Developing a social media plan doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Indeed, it’s the most interesting part of your marketing strategy, and if you have set a time to figure out your objectives, approach, and metrics, you will be almost done.
What you intend to do and what you want to accomplish through social media channels should be laid out in detail in a social media marketing plan. It will chauffeur your actions and let you uncover whether you’re making progress or you’re getting stuck.
You’ll have more success with your strategy if you make it as precise and explicit as possible. However, keep it simple, concise, and clear for everyone involved in this process. Don’t make it so abstract that it’s unmeasurable, irrelevant, or unreachable.
This guide will teach you how to create an effective plan and walk through a step-by-step strategy to make a winning social media appearance for your personal brand or business.
We’ve even got a bunch of expert insights from our senior managers of online marketing, with more than 10 years of branding and digital strategies.
How Can We Define a Social Media Plan?
Any company can benefit from creating a social media plan that details its intended audience, preferred social networks, and types of material to be shared. It will direct you through a whole process to develop a well-laid marketing strategy.
Your plan will be vital; once you’ve outlined something, you can work on producing your content and cadence. Then you have a broad prospect of analysing follower engagement and building a trustful relationship with your audience.
Nowadays, nearly every business has created social media channels. But have they used the right way to build their presence? Do they take advantage of all social media capabilities?
Succeeding on social media goes beyond just posting daily updates. It takes some effort you need to invest in getting the desired outcome.
You need to determine your goals and who you’re trying to reach. Also, it’s vital to understand what type of content your audience wants to see and what your followers or potential followers genuinely care about. Most importantly, you need to answer this: why would they want to engage with you?
Finding answers to those questions will take you to the main step in your social media marketing activities—a strategic plan. Going beyond ad hoc presence requires a social media plan.
Why Social Media Plan? Is It Worth Your Time?
Marketing on social media platforms requires both originality and strategic forethought. Its importance can’t be measured, yet there’s more to it than meets the eye.
It is evident that social media networks have a lot of potential for companies that want to invest in growth to increase their ROI. Recurpost, however, claims that roughly 40% of SMBs require social media outlets. They might try to be there, and the results are disappointing, or they may never use it as a marketing tool.
So is it worth it, especially for small businesses with no solid brand image to build upon?
Absolutely. Here are some benefits of creating a social media plan.
Adds a Human Trait to Your Company
With fierce competition, people become not care more about big names; they need a brand to trust. By utilising these platforms, your business may become a more dynamic participant in its industry. You will show off your brand as a person you can trust. Your followers will have a greater sense of connection to you as they come to know the real you through your profile, postings, and interactions with the audience.
Social media is a great way to increase traffic to your website or landing page since it allows you to reach your audience directly. This technique will enable you to convert visitors into consumers thanks to the links you add to your profiles or blog post links in any posts, stores, or ads.
Attracts Customers and Generate Leads
You can use tools like appointment scheduling, one-on-one messaging, in-app purchases, and profile CTAs.
Tweaks Your Benchmarks Over Time
Benchmarking your marketing strategy allows you to keep tracking social media metrics and analyse your current business online performance compared to industry standards, past performance, and competitors.
Define spots that need to improve. Evaluating your performance against the standard benchmarks helps you uncover elements of your required social appearance to reach marketing goals.
Even more, being on social media will help define your position through feedback you’d receive, engage with your audience, hold decisions, and communicate directly with them.
How to Develop a Social Media Plan
You can give a push to your marketing efforts by designing a well-tuned social media plan. For example, you can set expectations for wider team involvement and get everyone enlighted on what they should and shouldn’t talk about and publish on your social networks.
Let’s understand what makes social media marketing success and what secrets marketers keep about achieving their ROI goals. After reading this, you will set yourself apart from your competitors.
Set Your Goals
It seems repetitive wherever you go, but nothing can help you if you don’t have clear goals.
We have heard that a lot! What does setting goals exactly mean?
Determine what you want to achieve from publishing on social media. Here are plenty of examples of goals you might consider:
- Raise brand awareness
- Drive website traffic
- Boost brand engagement
- Generate new leads
- Nurture leads
- Raise the quality of service or product provided to customers
- Establish industry expertise and authority
- Shift brand sentiment
But what if you want to avoid the whys of being on social media?
