A social media plan may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to the power of social media to generate more business.
However, your business is essentially dead in the water without a powerful social media plan in place to help keep you on track with your objectives when it comes to your online presence.
Not everyone starts with the star power of celebrities who seem to get hundreds of thousands or sometimes even millions of followers, fans, and connections almost overnight.
Although not obvious to outsiders, even famous public figures usually have a social media plan being executed by someone who manages that phase of their marketing.
Now that you know you need a plan, what is the best way to design a powerful social media plan for yourself or clients?
Here are five simple, yet important tips to help you get started so you can begin to experience some positive initial results.
1. Develop Specific Goals Most elite business owners realize that you don't want to rely exclusively on social media to run your business.
Nonetheless, you should definitely develop specific goals on exactly what you want to accomplish with your overall social media presence, as well as with specific campaigns and channels.
Some brands desire more visibility, so views, likes, shares, and retweet are important. Others are looking for a high amount of engagement to develop and solidify online relationships.
Simply making the phone ring may be another specific goal. All of these goals are easily measurable.
Design A Social Media Plan
In our initial conversation with potential clients, we ask very specific questions, as we desire to help the brand achieve its goals.
These questions will help both determine what they may consider a specific campaign a success and also temper expectations.
As an over-the-top example, some may expect us to send out one tweet on a Twitter account with a small following with no previous engagement and are disappointed why they didn’t close $1 million in business within the first 24 hours. This example should give put things in perspective.
Use social media to generate interest and enhanced visibility of your content.
The better the quality your content, the easier that it may go viral in your marketplace.
When your market engages with your content, you can drive them to visit a web page you create specifically for them at that channel to get more information.
This makes it easier to track leads and customers.
If your prospects feel that is content is valuable, they may also subscribe to your mailing list.
You will then have the opportunity to further the relationship and market to them directly once they subscribe.
2. Be Strategic In Your Channels There are many different ways to engage in social media. With so many social media channels, it can become overwhelming.
When making your choice(s), determine which platforms are used by your prospects.
There is no sense of building a huge presence on MySpace unless you are deeply involved in the music or entertainment industry.
You could choose channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and/or Pinterest. That's just a few of the major social media channels to get you started.
When you have firmly decided on your social media plan, the choice of channels becomes so much easier.
3. Complete Your Profiles It's important for you to fill in your profiles with as many fields completed as possible.
The more detailed, engaging and complete you make your profiles, the more credible you'll come across to those who visit your profile resulting in more interaction with your content on a regular basis.
Consider using various hashtags in your profile. This will make it easier for potential clients and brand partners to find you.
In order to elicit attention and business from brands as well as other digital agencies, I designed my @TheMrBlueprint Twitter profile to have them more easily find me.
This strategy has worked well for my clients too.
4. Determine Your Posting Strategy All successful brands are savvy in their posting strategy. The types of posts and the time of the posts are very strategic.
You want to post where and when it will receive the greatest exposure.
Be consistent with your posting strategy. You will need to decide on a regular schedule for how often you'll post your content.
We advise all of our clients to have an editorial calendar. This will help plan the consistency of your brand message.
In fact, we plan all of our content one quarter in advance. As an example, all of the content that we will distribute in January, February, and March, was already determined by the first week of December.
There is nothing worse than getting an email from a client on Sunday night asking what they should blog about that upcoming week.
Having a well-planned editorial removes all the stress from the process.
When you stick to a consistent schedule, your followers and fans in your social media networks can depend on you for new content. This often goes such a long way in building trust and credibility with your followers.
Whether it’s a blog post, video, or tweets, consistency is vital in your social media plan.
However, there may be updates that will not be included in your editorial calendar.
If something happens in the news, you may want to comment on it. This is called newsjacking and can drive a lot of organic traffic to your business.
As an example, if you are in the dog training business and there is a story about a dog attacking a child, you should give your take on the situation.
In fact, don’t be surprised if a member of the media contacts you once they view your opinion on the matter.
Sometimes, the media may simply publish your opinion directly and give you credit.
It is always advisable to set up Google Alerts with your company and personal name, so you will be notified immediately on any media mentions.
5. Measure and Tweak There's an old saying "cut once, measure twice" that simply means you can be more efficient with your work the more you measure it.
This is especially true when you create your social media plan.
You'll want to set up a way to measure the success of your campaigns so that you can focus on the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that drive the success of your social media campaigns, as well as other parts of your business.
Some of the key performance indicators you'll want to use to measure the success of your strategy are going to depend on the particular channels you chose in the second step, but you'll always want to measure the clicks your posts generate for you because these can create leads, subscribers and even sales from new customers who go on to purchase from you loyally for years to come and send you referrals from their network of business contacts.
As you can see, it's not as complicated as many people make it out to be to design a powerful social media plan, but the important thing is that you do get started.
This post seems simple, but so many people over-complicate the process, they make the mistake of trying a dozen different strategies that overwhelm and confuse them.
We don't want you to make that mistake so we have purposefully committed to making it as easy as possible for you to get your feet wet with social media using these five tips as a great starting point.
The most important thing to take away from this information is that you get started immediately.
When you develop specific goals for what you wish to accomplish for your business, choose all the channels you wish to target, thoroughly complete your profiles, decide on your posting strategy and set up a way to measure your clicks and other key performance indicators so that you measure and tweak, you're well on your way with the design of a powerful social media plan that's custom created for you to enjoy the most success possible with social media for your business.
You can use these tips to build momentum continually design a social media plan that works for you to build your online presence for more business.