As you’re probably discovering, creating your first social media plan is no easy task. For a lot of inexperienced business owners, simply defining a social media plan is a big challenge, let alone creating one! As hard is it may be, forming a unique and effective social media marketing plan is something that every business owner will have to do eventually. If you want to be in a position where every post, like, and reply works towards an overarching goal, then here’s a brief guide to formulating your strategy.
Like any good business plan, your social media strategy needs to start with you setting yourself goals. When you have these clear objectives in mind, it becomes easy to see how you’re progressing, and react quickly when you’re not on-track to meet a certain milestone. Without these targets, you’ll have no real method of measuring the effects of your efforts, and hitting the ROI you need for continual growth. When setting yourself goals, ensure that they’re aligned well with your broader business objectives, and that the minor actions you take on social media are pushing yourself towards your overall vision for the future of your business. A good example of a social media goal would be: “We’ll use LinkedIn to publish articles about our industry and give professionals a strong sense of our company culture. The target for each article is at least 25 likes and 5 comments.”
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Next, carry out an audit of your business’s current social media use, and how it’s working in your favor. Mainly, this means determining who’s currently connecting to your brand through social channels, which social media channels your target market is using, and how the strength of your platforms compares to your close competitors’. Once you’ve done your homework and got all the information in one place, you’ll have a much clearer picture of what every social channel is doing for your business, and how you should spread out your resources to make the smartest next move. You’ll also make it easier to see which accounts need to be updated and overhauled, and which ones need to be deleted completely. You might uncover fraudulent accounts in the course of your audit, such as fake branded Twitter profiles. Reporting these will make sure that your target market doesn’t get led to the wrong place when they’re looking for your business. Finally, you need to come up with mission statements for each individual network you’re using. If this sounds like you’d be going a bit far, then you’ve got a lot to learn! The techniques and nuances which are proven to work for branded Facebook pages are very different from the ones you should be using for Instagram business pages. You need to educate yourself on these little differences, and use them to tailor each mission statement to the relevant network. An example would be: “We’ll use Snapchat to connect with a younger group of prospective customers by showing the lighter side of our company culture.”
Your next step is to get inspired. Look at the big names in your industry, your smaller competitors, and even some of your clients if it’s appropriate. If, like a lot of other entrepreneurs, you’re not all that familiar with the kinds of information and content that will get you the most engagement, then having a snoop around the industry is a fantastic way of doing it. This will not only load your campaign up with good ideas, but can also be helpful in seeing what your competitors are missing out on, and how you can carve off some of their customer base for yourself. Your consumers can be a massive source of inspiration, so don’t leave them out of it! There’s no way of formulizing the habits and customs of a given target market – humans are far too broad! Try studying how your target market writes their tweets, and come up with a loose style guide which will help your social team mimic that voice. While businesses within your industry are easier to learn from, you should also be researching some big, famous brands for their specific track records. Coca-Cola, for example, stands out for its brilliant Facebook strategy, whereas Virgin are known for their superior content marketing. Before you spend a penny on making your social strategy happen, take the time to learn what works and what doesn’t.
While these tips don’t cover every last facet of good social media practice, following them will certainly point you in the right direction!