It’s time to think deeply, elicit all ideas you have in mind, and write them down until you find the actual reason. To make this exercise done, keep asking yourself why till you find the right answer.
For example, I want to publish on social media.
Because other competitors do so.
Because they want people to know them.
Because they want to establish brand awareness.
Yes, that’s it.
The objective here is to find a purpose to your social efforts, so everyone on your team will work within it. Once you’ve established your goals, the content you develop and share should continually support your goals.
There is no right or wrong when writing out specific social media goals. Still, our favourite one is the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) method.
This OKR model asks you to set a general objective statement and list out several key results that describe what successfully attaining that objective looks like. In other words, when you can say, “Okay, guys, great job! We have nailed it,” that’s when you’ve achieved your goals.
So, back to the previous example. It’s still a broad objective statement if you want to establish brand awareness.
So, the second step is to support this goal with clear result metrics that help you define meeting objectives.
What does it mean?
The goal: Build brand awareness
Key results (what success looks like): increase engagement (views, likes, reach, shares, mentions, comments) by 25% by the end of Q2.
So, what is the difference?
According to the previous example, if your objective is to increase brand awareness, you need to improve the number of reaches, likes, shares, comments, and mentions by 25% by the end of the second quarter.
That’s what you need to focus on and what your team should strive to achieve throughout this period.
Important: Please set a realistic benchmark according to your current numbers and industry norms. You can uncover it by spying on your competitors or conducting a competitive analysis.
Define Your Target Audience
If you still need to define and document your audience persona, start doing so now. Define the key demographics of the audience you want to reach, such as gender, income, occupation, age, hobbies, and interests. Also, you can segment your target audience based on lifestyles, purchasing behaviours, and how they spend their time.
Defining your target demographic helps you generate focused advertising that accurately targets your ideal consumer’s individual needs. Then you create content that will add value to their audience, making their life
For example, the below sponsored Facebook post by Semrush, the online marketing management tool, highlights the main point of SEO specialists as they have endless tasks and unlimited time.
The post targets SEO professionals who may feel overwhelmed daily because of the many things they must check out. That’s how Semrush can help them.
Behind this post, you can find a whole team working on analysing the market to consider their ideal consumer’s challenges to break down problems they’re solving daily.
So, how many people can I target?
Based on marketing experts, focus on at most three types of personas (four at maximum) representing most of your prospects. Don’t dwell on high expectations; they will prevent you from moving forward.
Determine Your Starting Point
After defining your goals and your target audience, you need to realise where you’re at to be able to put your social media marketing activities on the right track.
You need to look closely at your profiles if you already have social channels. Also, consider checking out your rivals because it doesn’t make sense to develop a new social media plan, and you need help figuring out what needs to be fixed with your current plan.
That will help you define what you can consider in your new plan and what doesn’t work anymore.
How to do that exactly?
You have many approaches, but we have compiled four basic techniques before you start building your social media plan.
- Conduct a SWOT analysis: to define the strengths and weaknesses of your brand, you need to have a SWOT analysis. It will also inspire you with the opportunities and threats you face from the external competitive landscape and business environment.
- Establish a PESTEL analysis: this is another way to explore and understand where your company and you stand economically, socially, environmentally, technologically, and legally.
- Perform marketing competition research: you need to define your direct and indirect competitors within your industry and find out how to make your business stand out from them by offering a unique selling point. (more later)
- Plan a social media audit: it’s important to check how, where, and what results in you have been communicating up until now. That will enable you to assess growth, opportunities, and activity that can be done to improve your social appearance. (check the next point)
Evaluate Your Current Social Tactics and Strategies
*If you don’t have any social media channels, skip this step to the next point
You could be sitting on a social media strategy gold mine.
Remember, your main goal is to have something work, not to ruin everything to start an entirely new plan. Our enthusiasm for a new project can lead them to rush into it without giving it much thought first.
