Social Media Strategy Plan:
A strategy is a plan to reach your destination from where you are today. In the case of social media, it is your plan to achieve your social media objectives.
Small businesses often start social media marketing as a competitive move, meaning they are on social media because their competitors are on social media. As per Marketingprof research data, 46% of B2B marketers are not sure whether any social channels have generated revenue for their business.
For this reason, Businesses don’t have a plan to implement on social media? They are on social media for the sake of being on social media. They check what their competitor is doing and follow them, at best Businesses see what the leaders from their industry are doing and try to imitate it.
What happens next?
Businesses fail in their social media efforts. Why? Because they are following plans, which is not their plan–it is their competitor. Guess what?
Competitors don’t have a plan either. So all in all everyone is doing something on social media to achieve something without success.
This is the case with the most business marketing on social media. As per Marketingprof research data, 46% of B2B marketers are not sure whether any social channels have generated revenue for their business.
The solution is to develop a custom social media strategy for your own small business, where you decide targets you want to achieve, not your competitor.
Here are the steps you need to follow to make a small business social media strategy plan that works.
- Define social media mission
- Create objectives for each social media
- Social Media Research
- Create Buyer’s persona with your research data
- Create content calendar
- Analyze performance
- Implement learning to Optimize strategy
1. Define Social Media Mission:
Starting your social media strategy without a mission is like planning a travel trip to go nowhere. You pack your bags and then you move on the road, start walking in the hope that someday you will reach your destination, but that someday never comes.
Surprisingly many businesses start their social media journey without reaching a goal–their mission.
Ask yourself what do you want to achieve with social media? Your answer is your Social Media mission that will change with industry, niche and even for your business over time.
Some examples of social media missions are:
- Increasing traffic to your website
- Build a big fan following
- Generate business leads
- Business Brand Awareness
- Customer support and complaint resolution.
You will agree that if we want to achieve many things at once, we may not achieve any. 1-2 social media mission at a time is sufficient. If you attempt to achieve multiple mission, you will lose focus.
2. Create objectives for each social media:
All your social media account like facebook, twitter, Instagram etc should work in sync to achieve your mission. Different social media should work like the different department of an organization, where each department has a distinct function, but have one mission to accomplish.
You should decide these social media objectives with the SMART concept, which means that all objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and time bound.
Some examples of Social Media Objectives are:
- Facebook: Get 10,000 real page likes from target audience in next 6 months with 4 curated content post and 1 self-promotional post each week.
- Twitter: Establish relationships with 10 influencers with regular communication, retweets etc each month.
- LinkedIn: Build a 100 member B2B community of prospects and establish thought leadership among them in next 6 months with 1 editorial content each week.
- Instagram: Share company events and activities images every week to increase Instagram followers count to 5000 in next 3 months.
3. social media research:
You have set your mission and objective for each social media; in other words, you have decided where do you want to go to spend your vacation. Now you would research about what route to take, what places to visit etc.
Research is important to get the best deal, to get the best value for your money spent right?
Absolutely. To get the best value for money and time spent on social media, you need to do research, research about:
- A. Competitor
- B. Target Audience
- C. Past social media success and failure
- D. Influencer
A. Competitor Research:
competitor research tells you what does your competitor offer to lure their followers. Analyzing competitor data, you can know when your target audience is active on social media, what topics your audience like, what they ignore.
B.Target Audience Research:
Social media users who are interested in your or competitor’s products and services are your target audience. It includes your existing customer along with all those users who can become your customers in future.
Target audience research involves identifying the social media your target audience is most active, when do they visit social media and why? What types of posts do they like and share?
you should always create and curate content that is relevant to your target audience.
C. Past social media success and failure:
You can get tons of valuable information to strengthen your social media strategy by analyzing your own social media accounts.
Pay attentions to the post that brought engagement and that don’t. Focus on topics that interested your audience, time of the day you saw most activity, your followers’ comment. All this information will help you to choose best topics, best time and best tone to create future posts.
