Almost every digital marketer uses social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to market websites, businesses and brands today. However, with everything in business that is done without a plan, random social media marketing attempts are only likely to fail in the long run, even if some may have experienced an initial burst of success.
One of the most common excuses you are likely to hear when it comes to social media marketing is that the entire process is ‘touchy-feely’ and that it needs to be adapted every now and then. While this may be true to some extent, it is surely not a reason for not creating a social media strategy that works as a guiding principle towards the desired goal.
The trick is not to try and ‘do’ social media or ‘use’ social media services but to ‘be’ social as a company. If the process should be done intuitively it should be thought as a process of being social like you would be if the company or the brand was an individual. And while being social comes naturally to some people, others need to make an effort. Here are some basic aspects that you should keep in mind before you start to create your social media strategy or brief a social media marketing company.
Before you Start Creating Your Social Media Marketing Plan
Resource considerations –
The scope of social media can be as large as you want to make it. So, before you start defining specifics in your plan, think about the amount of time you have and the amount of money you would like to spend on this aspect of your overall marketing plan.
Define your Goals–
Like with any marketing effort, it is pertinent to define your social media marketing goals. This will also be useful if you are using a social media marketing agency and you will be able to evaluate them over time. Make sure that these goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time bound). It is also recommended that the initial goals that you define are based on social metrics like number of likes, shares, followers etc. You can look at a few weeks’ data and then define a benchmark based on what you want to achieve. Over time, you can action ‘pre and post’ studies to understand whether social media marketing is having a positive impact on brand reputation, and even conversions.
Social Media Audit –
It is possible that you already have something going in terms of social media marketing. When you hire social media marketing services, get the agency to do a social media audit for your brand. This should involve listing all the social platforms that you are present on, any similar sounding or fake pages that may exist, the level of fans/followers that are already there and the people who are managing these sites. Centralize your efforts to take the social media marketing forward in an organized manner.
Target Audience and Tone –
It is assumed that you would have defined the target audience for your brand. However, define them specifically for your social media efforts. Based on the specific audience you are speaking to in your social media campaign, you should also define the tone and personality of your brand. Can your brand afford to get witty and humorous? Or is it a more serious one? Would you want to take a friendly approach or would you want to ‘teach’ your customers the right way to do things?
Components of the Social Media Marketing Plan
Social Media Marketing Platforms –
There are too many social platforms available these days. You should choose specific platforms based on your resources and target audience to maximize ROI. Pew released a complete data on the demographic profiles of various social media platforms which can be referred to in order to find the best match between social platforms and your target. Irrespective of the platforms you choose, fill the profile part of the brand pages completely. This shows professionalism and seriousness towards your efforts.
Content and Posts –
Next is the decision on the kind of posts that you want to publish. Photo posts have a 35% higher chance of being retweeted. While you can share links, images, quotes, updates and reshares, make one of these your staple and intersperse the others once every week. This will help you maintain some stability in the content creation area too.
The frequency with which you update the posts should depend on the platform you are using. This is mainly because the consumption of each platform is different. A social media marketing company in India will be able to help understand consumer behavior and suggest the time at which each post should go up in a day too. With such an understanding, you can schedule posts and use social tools that post to these sites automatically at a given time and date.
Analyze and Modify
Needless to say, keep checking how different kinds of posts perform so that you can modify your social media marketing plan accordingly. In addition to that, you also need to keep an eye on the trends in the industry so that you create relevant posts. Various social media marketing tools are used by social media marketing agencies to help you analyze this data.
Lastly, a word of caution! Many people want to create content that goes ‘viral’ and becomes a rage across the country. Such posts are extremely rare. What is important is to have a good social media marketing strategy and to persevere with the plan to achieve great results.