Nicki Jenns
Nicki Jenns 28 August 2018
Categories Social Media

How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan in 6 Steps

A social media marketing plan is a summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve for your business using social media. This plan should include a check of the current status of your accounts, your goals in the near future and all the tools you want to use to achieve them.

Many marketing professionals struggle to define exactly what it is, not to mention how to build one from scratch.

In other words, every action you take on social media should be part of a broader social media marketing strategy. This means that all messages, responses, and comments must all be guided by a plan geared towards business objectives. 

It may sound complicated, but if you take the time to create a global strategy on social networks, the rest of your efforts on these platforms should follow naturally.

What is a social media marketing plan?

A social media marketing plan is a summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve for your business using social media. This plan should include a check of the current status of your accounts, your goals in the near future and all the tools you want to use to achieve them.

In general, the more specific your plan is, the more effective you will be in implementing it. Try to keep it concise. The plan will guide your actions, but it will also be a measure by which you will determine whether you succeed or fail.

Step 1: Create goals and marketing goals for social networks

The first step in any social media marketing strategy is to set the goals and goals you hope to achieve. Having these goals also allows you to react quickly when social media campaigns do not meet your expectations. Without goals, you have no way to measure success or prove your return on investment (ROI) on social networks.

These goals should be aligned with your overall marketing strategy, so your efforts on social networks lead to your business goals. If your social media marketing strategy is proven to support business goals, you are more likely to get buy-in and investment from management.

A key element in setting effective goals for your social media strategy is to determine the indicators you will use to measure their success. Go beyond vanity metrics such as retweets and Likes. Stay focused on things like prospects generated, web referrals and conversion rate.

When writing your goals, keep in mind your audience and your customers. Try to create audience or customer personalities (archetypes that include information about demographics, interests, weaknesses, etc.) to test your goals. For example, if you are trying to determine if a goal is properly fleshed out, ask yourself how it will help you reach your audience.

You should also use the SMART framework when defining your goals. This means that each goal must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

The goal might look like this: "For Instagram, we will share photos that communicate our corporate culture. We will do this by displaying three photos a week. The target for everyone is at least 30 likes and five comments. "

A simple way to start your social media plan is to write at least three goals of this kind. Be sure to ask yourself what the goal will look like when done, and use it to determine how you will follow it.

Step 2: Conduct an audit of social networks

Before creating your plan, you must evaluate your current use of social networks and how they work. It means determining who is currently in contact with you via social networks, which social platforms your target market uses, and how your social media presence compares to that of your competitors.

Once you have completed your audit, you need to have a clear picture of each social account that represents your company, who manages or controls them, and what they are used for. This inventory should be regularly updated, especially when you are developing your business.

It is also imperative to take stock of the accounts that need to be updated and those that need to be removed completely. If your audit reveals fraudulent accounts (for example, a fake branded Twitter profile ), report them. Reporting fraudulent accounts will help you ensure that people who search for you online only connect to the accounts you manage.

This is the ideal point to take in the process of assessing which channels you want to continue to use or potentially add to the marketing mix.

Come back to your audience, these archetypes that represent your clients. They will help you determine which channels are most effective for your brand.

Ask yourself these two questions:

  • Is my audience here?
  • If so, how do they use this platform?

Remember, it is better to use fewer channels than to complicate the task and get lost on the way trying to maintain a presence on all social networks.

As part of your audit, you will also need to create mission statements for each network you plan to use. These one-sentence statements will help you focus on a very specific goal for Instagram, Facebook or any other social network. They will guide your actions and help you get back on track if your efforts start to fall behind.

Take the time you need to determine the purpose of each social profile you have. If you can not understand its purpose, you should probably delete this profile.

An example of a mission might look like this: "We will use Snapchat to share the lighter side of our company and connect with younger potential customers. "

Once you have determined which channels to use, you should also consider the tone and style of your brand. This includes the type of language your social accounts will use if your brand will display GIFs, and so on.

