Building a Social Media Plan

Social media presence is key to successful marketing and advertising, but you can’t jump into it blindly. Being on social media without any king of plan or strategy can be flat at best, an absolute disaster at worst. Building a starter social media plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are the steps to getting started with a social media strategy.

1. Understand Your Objectives

You need to ask what the objective of being on social media is for your brand. While increased sales are most likely the end goal, there are other reasons to be on social media. Do you want to increase brand awareness and gain to new followers? Drive website traffic? Are you looking to build loyalty and retain existing customers? Your social media goals should align with your overall marketing goals and help supplement what you’re already doing.

2. Create Actionable Goals

Once you’ve figured out your objectives, you need to create goals that will help you reach them. They should be quantifiable—goals you can actually act on. Use the S.M.A.R.T. framework for setting social media goals. They should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time based. Goals should be as specific as possible, which will help you reach them. Goals that are measurable can show you how far you’ve come and how far you need to go. They should also be legitimately attainable, otherwise it’s just dreaming or wishful thinking. Goals need to be relevant and align with your broader marketing strategy, and you need to set a time frame to achieve them. For example, if you want to grow your brand awareness, set a goal of gaining 50 Instagram followers in a month rather than simply growing your Instagram presence. Getting 50 new followers in a month is specific and you can measure it. It’s attainable, relevant to your overall goal of increasing brand awareness and has a time frame.

3. Define Your Audience

Who are you trying to reach and who is your ideal customer? You should have those questions answered already for your regular business and marketing strategy. You should know their buyer personas. You need to know their demographics—age, location, ethnicity, education level and more statistical information—and their psychographics, like the attitudes, aspirations, hobbies and values that influence their buying habits. Apply that information to your social media strategy by figuring out the best channel and way to reach that target audience.

4. Choose a Channel

Once you know your objectives, have set goals and understand your target audience, you’ll need to figure out which social media channel is best for your business. Different channels attract different age groups and audiences. They’re also used for different purposes. The group you want to reach, how you want to engage with them and your budget will all determine which social media channel you use. To start, you should stick with one site so you can get it fully developed. Once you have one site established, you can set up others and cross-promote your content.

5. Develop Messaging and Content

Once you know your goals, audience and channel, it’s time to start developing your messaging and content. What messages will resonate most with your target audience? What content will relay that message to your followers? You’ll need to figure out how often you want to post, whether or not you want to pay for posts, and the best way to deliver the message. It’s about more than just promoting a product. Create authentic content that will provide real value to your followers.

Remember, once you make a plan for your brand’s social media presence, it doesn’t have to stay the same. In fact, it shouldn’t. Social media is constantly changing and evolving, which means your strategy should be, too.