Social Media Planning- Why Should You Care?
Learning the steps to social media planning will open the door for you to grow your business. It will allow you to execute a successful social media marketing strategy.
In fact, this will not only grow your business’s audience but also keep your existing audience engaged with your brand. About 300 million Americans have a Facebook account, and if you consider other social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin – nearly the entire adult population of the United States is on social media. This means that your ideal customers are on social media, no doubt about it.
Now that we have established that your customers are on social media, it’s just a matter of coming up with a successful strategy. The goal is to entice them to follow your accounts and then guide them towards the desired actions for your business.
Therefore, implementing a successful social media marketing strategy can result in higher website traffic, improvement in all of your KPI’s (key performance indicators), and ultimately higher revenues for your business. Let’s walk through exactly how you can go about creating your strategy.
1. Before Social Media Planning: Create Your Client Avatar
I highly recommend that you first create your client avatar if you haven’t done so yet! Knowing exactly who your ideal customer is will guide you every step of the way. Moreover, you’ll set better goals and create better content for your target audience to achieve great results. Check out our full guide on creating a client avatar.
2: Determine The Goals & KPIs For Your Social Media Strategy
It’s essential that you first define exactly what you will consider a success on social media. Your social media KPIs should depend on the larger objectives you have for your business. In other words, your social media goals should get people one step closer to the ultimate desired action you want them to take. Here are some of the most common social media goals:
- Increase your following
- Grow engagement
- Drive traffic to your site
- Generate leads
- Generate sales
- Improve your customer retention
Often, businesses choose “increasing the number of followers” on their social media accounts as their first KPI. Without having at least some following, it will be hard to hit any other kinds of KPIs. You can learn how to increase your Facebook following using Facebook ads here.
As an example, if you are using Facebook to increase your brand awareness, a KPI could be engagement, such as likes, comments, and shares. If you are selling products on your e-commerce website, a good KPI could be click-through rates or even better conversions.
Have you heard of the SMART goal setting framework? I highly recommend it to you.
SMART Goal Setting
If you follow the SMART goal setting acronym, you will always set effective goals that will drive your business forward. Effective goals are:
- Specific: don’t leave room for interpretation.
- Measurable: if you can’t measure it, you can’t know if you’re hitting your goals.
- Achievable: unrealistic goals will de-motivate you, because you can’t hit them anyways.
- Relevant: choose the right goals to move your business close to its objectives.
- Timely: anyone can walk a mile in a day… but can you do a 10 minute mile?
3. Research Your Competition
When it comes to marketing, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes, all you have to do is to improve on something that’s already being done. That’s why taking a look at what your competitors are doing to get inspired is a great starting point.
Try to find competitors who are targeting a similar audience to yours and who sell similar products or services (or both).
Ask these questions about your competition:
- What is their messaging like?
- What type of content are they producing?
- What strategies are they using?
- What type of images and media do they design?
Analyzing your competition can give you a big advantage for your social media planning. Facebook offers a very powerful tool to “spy” or get a preview of your competitors’ strategies, called the Facebook Ad Library. Check it out!
4. Evaluate Your Current Social Media Efforts
If you are just getting started with social media marketing, then you can ignore this step and move on to number 5. However, if you have been already doing social media, you should evaluate your current performance.
You can evaluate your social media performance based on the goals you have set for yourself in step 2. Which platforms have worked well and which have not? What type of content is performing better? What type of design is performing better? Which KPIs are you hitting and where is there room for improvement? How do your results compare to your competitors’?
Finally, after completing this analysis, you will be able to see which social media platforms you should commit more resources to and which KPIs you should set for each different channel. In addition, this should give you a better idea of what type of content your target audience is reacting to more. Use this as a guide when creating your new social media plan!
5. Select Your Social Media Platforms
Based on your analysis in the previous steps, decide which social media platforms you want to utilize and which should be your main focus. Different platforms attract different types of people- here’s a terrific guide on determining where your customers are. I would create accounts for all of the big social media giants. You have nothing to lose from reaching out to your ideal customers through multiple channels. Don’t be concerned about having to manage too many social media accounts at once. In the next step, we will go over exactly which tools you can use to make the whole social media management process much easier for you to handle.
After this step, you should know exactly which platforms you’ll be using, which KPIs you’re assigning to each platform, and how big of a focus each of the platforms will be for you.
6. Select A Good Social Media Management Tool
When it comes to selecting the right social media tool to manage your social accounts, there are many options out there. They will allow you to not only post across all of your social accounts easily, but they will allow you to schedule posts in advance too. Also, most of them will provide you with analytics so that you can see exactly which posts are performing well on all platforms.
