Everyone can start a basic Social Media plan knowing a few points about your business, competitors, target, and what to say in each social media channel.
I’ve worked with clients of different sizes, and for all of them, I’ve reinforced the importance of a social media plan before publishing on any channel. I know that many companies don’t have the budget to hire a digital agency, and many times who need to do it is the person responsible for the marketing activities of the company. These 10 basic steps I believe can start you working well with social media, even if you are only a new digital marketing professional or someone who needs to do it until you hire an agency to help. Be creative, do your research, follow these steps below, and start planning!
- Know your goals
First of all, you need to think about your marketing and communication goals. Social media is essential, but it must be part of something bigger. You need to think about your long and short-term goals that can increase market presence, visibility, sales or even launch your business. Knowing these goals will help to communicate to the right target, with the right message in the right channel.
- What’s the Social Media role
There are so many social media options nowadays that it is hard to understand how it can help your communication strategy. You need to be careful and not think that all are the same. Because if you start to post not considering that, it will be your first mistake that will impact all your digital communication. Therefore, you need to think about the role of each social media network, in your marketing mix strategy. I know small business usually don’t have a real marketing plan developed, and many times they only follow what the big players are doing. Anyway, understand that Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and any other platform are places to exchange with your followers and not a place to push your brand.
- What your competitors are doing
It is time to learn from others mistakes and hits. Look at your competitors’ channels and try to understand what your consumer would think about, how they are interacting with the communication, and what you get as a reference for your plan. The big players probably will have the best content and engagement; however, maybe they won’t be the right parameter for you to compare. Look at them too, but a competitor in the same size, structure, and target will provide the best learning. And most importantly; don’t copy your competitor! Use the information that you got and start something unique for you.
- Who is your target
I’ve seen many companies in love with the number of followers, but this significant number can be a lie that does not represent your true target. Think about all of the stakeholders that are involved in the consumer journey to buy your product/service. There you will find people who need your solution: specialists, decision makers, influencers, partners, and in many cases, your employees. Discover who you will reach on social media, and where you will find them. Maybe on Facebook, you can reach employees, partners and who has the pain, YouTube you will reach the specialists, and on LinkedIn the influencers and decision makers. It will depend on your business, and it is not a rule. The creation of personas is a great idea to better identify your target per each platform.
- What you can offer for them
Why do you follow a brand? Because this brand tries to sell you something or is this brand providing something interesting for you? I’m almost sure it is the second option, right? Your target wants the same of you! Start offering something to solve their problem, something to educate them, and they will follow you! 42% of consumerstend to buy because of educational content provided by brands. Moreover, listen and answer their questions, it will provide information for you to create more content.
- Choose the right content
Use personas to create your content and explore all possibilities. Write blog posts and social media content for each persona, and use a lot of visuals like beautiful pictures, and infographics to attract more attention to your message. On Facebook you can be more informal, on Instagram you need to be visual, and on LinkedIn, you need to show your expertise. Be very careful with the message tone, invite the reader to engage and interact with the message. It will show that you want to learn with them too, right?
Another significant point is: be smart using hash-tags! It can help to increase the reach of your content on Twitter and Instagram. Try to use between four and six hash-tags, and look for existent conversations with high engagement.
- Video is always better
There is a projection that videos will make almost 80% of the internet traffic until 2019. Your brand needs to be part of this projection! Therefore, it is easy to attract the attention with a 90 seconds video than with a post with 1,000 words. You can provide the same information, but with a video, it will be easy to understand and more shareable. And if you think that video production is expensive, nowadays it is possible to create a good video using only your cell phone and a few apps. It is not the best option, but you can do it to start, until you have the chance to do something more professional. Don’t allow your budget limitation interfere with your creativity. The Facebook and Instagram Stories are good examples and trends using video easily.
- Keep the conversation going
Remember, social media is a two-way communication! People will ask questions, comment good and bad things about your brand. You need to be prepared to answer them as soon as possible. It can be a little scary, but it is good! In the same way that someone can complain in your page, this consumer can inform others about how you solved his problems. You can use the social media tools to promote contests, polls, and other ways to keep the conversation going.
- Measure the results
Using the right technique, you can track everything on social media. All platforms offer their analytics with all traffic and insights. Moreover, you can identify your website traffic generated from your social media content. Initially it will be hard, and you will need to boost your content to reach a satisfactory number, but when you start a loyal base of followers, it will increase organically.
- Adjust what you can and keep going
Digital communication is the easiest way to improve everything. It is an endless process where you need to create milestones to analyze what is working and what needs improvement. You can discover what channel is generating more results, if your budget is enough, and if you can start to think about campaigns to focus on specific solutions.