How to Create a Successful Social Media Plan

Social media is a great way to engage with your audience. The social media channels available offer marketers an opportunity to drive brand awareness, get insights and create meaningful relationships with potential and existing customers.

But to be successful on social media, you need a plan. You need to do your research, use the key social networks, know what your competitors are doing, and create content that connects with your target audience.

So whether you’re struggling to make an impact and get engagement on social media or or just started to experiment with a new platform, today is the day to develop a social media plan that makes your efforts and posts more successful.

  1. Know your brand
  2. Understand your audience
  3. Know your social media channels
  4. Conduct a competitive analysis
  5. Set up and optimize accounts
  6. Create mission statements
  7. Establish metrics
  8. Create and schedule content

1. Know Your Brand

This step can be harder for smaller companies that haven’t given who they are much thought. If you sell pizza, you are a pizza joint. If you are a printer, you provide printing services. Right? Well, yes and no.

Creating a business today has to go beyond the products and services you offer. You have to create a brand that will attract people to your services because that’s what sets you apart from the rest.

Consider all aspects of your business and look for things that are uniquely yours. If you are a pizza joint, your unique selling point might be that you specialize in locally-sourced ingredients and want to keep your business sustainable. If you are a printer, you might be committed to the environment, and so you use speciality inks and recycled paper.

Define your brand, and you will be on your way to creating excellent (and relevant) content.

2. Know Your Audience

Now that you have a better idea of who you want to be, you can consider targeting a more specific audience. Already, you can see how the first step ties into the second.

Look at creating a more detailed buyer persona for your audience and focus on what will attract them to your social media pages. Some things to consider when looking at your target audience are:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Job title
  • Income
  • Pain points or challenges (that your business can solve)
  • Interests or hobbies
  • Values or goals (to tie into social issues they care about)
  • Most used social network

“Social media isn’t a notice board. It’s about what people are interested in. So you’ve got to understand who you are talking to, what they’re interested in, and how to talk to them in a meaningful way,” says Mischa McInerney, CMO at the Digital Marketing Institute.

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3. Know Your Social Media Channels

You have to know where you are and how you are performing on social media. That means doing an audit of your social media presence. Here’s your social media audit checklist:

  • Which platforms are you using?
  • Are your pages fully optimized using platform features such as photos, cover images, bio/about, etc.?
  • Which pages are getting the best results?
  • What posts get the best results (e.g., likes and shares)?
  • Who is connecting with you?
  • How frequently are you posting?

You want to establish what is working and what is not. You can also take a look at what pages are most challenging to maintain compared to the results – in other words, are they worth the effort or could you use your time elsewhere?

There might be a need to take down some of your pages to focus on the social media channels that make the most sense for your brand. This means determining what social media platforms are used by your audience and ideal customer.

To help you decide which pages to shut down ask yourself two questions:

Is my ideal customer likely to be using this platform?

Have my efforts helped me achieve any of my business goals?

If you answer no to either or both, chances are you could focus on other platforms to build your presence on social media.

“When doing your platform audits, it’s important to look at the data to influence your decision-making process, “ says Nicola Gwillym, Social Media Executive at the Digital Marketing Institute. “Align that information with the overall business goals to ensure you’re making the right choices,”

One more important aspect of an audit is to look for impostor accounts. It is not uncommon for criminals to set up fraudulent accounts for several suspect purposes. Imposter accounts can be harmful as they can use techniques that can blacklist you from searches. If you find anything that could be an imposter account, report it right away.

4. Conduct a Competitive Analysis

A competitive analysis will give you insight into more improvements you can make to your social media pages. You can see where competitors hit the mark and where they fall short.

Looking at competitors also helps you see what the industry is doing so that you know where there might be opportunities to be unique, as well as areas you will have to cover on your pages.

You can also look for dominance. A competitor might be killing it on Instagram but be doing nothing on TikTok. That leaves another opportunity for you to dominate. All of this information will help you fine-tune your social efforts to outdo the competition.

5. Set Up & Optimize Accounts

Use your audit findings to look for opportunities to improve your existing profiles. Review every feature available so that there are no holes.

Make sure you have optimized your pages with contact info, company history and information, product and service descriptions, and good use of photos and video when you can.

“There are a number of social listening tools that help you understand how people are talking about your topics organically on social media. You can listen to what they’re saying and how they’re phrasing it to inform and shape your content,” says McInerney.

Always verify accounts to make sure you lessen the chance of imposter accounts popping up.

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