Did you know you can start a Social Media plan with only a few basic points you already know about your competitors, target audience, and your own business? Plus know exactly how to relay your message on each social media channel!

Over the years, I have helped with clients of all sizes, statues, and industries. However, each of them fall within the same category; the need of a Social Media Plan. We always develop an idea board of what they want to achieve before we begin publishing to any of their channels. Often times companies digital agencies are out of the question because of budget needs or they do not have someone available to be responsible for their efforts. I believe by following these basic 10 steps, you can begin your journey in conquering the social media world. These steps work great on all scales; new marketing professionals and small business owners until you need to hire an agency to manage all your efforts. Be creative, explore your industry for new innovative findings, and follow these steps to begin your social media journey to an effective plan!

1. End Goal Come First

Have you ever started a race without ever thinking of crossing the finish line? Of course not! The same applies for your social media strategy. Identify your marketing goals and how you want to communicate that. Define your short-term goals and your long-term goals that will increase your online presence, sales, visibility, and grow your business. Having these goals defined will help you reach the right market, on the right channel, with the right message.

2. Role of Social Media

With all many diverse social media channels available, it can be easy to get a colluded idea of which platform will best help you reach your communication goals. Each channel is not made the same. If you start posting without considering this, you will find yourself negatively impacting your digital strategy. Consider each network in your marketing mix. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are where followers communicate in exchange and is not where you want to PUSH your brand.

3. Watch Your Competitors

Identify who your main competitors are and find what channels they are using to reach your consumers. Outline how they are engaging with their customers, how they're communicating, and use that as a reference. The large players will most likely have the most engagement and best content. They might not be right in the same size as you but it will at least help you have an idea for comparison. The most important part is DO NOT COPY WHAT YOUR COMPETITORS ARE DOING! Use their information to start your own unique marketing plan.

4. Target Audience? Who is that?

Numbers are not everything! I have seen many businesses with countless numbers of followers, but often times these are not an accurate representation of their true target audience.  Think about these stakeholders of who will invest in the consumer journey of your service and/or product. That is where you will find those who need it most. These will consist of decision makers, business owners, partners, specialists, and even your own employees. Now think of each social media channel and which will best help you with your stakeholders. For example, you might use Facebook to reach employees and partners while using LinkedIn to reach decision makers and influencers. If you can create an ideal personas this will help you better understand your target for each platform.

5. What can you offer them that they can't get elsewhere?

What makes you decide to follow a brand? Is it because you like being sold to? Of course not! That brand is providing value and an experience the user cannot find elsewhere. Your target audience wants the same experience from you. A great starting point is to identify a solution to their problem, provide education, and the followers will come! Did you know that 42% of consumers make purchases because a brand provides education content for them? Educate, listen, and answer their questions. You will get more ideas of what other content you can create to engage them!

6. The Right Content: Choose Wisely

The personas you created in the previous step 4 will help you explore and discover the best content to engage your followers. Create and write social media content and blog posts for each persona. People often enjoy seeing a lot of visuals such as beautiful images, infographics, videos, and more. You can keep this informal on Facebook, Instagram needs to be very visual, and LinkedIn needs to portray your expertise. Be careful with the tone of your message. Engage your readers to interact with your message.

Another crucial point is to use hash-tags wisely! Hash-tags can significantly increase your overall reach with your content on Instagram and Twitter. I always recommend using 4-6 hash-tags while looking at existing conversations that have high engagement.

7. Videos Are King

By 2019, it is projected that 80% of internet traffic will be driven from videos. If that is true, you need to have your brand be part of this projection. Using a 90 second video will bring more attention than a 1,000 word post. Using the same information, but in video format, it be easier to be shared and understand. Video production is not expensive with cell phones available so easily with great video capabilities and using a few apps. It isn't the most ideal option, but it's a fantastic start until you can do things in a more professional format. Creativity doesn't have to be limited by your budget. Stories on Facebook or Instagram are great examples of popular video strategies.

8. Two Way Communication

Social media is a tool used for two-way communication. People will often comment good and bad things about your business and even ask questions. You need to be ready to answer them quickly and timely. It can be nerve-racking but it's a great thing to be able to communicate directly with your customers. You can even promote contents, run polls, and giveaways to create more continuous conversation.

9. Check Your Results

You can track pretty much everything you do on social media with the correct technique. Every platform offers their own variety of analytics showing you all your traffic and insights. You can even check what portion of your website traffic was driven from your content on social media. At first, it might be difficult to measure so boosting your content with paid options will help build up those numbers and will also increase organically over time.

10. Adjust and Move Forward

You can improve what your future content will be like from looking at your past content and results. It is a continuous process and you will need to build up milestones to help you measure and analyze what might be working well and what still needs some additional improvements. You can see which social channel is giving better results and with a budget, you can get into additional paid campaigns to focus your efforts on specific opportunities.

That's it! These 10 basic steps will help you kick-start your social media plan in no time! This will be a rewarding journey ahead. If this seems too daunting of a task and you would like help with your plan, send me a message or click here and I'd be glad to help you.