How to create a social media marketing strategy: What is a social media marketing plan?

What is a social media marketing plan?

man organising a Social Media Marketing Plan in a notebook

Creating the right social media strategy for your individual business is crucial if you’re looking to grow your online presence and attract more customers.

Only a few years ago, it was simple for businesses to make an impact online. Essentially, as long as you had an account, you had one up over your competitors, right? Well, in 2018, it’s not quite as simple. In today’s heavily digital-focused world, in order to succeed, it’s more important than ever to ensure you have a solid online presence and a great social media marketing plan.

Marketing is all about putting your message in front of your audience at the right time, in the right place. This makes social media a no-brainer if you’re serious about growing your business. However, so many businesses fail to take full advantage of the multiple platforms on offer in their marketing plans. If you’re in the camp that firmly believes that posting a few times a month and churning out some generic adverts is enough, then read on below for our top tips to maximise your success. Hint – you’ll need a strong social media marketing plan!

Look at your existing social presence

Before you decide where you need to be, the first step to any great plan is to understand where you currently are. By auditing your business’s social media presence, you’ll get a clear picture of your overall strategy. You’ll need to consider:

  • What networks you currently have profiles on?
  • Are these profiles fully optimised with a photo, cover image, bio and brand URL?
  • Which networks are currently bringing you the most value?
  • How do your profiles compare to your competitors?

Having consistent information across your social channels helps to present your brand’s professionalism, shows you have a cohesive message and also shows that you’re serious about engaging with your audience.

Create a mission statement

Anyone can create a social media marketing plan, but what makes yours unique is your individual goals. It’s all well and good creating content and sharing it online but, if you don’t know what your aims are, there isn’t really much point. After all, if you want your social media content strategy to have a real impact, you need to ensure that your campaign goals are in line with the goals of your company.

Consider what you’re hoping to achieve from your social platforms. Are you looking to improve traffic to your site, or do you want to engage more with your customers? Perhaps you need to improve your reach, or increase awareness? Your business goals will help you to create content that is relevant for both your audience and your KPI’s. Not sure how to? We can help.

Determine your ideal customer

Any great marketing strategy begins with determining your target audience, also described as social listening. This is, ultimately, the key to creating a successful social strategy. If you’re struggling to connect with your online audience, then establishing a complete persona is the easiest way to ensure you’re targeting the perfect customer for your products or services.

The clearer, and more in-depth, your persona, the easier it will be to find the right people on social media. By creating these buyer personas, you’re focusing your efforts and can tailor your messages to these individuals, which helps to narrow your scope.

Your current customers are the best source of information about your target demographic, and you can enlist them to help guide you forward. Communicate with them – where do they shop? What are their biggest concerns? How can you help them solve their problems?

Identify the platforms your audience uses

Researching the online behaviour of your social media target audience is the best way to determine where to focus your efforts. Different social media platforms attract very different audiences. Social Media Today has broken down the different platforms depending on demographics:

  • All ages regularly use Facebook
  • Twitter has a younger and a slightly more educated audience
  • Instagram has the youngest audience, with the majority of users still in high school or college
  • LinkedIn users have a higher income and generally a better education

By researching your social media target audience you’ll know exactly which platforms to focus your efforts on, and where your demographic spends the most time.

Set your voice and tone

Once you’ve determined your audience and the best platforms on which to reach them, you can set about establishing a clear tone of voice that reflects your brand values. Social media is a great platform for marketers and businesses alike, as it offers complete control over content.

Every time your business posts on social media uploads an advert or updates its website content, your brand’s voice is at the forefront. This makes it vital to establish a strong tone of voice. Why? Having a definable persona means that your brand becomes more recognisable, and so building a brand voice across your social channels helps to distinguish yourself from your competition.

Defining and maintaining your brand voice and getting everyone on the same page is the key to having a cohesive strategy. Try reinforcing your brand’s beliefs – are you a company that prides itself as down to earth? Are you known for your humour? Your tone will change depending on the situation, whether you’re looking to inform and educate or engage, your voice requires that purpose to succeed. Essentially, developing the right voice for your social media can make or break your business.

Craft the right content

When it comes to a social media marketing plan, the most important thing to remember is that you need to appeal to your audience. After all, you’re writing for them and not yourself. By defining your aims, audience and voice, you can make sure that the content you’re creating is what your audience are actually interested in. For example, if you know that your audience reacts best to videos and visual content, encouraging them to engage with lots of text-based posts isn’t going to work.

Great social media marketing is all about engaging with your audience and sharing content that tells a story. Creating a strategy, then, that aligns with your company values, is the way forward. Only post about what’s relevant to your industry, ethics and purpose as a business, rather than sharing random news and updates, and hoping for the best.

Our top tips for the ultimate social media marketing plan:

Use the perfect keywords: Once you have an idea of who your audience is, and what content you’re looking to create, it’s time to consider keywords. There are plenty of online tools that allow you to monitor both long-tail and short-tail keywords to use within your content. Similarly, marketers can easily track popular and trending topics on Twitter and Facebook, while gaining a better understanding of user intent.

Create a content schedule: Scheduling your content helps you to form a clear picture of what you’re posting and when. Not only does this help to space out your content, but it also helps you to ensure you’re posting at the right times. After all, if your target audience is mothers with small children, it’s better to avoid posting around school pick up times, as they’re likely to be busy.

Know your competition: Getting your business to the top is all about making sure you’re better than your competitors. Take a look at their social media accounts and figure out what they’re doing. What works? What doesn’t? Don’t simply copy their ideas – use them as a starting point and go from there.

Need help with your social media marketing plan?

Being effective in your social media content strategy is all about making the right choices. Creating a clear and cohesive strategy, voice and user journey can go a huge way towards helping you to achieve online success. Still not sure what an excellent social media strategy is all about? Why not contact our experts here at Bigfoot Digital. From social media whizz kids, to content creatives and our down to earth account management team, we understand what it takes to get you to the top. Give us a call today on 01226 720755 and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.