The first step in building a social media plan is to outline the deliverables for your social media campaign. That includes your goals, target market, network, research, content, research, frequency and paid placement.
As we’re going through my methodology, I want to first share my number one formula for how to create a marketing plan:
Your plan should not be based around what your competition is doing, or how much money you have, or what this crazy lady (me) tells you. It should be a place where your assets and your strengths collide — those things combined will help you build your plan.
Everybody’s different, so no two plans are alike. Your assets may look different from other business owners’ assets and can be a combination of many things. You might have money; you could have a huge network of individuals that you know; you might have really, really talented staff… You could even have a billion people on an email list. All these assets can be utilized to create relationships via social media. Then you pair those assets with your strengths (your natural talents) and create a plan that can get the job done — maybe you have a strong sense of humor or a great moral compass — those things can be paired with your assets and photos and videos to share your story online.
And hey, if you have no interest at all in ever doing social media yourself but you have the budget to hire someone else to get the job done, that’s leveraging your assets as well. It leaves you free to move on and do what you do best. That’s what I do with my taxes, because I’m not a numbers lady. Outsource or delegate the things you don’t do well or don’t want to do and save your energy for where it’s needed most: growing your business.
I know, goal setting is a bit of a saturated topic at the start of the year, but it’s important nonetheless. Without a goal, what are you working toward, exactly? Your goal is what you’re trying to achieve. For example, it might be trying to humanize your brand, or it could be trying to get new business.
A lot of construction companies feel like they’re not going to sell things through social media. But it really depends on what you do. According to sproutsocial as of 2019 43% of Women on Pinterest are using the social network to help plan what they want their home to be in the next five years. And 90% of Houzz users are homeowners, and they use Houzz to renovate and decorate their homes from start to finish.
Every company uses social media for different reasons. That’s why it’s so important to define those reasons, your goals, before developing your plan, to make sure you get the results you’re gunning for.
A lot of people are working to build their brand and humanize themselves. I’m certain a goal of yours is to generate supporters, but we don’t just magically expand our audience and get in front of more people — that’s where your strategy comes into play.
Your strategy will include things like:
In my mind, there’s a clear line between strategy and creative. With strategy, you should be able to check boxes: Did I do what I planned on doing? Did I make 20 posts on Facebook or LinkedIn? Did I publish them at different times of day? Did I boost one for $30? These are yes and no questions.
While there is some overlap between strategy and creative, the creative is more of a gray area. The actual communicating of the message is a checkbox, like your strategy tasks (Did I publish the post?), but the creative is the gray area that includes what’s in those posts, which is ultimately what makes them successful. So the details of strategy can feel like creative but it’s actually a continuation of your checkboxes :
Your creative is the most loosey-goosey out of all the different parts of your social media plan because it’s all subject to opinion. It’s like the stuff my lawyer tells me I can’t put in the contract. He says, “Monica, if it’s not black and white, you can’t put it in your contract.”
So the creative goes in a creative brief outside your strategy. Your creative is what you’re going to say, the tone you’re going to use, the individual topics you’ll talk about, the style of photography that you’ll use. All that good stuff.
Last but not least, the fourth part of your plan is follow-through.
By follow-through, I mean: can you check the boxes that your strategy outlines? Did you do it? Because your plan doesn’t work if you don’t do it. One of the most important parts of your plan is reviewing your data and then following through with adjustments based on what you find.
If you find something you don’t like, you go to the individual parts of your plan – your goal, strategy and creative – and you can ask yourself, “Where do I need to change to make things better?”
Maybe your goal was unrealistic. Maybe your photos aren’t genuine. Perhaps you’re posting at the wrong time of day or your content is too promotional. I find that happens sometimes. And that’s okay, these are all things you can revisit and adjust as needed.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the idea of creating a social media plan, it’s all about breaking things into smaller, more achievable pieces, right? You hear that everywhere — it’s the same concept here. And if things don’t seem to be working out the way you hoped, you can always reevaluate your goals and tweak your plan accordingly.
You’ll know you’re doing well when people interact with your content and you gain a following who want to participate in the conversation. You’ll know you’re failing when your posts get nothing but dead air. The areas outlined above are what make up your plan are the pieces you can continually adjust to make your campaign even better.
Monica is the creative force and founder of MayeCreate. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with an emphasis in Economics, Education and Plant Science from the University of Missouri. Monica possesses a rare combination of design savvy and technological know-how. Her clients know this quite well. Her passion for making friends and helping businesses grow gives her the skills she needs to make sure that each client, or friend, gets the attention and service he or she deserves.
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