Social media is more than just a fun way to engage and communicate with friends. It can be an extremely powerful business marketing tool if strategically implemented. A common mistake businesses make is failing to develop a formal social media plan. Having a plan for social media is just as important as it is any marketing strategy. A savvy business owner does not buy traditional advertising without developing a plan, and the same applies with social media.
A social media marketing plan includes many of the same elements of a traditional marketing plan. Research into target markets and consumer purchasing is a must. Identifying brand strengths and weaknesses is also important.
Once you’ve conducted research, it is time to start outlining strategies and developing your plan. Heer is your 6 step social media marketing strategy plan.
1. Identify a social media manager
With the many tasks involved with running a successful business, social media can fall by the wayside. Before your business embarks on a social media campaign, it is a good practice to identify a person or multiple people who will be in charge of monitoring and posting content. It is important for the social media manager(s) to not only ensure content is posted on a regular basis, but also monitor and respond to all comments and feedback. The assigned staff should be willing to monitor the company’s social pages 24/7, which can be easily accomplished through e-mail alerts and mobile apps.
2. Create branded pages
Once you have identified your manager(s), it’s time to create branded pages. First, determine which social media sites you want to use. Small businesses should consider Facebook, Twitter and Google+ at the very least. In some cases, other sites including LinkedIn, Pinterest and Houzz may also be appropriate.
It is important for all of your social media to have the same look and feel as your company website as in the example below:
Facebook cover pages do have some flexibility and allow you to have some very specific elements can be incorporated for maximum impact:
- Use color and photos
- Integrate your profile picture into your cover
- Incorporate a call to action
- Point out where people can call or contact you
After you create your social pages, be sure to include links on your website and invite all of your customers and friends to join your pages.
3. Develop a planning calendar
Now that your social sites are “live”, it is time to start developing a planning calendar. Ideally, this should be done on a monthly basis. Your planning calendar may outline the following:
- Number of posts per week
- Time the post will be made (you should vary your posting times)
- Identify content for each post (this will be discussed in depth in the next section)
A planning calendar lays the foundation and ensures you are maintaining your social sites and posting on a regular basis. Of course, you can also post other news, tips and ideas as they arise. The biggest pitfall businesses run into are they generally have a lot of excitement when they first establish their social media presence, but the momentum quickly fades. Having a monthly planning calendar will help keep your social media efforts moving forward.