If your idea of doing social media is that it is like posting to your personal social accounts, you’re off track. The same way you formulate a business plan to grow your company also applies to your social media marketing.
Everything you do starts with a plan, without one you are lost.
The first step to building your social media plan is research. Your research starts with your audience in mind.
You want to know what social platforms your potential clients are on. You can uncover this by looking at social media platform demographics.
This information is available to you through free online marketing reports and plenty of marketer articles and blog posts.
To give you an idea of what to look for, Pinterest has a higher number of female users, while Google+ has more male users and a techie audience. With this data a business targeting females knows they will be more successful with their social media efforts if using Pinterest rather than Google+.
The second part of your research (which also involves your audience), focuses on your potential target’s interests. I don’t know how many times I’ve asked business owners this question and gotten blank stares.
Your clients’ and potential clients’ interests are going to be the way you offer value and attract their attention. This part of your social media plan involves you making a list of sites and blogs/vlogs that cover topics your target audience wants to read, learn, and know about.
An example of this would be a restaurant that offers gourmet cuisine. Their potential clients’ interests tied to the restaurant’s products/services revolve around gourmet cuisine/food.
The restaurant owner would make a list of bloggers/vloggers and sites that discuss gourmet cuisine, that share recipes, as well as high-end food ideas and trends.
With that list the owner now has valuable content to share on their social media channels that will catch the attention of potential clients, offer value, and keep them interested and engaged, and coming back.
The next step to your social media plan is strategy. Your social media strategy entails the description of your target audience, a content calendar, and your content creation plan.
Your social media strategy starts with your target audience because you have to know who you are talking to before you can plan content for them. This section allows you to focus on who you’re talking to by having you list demographics, interests, pain points, the voice you will use across your channels, and the personas you will develop for your audience.
The content calendar piece of your strategy helps you to organize your weekly posts and ensures you have a consistent presence across your social channels, as well as mixed content to share (videos, text, links, and photos).
This way you avoid a stagnant and repetitive stream. You also include the sources you are going to use so that you can add to those lists as you find new outside content and as you develop more of your own content.
Finally your content creation is also included in your strategy because it ties with attracting your target audience and your content distribution. Also, because you will need those lead generation pages to capture leads and work on your long-term relationships (newsletters, holiday specials, company updates, etc).
There’s nothing wrong with taking a leap of faith with your social media marketing; however, if you want to ensure your path moves in a specific direction you need to set it up to do so. With your social media this means coming up with a plan.