6 Steps to Craft a Year-Round Social Media Marketing Plan

In the vast ocean of competitors in social media, it will take a well-wrought plan to achieve social media success. As with any other winning marketing plan, it should be specific, concise, realistic and achievable to guide your efforts all throughout the year.

Your social media marketing plan is both a compass and map as you venture the year ahead. If you think it’s daunting to craft your marketing plan, worry no more and follow this 6-step guide to crafting a winning social media marketing plan.

The Prerequisite: Your Social Media Style Guide

A professional social media marketing plan that voices your brand personality starts with a style guide. 

Your style guide sets the benchmark and standards for whatever plan or strategy you want to accomplish. It essentially prevents you from falling into misteps that risk your brand reputation e.g plagiarism, wrong choice of words or poor image content.

Also, your style guide should answer the following questions:

  • Who is your audience and ideal customer?
  • In what tone or personality do you want to deliver your message?
  • How do you want your brand to look across the web?
  • What are the principles that guide your social media efforts?

However this is not a part of your social media marketing plan, but rather a prerequisite to a winning strategy. Once your style guide is ready, you can draft a social media marketing strategy to guide you throughout the year.

A Year-Round Social Media Marketing Strategy in 6 Steps

1. Start with a Social Media Audit

Start with a Social Media Audit

Start with a Social Media Audit

Every marketing plan has a goal to achieve. To set that goal, you need to have a critical assessment of your current status in social media, your opportunities and challenges. It sets your starting point and reveals the areas you need to work on more vigorously to attain your desired position.

Among other things, social media audit must include:

  • An inventory of all your social media profiles, and fraudulent accounts that carries your name or brand so you can report them.
  • A review of how each profile is doing online e.g engagement, followers etc.
  • A comparison of your current performance in social media to your performance one or two years before.

To do your social media audit, you can check this awesome article by the Harvard Business Review.

2. Compare How You Fare with the Competitors

Compare How You Fare with the Competitors

Compare How You Fare with the Competitors

The next thing that you must assess is how your brand fares against competitors. Gather at least 4 niche influencers or main competitors and keep a pulse on them to identify the gaps in your services or products and know how they’re doing in social media.

Things you need to look at:

  • Channels they are using
  • Their content strategy e.g type of content (text, video or image), frequency of posts, context (promotional, informative or humorous)
  • How they respond to their followers or customer service

There are a number of good competitor analysis tools out there that you could use to get a glimpse of how your niche neighbors are doing in social.

3. Set SMART Goals

Set SMART Goals

Set SMART Goals

After a rigorous and critical assessment of your current business position in social, it is now time to develop the goal and objectives that you want to achieve for the year ahead. This is the core of your social media marketing plan. Without these goals, you'd find it hard to scale the success of your social media efforts.
 
Now, it is important to keep your goals SMART.

Specific. Be clear in what you want to accomplish.
Measurable. Find out how and when the goal can be achieved.
Achievable. Be realistic, don't aim for goals too high or too low for your position.
Relevant. Don't go beyond what you're supposed to do.
Time-bound. Set time that is not too ample as it may lead to procrastination. Likewise, don’t make it too short that it's no longer realistic.

An example of a SMART Goal:

We want to target 250 new followers on Twitter three months after we launch our campaign.

4. Focus on the Strengths of Specific Channels

Focus on the Strengths of Specific Channels

Focus on the Strengths of Specific Channels

There's no one size fits all social media channel. Each one has its own pros and cons. What you want to do is to leverage the pros of specific channels by setting an objective and tactics for each of them. Below is a simple guide in using popular channels to help you on your social media marketing strategy.

Facebook is a useful channel for almost any type of content. It is also the most popular channel with 1 billion users around the world. With its extensive reach, it is best to use this to promote brand awareness and drive traffic to your site.

Twitter comes second in terms of popularity and is best used to monitor the number of your brand mentions, which can tell the insights of your customers about your brand. This also implies that you can use this channel for customer service.

LinkedIn users are perceived as the more serious type of people who are often engaged in a business. This channel offers a filtered audience to promote your brand and you can leverage it by establishing relationships with your target customers.

Instagram is the best place to establish your brand personality and promote it. It is also dubbed as the “king of social engagement" by Forrester in two consecutive years, 2014-15.

5. Generate Content Ideas

Generate Content Ideas

Generate Content Ideas

With your goals at hand and objectives specific to each channel, it’s now time to generate contents and business offerings that will be sent out to your followers. Think of content that will attract your customers.

For the contents to work well with your social media marketing plan, look at the year ahead and mark key holidays or seasons to know what will be trending for a particular season. This brings you to the final step: developing a social media calendar.

6. Develop a Social Media Calendar

Develop a Social Media Calendar

Develop a Social Media Calendar

Finally, you would want to put your content marketing plan on the calendar. This helps you keep on track to avoid delays. This also ensures your social media presence. When creating your editorial calendar, you need to:

  • Decide how often you want to post for each channel.
  • Identify the target audience for each content
  • Identify how to promote your content

You can put this on a spreadsheet and fill out the table ahead of time.

Finally, you would want to put your content marketing plan on a calendar to stay on track. This will also ensure your social media presence especially on important dates relevant to your niche. When creating your editorial calendar, you need to:

  • Decide how often you want to post for each channel.
  • Identify the target audience for each content
  • Identify how to promote your content

Put this on a spreadsheet and fill out the table ahead of time.

Once you follow these steps, test your social media marketing strategy for a certain period and analyze the results. You might need to make some adjustments and revisions, and these can happen very often. 

There are various ways to gauge your success. You can use online and offline surveys by asking your social media followers to give their thoughts about your profile and by performing a survey among your walk-in customers to know if social media has a role in their decision to make a purchase. These are good post-mortem practices to evaluate the results of your social media efforts.

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