how to create a social media plan for newbies

Simple Tips on How to Create a Social Media Plan for Beginners

Social media has become a staple component in not only marketing and promoting your brand, but also in handling communications related to customer service issues. These days customers and potential customers are more inclined to make contact with a company on Twitter or Facebook, rather than a website. It’s much easier to find a business on social media than it is to find their website, search for a contact page and then fill out a contact form and hope for a response. On social media, there is no doubt that the business received your inquiry…and it is public for all to see. Social media makes customers feel like they have power. Your audience and customers have also begun to expect brands to rapidly respond to online complaints. A slow response time or a badly handled response can mean doom for a business, and savvy businesses understand the importance of this aspect of customer service. Because of all these reasons, it is incredibly important for you to Create a Social Media Plan. If you have never created one,  the task of getting started may seem staggering. But, by taking small steps every day in crafting a social media marketing & customer service plan, you will be up and running before you know it.

How to Create a Social Media Plan For Beginners

Choose The Appropriate Social Media Platforms For Your Business’ Audience

It is tempting to want to be on all social networks when you first get started. This is a BIG mistake. While we do recommend that you claim your pages and handles on all social networks, trying to market all over the place will make your task overwhelming. You’ll have tons of content to create, schedule, analyze…and you’ll end up dropping the ball. This is what you need to do instead:

Analyze Your Demographics: One very important consideration is choosing the platform that appeals to your brand’s demographics. Pew has information related to demographics of Social Networks that will help you choose the right social network for your goals. What do we mean exactly? If your audience is suburban moms, they probably won’t be on Snapchat, but on Pinterest and Facebook. This is probably the most important thing you can do, understand who your clients and audience are so you know where and how to market to them. Now you need to ask yourself a few questions about them:

  • Who is the audience for your content? Create a persona.
  • What does this ideal audience want to know about your brand
  • What social media platforms do they use?
  • Who influences my audience? What social media platforms do they use?
  • What kind of tone would this audience like? Educational? Funny? Serious?
  • What other places besides social media does my audience like?

Choose Three Social Networks: Now that you know your audience, pick between 2-3 social networks they frequent. You can always expand as time goes on, but understand that your brand does not have to be on all social networks.

Have A Clearly Outlined Goal

Everyone thinks they have a goal. Not everyone does. If you haven’t already, actually sit down to write it down and discuss it with your team. You may be surprised at what you come up with. Then, make sure that this goal is discussed prior to every campaign that you put together. Ask your team and community managers to place this in a prominent area so that it can be thought of every time a social media post is created. This will help you and your team stay on track. You may have more than one goal…in truth, you will probably have about three of them. Make sure that each goal is achievable, that you can measure this goal, and that it can be achieved within a time frame.

Start off with simple goals, for example

Improve customer engagement
Increase lead generation
Increase brand awareness
Increase ROI
Increase website traffic
Increase customer retention

Then refine said goals

Increase Facebook response time to 1 hour
Get 30 new leads by EOM
Increase retweets by 20%
Have a 10% increase in sales revenue
Increase click thru from social media 5%
Have a 90% re-up rate

Create a Social Media Calendar (click the link for a sample calendar)

An example of a social media calendar for the year

You can’t just post willy-nilly on social media….ok…you could….but you won’t want to. Keep your goal on top of your content calendar. Then sit down to figure out the type of content you can post to achieve this/these goals. A few things you need to consider prior to crafting your first content calendar:

  1. Who will create content (does their content need to be approved)
  2. How often will content be created
  3. What is the audience for your content
  4. How often will you promote this content
  5. Where will the content come from (your blog, industry leaders, client testimonials, memes…)
  6. How much content will be promotional and how much will be engagement driven (a good rule is 20/80)
  7. Is there anything that should not be discussed
  8. Will this take coordination with your website/blog/sales/technical team
  9. Are there events that need to be pushed out
  10. Are there holidays that can be promoted to achieve your goals

These are just a starting point and will point you in the right direction.

Get Inspiration

AKA – Time to do some spy work.  Make lists of industry leaders, competition, and your customers/audience. Check out what they are talking about and what they are posting. This will give you a good idea on the tone of voice you need to take, and what is relevant to your industry. See what is performing well for them and take inspiration from it.

Create the Content

You’re probably going to be sharing content you own as well as content from others. If you’re going to be sharing your own content, this is fantastic. Driving traffic to your website or blog makes it much easier for you to track your ROI. If you don’t already have a website or blog, start one. Then, once you’ve created that content you can begin to repurpose it.

Add that content to your newsletter.
Craft social media posts – alter them to fit the voice of the platform.
Create an infographic – share this to social media
Create a slideshare – share to social media
Create a video- share to social media (including Youtube and Vimeo).

You can do the same with content from influencers…just make sure that you credit the source properly.

Emphasize Visual Content

Photos receive more engagement than links, or text-based updates, but lately, video gets the most engagement out of any type of post across social networks. The above tweet was very carefully crafted. It received a good number of retweets because it included a deal, a gif, and clean easy to see graphics.

Keep Your Bio’s Consistent Across Platforms

Make sure that on all your social media sites your bio sections are current, consistent and accurate, including avatars and text. This is all about consistent branding and a consistent message. Think about keywords so that you can be found when people search.

When and How Often to Post

There is no “best time to post” on a particular network. Each brand and business is unique and has its own audience. If you really want to know when is the best time to post to social media, check out analytics. We suggest you use the times suggested by each platform to get started and then test different times to see what works best for your brand…or use a social media tool like Socialdraft to schedule your posts and pull reports to see what performed best.

As far as frequency is concerned…

Twitter – you can publish as often as 14 times per day, never more than once per hour; seven times per day on weekends, from 3:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., roughly every three hours. We suggest you craft 3 pieces of scheduled promotional content. The rest of the posts should be engagement posts. Then spend your time engaging your audience in conversation. You will get the most ROI from Twitter by engaging.

Facebook – 1-2 times per day, seven days a week. Many sites will tell you that only once a day works…but just think about your audience. They may not all use Facebook at the same time, this is especially so if you are a national or international brand. Check your insights to see when your audience is engaging and begin to test out to see what times get you the best engagement.

LinkedIn – 1 time per day, around 8am, no weekends (people aren’t thinking about work on weekends)

Instagram – You can post up to 5 times a day on Instagram…but again, this is only if your content is up to par. This is usually way too much for most accounts. If you are just getting started, you are better off posting once a day until you build your audience. Once you have a healthy engagement, then you can begin to test out posting twice daily.

Pinterest – Post once a day until you’ve built your follower base, then increasing the frequency. Pinterest is a strong network for driving web traffic, so each pin is a great link back to your website. We’ve seen brands do quite well posting 3 times per day.

Tumblr – 1-3 times per day is the recommended frequency.  Some brands are able to get away with more, but if you’re just starting out, keep it to no more than 3. It is imperative that your content fit the demographic or you risk losing followers.

Automate Updates

With Socialdraft’s “Drag & Drop” calendar, you can schedule posts to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn with just a few simple clicks. Re-scheduling and editing is a breeze. Simply drag & drop.

You can also duplicate posts for later posting. We suggest giving some time between duplicate content so that you don’t bore your audience…and so that your messages go through.

You can also put all your evergreen content into a CSV and upload it directly to the Socialdraft dashboard. Edit the csv monthly and upload again to save tons of time. This is fantastic for holidays, reviews, and evergreen information.

And with the Socialdraft Feed you can manage, comment on, like, and take more actions such as re-tweet items from all of your social media channels. It saves you from logging on and off from multiple social networks.