Social media helps small businesses build credibility and awareness. Customers’ purchase decisions are not simple. No matter what your product or service is, prospective clients “navigate” the internet and evaluate multiple businesses before deciding who to work with. They go back and forth between brands, particularly when the product/service is pricey or is considered an important purchase.
If you were hiring a home remodeling contractor for the first time, you’d probably search on Google for local businesses and visit the websites the search engine displays. However, would you trust your property and money to a company because their website showed up on the first page of the Google search results? Or, would you browse their website, read their online reviews, and search for their Facebook or Instagram pages before making a final decision?
Clients use social media to evaluate how knowledgeable you are about your product/services, past work service quality, responsiveness, and clientele size. Indeed, every detail of your social media page says how you interact with your customers and prospective clients, from your information, to your client reviews, posts, number of followers, and likes.
Therefore, having a social media plan is paramount to build your following. Successful businesses do not operate randomly or erratically, and nor should their social media presence. For the later to be an influential asset to your marketing plan, it takes time, consistency, and strategic thinking.
What Is a Social Media Plan?
A social media plan is a detailed and carefully thought out strategy for gaining credibility about your expertise and quality service.
When designing a social media plan, some businesses generally assume the process is as quick as sliding down Instagram’s feed. But, they couldn’t be more wrong.
Your business’ social media presence shouldn’t focus solely on gaining followers, comments, likes, and leads. Instead, today’s consumers expect brands to communicate their mission, values, and products through meaningful, educational, and brief conversations.
Social media managers analyze their word choice, tone and consider how people could perceive their message. All things considered, sending the wrong message can hurt a brand’s reputation, provoke negative comments or reactions, and decrease sales.
How To Create a Social Media Plan From Scratch?
1. Choose Your Social Media Goals
Writing your posts ten minutes before sharing them will not uncover the full potential of your social media presence. Instead, align your social media strategy with your business goals.
We recommend setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based). Some of the most common social media goals include the following:
Increase Brand Awareness
When to set: Great for start-up businesses, those that have recently moved online, or companies introducing new products/services.
How to measure: Number of followers, accounts and posts reached, mentions, and shares/retweets.
Turn Customers Into Advocates
When to set: This is excellent for businesses that have recently moved online or are introducing new products/services, companies promoting referrals/reviews, and businesses building their social media following.
How to measure: Number of negative/positive/neutral comments, mentions/shares, online reviews.
Increase Website Traffic
When to set: Great for promoting a new website/landing page, blog, downloadable content, careers page, event sign-ups.
How to measure: Number and percentage of website users generated through social media and average page time view.
Build an Online Community
When to set: This is an excellent goal for businesses that want to converse directly with their customers and potential clients, answer questions to showcase their expertise, and/or know people’s opinion/knowledge about specific topics.
How to measure: Number of likes/posts/comments in your Facebook/LinkedIn groups, number of tweets/retweets, number of negative/positive posts shared with your community’s hashtag.
2. Study Your Audience
Connecting with your audience demands knowing its interests, needs, likes, and dislikes. In general, some of the most trustworthy sources you can use to know your audience are your business’ marketing persona, clientele, and your social media analytics.
3. Analyze Your Competitors’ Social Media Presence
Assessing your direct competitors’ social media presence/strategy can help you learn from their past mistakes for the purpose of creating a unique plan for your brand. Indeed, spicing things up your way will give your brand an authentic personality and a competitive advantage.
Your audience is exposed to several businesses and social media ads in a day, including those of your competitors. Hence, going with the flow will only make it harder to gain your target audience’s interest. Instead, standing out from the crowd will undoubtedly create an impact on those watching you.
4. Establish Your Brand Voice
Your brand voice includes your business’s word choice, language, personality, and visuals (images/photographs/illustrations). For this reason, you’ll have to consider how you want your audience to perceive you: serious or with some humor, educational and approachable, or straightforward.
5. Set Your Business Account and Customize Your Profile
Creating a business account on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn is similar to setting a personal profile.
We recommend filling in all your business information, including your business name, address, description, work schedule, and products/services. In addition, ensure you personalize your business profile picture and cover photo with your brand logo/icon, slogan, and colors.
Invite your friends and family to like or follow you on social media for the purpose of spreading the word about your new business profile. In addition, share your social media links on your website, email signature, email marketing, and direct mail.
6. Plan Your Content
There are multiple ways to plan your social media content. For example, you can use the 80/20 rule, the social media rule of thirds, or anything in between.
- 80/20 Rule: 80% of your posts should inform, educate, or entertain your audience, whereas only 20% can directly promote your brand.
- Social media rule of thirds: One-third of your content promotes your business. One-third of your content shares ideas and stories. And, one-third of your content shares your interactions with your clients and audience.
- Other ideas: 20% of your content directly promotes your business. 20% informs and educates your audience about your products/services, 20% shares your company mission/values/culture, 20% shares third-party ideas/stories. And, 20% shares your clients’ experience with your company.
Also, keep in mind that you can share your content in various formats. Below are some examples:
- Carousels, which scroll through a series of images
- Presentations (LinkedIn)
Still hesitant about what to post on social media? We’ve got you covered! Below are some content ideas you can use for your social media outlets.
- Education: How to’s; ideas to achieve/do something; latest industry updates.
- Culture: Employee spotlights; company events; company milestones; sharing how the company practices its values/mission; community support activities; wishing happy holidays.
- Clientele: Before/after photos; client reviews/testimonials; company events with your clients; sharing your clients’ posts about your business.
7. Analyze, Tweak, and Repeat
Once you’ve accrued enough data, you can analyze your results according to your social media SMART goals. Also, you can ask yourself the following questions while analyzing your results:
- Did we accomplish our social media goals?
- Are we reaching our target audience?
- Which posts caused the most impact on our audience?
- What is our audience’s sentiment about our content?
- How engaging are our posts?
- Has this translated to more revenue?
- Which additional initiatives can help achieve our goals?
Finally, assessing what works for your target audience and finding new areas of opportunities will help create a unique strategy to stand apart positively while reaching your business goals.
Our Last Recommendations For Sharing Great Social Media Content
- Building your social media presence demands consistency. Hence, choose which days you will post and stick to your calendar.
- Let your content rest for a day before posting, or have a fresh pair of eyes proofread your captions.
- Run a quick quality analysis of your images/videos before sharing them.
- Use your color palette when creating your images/videos.
- Choose your hashtags wisely. Use hashtags with a fair amount of followers for your post reach to be higher.
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Article by Francis Espinoza
Francis is a Social Media Coordinator here at Olly Olly. Born and currently based in Nicaragua, her professional background and passion are all things inbound marketing.
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