Social media became a must-have tool for many businesses out there. Are these companies using social networks to their full potential, though?
Simply creating a profile and posting random content every once in a while is not enough anymore. Actually, it never was. Yet, many businesses don’t seem to have a documented social media marketing strategy that will bring them success.
It might not seem like a big deal at first, but not having a clear social media plan and well-set workflow often means missing out on seeing any results from your social media marketing efforts.
However, if you dedicate your time to doing it right, you can easily set your goals and achieve them in a jiffy. In this article, you will learn how to create a social media plan.
A social media plan, in other words a social media strategy, is ultimately an insightful summary of everything you plan on doing and hope to achieve on your social media profiles. Setting up a well thought-out strategy for your business in terms of its social media presence is highly beneficial. The more specific and detailed your plan is, the better your performance will be.
If your social media platforms perform well, your brand awareness will increase, you will acquire more customers, your social proof will become visible, and your company will gain more credibility. All of this contributes to strengthening your position on the market as a professional organisation.
Now that you know the answer to ‘what is a social media plan?’, let’s explore some insightful statistics before we share with you our ultimate guide to planning a social media campaign.
The times when businesses used social media purely for fun are far behind us. Now, it’s all about building brand awareness, making profit, providing social proof, and simply growing your businesses. Nothing provides better proof than numbers and statistics, so let’s see what this year is telling us in terms of social media and its importance:
- 55% of the World’s population are users of social media.
- As of October 2021, Facebook is the most widely used social media platform, with 2.89 billion people using it monthly. k is the most widely used social media platform.
- On average, people spend about 2h 27 mins per day on social media.
- 93,33% of Internet users are on social media.
As it can be seen, social media platforms have a lot of potential that companies should want to invest in to grow their businesses. Without further ado, let’s see how to make a social media plan.
Simply knowing how to create a social media plan is not enough, you surely know that by now. Without further ado, let’s reveal the secret recipe for the most perfect social media plan you will ever find. Once you understand how to make a social media plan that will be effective, you will be on the right path to achieving your objectives.
1. Define your starting point.
Realizing where you are at when it comes to your social media marketing activities should be the very first thing you do. Before you come up with a proper social media plan, take a closer look at your own profiles as well as those of your competitors. This will help you identify what works and what doesn’t. How to do that exactly? Here is what we recommend before you start planning a social media campaign:
- Prepare a SWOT analysis to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your business as well as the opportunities and threats it faces from the external business environment.
- Conduct a PESTEL analysis to explore and understand where you and your company stands politically, economically, socially, technologically, environmentally, and legally.
- Research your competitors as well as your industry and find out how your business can stand out from them to be unique.
- Conduct a social media audit to check how, where, and with what results you have been communicating up til now – this will allow you to assess growth, opportunities, and anything that can be done to improve your social presence.
2. Specify your target group.
Understanding your audience is crucial to a successful social media marketing plan. After all, you should be creating content (from scratch or reusing curated content) that your target group likes, comments on, and shares. Luckily, there are a few ways to get to know your audience.
- First, check out who your content resonates the most with and see whether this group matches the ideal audience for your brand – with qualified leads you will convert your audience to customers in no time.
- Get familiar with relevant surveys, reports, and statistics to gain more insights.
- Come up with a few personas to represent that ideal audience. This will basically be a detailed description of specific people, with real wants and needs, who you want to turn into your fans and followers. Knowing your average follower’s persona will allow you to adjust your social media campaigns according to your real audience’s expectations.
To create an effective social media strategy, you need to understand your competition. Which kinds of content are they publishing, what tone are they using, and how often are they posting?
Take some time to study your competitors and see what you can learn from them. Also, pay attention to their statistics such as reach and engagement rates. They will be good indicators of the strength of your competition, as well as how much potential there may be for you to break into this market.
Use that information to improve your own strategy.
Keep an eye on your competitors’ strategies after you’ve made your content plan – being up to date with each and every step they take will help you stay ahead.
4. Set the objectives.
Smart, detailed goals will allow you to create well-structured campaigns, measure your progress, and optimize your social media strategy in the long run. How to distinguish a proper objective, as opposed to a vague one? See the difference for yourself:
VAGUE OBJECTIVE: I will increase my number of fans on Facebook.
SMART GOAL: By the end of the year, I will increase the average engagement rate per post on my Facebook profile by 2%.
There is a very useful objective planning model called SMART that will help you design your objectives when it comes to planning a social media campaign. According to this model, your objectives should be:
Specific – sensible, significant, and simple
Measurable – meaningful and motivating
Achievable – agreed and attainable
Relevant – reasonable, realistic, results-based, and resourced
Time-bound – time-based, time-limited, and time/cost limited
In order to make it all work, you should:
- Establish your expectations and specific goals derived from a social media marketing plan. What would you like to achieve through your social media presence? Do these goals line up with the overall marketing strategy for your brand?
- Set relevant social media KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that should accompany your social media marketing strategy at all times.
