Developing and implementing a social media marketing plan is inevitable with the steady growth and popularity of social media. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter aren’t simply for personal use anymore. According to eMarketer, an estimated 89.5 percent of US businesses will use social media to market their products and services in 2016. Therefore, if your business has yet to optimize its use of social media as a marketing tool, now is the time. But first, it’s important to understand exactly what a social media marketing strategy really is.
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A social media marketing strategy can be defined as an overall summary of how your business plans to strategically use social media in a way that will better market its goods or services. This plan should be well thought out, detailed, and should include an organized calendar that states when you plan to use each social media platform to get the best response from consumers.
Simply having social media accounts and using them every once in a while is not enough. In order to have an effective social media marketing plan, your company needs to be organized. Here are a few tips on how to organize and then implement a fail-proof social media plan that will surely bring your brand’s marketing campaign into the modern age.
Know Your Competition
Not that it isn’t always important to compare your brand to your competitors, but when creating a social media plan, I find that the best thing to do is see what everyone else is doing. You should be aware of how your business’ social media usage stacks up to that of your competitors’ when creating a digital marketing strategy.
I’m not saying that you should track their every move and mimic their digital marketing strategy, but if you take a look at what’s out there, you will be able to gauge where your business should be in regard to social media marketing. Not only will this information tell you how to create a social media plan, but it can also inspire you to come up with new, creative ways of implementing your plan in order to have a competitive advantage in your field.
After taking a good look at your competition’s social media marketing plan, you should set goals for your own. By this I mean set attainable, quantitative, measurable goals. For example, instead of simply saying “We want more Facebook followers,” be specific. A better way to set a measurable goal would be to state, “We would like to increase our Facebook followers by 13% within the next quarter.” This way you will be able to evaluate whether or not your marketing plan was successful later on.
Review Your Target Market
My next recommendation would be to review what market your business is planning to target with your digital marketing strategy. This is an important topic to research because different markets use different social media platforms. Once you know what media your target market uses, you can be sure to implement the most effective social media plan possible.
Make Your Social Media Accounts
Go ahead and skip this step if your company already has professional social media pages, but if not, now is the time to create them. If your brand already has social media accounts, then use this as an opportunity to improve them. Clean them up. Make sure they are cohesive but also unique from one another. Nothing is less effective than a company that simply copies the same material into each of its social media accounts.
Get to know your sites. Facebook allows for lengthier posts, while Twitter is only necessary for short, concise snippets of information. Instagram is great for showing off your products and deals, while LinkedIn is more useful in building your brand and hiring. Learn how to use these sites and which ones are important to your overall marketing plan.
Create Your Social Media Marketing Plan
Once you have reviewed the competition, set measurable goals, reviewed your target market, and created or improved upon your existing social media accounts; you can finally create your social media plan.
Your plan should cover things such as, “How many times a day will you post?” “What content will you post?” or “Which audience are you trying to reach through each specific post?” Be sure to make your social media plan as thorough as possible. Specificity will only help you in the long run. Once your plan is in action, this will be extremely helpful.
Evaluate Your Plan
After you’ve made the plan and put it into action, it is very important to keep track of how it’s doing. If your social media plan isn’t turning out to be as effective as you had hoped, take the time to make changes before it’s too late. If you notice that you’re not getting as many retweets or followers as you had intended, changing the plan can salvage your brand image. Not all companies are successful on their first go around. Practice makes perfect, and in this case, if one plan fails, try another until you reach your goals.
Creating and implementing a sound social media plan can be very valuable to modern businesses due to how many people use these sites. Knowing your competition, setting goals, understanding your audience, improving your online presence, creating a concrete plan, then evaluating that plan after it has been put into action will help your business thrive through social media marketing.
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).