top of page

The Do's and Don'ts of Developing a Social Media Marketing Plan

Did you know? 51% of users unfollow brands on social media because of irrelevant content (Source). That is an alarming statistic if you ask me. Brands that jump into their social media game without a plan will struggle or fail. A social media marketing plan is critical for your brand's performance on social media. It will align your social media tactics and activities aligned to your brand goals and help achieve them.

Although time-consuming, developing a social media marketing plan is worth the effort. It will impact every action you take toward your social media goals. A good plan will cover all the nuances of managing social media, from audience research to content to engage with the community. It can bring benefits like increased brand recognition, improved customer engagement, thrifty lead generation, enhanced brand loyalty, and more.

Here is my latest detailed blog post on Social Media Marketing Plans for Businesses.

Before jumping in to prepare their social media marketing plan, brands, and brand owners need to understand some do's and dont's of preparing a good plan.

The Do's of Developing a Social Media Marketing Plan

Here are some must-complete steps while preparing your social media marketing plan for better results:

  • Define and Understand Your Target Audience

Your audience consists of people who might be prospective customers, existing ones, influencers, partners, and industry thought leaders. To gain their attention and build a relationship on social, you need to understand them better. You must understand various factors like age, gender, income, location, interests, buying behavior, content consumption patterns, and more.

Each of these groups might have different preferences and needs. By understanding them, your brand can cater to those by tailoring your messaging for them. By doing this, your brand will receive higher engagement, better conversion rates, and ultimately a boost in revenues.

  • Set S.M.A.R.T Goals

Another important step towards building a solid social media marketing plan is setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals. You need to closely align your social media goals with your business goals. These goals will create a clear roadmap for your social media efforts and help you in measuring your progress. With SMART goals set with specific timelines, it will become easier for your brand to course correct, if need be, at the right time.

Some examples of S.M.A.R.T goals for social media can include:

  • Increase website traffic from social media by XX percent

  • Generate XX leads from social media in March

  • Boost social media engagement by XX% by the end of Q2

  • Choose the Right Social Media Platforms

As a brand owner, it might tempt you and your team to be on every social media platform available. Every brand is flooded with social media platforms today, with new ones appearing now and then. By you need to choose the right platforms for your social media marketing.

How do you do that? You need to consider several factors for choosing the right platforms for your brand. These factors include:

  • Your target audience, their demographics, and their preferences

  • Your business goals

  • Your content capabilities

  • Your team capabilities

  • Social media activities of your competition

So you need to choose social media platforms where your target audience is active and consuming content already. You need to factor in your competition and the platforms they are active on. Your team's strength when it comes to content also needs to be evaluated while choosing the platforms.

  • Develop a Content Strategy Aligned With Your Goals and Audience

Content will serve as the backbone of your social media marketing, and you need to pay special attention there. You must align your content strategy with your audience and their preferences. Your content strategy must help in developing valuable, relevant, and helpful content for your audience. Your content must help you achieve your business objectives by engaging your audience.

To develop a content strategy that delivers results, you must understand your audience well. You must understand their goals, challenges, and content preferences. This will help you determine content topics and formats that will engage your audience better.

  • Use Data and Analytics for Better Decisions

Do you know how your audience is engaging with your content?

Which content format is performing better?

Which demographic is interacting the most with your content?

Which content pieces are driving maximum traffic to your website?

Answers to all these critical questions lie with the usage of data and analytics to drive your strategy. You need to leverage data to derive valuable insights for your social media plan. Always remember to track and analyze data regularly and use the insights to modify your social media strategy accordingly.

  • Test and Iterate Your Plan as Needed

For your social media marketing plan to succeed, you must test and make changes accordingly. You can start by setting the right goals and measuring your performance against them. It is imperative to experiment with content formats, social media copies, and audience targeting to determine what works for your audience.

Consistent monitoring of results will help you stay on course with your goals and optimize your plan for better results. This step is crucial for the success of your social media marketing plan. This will also help you identify the weaknesses in your plan and make changes to achieve your business goals.

  • Stay Updated With Social Media Trends and Best Practices

21.8% of social media marketers in a Planable study mentioned staying updated with ever-changing algorithm changes and trends is the biggest challenge they face. I hear you. It is an uphill task that social media teams cannot ignore while building their social media marketing plan. You need to create mechanisms that will help you stay on top of the latest trends you can leverage on social media.

Read relevant blogs, listen to influential people in the field, and join conversations regularly. This will help you understand new trends and decide whether they will work for your brand. Staying updated is a must-do for every brand, brand owner, and social media executive today.

