No. 1 – Determine The 5 W’s
Before you draft your social media plan, you need to answer the important questions — Who are you doing this for? Why should they care? It’s time to do some critical thinking!
Ask yourself these questions.
Who: Who is your audience? Identity whom you want to target, so messaging can be crafted for them.
What: What is the purpose of your page(s)? Are you using it as a way to keep in touch with existing customers and build a community? Are you using social media as a way to increase your sales? Is it a resource for sharing industry knowledge? Make sure you know what the purpose of your page is, so you can maintain a consistent message.
Where: Where does your audience get their news? Based on the ‘who’ figure out which platform is your audience’s preferred news source and make sure you are on it.
When: When will you post? It’s recommended to keep a consistent posting schedule, rather than have a post when you remember attitude.
Why: Why should someone follow you? What do they get out of it? When creating a post ask yourself – if you weren’t associated with the business, would you follow the page? Would you like that post? Would you recommend this page to friends? If the answer is no, you might need to reevaluate.
No. 2 – Make a Plan
It’s tempting to jump right in, but like every good business there needs to be a strategy. Take the time to make a thorough social media plan before you begin.
A strong social media plan includes:
SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) What do you want to achieve?
Target audience, research demographics and create personas – Who are you posting for? What resonates with them?
Competitive analysis – Who is your competition?
Inspiration, list businesses that inspire you – What are they posting?
Content types and ideas, brainstorm post ideas and the different formats you can deliver them – What will you post?
Content calendar, create a social media calendar with a content mix and specific times for posting – When will you post?
No. 3 – Get Set Up
Set up accounts properly on all relevant platforms.
– Fill out the about/bio section
– Add links to relevant sites (website, other socials, newsletter sign up, etc.)
– Ensure the message button is active (Facebook)
– Double-check your contact information
– Update access and permissions (page roles: admin, moderator, and editor)
– Use an appropriate display/profile image (DO NOT use a selfie!)
No. 4 – Know Your Audience
Identify your audience to better understand the type of content and tone that resonates with them.
You can figure this out by first looking at your customers, then dive deeper by using the built-in insights tools within each platform. You want to look at age, gender, location, etc. After this try to determine who they are, such as activities and interests.
Instagram insights can be found on your profile page. Facebook insights are currently found on the left hand side menu when you visit your business page on a desktop.
No. 5 – Build Relationships
By responding to comments, messages, and reviews you begin to build an online community. The beauty of social is that you can form relationships in an instant with followers from just about anywhere.
Engagement breeds more engagement — putting a real person behind the account builds trust and will encourage more engagement.
– Be authentic
– Respond quickly
– Personalize conversations
Engagement breeds more engagement.
No. 6 – Be Active
You have to be active if you want to grow your social profiles and by extension your customer base. Showing up daily with fresh content is the best way to grow your social media presence organically.
Determine a consistent posting schedule and stick to it!
On average, the best times to post across industries are 1 pm and 5 pm, during lunch and the end of a typical workday. The best day to post is Wednesday and the worst is Sunday.
No. 7 – Share Quality Content
Not all images are ‘Instagram worthy’. Try to keep in mind quality over quantity when creating new graphics or writing copy. Spend the time posting quality content on a few key channels, rather than attempting to have a slight presence on every platform. You also need to dedicate some time to collecting and editing content. You don’t want to use only stock imagery on your page because it doesn’t look authentic.
Be sure that your posts offer value. If all you do is pitch and sell, there’s very little motivation for people to follow you. Remember, social media is all about building relationships. Be human, be honest and the great content will follow.
No. 8 – Consider Your Copy
Copy is the written portion of your social media post and it’s just as important as every other component.
You need to stand out from the crowd, consider the following: tone, format, and if you are going to use emojis. Remember to be consistent. Since you don’t get a choice of fonts or styles, try to play with capitalization.
Tell a story with your post. This is a great way to promote your brand’s values, purpose, and products in a captivating and genuine way. Not all stories have to be long — Hemingway once wrote a story with just six words.
No. 9 – Use The Right Tools
Take advantage of social media management tools. They exist to simplify and automate much of the work. This means you can use social media as a business without having a team.
Social Media Management Tools:
Business Suite by Facebook – manage Facebook and Instagram accounts, scheduling and posting (example above), ad management, conversation management, and analytics.
Hootsuite – manage multiple networks, scheduling and posting, allows for drafting posts, ad management, conversation management, and analytics.
Later – manage multiple networks, scheduling and posting, and analytics.
Buffer – manage multiple networks, scheduling and posting, and analytics.
Linktree – allows for multiple links to be housed on a page accessible from a single link (best used on Instagram).
NOTE: All of the above-mentioned tools have both free and paid tiers of varying capabilities. ALWAYS give the free trial a spin (if offered) before committing to a paid plan. One may not offer what you’re looking for while another has it all.
No. 10 – Dominate A Platform
Figure out which platform your customers spend the most amount of time on (preferred news source) and dominate that platform. Don’t waste time on Twitter if your audience is on Instagram. Claim your profiles on the other networks, but focus most of your time on the one that works for your business.
No. 11 – Craft a Cohesive Brand
Even if you’re interested in a million things try to keep your profiles consistent, this includes logos, colors, and layouts.
You can keep yourself on track and bring things into focus by creating a brand guide or a moodboard. Both convey a brand’s vision easily and make collaboration easier. Just search the word ‘moodboard and there are hundreds of examples to get you started.