Social media is widely accepted as a necessary part of the marketing mix, but new enough to leave many organizations unclear about the right strategy and tactics. You can clear up the confusion and set the stage for success by mapping out a specific plan.
Here are five keys you should include in your social media plan in order to guide your activities and achieve good results.
Key #1 – Identify your business goals.
Goals help us drown out the noise. Without them, we lose focus on what is important and fall prey to time consuming, worthless distractions. Plus, unless you have goals, you’ll have nothing to measure against — which means you won’t be able to demonstrate any value to the [important] people/stakeholders who will eventually get around to asking you for proof.
What sort of business goals can you accomplish with social media? You can:
- Build awareness.
- Improve your relationships with clients and prospects.
- Get a better understanding of your buyers.
- Increase your website traffic.
- Generate leads and sales.
It is ok to have more than one business goal for social media; just be sure to get clarity — and buy-in — on what those goals are in advance. Once business goals are determined, you can begin to work backwards toward establishing KPIs and micro level metrics for your program.
Key #2 – Establish your baseline before you start.
Take a baseline reading of your social stats (followers, level of engagement, leads, etc) and look at competitor benchmarks as well. This will give you something to compare to and help you establish metrics that relate to your goals. You can also use these baselines to establish specific, short-term goals for individual metrics. Check in with your baseline each month and compare your current results to your starting point.
Key #3 – Build a team.
Whether you are a small business, enterprise or somewhere in between – get comfortable with the fact that it is going to take more than one individual to get results from social media. Social media requires a wide spectrum of input (marketing strategy, messaging, content creation, creative, etc.). Before you start – or re-launch – your social media marketing campaign, take the time to assemble and educate a team and various stakeholders. Doing this will help you get the support you need to succeed.
Key #4 – Develop a social content schedule.
Social media and content marketing are joined at the hip, so if someone has already been assigned to the job of creating content (blog posts, white papers, webinars, etc.), get involved with scheduling. Make sure there is a long-term calendar that is shared with the social team. With content marketing themes to guide you, you can plan for social content that fits the theme. Content marketing supports social and vice versa, so you will probably find that you can add to existing content marketing efforts (for example, creating a listening board for your industry and tying in curated posts). BONUS: If you are measuring (see Social Snap’s Top Content Report) you’ll be able to guide the content marketing folks on what types of content yields the best results.
Key #5 – Analyze and optimize.
Tracking and building on your success is probably the most essential element of a successful plan. Whether you do this with a combination of manual spreadsheets (get out the Excedrin and cancel your personal life), or purchase an analytics and reporting system like Social Snap, YOU MUST DO IT. Otherwise, you will spend large chunks of your time fighting constantly for resources and perhaps even for the very existence of your social media marketing program.
Do you operate with a social media plan in place? If so, what are the most important elements in your opinion? Share your thoughts below!