How to Create a Social Media Strategy and Plan
Benjamin Franklin is often purported to have said:
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Whether that pearl of wisdom can be directly attributed to that founding father is questionable, but its sentiment isn’t. Without a properly structured plan, any goal(s) can remain far-off targets, while those striving to reach them move in increasingly disorganized and overlapping circles.
Taking the time to develop a properly thought through and structured social media strategy can pay dividends in the long run, helping to avoid unforeseen obstacles and stalls on the way to a broader, digital audience. Some of the most common pitfalls seen include:
- Trying to utilize too many platforms
- Thinking too much about your product, rather than your audience
- Failure to consider past campaigns
- Poor profile management
- Neglecting graphics (after all, a picture is worth a thousand words!)
- Failure to customize ads based on the chosen platform
- Not utilizing social proof
- Neglecting analytic tools
So, let’s look at the best ways to get started…
Choose your platform(s)
If you were setting out to sell gaming consoles, you probably wouldn’t place an ad in the local newspaper’s classified section. Vice-versa, if you were looking to sell stairlifts, it’s unlikely you’d start with a web-advertising campaign.
Take that old-world marketing logic and apply it to social media: Consider who uses which platforms and choose where to advertise based on the demographic data. For example, if you’re looking to sell fashion wear for twenty-somethings then Instagram is probably a good place to start (if not focus entirely), whereas sales of life insurance may well reach a more appropriate audience via Facebook.
Consider your history
It’s no secret that the most successful people are those who are able to consider, analyze and learn from their own experiences. With that in mind, a social media audit can be a very worthwhile exercise.
Learn more here about how an audit (template included) of prior social media campaigns can help shape your strategy moving forward, improving return on spend, audience reach and, ultimately, revenue.
Don’t neglect analytics either. Social media platforms offer businesses free insight into their audience reach and failing to use it is a surefire way to repeat the same mistakes, ad infinitum.
Manage your profile(s)
Keeping your company profiles up to date is as important as the information you disseminate with them. Make sure that your company name, slogan, logo, address and contact information is maintained and checked on a regular basis – Who knows how many opportunities have been lost through the poor management of contact information!
Consistency across platforms is also key. While the guidelines for profile pictures, banner images etc. can vary significantly from one platform to another, it’s important that your brand remains consistent across all of your social media profiles. Brand inconsistency not only looks unprofessional, but it also damages consumer trust.
So, heed old Ben’s words. If you successfully plan then you can plan for success.