Did you know that the total number of people who use social media is expected to reach 3.1 billion in 2021? Maintaining a social presence is no longer an option for brands. It’s a necessity.
After all, social media provides a great platform to reach a broad audience, boost your brand awareness, and increase your sales. What’s more, social media can help you connect with your audience and build your brand reputation.
While there are lots of benefits, building a social media plan from scratch can seem like a daunting task. To help you out, we’ve compiled this step-by-step guide for social media marketing.
How to Create a Social Media Marketing Plan From Scratch:
1. Set Your Goals
All effective social media strategies have one thing in common: they have clearly defined goals. Before you start working on your strategy, you need to figure out what is it that you want to achieve.
Maybe your focus is to improve your brand awareness. Or perhaps to boost your engagement and follower count. Whatever your goals are, write them down. Break these final goals into smaller parts so that they are attainable as well as realistic.
Your goals will affect other parts of your social media marketing strategy from your budget to the social media platforms you use. So, make sure you invest some time into setting some realistic goals.
2. Research Your Target Audience
As a marketer, it’s crucial to understand what your target audience’s preferences are. To develop an effective social media marketing plan, you should have answers to the following questions:
- Which social media platform is your target audience most active on?
- What kind of content do they like on social media?
- What are their pain points?
- In which ways do they engage with brands on social media?
In addition to this, it’s also advisable to build a target persona for your brand. You should take into consideration factors like age, gender, lifestyle, and interests.
Based on these factors, you’ll have to decide which social media channel is the best for your brand and what kind of content will work for you.
So, if your brand’s target audience is mainly teenagers who love gaming, you may want to focus on Twitch. Even though Facebook and Instagram are more mainstream, Twitch is where your target audience is likely to spend most of their time.
Here’s the bottom line: You need to align your social media and content strategies to match with your audience’s preferences.
3. Find Your Brand Personality
Each brand has its own personality. It’s defined by the way a brand communicates with their customers. The tone that a brand uses to express themselves determines what kind of personality the brand has. It can make a lot of difference in shaping public perception.
The key to finding your brand voice and personality is to understand your target audience. You need to communicate in a way that they can relate to.
So, if your audience consists of mainly millennials, you could experiment with funny memes and emojis as a part of your content strategy. On the other hand, if your audience is mainly business moguls, it’s advisable for you to use a tone that is more sophisticated and professional.
Take a leaf from Old Spice’s brand personality notebook. Their target audience is mainly young men. So, they’ve kept their brand voice casual. Occasionally, they even add some humour in their posts. Because of this, their content resonates with their audience.
Also, keep in mind that your brand personality needs to be consistent across all social media channels. So, if you have multiple people handling different pages, it’s necessary for you to get them on the same page.
From your comments to your status updates, everything needs to use the same brand voice. One of the best ways to ensure consistency is to write a style guide that clearly explains your brand voice and tone.
4. Find Out Works For Your Competitors
The best way to avoid common mistakes in your social media marketing strategy is to learn from your competitors’ mistakes. Analyse your competitors’ social media pages to give you an idea of the kind of content that works well.
The idea here isn’t to copy the same for your brand. Instead, get inspiration from them and create your own social media campaigns to match your brand personality accordingly. Looking at your competitors’ campaigns will help you refine your strategy.
You may even decide to take a totally different approach. That’s okay, too. Even in the same industry, totally different strategies can work for different brands.
In fact, Rolex and Daniel Wellington both sell watches. However, their social media strategies are completely different. Take a look at the screenshot below. Just like in the picture, most of the photos on Rolex’s Instagram page showcase their watches. Their captions detail the features of the watch.
In contrast, Daniel Wellington takes a very different approach. Their Instagram feed features user-generated content, influencer-generated content, and in-house promotional content.
That’s not to say that one of them is better than the other. But it should be noted that each brand has set themselves apart from their competitors in their own way.
5. Create Engaging Content
Content is at the centre of any social media strategy. Before you start working on your content, you should have a good idea of your brand personality, goals, and your target audience’s preferences.
Even though you’ve done all the groundwork, content creation may seem a little overwhelming. After all, there is a lot of cover. You can’t be too promotional or you may risk annoying your audience. So, then what can you do?
Here are a few ideas for your content strategy:
- Live Videos
- Conduct Polls
- Social Media Takeovers
- AMA sessions
- “Behind-the-Scenes” Videos and Photos
- User-Generated Content
- Influencer-Generated Content
Many content creators struggle with finding or creating new content to post. There is a clever way of solving this issue.
You can repurpose your old content into a new format. For instance, you can create a video or a podcast from a blog post. Or you could create an infographic from a statistic that you’ve quoted in your blog post.
Another way of creating more content for social media easily is to build content themes. This approach works well with Instagram and other visual platforms.
You can break up a photo into smaller fragments and upload each one separately in such a way that the complete picture is displayed in your feed. Or maybe you can upload multiple photos that have a similar theme.
Profitec, a company that produces espresso machines, uses this strategy for their Instagram feed. Their posts are either colour-coded or are uploaded in a collage-like manner to create a visually appealing feed.
6. Create a Posting Schedule
When it comes to your social media marketing strategy, posting consistently is key. Of course, it’s not easy, but you’ll have to be disciplined.
Ranking algorithms favor frequent posting on social media, so you’re likely to get more visibility by publishing posts more often.
At the same time, it tells your customers that you are active and approachable on social media. You can also use various social media scheduling tools to maintain a consistent social media schedule.
Before you schedule your posts, check out the best time to post for the social media network that you’ve chosen. Also, check the optimal number of hashtags for each social media network.
7. Promote Your Content
If you want your content to reach a broad audience, you need to promote it well. While it’s best to get organic traffic, you may have to rely on paid social media ads initially to gain some traction. It can help you gain more visibility quickly.
Depending on the social media platform of your choice, your budget, and your industry, the cost may vary. But one thing is common across platforms: social media ads are expensive.
According to a study by WordStream, the average CPC on Facebook ads in 2019 across all industries was $1.72.
Here are a few tricks you can follow to reduce the cost of your social media ads:
- Post high-quality content which is relevant to your brand and niche. Facebook gives you a “relevance score” which impacts how your ads perform.
- You should cap your bids. Don’t set a daily budget for Instagram and Facebook.
- On Twitter, start slow by bidding manually. As you gain more traffic, raise your bid.
- On LinkedIn ads, select the “Matched Audience” option to boost your ROI. It sends your ads to a highly-targeted audience who are likely to convert.
8. Evaluate Your Campaign Performance
Developing an effective social media marketing plan takes time. You may make a lot of mistakes on the way. If you are continuously analysing your campaign, you can reduce the number of mistakes you make.
Identify the posts that get the most traffic and see which ones didn’t perform well. Based on that, make changes to your social media strategy. All social media platforms provide your with detailed insights. You can also use Google Analytics to evaluate your campaign performance.
Social media is always evolving. You need to be at the top of your game to make your campaigns successful. It can be overwhelming if you’re building a plan from scratch. We hope this guide makes it easier for you to chalk out your social media campaign.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start working on your social media strategy!