Comprehensive Guide to Creating a Social Media Marketing Strategy Plan [+Infographic]

Social media is one of the most important channels companies can use for modern marketing. There are multiple platforms your brand can leverage to increase your awareness, connect with your audience, and improve your reputation.

But before you go straight for the apps, you need to have a strategy in place.

Every brand should create its social media marketing plan outlining what they want to accomplish on social media. Doing so helps you define success and measure your progress.

In this article, we’ll walk through our proven guide for creating your social media marketing strategy.

Why Use Social Media Marketing

There are nearly 4 billion social media users around the world, and the numbers continue to grow. Clearly, this means there’s a huge opportunity with social media marketing.

Simply put, social media marketing is all about using social media channels to promote your brand and offer. The channels you use will depend on your industry and audience, but many brands find success with LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

Here are some of the top benefits of using social media for your business:

  • Spread awareness of your brand
  • Engage your target audience
  • Sell your offer
  • Learn more about current views about your business (customer feedback)
  • Offer customer support

Importance of a Social Media Strategy

The first step to successful social media marketing is crafting your social media strategy. The strategy is a plan that outlines your goals and how you will measure progress. As you navigate the rapidly changing realm of social media, this strategy can help you learn what works and what to adjust.

The plan should describe your current and future social media accounts along with goals for each platform. Your social media marketing goals should complement your broader digital marketing efforts.

But who does what? Your plan should also describe the various roles of your team member, who oversees what, and how reporting will work.

Now that you know more about the importance of social media marketing and creating a strategy, let’s walk through the steps you need to take:

Set SMART Social Media Goals

Your first step is to set goals for your social media marketing strategy. The goals should align with your digital marketing efforts and your overall business targets.

Additionally, your goals should be SMART.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

“Grow our social media presence” is not a SMART goal. It’s generic, and it won’t give you a good frame of reference for your progress.

Consider the difference between that and “average a Facebook audience growth rate of 3% over the next 3 months.”

Of course, this is just one example. You can craft goals relating to a wide range of business objectives and platforms. Overall, creating (and specifically writing) SMART goals helps set you up for success.

Outline Metrics

What will you track to measure your progress toward your goals? Sure, you’ll want to look at the basics like followers, likes, and comments but those don’t always provide the direct value.

Overall, you’re more likely to want to know about click-throughs, conversions, engagement, and other key performance indicators.

Keep in mind that the metrics you’ll track may not be identical on each platform. The metrics should apply to your specific goal for that channel.

Develop Audience Personas

To develop effective content and strategies for social media, you need to know your audience well. You must know what they find interesting, what their goals are, the challenges they face, and more. Then, you’ll be able to craft compelling content that garners their engagement. This is essential for transforming followers into customers.

Dig deep to outline your customer persona. The persona includes the basic demographics like age, gender, income, location, etc., but it also goes further than that. Persona is about who you are talking to. It’s not “females 24-35”, it’s Jane who works an office job but wrestles with the idea of quitting and travel blogging.

Understanding your customer personas will help you create more targeted messages that drive better results. You’ll know what they are trying to accomplish and how your brand helps resolve their common pain points.

But crafting an effective persona is easier said than done. Frankly, it can be quite challenging. That’s why our Persona workshop can be so helpful. Head to this page to nail your customer persona today!

Learn About the Competition

One of the challenges of using social media is that your competitors will be as well. As much as you want to connect with your audience and promote your brand online, so do they.

Social media marketing won’t work in a funnel. You need to learn about your competitors and what they’re doing online. This helps you figure out what works well, where there are blind spots in the industry, and how you can differentiate yourself.

One great way to learn about your competition is with social listening. Social listening is the process of monitoring what people are saying about you (and your competition) online. With social listening, you track social media mentions about your brand and then analyze the information.

Social listening is a very valuable tool to implement when understanding your audience’s perception of you and your competitors. 2 out of every 3 marketers found that social listening has been beneficial.

