Before we understand the importance of the social media marketing plan, let’s look at some statistics to prove the value of leveraging social media for your brand. Here you go:
59% of the world's population uses social media (Source)
90% of users on Instagram follow a business (Source)
66% of Facebook users visit a local business page at least once every week (Source)
Twitter is responsible for 9% of all web traffic referrals. (Source)
68% of users used YouTube to make a purchase decision (Source)
LinkedIn has a listing of 58 million companies (Source)
I hope these astounding statistics helped you understand the power of social media for your brand in today’s scenario. Social media has become one of the most powerful tools for business owners, marketers, and individuals today.
But the sad part is most brands get the social media game wrong or miss the mark. They struggle with being consistent with their efforts, producing quality content, and even engaging and building their community on social media platforms. For example, in a survey of social media managers, around 12.6% of them mentioned content creation as one of their biggest challenges, whereas 9.2% were struggling with creating and executing a strategy.
So the big question is, why do most business owners, social media professionals, marketers, and individuals struggle with social media so much? The issue lies with one factor - Social Media Marketing Plan.
To succeed in this social media game, every business or brand needs to have a robust social media marketing plan in place. Without a good one, you are just flying blind, and the chances are fair that you might end up being one of the brands with a meager social media presence.
We do not want that, right? So let’s jump in and understand the social media marketing plan in depth and build a good one for your business.
Definition of a Social Media Marketing Plan
A social media marketing plan (as the name suggests) is a comprehensive plan outlining how an organization or brand will leverage social media to achieve its objectives. This plan will include the brand goals, information on the audience, social media channels in play, the right metrics to track, and more.
A social media marketing plan is like your compass that will help you on your brand’s social media journey. Without it, a brand can lose track of its direction and vision. A plan will function as your ready-reckoner anytime you need guidance. It is a time-consuming endeavor, but worth it with the benefits you receive.
A social media marketing plan can bring several benefits to your brand’s social media play:
An in-depth understanding of your audience helps you to serve them better
Clarity on the social media platforms you need to focus on
A clear understanding of the type of content that will suit your audience
Grasp the right KPIs that will help you stay on track with your social media efforts
So by now, you will have a clear understanding of the social media marketing plan and its significance for your business. Let’s look at some benefits that a good plan will bring to your brand. Let’s go.
Benefits of a Social Media Marketing Plan
A social media marketing plan can act as a signpost for your social media tactics and guide you on the long journey you are about to embark upon. Here are some of the clear benefits a plan can bring to your brand:
Better Audience Targeting and Engagement
With a good social media plan, it will better prepare you with a solid understanding of your target audience. When you understand your audience and their goals clearly, it becomes easier to serve them better in achieving those goals.
Increased Brand Awareness and Recognition
As your audience consumes your brand content on social media well, your brand awareness will rise. With rising brand recognition and awareness, you can expect your important goals like community building, better revenues, etc. achieved.
Improved Customer Service and Loyalty
A good social media plan can help you develop your social media channels as a splendid avenue to handle customer queries on time. A good social media communication plan can help boost customer satisfaction, leading to improved loyalty and following as well.
Higher Conversion Rates and Revenue
When your brand aligns its social media tactics closer to your audience, your message delivers right, leading to an improved following. With a loyal community, you can expect higher conversions leading to an increase in revenues.
Competitive Advantage and Industry Authority
When you focus your brand on what your audience wants to do and make useful content regularly, your brand will become respected in your sector. This thought leadership will provide you with an added advantage when compared to your competition.
I hope you are clear about the benefits of preparing a social media plan for your brand. Now let’s have a look at the steps to creating a good social media marketing plan for your brand.
Steps to Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan
A social media marketing plan has a profound impact on your brand’s social media marketing efforts. So it is imperative that you build your plan diligently and in the right way. Do not skip any of the steps below and ensure you are investing the right amount of time and resources in building the plan.
Here are the 5 basic steps in building a good social media marketing plan:
Defining Business Goals and Objectives
The starting point towards building a powerful social media marketing plan is defining your brand’s social media goals and objectives. Every brand needs to have clarity on why are they even relying on social media for marketing. Without this clarity, it will soon become a time-consuming activity that will lead to burnout.
The typical goals for businesses for their social media include:
Community Building - building a following of loyal fans
Lead Generation - generating interest in products/services
Customer Service - addressing customer queries promptly
Thought Leadership - an avenue to showcase expertise
Influencer Marketing - building relationships with influencers and thought leaders
So, as the first step, you need to be clear about which goals your brand is trying to leverage social media for. Write them down and let’s move on.
