Social Media Marketing Plan: An 11-Step Template

Why are you going to invest serious time, energy and resources into social media? What do you want to get out of social media? And the answer can’t just be “I’m on Social Media because I’m supposed to be.” Main objectives: Increase Brand Awareness Drive Sales Generate Leads Create Community around your Brand Identifying your goals of social media will inform your strategy for what platforms to be on, what to post and what metrics to track (which determines your return on investment). If you know, do you know on what social media platforms they hang out? Social Promotions are still the best way to do this. This is where a social media content calendar comes in. Are they sharing other people’s content. If you have an email list, tell an influencer that you’ll share their content if they share yours. Content sharing on social media is about two primary things… 1. The view-rate (reach) of a Facebook post is 2% of your Fans, and the view-rate of an email is between 80 and 100%.

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Social Media Marketing Plan: An 11-Step Template
Social media has been around long enough that you’re already sold on the need.

But a complete social media marketing plan?

That’s a bit more complicated.

Luckily, one of the best parts of the modern age is that information is out there. Some of it is piece-meal, requiring you to search and cobble together a complete strategy. And some of it is complete.

This 11-Step Social Media Marketing Plan is the latter.

So let’s get rolling, so you can start growing your business.

Step 1: Determine Your Objectives

Before anything, you need to start slow. You need to ask yourself a serious question, and the answer might mean you stop reading this article.

Why are you going to invest serious time, energy and resources into social media?

And we’re talking a serious investment. In order to succeed on whatever platform(s) you choose, you can’t half-ass this.

It’s harder than ever to grow a social Following. Harder to get your brand and content seen in a social media world focused more on paid promotion than rewarding you for your efforts.

I don’t want to scare you, but I do want to make you aware of the realities.

Without paying for reach…

On Facebook, expect 2.5-5% of your Fans to see your Posts. On Twitter that jumps to 10-16% and Instagram and Linkedin will be around 20%. (Source: ElegantThemes.com)

The strategies you’ll see in the sections below will help, and Facebook advertising can actually be a money-saver (if you do it right and consider the time you’re spending).

But even so, know what you’re getting into, and know what you want to get out.

What do you want to get out of social media?

And the answer can’t just be “I’m on Social Media because I’m supposed to be.”

Main objectives:

  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Drive Sales
  • Generate Leads
  • Create Community around your Brand

Identifying your goals of social media will inform your strategy for what platforms to be on, what to post and what metrics to track (which determines your return on investment).

Step 2: Decide your Platforms

Consider…

Time: How much time can you devote to a social network each week? Plan for around an hour per day per social network – and more in the growth stages.

Resources: Many social media platforms (Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest) are visual in nature. Even Twitter and Facebook require some design to really capture the attention of users. Do you have those resources? What about a dedicated content team?

Audience: What does your target demographic look like? If you know, do you know on what social media platforms they hang out?

Step 3: Optimize your Profiles and Pages

Your social media Profile and Pages are an extension of your website. Everything there, despite being on someone else’s site, is yours. You’re responsible for it.

So, if it looks like a burning trash can, that’s on you.

A Page Optimization Checklist:

  • Optimize your Headers and Profile Images
  • Provide Complete Company Information
  • Customize your Facebook Page URL
  • Add a Facebook Page CTA
  • Optimize for SEO
  • Pin your Best Content or Limited-Time Promotions to Top
  • Facebook Page Tabs

Social Media Image Sizes:

Social Media Marketing Plan: An 11-Step Template

Step 4: Boost your Following

Ever wondered why that beggar on the street keeps a few coins in his hat at all times?

People are more likely to LIke something which has been Liked before.

This is why customer testimonials, good reviews, and influencer recommendations work. I don’t trust you unless someone has before me.

So, let’s boost your social following right out of the gate.

Social Promotions are still the best way to do this. You can spend the next couple months crafting content, but (speaking from experience) it’s almost impossible to build a social media presence from nothing. A foundation is key.

Sweepstakes

Facebook Sweepstakes promotions are great for first-time contest runners. They’re the simplest promotion type and are excellent for quick and simple lead generation.

Instagram Hashtag Contest

An Instagram Hashtag Contest asks Instagram users to post a photo onto the platform and tag it with a contest-specific hashtag. All pictures tagged with that hashtag are automatically grabbed and displayed in a gallery page on your website or Facebook Page (as well as on Instagram, of course).

Once images are in the gallery they can be voted upon and the photographers can spread the word about the contest and their submission (taking the hard work of promotion off your shoulders). The winner is whoever has the most votes on their submission.

Referral Promotion

Referral promotions work through incentivized sharing. Entrants share the contest with their friends, colleagues and family. Whoever gets the most people in their network to enter the contest wins the final prize, and everybody else gets a discount code incentive for entering.

Photo Contest

Fans or social media network users submit a photo and then share your contest with their friends, family and colleagues, asking them to vote (voters usually have to enter lead information, as well, by the way). This massively increases the spread of your promotion.

Social Media Marketing Plan: An 11-Step Template

Top Tip: A great way to get more Facebook Fans for your Page is to add a “Like prompt” popup to your promotion’s page. This is within Facebook’s rules and regulations and simply asks people to Like your Page, but doesn’t require it (requiring contest entrants to Like your page before entering was abolished in 2014):

Social Media Marketing Plan: An 11-Step Template

Social Media Contest Prizes

Summer Contests:

  • Tickets to a sporting event
  • Luggage set
  • Camera with tripod stand
  • Aquarium/Amusement Park/Zoo
  • Camping Package
  • $50 worth of photo prints
  • Back-to-school gear: Backpack, pens and markers, calculator
  • Sports team sponsorship
  • E-reader
  • Bike/skateboard/rollerblades
  • Body wash prize pack including deodorant, soap, razors etc.

Winter Contests:

  • Wearable tech (fitness trackers)
  • Baking set – electronic mixer, whisks etc.
  • Lift passes & ski rentals
  • Christmas movie box set
  • Ugly sweater Christmas party pack
  • Professional lights decoration
  • Holiday table set
  • Apple Cider/hot chocolate/mugs
  • Tickets to christmas events like the Nutcracker, christmas train, or garden of lights
  • Gym membership/personal training session

Step 5: Get your Tone Right

People respond to people who sound like them (we’re tribal, at heart). People won’t respond well if your brand is super faceless, but nor will some markets respond if you’re overly casual.

Identify three characteristics you want your brand voice to embody. Keep these in mind when creating your content, coming up with your social media post copy and responding to Fans.

These “brand voice” characteristics should resonate with your target market:

  • If you’re targeting mid-management professionals, use a professional tone and avoid memes, funny jokes, or puns – also avoid politics and world events.
  • If you’re targeting professional millennials, be professional but also casual. Intersperse high-quality educational posts with current-event related content.
  • If you’re targeting young people, post behind-the-scenes content with a casual voice. Post often and tap into Influencers (Step #7).

I love this table from Erika Heald on the Content Marketing Institute Blog identifying her three social media voice characteristics and how that’s reflected in her copy and the way she communicates on social media:

Social Media Marketing Plan: An 11-Step Template

Step 6: Make your Social Content Calendar

Social media posting can be a complex thing. If you’re on multiple platforms, sharing a dozen times a day and your marketing team needs you to promote an upcoming webinar they forgot about until just now, where do you all fit it in?

This is where a social media content calendar comes in. It gives you an outline of what content is being pushed on which platforms, and when:

Social Media Marketing Plan: An 11-Step Template

To access this social content calendar, just click here. If you make a copy you’ll be able to save it as your own and edit it however you like.

Many social media management platforms are structured in this way as well (more on that in Step 10), but I do know…

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