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7 Steps to Setting Up a Social Media Plan

April 24, 2020

Your All-Inclusive Guide to an Effective Social Plan  

 

A social media plan is essential for the growth of a brand; it’s what paves the way for a brand to be consistent, have an online presence and sell products or services. With that being said, having and consistently posting on multiple platforms for your social media presence can be confusing and a giant mess if you aren’t planning what needs to happen. It can also look really daunting to start having a social media presence if you don’t have one already, and don’t know where to start.

Luckily, we’ve created an 7-step guide to setting up an effective social media plan, from where to begin to watching your goals and your statistics at the end. We’ve included a few free downloadables to help you get started after you read, so make sure to get through the whole thing!

 

1. Determine the social platforms you need to use (and audit your current social media presence)

If you already have multiple accounts, or just one, great. You’ve already got a head start. Make sure to audit those accounts if you haven’t already to see what is working for you, what is not working for you, and what needs some refreshing.

Check for things like:

  • Consistent banners and logos
  • Social media about sections/bios are updated and reflective of your current messaging
  • Consistent social media handles and especially make sure you have a consistent handle for all your profiles.
  • IG highlights implemented on Instagram
  • Contact buttons and call to action buttons are prominent

 

When it comes to determining the platforms you want to use, you need to think about your ideal consumer or your target audience. Stuff like:

  • Their age
  • Their gender
  • Where they’re located
  • Their job occupation
  • Media consumption habits (images vs. video)

These are all crucial. Generally speaking, Linkedin and Facebook contain a majority of professionals in their fields, and people over the age of 30. The opposite is true for TikTok; it’s generally compiled of users between the ages 14-25, who are students or young professionals, with a huge chunk of those users consisting of Generation Z.  Instagram is a mixture of different age groups and different industry professionals, but mostly they tap out at age 30. If you want more in-depth statistics of who’s on what, this is a great site to check out.

Once you’ve figured out the platforms are best suited for you, your next step should be how you are going to utilize those platforms.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Are you going to use IGTV to post behind the scenes content, how-to tutorials with your products, or something different?
  • Will you use Facebook Live to reach out to a generally older audience?
  •  What about LinkedIn’s multitude of tools for live seminars, hiring, etc.?

 

We suggest creating a sheet of ideas you have for each platform, and then listing out the tools each platform has to offer and see which tool aligns best with your individual ideas.

 

2. Marry Your Business Goals with your Marketing Goals

These two should not be separate goals; they should be the middle circle of a Venn diagram. Do you have plans for a specific number of orders being met? What can your marketing on Instagram do to raise that number? Whatever your marketing does for your business will inherently affect your business goals anyways, so make sure they work together well. Additionally, they need to be S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-relevant) (snag that freebie!)  goals. Essentially it’s to help you make goals that you can achieve and do them well.

Next, you’ll want to create platform-specific goals. Every platform and its metrics are different, so you should plan accordingly. Consider things such as profile visits, website clicks from your profile, story views, comments, likes, can all differ because of algorithms, and what the audience is on Facebook versus Linkedin versus Instagram.

For example, it’s easier to get more views on TikTok than it is on Instagram because your videos can pop up on anyone’s For You page, whereas Instagram you can only reach new people if you pay to have promoted content. It’s all about the goals that you have. Start out small, and then build up to bigger views, engagement, etc.

 

3. Identify What Will Be Your Key Performance Indicators 

In English: how are you going to measure the success of your plan? According to Sprout, 55% of social media marketers say that increasing ROI is their biggest concern. The tricky part is that ROI may not be 100% evident depending on certain metrics – and it can take lots of time to prove.

So, how do we crack the code on how to measure this? Here are some of the metrics we like to use to measure success and establish ROI:

Reach

This metric consists of follower count, impressions, web traffic and share of voice. There are two types of reach to measure here: potential reach and post reach. Potential reach is exactly what it sounds like, who could potentially see your post in the given time period you published it. Potential reach is measured by:

Total # of mentions  X Followers of accounts that mentioned you = theoretical reach

And your post reach is measured by:

(Measure of post reach/total participants) X 100

(formulas provided by this blog at Hootsuite)

Engagement

For engagement, we best like to measure clicks, likes, shares, comments and mentions. These are easily countable and easier to compare. Engagement is a visual metric, sometimes it can called a vanity metric. While it’s a good one to check success, it’s not one we recommend basing your success on heavily. We like to think of this one as the icing on the cake or the cherry on the sundae.

Conversions

A conversion is anything that was posted and led to a click on a link and translated into an action of some sort. A basic example is an ad for an item, that led someone to click on the profile, led them to a website, and a product was bought. Obviously this is best measured by sales revenue, lead conversion rate, and non-revenue conversions. You can measure this by posting anything to your story that leads your followers to a different site, and seeing if there was any action taken on your site from the day the post was published.

Customer Loyalty

The easiest way to measure this is determining your Cost per lead, examining issues resolved, and establishing customer lifetime value. Also check out any positive reviews you’ve been given, either through your website or a third party review site. Another great way to measure customer loyalty is by a simple survey we’re all probably guilty of not responding to: Would you recommend this product/service to a friend? Those who answer yes are either loyal or new customers who are satisfied and more likely to come back a second time around.

