With over 3.5 billion users, social media is the place to be for businesses. The goal is to find the best way your business can leverage social media marketing to grow its customer base or the loyalty of their already existing customers. In the past few years, companies went from “what is social media” to “how can I grow my business from social media management.”
As social media marketers at SH1FT, we are really excited about this change. We love social media because we believe so many companies can benefit from it. We’ve had clients that grew entirely from our social media efforts.
The main problem is that most companies we have the pleasure of working with don’t have a social media plan. It’s a problem because consistency in social media is very important. You want to post, connect & engage continuously and keep your momentum.
In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at how you can create a social media marketing plan for your business in order to truly leverage your social media profiles. I hope that from applying this social media marketing plan, you’ll be able to truly benefit from social media marketing.
Step 1: Audit your social media marketing efforts
When it comes to social media, every industry is different. A media company will have way higher industry standards than a SaaS company. The goal here is to dive deeper into the results you are already getting if you aren’t starting from scratch. It’s about evaluating your position against your industry.
You can do that by answering a few social media marketing questions such as the following ones:
- Which are social media profiles do you have?
- How many fans or followers do you have on each of your social media profiles?
- How often are you posting on each different channel?
- Are your profiles optimized with descriptions, profile pictures, cover pictures, website URLs and so on?
- Are you able to track the revenue you are generating from those social media profiles with Google Analytics?
- What is the social media profile bringing you the most revenue?
- How much engagement are you getting per post on average on each social media profile?
Again, this is not the entire social media marketing audit we do at SH1FT, but it’s a good start. We offer free social media marketing audits at SH1FT, just request a proposal and we’ll get back to you.
Step 2: Find your ideal target market
Knowing exactly who your target market is extremely important to your social media marketing plan. Why? If you know your audience, you can create content that will truly connect with them.
If you don’t, the content you create will not reach anyone. For instance, if you know your target market are sailors then you would want to create content that sailors would react to. You wouldn’t want to create content for fisherman as your engagement rate would be pretty low.
Now, it might be hard sometimes to know exactly who your target market is and maybe you have 2-3 target markets. At SH1FT, we still recommend our clients to lay this out as it helps us creating content that will bring results.
Imagine yourself creating content for a t-shirt brand where you have no clue who their target market is. You would most likely end up doing something that your audience would be confused about and that’s not the goal here.
Here are a few pieces of information you might want to collect from your own team and your analysis of your past & current customers:
- Age range
- Education level, income and/or job title
- Motivation to become your customer
- The preferred social media platform
Step 3: Find your true message & voice
The goal here is to find what makes your brand stand out from the other brands. The best way to do this is to find your competitors and see what they have to offer that you don’t. By comparing yourself to others, you’ll better be able to gauge what truly makes you different.
It might be hard at the beginning to find what makes you different, but it can be something you decide to create from this day forward. Once you’ve found what that difference is, the goal here is to be able to communicate it very easily. You can have multiple messages but they should all mean the same.
Having a clear message that you can repeat over and over again strengthens your brand identity. In today’s world, branding is such an important part of your success that you need to do anything that reinforces your brand identity.
The best example is Nike with “just do it”, Apple “challenge the status quo” or MVMT “a watch that doesn’t break the bank”. The clearer your message the better you can convince people to become your customers on social media.
From this day forward, any piece of content you create should be aligned with your message. As you’ll see in the example below, Nike uses the wording “you got this” but it’s another way of saying “just do it”. The essence of their messaging remains the same but their advertising efforts vary.
If your social media profiles don’t align with your message & voice, it’s not worth it. You need to make all your social media efforts consistent enough so that people remember your brand.
Step 4: Find your social media marketing KPI’s
Social media KPI’s are really important if you want to drive results from your activities. It’s a way of knowing what your efforts are bringing and if the results are improving. With metrics that you gather week over weeks, you’ll easily be able to tell if you are in the right direction or not.
There are tons of metrics you can track on social media. You can track the number of followers you gain every week or even the amount of sales you generated from the traffic that came from social media. At SH1FT, using KPI’s is essential since our clients want to know if we are bringing positive results.
Here are a few social media marketing KPI’s you can start tracking today:
- Amount of followers gained on each social media profiles
- Engagement rate
- Reach & impressions
- Social shares
- Sales & leads
- Website traffic
- Conversion rate
Step 5: Social media content creation
Content is pretty much the essence of everything that is built online, but we are talking about social media marketing content here. Most companies don’t spend enough time creating quality content. It’s what we’ve realized after working with many brands.
The problem with such an approach is that brands tend to gravitate towards logical work such as optimizing their Facebook ads or setting up their SEO correctly. Why? It doesn’t require any creativity and imagination to do those things. Social media content on the other hand is much more complicated to create.
To create amazing social media marketing content a company needs to do research, know its market positioning, have strong branding and have graphic designers, motion designers and so on. As you can see, the work behind creating content is much bigger yet the rewards are much larger.
After you’ve created amazing content based on your ideal target market, it’s time to post it on social media. To do that, we usually recommend using a social media calendar with tools such as Buffer. We also recommend creating captions that relate to your true brand’s voice & message as talked in the previous section.
You can use your own content or start with curated content although in today’s world, using your own content is almost a prerequisite to standing out minimally. Just to get your mind going, here are a few content formats you can use right away for social media marketing:
- PDF guide
- Graphic design
- Video editing
- Motion design
We could make a super long list but this is a great start. The goal here is to find content that fits your business & brand and not force something because it seems cool. You want to stay close to your voice, message and target market when creating such content.
Remember that social media marketing adds fuel to the fire of your content. In other words, if you don’t feel like your content is fire then nothing will happen on social media. Fuel on nothing becomes nothing, but fuel on fire expands rapidly
In general, you want your content to stand out and get people to engage with your brand by commenting, liking, sharing or even sending you a message directly. You can then interact back with those people to have new prospects by your door. The more you give amazing content, the more you’ll get amazing customers.
Step 6: Find social media tools that fit your need
There are tons of social media tools on the market all with different functionalities based on your need. Some allow you to do things you can’t do without them and others allow you to save your time. Anyhow, using social media tools is a big part of your social media success because it allows you to scale your operations efficiently.
With social media tools, you’ll be able to schedule your post in advance and organize them on a calendar with the content and the social media channel in question. No more confusion or forgetting about making a post, this tool saves you time and reduces the number of possible errors.
There are tons of tools sometimes for social media in general or for specific channels such as Facebook marketing tools. It’s up to you to make the research and find exactly what you need.
Step 7: Measure, analyze & improve
After you’ve made sure all the steps in your social media marketing plan are well done, it’s time to get down to the actual work. At this stage, you want to take a look at the feedback you’ve received to tweak & improve your social media results.
Even at SH1FT, we constantly analyze what we do and strive to improve. It might seem trivial to track, test and optimize but it’s very important. I’ll go as far as saying that social media is 99% measuring, analyzing and improving. That’s where the real results are.
You’ll be able to know which social media channels bring you the most traffic or the most amount of money so you can spend more over there. You’ll also be able to tell which audience seems to be the most attracted by the content you create.
You need to be flexible, to pivot and move forward. It’s another reason not to be such a perfectionist, because no matter what you do, you’ll be able to improve. There’s no need to be perfect from the beginning.
Again, if you need help at any stage of your marketing process, I highly recommend reaching out to us. We offer a free audit that can at least drive you in the right direction for your social media marketing.