Identifying Target Audience and Ideal Customer Profile
Once you decide your social media goals, it is time to move on to audience research. You need to develop a clear understanding of your target audience before jumping into the social media game for your brand. Learn everything about your audience possible - their demographics, what platforms they are active on, their challenges, goals, and more.
Some of the critical questions that need to be addressed at this step are:
Who is that I am trying to reach via social platforms? Their age, location, occupation, etc.
Which platforms are they most active on and when?
What are they trying to achieve on those platforms? Entertainment, knowledge gathering or sharing, staying connected, etc.
What are their common goals and challenges?
How can I help them solve those challenges or achieve those goals?
Once you have answered all these critical questions, you will have a clear understanding of your audience and their needs.
Tools I recommend for this step include:
Hubspot’s Make My Persona Tool - Ideal for building user personas
Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms
With your audience research out of the way, you and your team are in the perfect position to decide on the right social media platforms to leverage. There are a variety of social media platforms nowadays for brands to be on, but it will not make sense to be on every platform available. For example, being a B2B brand, it may not make sense to invest time and energy into a TikTok channel.
So choose the right platforms where your target audience is active, and your brand can deliver value to them.
Here is a blog post for your help - 5 C’s to Consider While Selecting Social Media Networks for Your Business
Developing a Content Strategy
Alright, you are a brand leader or a business owner with a clear understanding of your social media goals, your audience, and the channels you want to focus on. Great, let’s move on to the 2 most important pieces of this social media puzzle now.
One of the most important elements of a solid social media marketing plan is the content strategy. A content strategy will align your content efforts to the social media goals you have decided upon. It will outline all the tactics, all the formats of content you will be preparing, and the content propagation plan as well.
Content strategy will give you clarity in your content marketing efforts for social media. It will cover important aspects, such as
Types of content and its frequency
Content scheduling plan
Content performance monitoring
Another important element to be mentioned here includes a social media calendar. A social media calendar helps in planning content by channel, along with its schedule of publishing. It is better to use a template for the same and plan it out for a month or at least a week ahead.
Here is a template you can use - Click here
Measuring and Tracking Success
The last step in building a social media marketing plan is identifying the right metrics for your brand. This step is critical in understanding your performance and making improvements in your strategy. So make a list of key metrics you want to track aligned with your goals.
Some of the key metrics include:
Reach of Content
Engagement (Clicks, Likes, Shares, etc.)
Return on Investment
So choose the right metrics and create a plan to monitor them constantly. This will help you to understand whether your social media strategy is working or not.
Tools for Social Media Marketing Plan
While building your social media marketing plan, you will need tools that can simplify things for you. Following are some of the tools that can help you build and execute a powerful social media strategy:
As the first step, audience research can be critical to the whole process of building a solid social media marketing plan. Leverage tools to perform in-depth research on your audience. You can use them to understand your audience’s social media preferences.
SparkToro - Perfect for learning the preferences of your audience and identifying their watering holes on the web
Social Media Content Creation
Social media tactics will demand a variety of content to be prepared for your channels. These may include graphics, videos, livestreaming, gifs, and more.
Some of the tools you can use for content creation include:
Canva - Ideal for graphics and video content
StreamYard - Perfect for your livestreaming sessions
InVideo - Your go-to tool for social media video content
Loom - For screen recording videos and other video formats
Lumen5 - For creating quick videos from your blog posts
Social Media Management and Analytics
Posting content on various social media channels with different time schedules can be quite daunting. Monitoring social media performance can also be challenging for teams. Choose smart tools to manage your social media management and monitor performance easily from the below:
Publer - Effective social media management and analytics
Databox - Perfect for building dashboards for monitoring and reporting social media performance
Another crucial area for a brand to focus on while executing its social media strategy is social listening. Social listening will help you listen in on conversations happening around your brand and your area or industry. Some tools can monitor most social media channels (except LinkedIn) for your brand.
Some tools that you can leverage for social listening are Hootsuite, Brand24, and Brand Mentions.
Here is an episode from The Thrifty Marketer Talks discussing social listening with Brooke B. Sellas, Founder - B Squared Media.
Social media marketing is not a cakewalk for every brand, especially if you are functioning without the backup of fat pockets and large teams. Having a well-prepared social media marketing plan can address several challenges for brands. So it is advisable to invest time and energy in building a social media marketing plan covering all the crucial aspects of social media marketing for your brand.