If you have tested something that was working, make a note to add it to your next strategy. Brainstorming sessions might then be held to identify the historical successes of the organisation. These insights will be very beneficial in setting a new standard to stop making the same mistakes.
“But in real life, that is not so easy!” You might object.
Yes, I agree. It’s possible that you have SO MUCH content that conducting an audit of your whole social media presence, including graphics, engagement, and posts, will seem like an insurmountable task. That’s why so many people jump to planning and skip this step. Then, a few months later, they don’t understand why their social media strategies didn’t work, and they’re upset about it.
We have developed a list of questions to ask yourself to make this process easier, and the answers will yield a wealth of fascinating data:
- In what ways were your social media posts successful?
- Can you define the most-engaged segment with your content? (They might be the perfect client for you)
- Where can you find them interacting with your content?
- Which platform do you find to be the most beneficial, and why?
- In which areas should you concentrate your marketing efforts?
- Which media can you skip in favour of others?
- What areas could you potentially dominate or expand into, and why?
- What platforms need to be fixed, but do you have a chance for growth?
- How many hours do you spend to figure out why your content doesn’t work?
- What are your previous metrics?
- So, what are your competitors up to?
These are questions that any enterprise or label should be able to address. Trust me, when you have those answers, you’ll have a solid basis upon which to design your new social media plan and insights to help you do it.
The most effective elements of social media marketing come from having a clear understanding of your brand’s values and how to convey those through your messages.
The best prospects can also be found by methodically evaluating your social media profiles.
For example, you might discover that TikTok has received the most reach and engagement, so why would you invest time in the other ones? You need to alter your plan for more toiled content that targets TikTok users and figure out the best time to post.
To learn more about how and why TikTok is so successful, you can examine its trends and the platform’s overall algorithms. But does it mean you stop publishing on other websites? (The next point will discuss this)
Be sure to include supporting information when responding to the above inquiries. Remember, there is no assumption in marketing.
Never run your business on assumptions, as they almost always backfire. However, the more you know, the better choices you’ll be able to make.
Decisions should not be made based on intuition or superficial metrics used to justify results and conclusions. Instead, you should evaluate your content and social media updates. For instance, if you use the right tools for social media audit and find that the potential for expansion on YouTube is the greatest., spending on any social ads is just wasting your money and confusing your team. If you don’t have a budget to uncover your social insights, you can do it manually by comparing your results on each platform.
Now, you have attainable and relevant objectives that will enable you to kick-start your strategy and make sure that all of your team is on the same page. So, you can get back to your goals to change if you find anything irrelevant.
Know Which Social Media Platforms You Will Use
Social media works as a homogenous network with different soda pop. What works for one brand might not work for another.
Sure, it’s all social media, but for some, Instagram and Twitter can be Mountain Dew and Pepsi. Meanwhile, an effective LinkedIn company page might be a winning card for others. Each network is unique with its features, best practices, own style, and own audience. Identifying the appropriate social networks to use in your social media plan depends on your approach and the goals you hope to achieve. However, you don’t have to be on them all. Just select the ones that matter to your brand and your audience.
But how can you choose the best social media channel for your audience?
We’ve compiled a few things before randomly pressing “post” on any social media platform.
- Audience: which social network do your potential customers use the most? Which platform has the right demographics?
- Resources: what personnel and skills do you obtain to work with? For example, networks like TikTok emphasise relevant and consistent content. Visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest require quality images and videos. The question is, “Do you have sufficient resources to create what is needed?”
- Time: How much time can you allocate to a social network? Trust me, it requires hours of planning, creating, consuming, and observing. Plan on at least one hour each day for your social presence.
Pro tip: if you build your personal brand, allocate one day to create your weekly content. Otherwise, plan to schedule content ahead of time once you get going using a manual calendar or tool like Buffer. It will help you save a lot!
But what if you need help defining your audience through social media networks?
You can reference the audience demographics and research from surveys like those we can help you with within Profiletree. In addition, we can conduct complete data analysis collected from social media demographics to understand your and your competitors’ users.
Analyse Who You’re Up Against
Undoubtedly, your competitors have built their online presence on social media. So, it’s your chance to watch their performance and their weak and strong points. Take your time to discover how to overperform.