- Make sure you will be able to achieve those objectives.
Beware of so-called vanity metrics! These are numbers that you can easily keep track of, but don’t mean much for your business – just like the number of followers on social media does. Examples of worthwhile KPIs include: Engagement rate among your target group; CPA: CPC, CPL, and CPS; Reach; and Referral traffic to your website.
5. Pick the right communication channels.
Social media is so much more than just Facebook. When choosing the best platforms for your business, you should look at the benefits of each and every one of them. Basically, the aim is to choose the social networks that are used by your target audience the most and suit your brand’s image at the same time. Once you decide which platforms you’re going to include in your social media strategy, it’s time to plan a social media marketing plan for every social network.
- Be where your target group is. That doesn’t necessarily have to be Facebook or Instagram – you can find your target audience on other social networks as well. Check out some of the other most popular social media platforms in 2021 worldwide such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, or even Quora.
- Get familiar with the requirements and unique features of each platform. For example, some social networks offer live video streaming options, while others let you make good use of groups,
- Once you have finished creating a social media plan, set up the “missing” accounts and improve your existing profiles.
6. Think of the best communication lines and content formats for every platform.
In order to diversify your content, you should create unique posts for each social network with their features in mind. Consider incorporating user-generated content, live videos, stories, and polls in your social media content strategy, just to name a few. The possibilities here are endless, but you should always make sure that at least some of your content actually supports your overall business goals. For example, you may decide that a part of your content aims to drive traffic to your blog, another part supports lead generation, and the remaining part educates and entertains the audience. The ratio here is entirely up to you, though.
- Decide what you want to communicate. What would seem the most attractive for your target audience?
- Identify the content formats you are going to take advantage of and make sure they are all well-designed,
- Specify how often you are going to post on social networks.
- Define your brand attributes, if you have any. These can be certain hashtags, using your logo on every visual, or even developing a specific template for all of your social media posts.
A successful social media marketing strategy often requires a motivated team. It’s important not only to have the best people on board but also to distribute tasks between them wisely, and then ensure seamless collaboration in order to actually complete those tasks effortlessly.
- Define your social media workflow and name specific tasks,
- Decide who is responsible for what part of the whole social media content strategy (i.e. creating copy or visuals, approving and scheduling posts, moderating the profile),
- Take advantage of dedicated tools to ease collaboration between team members,
Don’t forget to include your client (if applicable) – in fact, client approval is often necessary to maintain a certain brand voice. With solutions like this, your work becomes less complex and time-consuming – instead of exchanging numerous emails, you can do all your tasks in one place comfortably for everyone.
Speaking of tools, you will definitely need one not only to manage your team but also social media profiles in general, especially if you’re in charge of a few of them. Actually, a good social media management tool often proves to be essential for social media marketing efforts.
- Think about your needs. Rather than jumping straight into research, specify your own goals and priorities first.
- Do your research. Once you know what you’re looking for, finding tools that have the potential to meet your needs will be much easier. Actually, you will have a proper set of criteria to measure the alternatives against.
- Test out a few different tools before you decide which one will suit your business best.
Useful tools: Kontentino.
9. Organize your content properly.
Having a content calendar is a great way to keep track of all holidays, events and other important dates. In fact, social campaigns based on specific events tend to attract more attention. It’s not the only perk of having a proper social media calendar, though. You can easily plan and schedule your posts (as outlined in your social media content strategy), and ensure that you’re maintaining your brand voice across various social networks.
- Take advantage of your social media management tool. Most likely, the tool you’ve chosen allows you to create your own content calendar. Make good use of this feature.
- Plan your content wisely. Choose the optimal times and frequency that work for your target audience best.
- Always plan content in advance, and keep an open eye for current trends and viral events online that could suit your business – posting about trending content with popular hashtags will allow you to stand out even more.
10. Maximize your reach.
Nowadays, simply posting your content may not be enough to get a lot of attention. Fortunately, there are some ways to maximize your reach.
- Invest in paid campaigns. You can easily boost your posts and target the audience you want to. Make sure they are optimized.
- Use retargeting. To get your message across, consider targeting those who are already familiar with your brand. While you’re at it, you can also use link retargeting and grow your audience this way. If that sounds like something that might interest you, check out how you can do it with Rocketlink.
- Team up with influencers. Find those with a similar target audience to yours, who post attractive content and have a significant reach at the same time.
- Use other marketing methods to complement your social media strategy. As mentioned before, a social media plan should be part of your overall marketing strategy and thus bring you closer to achieving your business goals. If possible, though, don’t just put all eggs into one basket and go for omnichannel campaigns instead.
Figuring out what works and what doesn’t should be your priority from day one. Technically, the more you track, the more insights you can gain – and that’s precisely why you should keep an eye on how well your content is performing.
- Decide how you’re going to track the results (you can take advantage of the native features of each social network, or use your social media management tool, for example).
- Strive to increase conversions and improve your social media content strategy at all times. If you notice that some posts are not performing as you would expect them to, try to figure out why.
