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Social media takes time and effort. And there is nothing more frustrating than posting content that gets little engagement or creates no traffic.

Part of the problem may be that you do not have a strategic plan in place.

Follow the steps below to create a Social Media Marketing Plan that will keep you focused and on track for better results.

Ready? Let’s get started…

Create a Social Media Marketing Plan

Step 1: Determine Your Target Audience

Why is it critical to know who your audience is? Because you cannot create content unless you know your intended audience. Knowing your audience allows you to create content that resonates. And content that resonates increases engagement which increases the odds of converting your audience to customers.

How do you define your target audience?

Think about your favorite customer. What is it about them that makes them ideal? Consider their age, gender, location, career, hobbies, and personal characteristics. Use this information to create a customer persona. Think about his/her wants and fears. Now write down everything you know about them. Give them a name and make them as real to you as your best friend. This will allow you to speak directly to them when creating content.

Still not sure who your target audience is?

If you already have a social media presence take a look at your demographics. Each platform offers detailed information on who is following and engaging with your content. (This is also a great exercise once you have your strategy in place and have been posting for awhile. It never hurts to double check that your audience is who you think they are.)

Step 2: What Problem Do You Solve

Knowing your ideal customer is step one, but now let’s turn the spotlight around. What does your business do for them? What is the purpose of your business or brand? If you haven’t done this already as part of your overall marketing strategy, now is the time to get it on paper.

Here are some questions to help you get started:

» What problem does your product or service solve?
» What are some common pain points your customers are experiencing?
» What makes you different than your competitors

I know it is easy to gloss over this without writing it down, but I encourage you to take the time to really solidify what your business does and WHY. Not only do you want to know that your talking to the right people, but that you are solving a real problem and communicating the right message.

Step 3: Choose Your Social Media Networks

When it comes to social media networks, I recommend starting small and growing over time. Instead of jumping into all social media networks at once, pick two or three and master those. Then, if you still think you can benefit from additional social media platforms add them over time.

So which networks do you choose?

Where is your target audience the most active? Are you marketing to millennials? Then Snapchat or Instagram may be your best choice. Are you targeting middle aged men and women? You’ll want to be on Facebook. Are you a B2B? Then LinkedIn and Twitter might be the way to go.

If you already have a social media presence and are trying to plan for the coming year, you should have data to give you a head start. Take a look at where your current traffic is coming from. Then ask yourself, where are you currently getting the most engagement?

Once you have an idea of which social media networks best fit your brand, grab a piece of paper and rank them from highest to lowest priority.

Step 4: Determine Your Goals With Social Media

Determining what your goals are and writing them down will not only give you a path to success but it will give you something to measure against. Start by looking at your business goals and objectives and then determine how social media can be used to support those objectives.

For example, if one of your business objectives for the year is to increase your offerings to women, your social media goal would be to increase the percentage of women following your brand. If one of your business objectives is to increase brand awareness, than increasing your organic reach on social media would be a social media goal that supports that objective.

Once you have determined your goals, it is time to quantify them with numbers and timelines. By what percentage do you want to increase the number of women followers and by when? How much of an increase in organic reach do you want to accomplish and how fast?

Again, write these down. By knowing where you want to go, you will be able to track the success of your Social Media Marketing Plan.

Step 5: Create a Social Media Content Strategy

There are three important characteristics to consider when thinking about content: personality, type, and mix.

Your Brand’s Personality

First let’s determine what type(s) of content you will want to publish.

Let’s think back for a minute to the customer persona your created in Step 1, as well as, the purpose of your business you articulated in Step 2. Considering these, think about the personality you wish to project in your content. Write down three adjectives that would describe your brand’s personality.

Is your brand happy, wholesome, and stable?
Perhaps it is sporty, trustworthy, and energetic?
Or even, humorous, edgy, and original?

Whatever you decide, this will help you in making sure your content reflects your overall brand. Sometimes, it will even help you in determining what not to say or publish.

Type of Content to Post on Social Media

Now it’s time to determine the type of content you are going to publish on social media.

Let’s look at your options:

» blog articles
» curated content (from other sources)
» images
» polls
» text posts
» videos

Some of these will resonate better with certain demographics, as well as, work better on one social media channel over another. Photos are a natural fit for Instagram and Pinterest, and articles work very well on LinkedIn.

Creating a Mix of Content to Post on Social Media

Now, that we know the personality of our brand’s voice and what type of content we are going to focus on, let’s consider what that content will be. I recommend creating content “buckets” or topics that your audience may find useful.

Here are some ideas to help you decide what will work for your business:

» behind the scenes
» business information
» customer questions
» customer service
» customer stories
» educational
» employee generated content
» events
» philanthropy / social causes
» product information
» sale information
» service information
» success stories

It is important to note that your content buckets will be unique to your brand, your brand’s personality, and your business objectives. Depending on the service or product you offer, typically companies have any where from 4-7 content buckets.

Once you have determined your content buckets, you will want to decide what percentage of content you will publish from each bucket. Keep in mind, that aside from paid advertisements, followers on social media are looking for posts with value much more than someone pushing products.

Here is an example from my own network marketing business:

Type of content: Images, Text, and Curated Content
Brand’s personality: Genuine, Friendly, and Empowering
Content buckets with percentage of content:

Customer Success Stories – 20%
Consultant Success Stories – 20%
Empowering Women – 15%
My Journey – 15%
Business Opportunity – 10%
Educational Articles – 10%
Product Information – 10%

One last thing to consider, is how often you plan on creating and publishing your content. I’ve include a posting guideline below. But remember, you only need to focus on the social media networks you identified in Step 3 and these are just guidelines. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the number recommended, scale back and start small. It is okay to learn to walk before you run.

Step 6: Set Your Social Media Budget

The next step in creating your Social Media Marketing Plan is to determine your social media budget. Costs to consider include:

  • Paid Ads – With the ability to target a specific audience and the analytics behind your results, paid advertisements can be a very effective way to grow your customer base.
  • Out Sourcing Costs – If you are a solopreneur or a small business you may want to consider having someone else manage your social media channels.
  • Tools – This can include social media management tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer, as well as, the purchase images, image editing software, and other software programs need to create content.
  • Video Production – Videos are proving to be one of the best ways to drive engagement and several social media channel algorithms favor them when displaying content. You will want to consider all costs associated with video shoots and video editing.

Step 7: Identify Key Metrics to Measure Your Success

Once you have put in all the work to strategize and execute your social media marketing plan, you are going to want to know if it is working. That means you will want to gather data and build reports.

I recommend setting aside a day each month to collect data from both your social media analytics and Google Analytics (for referral traffic to your website). There are some great tools out there to help you automate your social media reports, but I have found a spreadsheet works just as well for solopreneurs and small businesses. Using your goals from Step 4, record all relevant social media statistics.

If you have been writing everything down, now you should have a complete Social Media Marketing Plan. By knowing your audience, the pain points your business solves, your social media goals, and the right content to post you’ll be able to execute a social media strategy that works for you. And by measuring your results along the way, you will know exactly what is working and where you can make adjustments.