D. Influencer Research:
An Influencer is a person who has an authority and strong social presence. Influencers are experts in their field, their followers trust them and follow their advice. They are like the celebrities of TV world, who can introduce content to a wider audience because of their social influence.
Create a list of influencers for your industry and analyze their social account.
Influencers have a large fan following for reasons. By analyzing their account, you come to know strategies that worked for them, their interaction which produces engagement to incorporate them into your own social media strategy.
When you have the opportunity to learn from the masters, learn.
4. Create Buyer’s persona with your research data:
A buyer persona is an imaginative replica of your ideal customer. It is like a colorful picture that you can relate to your target audience. Fill the colors of this picture with the information you collected in social media research.
If you have more than 1 ideal customer, create a buyer persona for each. Enrich your buyer persona with details like age, gender, education level, profession etc. Think where does he spend his time? what does he like? Why does he visit social media?
Buyer persona will help you to create specific content for your target audience that resonates their liking, that they can relate with.
By creating all your buyer personas, you have segmented your target audience is specific groups. Now you can plan post topics for each buyer persona to engage them on social media.
5. Create content calendar:
A content calendar should be part of any social media strategy. It keeps your efforts aligned with your objective and helps in planning what content to create and what content to share on social media.
A typical social media calendar includes information like post timing and frequency for each social media, post topics to engage different buyer personas, a relative combination of self-promotional, editorial and user generated content.
Make a balance between self-promotional content and useful content to keep your audience engaged.
While creating social media calendar take note of your marketing budget. Make a calendar that you can follow within your budget constraints. There is no point of making a social media calendar, you cannot follow.
Hubspot has a good free calendar template to begin, you can customize it as per your needs. Whatever social media calendar you follow, please stick to it.
6. Analyze performance:
You are posting content on social media accounts, what next? Posting content relentlessly without analyzing what worked, what not is a sure way to waste your social media budget.
Despite all your conscious efforts, you cannot predict what target audience would like, you have to look through the analytics data of each social media account to know what worked? Which topics exactly resonated with your audience?
Social media provide many metrics like click, share, comment, retweets, impression, reach, Cost-per-click, Cost-per-lead etc to analyze your performance. The metrics you should analyze depend on your social media objectives.
Social media analytics are there to improve your performance, not to get confused with. While choosing what metrics to focus, ask yourself if you can use the metric data to make a concrete change, if not leave it. Concentrate only on a few metrics for each social media that you can translate into actionable step.
For example, suppose you had a budget of $100 to increase your page like on facebook and got 500 likes. The metric to focus here will be cost per page like, which in our case is $0.2/ page like. Checking these metrics against past page like campaign and against industry standard you can decide actionable future steps.
7. Implement learning to Optimize strategy:
Social media is a dynamic world, where things that worked in the past may not work in future. You have to change your strategy with your data driven learning. Implement the lessons that you learn from the past step.
For example, continuing our example from the previous step, you found that a similar page like campaign in the past produced page like at $0.1/ page like, while the industry standard is also $0.1/ page like.
There could be a couple of reasons for it like:
- The competition for your target audience has increased.
- Your engagement over time has diminished.
- You have not optimized campaign with past learnings.
Concrete steps that you can implement in your strategy would be:
- Targeting your campaign more creatively to reach your target audience.
- Verify if engagement has declined over time. If true, improve page engagement before running a new advertising campaign.
- Compare if the previous campaign was more relevant than the present one. Take note of difference to design your next campaign.
Your strategy will also change with achievement. As discussed in the first step of setting social media mission, you should choose 1-2 goals at a time. After achieving them, you should plan for more ambitious goal, which will require a different strategy.
Moral of the story is “Change Strategy with time and achievements.”
Now you have a social media strategy plan for your small business. Whether your social media strategy is good or not, you will know only after implementing it. Strategy on paper is only an imagination of achievement, it is actions that make a strategy–Strategy.
Remember to give your social media strategy at least 3-6 months before making changes, if you will change strategy often, you will never know what worked.
How do you plan your social media strategy? How does your strategy work in action? Let me know in comments.
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