Some tools are free and others you’ll have to pay for. Moreover, different tools have different strengths and weaknesses. If you are looking for a very sophisticated tool that will give you practically unlimited options and features, you could consider the HubSpot social media tool. However, HubSpot is a full CRM, actually one of the highest quality CRMs there are. To use HubSpot’s social media tools, you will likely have to purchase the professional marketing hub subscription, which starts at around $800/month.
If you are looking for an amazing CRM solution with advanced social media capabilities, then you might want to give HubSpot a look. However, if you are just looking for a solid social media tool – I would highly recommend Hootsuite or Agorapulse. Both are great tools for the price. While you can start using Agorapulse completely free, Hootsuite starts at $49/month.
7. Create & Connect Your Accounts
You may already have all of your social media accounts created. If you don’t, create your accounts and take the time to completely fill out your profile or page. On most platforms, this will help your visibility. Then, connect your accounts to the social media tool that you have selected. Every tool works a little differently, but connecting your social media account should only take you minutes regardless which tool you are using.
Great, now that all the technical stuff is done, you’re ready to move on to your content!
8. Decide On Your Content Mix
This step will require some strategy and thinking on your end. There are many things to consider. The type of content you post should directly depend on your goals and KPIs. Your individual posts should all be working towards achieving your overall business objectives. Keep in mind that you don’t want to come off as being too salesy, even if your primary goal is getting sales. Sometimes the best way to get sales is to build up trust and respect with your audience, and then throw a strategically timed offer out there.
If you are just getting started and need a good rule of thumb to follow, the 80/20 rule could be just what you need.:
- Use 80% of your posts to add direct value to your audience. This could mean teaching them something, showing them a tool or resource, or just entertaining them.
- Use 20% of your posts to directly advance your KPI’s. This could mean posting holiday promotions and deals. Or links to a landing page to generate leads.
If you want to get more specific with it, you can choose to go with a more specific content mix. For example, you could choose to:
- Use 40% of your posts to directly drive traffic to your site (articles, tools, guides).
- Use 25% of your posts to showcast great information and tools from other sites and sources..
- Use 20% of your posts to directly advance your KPI’s (lead generation, sales, promotions).
- Use the last 15% of your posts to showcase your company’s information, updates, events, photos, and culture.
9. Stay On Brand
When working on your social media planning, keep in mind that everything you post should contribute to your brand awareness, recognition, and loyalty. This doesn’t mean that you should create specific posts that focus on strengthening your brand. Rather, every type of post should strengthen your brand.
You can achieve this by always using your company’s logo, brand colors, brand fonts & typographies, and brand styles & designs. Although many of these are subconscious, they will go a long way to make your brand memorable and help build a community.
10. Create Your Content
The social media planning part is now over. This is the fun part! Now you get to be creative. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer. Think about what interests your ideal customer has. What do they find funny? What topics do they want information on? You can really mix your content up. You can write long posts, or post a funny meme, or a link to your blog, or a link to a different website. Don’t forget to include CTAs (call to actions) that will help you reach your KPI’s. Also, be sure to stick to the content mix that you chose. Make sure that all your posts stay on brand, as discussed above.
It can help for you to have a few sites and follow a few pages of your competitors. That way, you will always be able to look at their content to get your inspiration.
11. Strategically Schedule Your Posts
What do I mean by scheduling your posts strategically? Think of your posts as individual aspects of a whole. Not only do they have to be high-quality posts as a whole, but they should work well together. Consider what sequence you want to schedule your posts in. For example, you may want to have a few posts highlighting the benefits of a certain product or service before you post a special promotion or discount of that product. Moreover, be aware of different holidays and occasions.
Those are great for special promotions and discounts, as holidays give a sense of urgency. As an example, if you randomly post a “20% discount” post, then people may be confused and think that your discount is disingenuous. However, if you offer a 20% discount for Christmas, people will assume that this is genuinely a limited-time offer.
12. Track Your Performance & Optimize
Tracking your performance and continuously optimizing your posts is last but not least. In fact, this may be the most important part. This is because no matter how good your posts are in the very beginning, what really matters is whether they get better and better over time.
Hopefully you have selected goals and KPIs that are measurable and trackable. Track these KPIs and note which posts are performing well with which KPIs. Make observations about what types of posts, designs, and content are performing well. Then, adjust your content based on which posts you are noticing are performing the best.
Social Media Planning: In Conclusion
Even if you are focused on organic (non-paid) social media marketing, I would recommend that you at least supplement your social media marketing strategy with at least a small advertising budget. Boosting your best posts, or running a page like a campaign can be very cheap but tremendously help you to speed up your social media strategy progress. While you could start seeing success organically, spending some money on advertising, will speed things up. Build a strong social media presence and start hitting your KPIs faster.
Do you want to learn how you can use a small budget to increase your Facebook following? Check out our full guide. Good luck fellow marketing professional!