What do you need to do?
Conduct a competitive analysis
This analysis will allow you to understand your competitors, who the leading players are, and what they’re doing well. You’ll get a whole picture and a good sense of what’s expected in your business, which will help you set accurate social media targets of your own.
You can figure out potential spots to overperform.
It’s possible that your competitors are taking over YouTube, for example, but they don’t invest in Facebook or Instagram. So, it’s your time to overtake this gap.
As opposed to trying to steal customers from the popular brand, you may instead concentrate on networks where your target population is underserved.
Conduct Social Media Listening
In fancy language, we call it listening, but in the real world, it’s spying 😁. Spying on your rivals is another method for staying one step ahead of them. Allocate time to have a big picture of your competitors on social media by searching keywords and hashtags.
So, what are the things you should focus on?
- Find out what they’re sharing.
- Find the best hashtags for Instagram, TikTok, or other platforms based on your competitors’ performance.
- Listen to gossip and what your customers think of your competitors.
- Influencer marketing can bring many benefits to your business. But before choosing your star, have a look into who your competitors have chosen and how effective their campaigns were.
- Search for keywords they’re frequently using through their posts.
Pro tip: You can conduct all these manually but expect that you will spend so much time filling in this data. Or you can use paid tools such as Hootsuite Streams for social listening, hashtags, and real-time monitoring of relevant keywords and your competitors’ accounts.
You will know a lot through this process as you will discover common patterns you can take advantage of in your campaigns. Read comments, take notices, and reply to any queries.
In your research, you could learn about promising new updates in today’s businesses. It’s likely that you regularly find social media posts that serve as a muse for your new content strategy. Or you stumble upon a campaign that hits the mark, goes viral, or totally bombs.
By installing this mindset, you will guarantee that your social media marketing will come a long way.
Expert advice: If you want to know how your competitors operate, don’t resort to extreme measures. Try not to overstate the extent of the competition. It can be a distraction. Consequently, a monthly check-in is recommended. Then, during the whole month, focus on your strategy and results.
Measure What Matters to You
The right metrics are the backbone of your social media plan.
Exactly what metrics will you use to evaluate the efficacy of your social media plan?
Before you answer, you have to define which metrics will provide you with the right data to discover whether or not social media supports your business objectives.
So what are your success metrics?
Organic mentions, conversions, the share of voice, or engagement.
Set clear standards for each social campaign, whether paid or not; that will tell you you have achieved success.
For instance, if you’re tracking audience reach, what exactly do you have to put in your social content that will bring successful engagement?
The metrics you track will change depending on the type of pieces you produce, where you share, and the goals you define for your social marketing activities. That means there are no good or bad metrics! There are only metrics that work for you!
So, you set a goal of a 25% increase in website traffic; what can I do next?
To learn which social posts actually drive the greatest traffic to your site, you need to do more than just rely on the analytics provided by every single social network; you must also employ a variety of characteristics to track social audiences as they navigate your page.
Reassess, Test, Test, and Test Again
As data begins to trickle in, you should use it to reevaluate your social media plan periodically. You can also utilise this data to compare the efficacy of other social media marketing initiatives, content types, and approaches.
This process of constant testing is healthy for your growth which will allow you to understand what works and what doesn’t. Now, you can refine your social media efforts in real time.
How many times should I reevaluate my social campaigns?
If you want to monitor your progress over time, you need to evaluate the performance of all streams at least once a week to gain a thorough understanding of the essentials.
How Can Profiletree Help You?
Want to reach users even in their downtime?
With over 2 billion monthly active users on Instagram and 2.7 on Facebook, you will only stand out by building an effective strategy.
That’s why we are here!
We will help you unleash your brand awareness with a well-targeted social media plan. It’s about more than advertising and paying more to get the best results. The power of organic reach using content will resonate with your audience. Together we can polish your brand amongst a sea of sponsored and organic posts.
Slice through the social noise and learn how to make your audience wait for your daily posts.
Contact us now to ignite your sales, generate traffic, and push up your ROI.