marketing plan, do some research to find out which social networks attract your target customer. You want to focus on two key areas: network demographics and reciprocity across platforms.
Here are a few facts about each platform.
Facebook has over 1.56 billion monthly active users
79% of online adults use Facebook
The breakdown by age is 18-29 (88%), 30-49 (84%), 50-64 (72%), and 65+ (62%)
A higher percentage of online women use Facebook (83%) than online men (75%)
Facebook users watch more than 100 million hours of video content on the platform daily
Since the launch of Facebook Live, there has been a 700% growth in video views, with people spending 3x longer watching live video than they do recorded video.
Twitter has 330 million monthly active users
24% of online adult men and 25% of online adult women use Twitter
80% of Twitter’s usage is through mobile
22.5% of Twitter users are between the ages of 25 and 34. The next largest age groups are 35-44 at 19.5% and 45-54 at 17.9%
Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users
38% of online adult women use Instagram compared to 26% of online adult men
51% of Instagram users access the platform daily
35% check the platform several times a day
In 2016, Instagram released a new feature called Instagram Stories which now has 500 million daily active users.
Nearly one-third of adult internet users are on Pinterest
45% of online women use the network versus 17% of online men.
LinkedIn is the B2B social network leader and has 250 million monthly unique visitors
The network has members in 200 counties and is available in 24 languages
31% of online adult men use the network versus 27% of online adult women
40% of users check their account daily
2 new members join the network every second
More than 1 million LinkedIn users have published long-form content on the platform
160,000 long-form posts are published each week.
YouTube is the second largest search engine and boasts 167.4 million unique YouTube users per month
400 hours of YouTube video is uploaded every 60 seconds
80% of 18-49-year-olds watch YouTube
YouTube is a male-dominated network at 62%, with females at 38%
The user breakdown by age is 18-24 (11%), 25-34 (23%), 35-44 (26%), 45-54 (16%), 55-64 (8%), 65+ (3%), and unknown age (14%).
Snapchat has 301 million monthly active users
The majority of users are younger than 24 years old and a sizeable portion are between the ages of 13 and 17
A quarter of Snapchat users access the service more than once per day
Social media marketing tips: Consider Social Network Reciprocity
After looking at the demographics for each social network, consider the reciprocity across the main social media platforms. For example, if your target customers’ chosen network is Facebook, how likely are they to use Twitter as well? Pew Research has a good breakdown of the percentage of users of each social media platform who use another social media platform.
#4 | Research Content Topics
Decided which social networks you’ll focus on? Now it’s time to start planning the content for your social media marketing plan. The content you create needs to be specific, relevant, and unique, and not all about “you” as a business.
If your goal is to create content that’s either the next big thing or a viral sensation, that’s not realistic. It’s also the wrong way to approach content creation. Instead, focus your efforts on creating a social media content plan that will engage your audience.
Now that you know who your audience is and where they hang out, get engaged in a two-way conversation. Find out what kind of content your audience wants to consume. Here are some ideas to gather feedback:
Send DMs on Instagram
Run a Twitter poll
Create an audience questionnaire
If you create a questionnaire, decide what you want to achieve and choose your questions accordingly. To encourage more responses, consider offering an incentive for completing the questionnaire.
Top tip: Typeform is an amazing, free tool for creating professional-looking questions and tracking results.
Another way to get the creative juices flowing is to talk to friends, family, and colleagues. Even if they aren’t invested in your business, a conversation may spark content ideas you haven’t already thought of. If your friends or family happen to be your typical ideal customer, that’s even better. Don’t be afraid to ask for their input.
Also look at your competitors - but don’t spend too much time on this.
Follow your competitors online and see what works for them. Maybe it’ll work for you too. Don’t copy their ideas or content, but do find inspiration for your own content. Create a Twitter list or save images to a collection on Instagram to segment the content they’re sharing so you can easily find it.
Top tip: Feedly is an amazing tool for researching your industry online. It can bring together hundreds of great pieces of content that can spark ideas for your own.
#5 | Plan Your Content Calendar
After you’ve done your research, the next part of your social media marketing plan is to create your pillar content. This can come in the form of a:
All my pillar content goes on this blog (and yours should too!), so let’s stick with that example.
First, decide which target customer the content is designed for and then choose a topic. Get specific with topics in your industry.
