Creating a social media marketing plan is like learning how to bake for the first time.
In baking, you must know all the ingredients, tools, procedures, and sometimes, secret formulas. Social media for small business is no different because it revolves around the same elements.
First, YOU NEED A PLAN!
This article will help you come up with a great social media marketing plan that works.
I believe that social media (vs traditional media) is certainly the way of the future.
As you can see from the image below, traditional media has been on the decline, while social media has been increasing.
The consumer shift from traditional to social media is real.
Don't get me wrong, traditional media is still effective, however, small businesses are likely to benefit more by focusing on social media.
So, let's take a look at a step by step social media marketing plan you can use...
The last thing you need is more complexity and difficulty in your life, I promise this guide is simple and easy to follow.
As a small business marketing consultant and digital marketing agency, I understand how difficult it can be to draft a social media marketing plan.
Don't worry, I'm here to help!
Let me start with...
Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment. - Lao Tzu
Examining your brand's current social media presence is first on this list because it is VERY IMPORTANT to know your current situation. To come up with a social media marketing plan, you need a 360-view of what things look like today.
Consider the following when auditing your business’s social media presence:
Part of Customer Development is understanding which customers make sense for your business. - Steve Blank
In order to effectively communicate with your audience, you must know who they are first. This is marketing strategy 101.
You want to communicate with your ideal customers in a way that speaks and resonates with them. That is how you will get engagement on social media.
Going narrow is a good thing and will allow you to really identify the type of content that will be most appropriate for your audience. For example, your messaging will be much more effective if you are targeting male consumers between the age of 25 to 40, residing in the US, with a monthly income of $40K-$60K compared to male consumers.
Considering demographics when identifying your ideal customer can be helpful.
The particular demographics you consider may vary, but really narrowing down who your ideal customers are will be incredibly helpful for you.
The following social media demographics and stats may help you identify the best social networks for you to consider.
In social media marketing, having a mission is vital. You must know why you're doing it in the first place.
I would recommend your social media mission be focused on adding value to your target market in some way, shape, or form. Social media is about engaging and communicating with your target market. If you are solely focused on trying to sell stuff I guarantee you will struggle with it.
For example, if you own an online clothing shop, your social media mission might be:
"To use social media to create an online community of clothing fanatics and provide them a place to get the best clothing care tips, clothing trends, and style secrets available online."
Don't forget your social media mission should be unique and related to what you do as a business. There are plenty of companies killing it on social media you can learn from. Take the best of what you find and incorporate it into your social media marketing plan.
If you can't measure it, you can't improve it. - Peter Drucker
The main goal of launching a social media marketing campaign is usually to grow your business or influence. So, how do you measure success?
By identifying and analyzing key performance metrics.
Here are some important metrics you might consider tracking for certain social media platforms:
Here's a great resource if you'd like an in-depth look at the analytics and metrics for the most popular social networks.
All the tactics and planning in the world don't matter if you lack a marketing strategy.
Grab our eBook below to learn why strategy matters...
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote your business online - but only when it's done right. - John Rampton
Some of the content you promote on social media will be curated (ie. republishing someone else's content), but part of it needs to be your own content too.
I'm not going to lie, creating content takes time (your time) or money (so you can pay someone to create it).
There are many types of content marketing you can focus on. To start, choose no more than one or two types of content you can produce and promote on social media.
The big mistake many small businesses make is they try too many forms of content at once and end up doing a really poor job with all of them. Focus and do a great job before you decide to expand.
Whether you are posting curated content or original content, keep an eye on what your community responds to so you can continually improve your social media engagement.
We all use calendars to keep track of our schedule, so how can you possibly manage and execute your social media marketing plan without having a detailed calendar of what needs to happen and when it needs to happen?
I just talked about creating strong content, now you need to determine how often you are going to post and where you are going to post.
Constant Contact put out a post about how often you should post on social media. Here's a brief overview:
Focus on adding value to your community. Post information that will educate and inform.
It's totally OK to promote your business (offers, events, promotions, product launches, etc.), but I'd keep it below 25% of your social posts.
Having a social media calendar will let you know what, when, and where you need to post. It will be game changing for you!
For an in-depth look, this is a great resource on how to create a social media calendar.
We shape our tools and afterward our tools shape us. - Marshall McLuhan
Remember my article about time management and time leverage to improve productivity? Social media marketing also requires the same skills to be productive.
Social media management is a tedious task that can eat a lot of your time. Creating your content alone can take hours to do. Manually posting your content multiple times a day can eat away at your time.
Expert marketers leverage tools to increase productivity. Here is a list of the best social media marketing tools.
Don't go overboard with the tools. Find no more than 1 to 3 that will meet your needs and run with it.
If you don't optimize for the consumer on the Internet, you're dead. Dara Khosrowshahi
How do you improve your social media marketing? Track, Analyze, & Optimize it.
Track your social media marketing activity based on the metrics you've identified are important for you.
Analyze your campaigns to understand what is working and what's not. Your social media management tools can help you analyze your campaigns.
Optimize your process to improve on your weaknesses and leverage your strengths. Invest in more of the things that work and cut down on the ones that don't.
It is that simple! Who says creating a social media marketing plan is a pain? It really isn't with these 8 steps.
Remember, if you don't have the time, inclination, or skills to create a plan and put it into action, seek help from people who have the right experience. There's nothing wrong with hiring other people to manage your social media so you can focus on what you do best (whatever that may be).
I hope this helped you. Feel free to reach out with any questions or comment below. If you feel this info is worth sharing we'd be completely honored.
Header image courtesy of Pexels.
Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Mobile Marketing. At Rialto Mobile Marketing we create marketing systems to help small businesses achieve simple, sustainable growth. We help small businesses differentiate themselves from the competition, work with more ideal clients, command a premium for their products and services, and make marketing easier with consistent, repeatable results.