Step 3: Create or improve your accounts on social networks

Once you have completed your social media audit, it's time to refine your online presence. Choose the networks that best meet your goals. If you do not have social profiles yet on each network you focus on, create them from scratch with your broader goals and audience. If you have existing accounts, it's time to update and refine them to get the best results.

Optimizing profiles for SEO can help generate more web traffic to your online properties. Cross-promotion of social accounts can extend the scope of the content. In general, social profiles must be complete, and images and text must be optimized for the social network in question. 
Each social network has a unique audience and should be treated differently.

Step 4: Find inspiration

Not sure what type of content and information you are most interested in? To inspire yourself, watch what other members of your industry share and use business intelligence and social networking to see how you can stand out from the competition and attract prospects they might miss.

Consumers can also take inspiration from social networks, not only by the content they share but also by the way they express their messages. See how your target audience writes tweets, and strive to emulate that style. Learn their habits, when they share and why and use this as a basis for your social media plan.

One last source of inspiration is the leaders of the industry. There are giants doing incredible work, from Red Bull and Taco Bell to KLM Airlines and Tangerine Bank. Businesses from every imaginable sector have managed to stand out thanks to strategies on advanced social networks. Follow them and learn everything you can.

Step 5: Create a content marketing plan and a social media content calendar

Having great content to share will be essential to succeed on social networks. Your social media marketing plan must include a content marketing plan, including content creation and content retention strategies, as well as a content calendar.

Your content marketing plan should answer the following questions:

  • What types of content do you intend to post and promote on social media?
  • What is your target audience for each type of content?
  • How often will you post content?
  • Who will create the content?
  • How will you promote the content?

Your social marketing content calendar lists the dates and times when you plan to post to Instagram and Facebook, tweets, and other content. It's the perfect place to plan all your activities on social networks, from images and link sharing to blog posts and videos, including both your daily viewing and network campaign content. social.

Create the calendar and plan your messages in advance rather than constantly updating them throughout the day. This gives you the opportunity to work hard on the language and format of these messages rather than writing them on the fly when you have the time.

Make sure your calendar reflects the mission statement you assigned to each social profile. If the goal of your LinkedIn account is to generate leads, be sure to share enough leads generation content. You can establish a content matrix that defines the sharing of your profile between different types of publications. For example :

  1. 50% of the content will link to your blog ; 
  2. 25% of the content will be organized from other sources; 
  3. 20% of the content will support the company's objectives (sales, lead generation, etc.); 
  4. 5% of the content will concern human resources and corporate culture.

If you're not sure how to allocate your resources, you can follow the 80-20 rule: 80% of your publications should inform, educate or entertain your audience and the remaining 20% ​​can directly promote your Mark.

You can also use the rule of thirds on social networks:

One-third of your social content promotes your business, converts readers, and generates profits
One-third of your social content allows you to share ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses

The last third of your social content gives rise to personal interactions with your audience

Step 6: Test, Evaluate and Adjust Your Marketing Plan on Social Networks

To know what adjustments need to be made to your marketing strategy on social networks, you need to rely on constant testing. For example, you could:

Track the number of clicks your links get on a particular platform by using URL shortcuts and UTM settings;

Use social network analysis to track the success and reach of your social campaigns;

Track visits to pages generated by social networks with Google Analytics;

Record and analyze your successes and failures, then adjust your plan accordingly.

Polls are also a great way to measure success online and offline. Ask your social media subscribers, your e-mail address list and your website visitors what they think about your social media presence. 

This direct approach is often very effective. Then ask your offline customers if social networks played a role in their purchases. This idea could be invaluable when looking for areas for improvement.

The most important thing to understand about your social media marketing plan is that it needs to be constantly changing. When new networks appear, you can add them to your plan. When you reach your goals, you need to set new targets. As you develop your business, you may need to add new roles or expand your social presence for different industries or regions.

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