Your social media marketing key performance indicators (KPIs), will help you track the success of your social media strategy and measure your return on investment (ROI).
Some common KPIs include:
- engagement rate and/or reach in your target group
- website traffic from social media sources
- conversion rates from social media visitors
- leads generated from social media activity
- revenue generated from social media marketing
Choose the KPIs that are most important to your brand and track them regularly. This will help you determine whether or not your social media strategy is successful.
Without KPIs, you won’t know what you’re working toward or if your efforts are actually making a difference. So, you should definitely find a place for them in your social media strategy.
Social media strategy – Template
Developing a social media strategy might seem like a lot to process. If you feel overwhelmed at this point – don’t worry. We created a social media strategy template that you can download for free:
Now that you know how to develop a social media plan (and you even have a template for it!), it’s time to get inspired and learn from the best. Speaking of, Nike definitely has one of the best social media strategies. It is mostly because the brand keeps all posts consistent: highlighting the athletes that they partner with, using concise copy and a motivational tone of voice that apparently works wonders among fans and followers (given the numbers). Even though Nike has separate profiles for different product lines, it’s clear to see that there is a well-thought-out social media plan for each of them.
Domino’s may not be the example of a great social media strategy, but it’s still definitely worth taking a look at. The brand is well-known for its creativity when it comes to marketing campaigns in general. Indeed, many of them revolve around social media, but Domino’s seems to be doing a pretty good job when posting on their profiles on a daily basis as well. The content might not be innovative, but it’s definitely coherent and often attracts lots of attention.
Another successful social media strategy example belongs to Missguided. Actually, Instagram appears to be a crucial channel for this fashion retailer. No wonder – a well-balanced combination of user-generated content, lifestyle posts, and special offers keep their followers engaged at all times.
Not having a clear goal
Before you start crafting any kind of social media strategy, you need to know what you want to achieve. Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive more traffic to your website, or generate more leads?
Once you know your goal, you can create content and campaigns that align with it. If you don’t have a clear goal, there’s no way of knowing how successful your efforts are and your efforts might be wasted.
There are many different goals you can have for your social media strategy, but some of the most common ones are:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Driving more website traffic
- Generating more leads
- Increasing customer loyalty and engagement
- Supporting other marketing efforts
Focusing on vanity metrics
Vanity metrics aren’t always a bad thing, but you need to be careful with them. They don’t provide any information about the success of your social media strategy or how much money they make for your brand.
Some examples of vanity metrics include:
- the number of followers you have on social media channels
- the number of likes and comments you receive on your posts
- the number of times your content is shared or retweeted
If you’re using social media channels for marketing, these metrics aren’t the most important things to measure. Focus instead on KPIs that can provide an accurate picture of how well your campaigns are doing and whether or not they are paying off in terms of revenue.
Not targeting the right audience
It’s important to know who you’re targeting with your social media strategy. Just because you have a large following doesn’t mean that each and every one of them is the right audience for what you sell or provide.
For example, if you own an Italian restaurant in Paris, it wouldn’t make sense to target people living in Brussels with your social media strategy. You would be better off targeting people living in or around Paris with an interest in that cuisine.
Make sure you know who your target audience is and that you are creating appealing content for them. This will increase the chances of your social media strategy being successful.
Neglecting other marketing channels
It’s important to know where your target audience spends most of their time online. If they’re not actively using social media channels, you might want to focus on other marketing efforts instead.
For example, if a large percentage of your target group uses Instagram regularly then it would make more sense to invest time and resources into running an Instagram campaign rather than trying to promote your restaurant on Twitter.
Even if you use social media channels for marketing purposes, that doesn’t mean they are the only ones you should be using or paying attention to in your strategy.
Posting without a plan or schedule
Having a social media content plan or schedule before you post anything is crucial for the success of your social media strategy. It will mean that all of your posts will be relevant, timely, and consistent with the rest of your marketing efforts. Of course, you should also be prepared to make changes to your social media plan when necessary.
If you don’t have a plan or schedule, your posts will likely be all over the place and not very effective. A content calendar can help you stay organized and avoid this problem.
It’s easy to post content and leave it at that. But if you want your social media strategy to be successful, you need to go one step further.
Add value by creating engaging posts that provide people with useful information or advice on subjects they’re interested in. You can also run competitions, surveys, and giveaways to engage with your audience.
This will help you create a loyal community of followers who not only follow you for updates about what’s going on at your business, but also because they enjoy interacting with you online.
Now when someone asks you ‘What is a social media plan?’, you will know how to answer the question. Even though developing a social media strategy may seem like a lot of work at first, in reality, it’s quite simple. Knowing how to create a social media plan is highly beneficial for companies wishing to improve their social media presence and grow their business. Once you plan it well and define your social media workflow, managing multiple social media profiles will come naturally. That’s precisely why you should dedicate some time in the early stages to making sure your social media plan is in good shape, and choose a reliable social media management tool to help you organise your content across social media platforms.