Audit Your Current Social Media

Audit your current social media efforts to find out what is currently working, what you need to improve, and which platform you need to be on. Understanding your current social media presence/strategy will ultimately help you improve.

It may help you to craft a spreadsheet with all current information. For each platform, fill out the information that includes:

  • Handle
  • Who owns the channel?
  • Goal
  • KPI
  • Top-performing content
  • Audience demographics
  • Engagement
  • And any other notes

Once you have everything laid out, you can take a closer look at each platform. You should only focus on the channels that your audience uses in a way that relates to your business. If an account can’t help you reach your business goals, then it’s not worth your effort.

Remember, social media marketing isn’t just about posting and being everywhere. It’s about posting valuable content that can reach and convert your target audience. Time is not something you can waste, which is why you should focus on the most important things. Keep the 80/20 rule in mind and focus on the platforms that can help your business.

Set Up and Optimize Accounts

After your audit, it’s time to get your necessary accounts set up and optimized. Determine which platforms you should use and define your strategy for each. Keep in mind that different platforms may have different purposes.

For example, you may want to use Instagram Stories and YouTube for product tutorials and Facebook for testimonials. On the other hand, you may prefer Twitter for customer support and LinkedIn for long-form stories.

Regardless, set up the profiles you need. Complete all the profile fields and work relevant keywords into your profile. Keep branding consistent across platforms in terms of logos, colors, font styles, etc.

Plan Content

Start planning your content by searching for inspiration. It’s great to post completely original content, but you can also get a framework of helpful ideas from successful content online. Here are a few places to turn for inspiration:
  • Your current content. What can you repurpose from your blog or current platforms?
  • Case studies from social media platforms.
  • Industry-leading accounts. Check out popular accounts in your industry or niche.
  • The brands you like to follow. What makes you follow them on social media? What content do you enjoy? A few highly successful brands on social media include Nike, National Geographic, and Starbucks.
  • Ask the people what they want to see. Asking customers for feedback is not only insightful, but it also encourages engagement and helps build relationships.

Create Your Content Calendar

One of the biggest mistakes brands make on social media is attempting to post content on the fly. Even back in 2017, 25% of marketers spent over 7 hours creating just one piece of content.

Planning ahead helps you ensure you have a compelling, organized strategy. It also helps you cover all of the important bases and save a ton of time on marketing overall. Make sure you include time for engaging with your audience in your content calendar!

Here are some key benefits of a content calendar:

  • Helps you stay aligned with your goals
  • Streamlines content creation
  • Cohesive content
  • Never forget relevant content (like holidays)
  • Keeps track of what to post where
  • Makes it easier to measure performance across channels

What to Post

Your content calendar should align with the goal you set for each platform. You should use the goal you set to determine which type of content to post. For example, if your primary goal on LinkedIn is to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, then most content should be educational, not necessarily lead-gen pieces.

How Often to Post

Okay, but how often do you need to post? Frankly, there’s no simple answer. The algorithms on each platform are changing constantly, and the answer also depends on many other factors. Keeping up with all of the different recommendations can be difficult.

Fortunately, you don’t need to waste time trying to solve the “how often to post” dilemma. Our experienced marketing team at Engage 2 Engage will set up your posts based on the desired frequency level. This saves you time and headaches while maximizing the potential of your social media strategy. Learn more about our programs for marketing automation like this!

Engage 2 Engage is Here to Help!

The tips above can help you craft an effective social media strategy. But let’s face it, doing so can still be quite difficult. And who will implement the strategy?

For many small businesses and entrepreneurs, a strategy is only part of this whole digital marketing puzzle- and a confusing part at that!

Fortunately, our dedicated team at Engage 2 Engage is here to help with all of the digital marketing services you could need! From content strategy to the ins and outs of marketing automation, content, and design, our team of experts has you covered.

Learn more about how we can help your business with social media marketing and all its digital marketing needs by checking out our Marketing Programs!

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