Next, choose a blog article title. Be sure to choose a keyword for your post and include that as early on in the headline as you can. Pay attention to what type of headline it is and the selection of words that you choose.
Finally, outline the content for each section. Break down your pillar content into four sections:
Introduction: start with an interesting fact/statistic
Body: divide the information into bite-sized chunks
Conclusion: summarise the topic
Call to action: download a free guide or join a free challenge, for example.
Once you know what content you want to create, you need to create a content plan. Luckily for you, I’ve made a template for you based on what I use that you can get access to by clicking the image below.
Now you know the pillar content you’ll be creating, when it’s going live, as well as where you’ll share it. Next is to start developing the micro content you’ll publish on social media.
Top tip: Include Video In Your Social Media Content
When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only around 10% of it 72 hours later. If you pair an image with this information though, people retain 65% more in the same amount of time.
Using video in your social media marketing plan can increase your click-through rates, and including a video on a landing page helps boost conversion rates. Here are some types of video to incorporate into your social media marketing.
Since the introduction of Facebook Live, many businesses are turning to real-time live video marketing to connect with their customers. Instagram also released its own live video feature, as well as Instagram Stories.
The traditional way to market with video is to get in front of a camera and start recording. Use on-camera marketing to give your target audience an insight into your world.
As we said earlier, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Use this to your advantage and start making YouTube videos. Think about starting small with a welcome video or a short introduction to a blog post.
Plus, with YouTube cards, you can add a link to a lead generation product. You can also encourage your audience to watch another one of your videos or subscribe to your channel.
A screencast is a video recording of your computer screen. It’s a great way to run an online training or record a PowerPoint presentation.
If you’re new to video marketing and prefer to stay off-camera, consider creating photo montages. Use a tool like Animoto to tell a story through a collection of images, with an overlay of text and music to give it a professional feel.
Think about using animation for explainer videos or even sketch-type videos. Animated video is slightly more complex than some of the other video options, but you could still give it a go if you’re feeling adventurous.
A hybrid video is a combination or on-screen video and screen sharing. Talk directly to the camera to engage with your audience and then share your screen to show important information in a presentation. Try tools like Zoom, Skype and YouTube Live.
#6 | Build Trust Through Consistent Engagement
The purpose of having a social media marketing plan is about more than just publishing content.
To establish yourself as a thought leader and trusted resource in your industry, you need to engage in two-way conversations. The more open you are and the more you use social media for customer service, the more likely your audience will feel safe. This takes them one step closer to purchasing from you.
On average it takes 8-12 “touches” before a potential customer will buy from your business.
With this in mind, think about the ways you can use a social media communication strategy to shorten the process and turn a potential customer into a paying customer that much quicker.
Here’s an example of that flow:
Meet a potential prospect at a trade show
Follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter
Comment on one of her LinkedIn posts or tweet one of her posts on Twitter
The prospect sends you a direct message through LinkedIn
You ask for her email address and arrange a 30-minute discovery call
The call goes well, so you set up an in-person meeting
After your meeting, you send a follow-up email and agree to start working with the prospect
#7 | Measure Progress And Adjust The Plan
Measuring your success is the final step in your social media marketing plan. You need to know if your efforts are delivering results for your business. This breaks down into three different areas: conversion, reach, and engagement.
Conversions help you determine whether you’re driving traffic/email subscribers/sales from social media. If you’re not, you’ll need to change things up.
To help you analyse your conversions easily and efficiently, you can use a Google Analytics dashboard. This will then give you all the social data you need to measure conversions.
Reach is the number of people you have had an effect on with your content. This metrics helps you gauge how well your social media content is resonating with your target audience. Here are some ways you can assess reach on the different social platforms:
Connections on LinkedIn
Followers on Twitter
Followers on Instagram
Likes on your Facebook page
Views and subscribers on your YouTube channel
Finally, look at engagement metrics to see how many people are interacting with you online. Here are some metrics to measure:
Clicks on social media posts
Retweets and mentions on Twitter
Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn shares
Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn comments
As of June 2017, the number of worldwide social media users reached 2.89 billion people. The question is, what are you doing to stand out from the crowd?
Putting together a social media marketing plan can help you increase engagement, build trust with your audience and help your business thrive.
Don’t forget to download your social media marketing plan template below!
What are your thoughts? Do you have a social media marketing plan for your business? What tips can you offer for create a successful strategy? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!