Brand Awareness 

Brand awareness and customer loyalty kind of go hand-in-hand… except brand awareness oftentimes comes first.

What do you think of when you see/hear the following:

  1. Golden arches
  2. Brown truck
  3. Two buck chuck

 

Well, yeah, you guessed it…. McDonald’s, UPS and Trader Joes. These brands are well-established, and all because they harness everything that makes them unique and know the importance of brand awareness.

Two great ways to measure brand awareness are website traffic and social listening: is your website traffic increasing and what are people saying about your brand? The more chatter around your brand, the more relevant you are and the more aware consumers are of your brand.  Like we previously mentioned, glowing reviews, negative reviews, or regular ones in general are a great way to see how your brand is performing.

 

4. Determine what content you’re going to create/curate 

In our opinion, this is a fun step. Whether you need to create original content, using User Generated Content, or both, you need to decide what it is based on what you think your consumer wants to see. This can be a trial and error process if this is your beginning stage of being on social media, but if you’ve already been on social media, check what type of content does better in terms of profile visits, views, likes, comments, and shares. For example, Bon Appetit’s feed is mainly beautifully plated dishes from an overhead shot, and rarely feature any of their chefs unless it’s on an Instagram story. If you’re a clothing boutique, maybe your content should be outfits put together with your inventory, or customers wearing your clothes. Also, make sure to somehow include your unique selling point in your social posts if you can- it’ll help more.

 

5. Finding the Best Times to Post 

Figuring out when to post is big. If you post at the wrong time, then almost no one will see it. The time of day you need to post on each platform is different too, so make sure to figure out when that is. How much you post in a week will also affect how often your content is seen- from this graphic at buffer, the best times, and how often are:

  • Instagram- 5-6pm, 5-10 per week
  • Facebook- 1-4pm, 8-15 per week
  • Twitter- 1-3pm, 21-70 per week
  • Linkedin- 7:30-8 am and 5-6pm, 8-15 per week
  • Pinterest- 2-4 and 8-11pm, 35-70 per week

 

Taking these numbers into account, everyone is different. You might not have enough resources to begin with to post at such a frequency- and if you do, make sure to post with frequency the content that most people enjoy.

When you’re done with figuring out the numbers, you should figure out who your brand is online. What are the colors? Does the feed look a specific way (see above for IG example)? Does it speak in a playful, sarcastic tone, a youthful tone, or one that is more professional? The best way to do this is within one document, so you have everything in one place. This is a great example of what we mean by Later, but there are different templates on how to create one, so don’t feel limited! (We’re also working on releasing a template of our own- so stay tuned (; )

 

6. Consider social media management tools

Listen, staying on top of social campaigns can be a real b*tch- we speak from experience! (It is our job, anyways) It’s much easier to manage and much less stressful if you schedule your content ahead of time, or work with an agency to do it for you, like us. However, if outsourcing isn’t in your budget, here are a few of our favorite affordable third party scheduling sites:

  • Buffer.com; Buffer is an other great platform for scheduling content, and we prefer it over Hootsuite. They also offer reporting. Plans start at $15/mo.
  • Planoly.com; Planoly is the instagram influencer of the third party scheduling sites. She’s cool, she’s hip, and she definitely has a good feed aesthetic going on with Lightroom presets. In all seriousness, we love planoly because it gives you a calender view and a view of what your feed looks like after every post, planned and unplanned. Additionally, they provide some good webinars on creating a great instagram profile, from everything to how your feed looks to how to increase engagement and the like. Plans start at $0/mo.
  • Later.com; for all you brands thrivin’ and survin’ on the ‘gram, Later is for you. Note this is specific for IG!  Honestly, later is KILLING it with blog content. They’re on top of all of the trends and we love consuming their content. Pricing starts as low as $0/mo.
  • Hootsuite.com; Hootsuite is one of the OG platforms for social media scheduling. Aside from scheduling social posts, part of their tied plan includes reporting, which is vital when tracking the success of your campaigns. Pricing starts at $29/mo.

 

If you aren’t outsourcing, a crucial tool you will need is a content calendar. This will allow you to have an overview of your posting schedule, on what platforms, and if you’re a feed junkie like us, allow you to see the flow of the feed and plan accordingly as well. We have two tips for how to do this:

  1. Use a third party to schedule, like some of the ones listed above.
  2. Use an excel sheet, like in google spreadsheets, to plan and create. We even have a free template to download where you can do this.

 

7. Track the Success of Your Efforts and Optimize 

If hiring a team to do all the work and the numbers isn’t in your budget, then the beauty of some of the above platforms is that they might provide free reporting metrics for you to get an understanding of what’s working and what’s not. Sprout analytics does a great job of this, but others do as well. However, some of these third-party scheduling sights might not be able to provide you with stats and the whole package, so you can take a look into the platforms natively (specifically, Facebook and IG) to see how your posts are doing. Once you see what does well and what doesn’t, you can effectively cut out or minimize the use of non-helpful content.

 

Keep in mind that failure is not negative – it’s an indication that you need to change something! Posts will always fluctuate, that’s just the name of the game. Some days you’ll be able to beat the algorithm, and some days you can’t, no matter all the planning in the world. The important thing to remember, is to just have a social media plan. Start small, and achieve big!

 

 

Written by Kyla Patton and Lauren Bordelon

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