So those were the do's for building an effective social media marketing plan. While these are super important, there are some dont's that you need to stay clear of as well.

The Don'ts of Developing a Social Media Marketing Plan

There are several mistakes brands and marketers make with their social media marketing strategies and plans. Here are some of the clear dont's for every brand owner and marketer:

  • Don't Be On Every Social Media Platform

The first temptation every brand and marketer needs to stay away from is the urge to be on every social media platform there is. Every day, there is a new hype or buzzword about a new social media platform these days. Don't fall into the trap of FOMO and join every channel for the sake of it. Always remember your goals and your audience before deciding on joining the new social media bandwagon.

  • Don't Use a One-size-fits-all Approach to Content Creation

This is another important mistake to stay away from. I understand social media is a tedious and time-consuming endeavor that brings results in the long run. It can be hard to keep focused for a long time. This might lead to adopting shortcuts such as creating the same content for all the social channels and trying to share it with your audience on them. This will backfire, as every social media channel works differently, and we must customize the content according to the channel's algorithm and needs.

  • Don't Neglect Audience Engagement and Your Community

Here is another big red flag for social media teams and management. To see this in action, please visit Facebook or LinkedIn and check out any random brand's page. In most cases, it will amaze you to see comments unattended and questions unanswered on these channels. This is one of the biggest mistakes brands can do while managing their social channels. Always be available for your community and stay on top of their engagement with your content and channels.

  • Don't Ignore Your Competitors and Industry Benchmarks

As the famous quote by Otto van Bismark says, "Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”, it is imperative to be tracking your competition today. Your competition can teach you more than anyone or anything else how to do well on social media. Learn from their best practices and mistakes so that you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Another key aspect to monitor is the industry benchmarks to leverage them to improve your performance.

  • Don't Expect Overnight Success

Social media is a long game. Let me repeat - social media is a long game. If you want to be the McDonald's or Starbucks or Burger Kings of tomorrow, you need to be ready to play the long game. Do not look at the wrong examples and set your expectations wrong. Always be willing to put in the work and stick to your plans, no matter what. Rely on data to make changes and improve the journey. But please do not expect anything overnight.

  • Don't Forget to Measure and Track Results

Another biggest blunder that social media marketers and brands commit is neglecting data. They are so focused on delivering content to their audience and keeping the show going; they forget to sit with data. Without collating and analyzing data, there is no way you are going to understand how you are doing and whether your efforts are hitting it at home. So please ensure you have the mechanism to capture, analyze and report data in your social media marketing plan.

Additional Tips and Considerations for Developing a Social Media Marketing Plan

I hope you are clear about the do's and dont's of building an effective social media marketing plan for your brand by now. I wanted to share some useful tips and things to consider for making your plan even more impactful. Here you go:

Incorporate User-generated Content Into Your Strategy - A customer testimonial on social media will have more impact than a motivational quote on your social media timeline. Focus on gathering user-generated content to make your social media plan more impactful. This content can be reviews, testimonials, shout-outs, live sessions, or anything your valuable community can deliver for your brand.

Partner With Influencers - Influencer marketing has gotten interesting in the last couple of years, with micro and nano influencers bursting onto the scene. Now brands don't need fat pockets to kick-start their influencer marketing play. Incorporate plans to partner with the right influencers to grab some eyeballs for your brand.

Do Not Ignore Paid Social Campaigns - Paid campaigns on social media can give you a quick burst of results like views, downloads, likes, etc. Leverage them smartly to promote your content, build your community, or achieve specific business goals.

Balance Promotional Content and Helpful Content - Stay away from the practice of over-selling on social media. Nobody likes a brand that shouts me-me all the time. Remember, social media, like any other marketing tactic, is all about your audience, their needs, and their goals. So be the advisor, trust-worthy friend, confidante, entertainer, and whatever your audience wants your brand to be for them.

Plan for Crisis Management - Social media crises is so common nowadays with the increased adoption of the platforms. Your social media content is accessible to almost everyone on the world wide web and this can lead to some backlash once in a while. It is always better to be planned for any negative incident that may happen.

Utilize Social Listening - Social listening can help your brand to stay on top of trends and the conversations happening around your brand or specific topics on social and the web in general. Listen in carefully, join in the conversations, and influence the actions of your target audience the right way. The possibilities are endless with the right social listening mechanism in place.


As social media has become a necessary evil for every brand and marketer today, it is much more useful to stick to the best practices while preparing your social media game. As I mentioned in my last blog, a social media marketing plan can make or break the social media game of every brand. So adopt the do's and stay away from the dont's, and you will be on the path to a sustainable path to growth pretty soon.

13 views0 comments