Create a Social Media Plan That Works
If you’re looking to make an impact on social media, it can be overwhelming to even know where to start. Social media is not something you can just jump into and dominate. It takes time to develop and gain traction with the marketplace. You have to grow and nurture an audience. One of the key components of succeeding with social media is to develop a good social plan. Let’s look at how to get started with developing your own successful social media plan for success.
Research in your market is essential. Don’t think you can hop in and start throwing posts around and crush social media. You have to plan everything out ahead of time. If you skip the research step, you could miss out on the impact that you’re looking for with your business. Here’s one of the best ways to get an idea of what works with social media in your business’s niche:
- Create a list. The first thing you should do is to create a list of your competitors’ websites. Do they have blogs or industry related articles and content? Create a list of the top 5-10 companies that are your competition.
- Analyze Your List’s Best Content. Buzzsumo is one of the best tools for doing this. For free, you can get a glimpse at your competition’s top 5 posts. Make a list of all of these for each competitor’s site. Look at the number of social media shares, where they are popular, and the type of content that was so popular.
- Read those articles, and see who they link to. I am willing to bet that they link to other sites. Note who they link to, so you can look at linking to other sites as well. Your goal is to link to bigger, more authoritative sites than the competition.
Be careful though. You only want to put 1-2 outbound links to other sites in your posts, depending on the length.
Develop a Content Plan
Now that you’ve seen what is doing well in your industry, it’s time to create content that your readers will love. A great social media plan is based on good content. This is easier said than done, but you should have a few simple goals for your content:
- You want your content to be better and more authoritative than the competition.
- You want your content to be easy to share.
- You want your content to generate leads for your business.
- Your content should be helpful!
Your content should be thorough on a subject. Neil Patel says that content should be as long as possible. He’s shown case studies where content of 2500 words or more performed better than shorter, more concise content.
Maximize Your Content’s Impact
You want your site to do well. You’ve poured all kinds of time into developing this content, so it’s important to promote it correctly to get the most impact. There are several ways to do this, so that you can get the most out of your content.
Boost Your Posts on Facebook
I wish I could say you could make a killer impact for free, but that’s the tough route to go. A good social media plan can benefit greatly from paid promotion, even if you have a small budget. Do you have to spend $500 per month boosting posts? Not at all! You’d be surprised how far your content will go for just $5 or $10.
Social Media Share Buttons
I am a huge fan of SumoMe and their suite of add-ons for your site. Not only are they lightweight and easy to use, but they work great! You can add floating share buttons, or ones that are at the top and bottom of your posts. Don’t make your readers work to share your content.
Repurpose Your Content
If Possible, turn your content into an infographic. Also, you could turn it into a slideshow and put it on Slideshare, linking back to your site. Create a downloadable PDF that readers can take with them. All of these things can be used as incentives to get social traffic to click on your link!
Set Up A Calendar
Your social media should not be thrown together on a daily basis. You should plan your content for days, weeks, and possibly even a month or two ahead of schedule. This allows you to take advantage of tools like HootSuite to schedule quality posts way ahead of time. The last thing you want to do is rush your social posts.
You can set up a social media calendar in a number of ways:
- iCal or Google Calendar – plan out posts on a physical calendar.
- Google or Excel spreadsheets – Plan out posts on a spreadsheet, with the date, links, hashtags, etc.
- Have a physical calendar, like a day planner that you use to plan out your posts in advance.
The Advantages of Having a Social Media Plan
A social media plan gives you the ability to think about your posts ahead of time. It gives you time to think and brainstorm creative ideas for your social media posts. It also gives you time to create eye-catching graphics that can be used to get more attention. It also allows you to be more consistent.
Have a Separate Social Media Plan For Each Platform
You heard me right. You shouldn’t be posting the same exact posts on Facebook that you do Twitter. You also shouldn’t be posting the same post on Instagram that you do Twitter. Different audiences and different social sites work differently. You can’t “blanket” post to everyone and be effective.
Here’s an example: If you’re posting on Instagram, you can create a message, and in that message you can post a lot of hashtags. The more you post, the better, and by doing this you can quickly grow a following. However, if you post to Twitter using more than 2 hashtags in a post, you aren’t likely to get any clicks. On Facebook, you can write out much longer messages, which include links, which is completely different from Twitter or Instagram.
The image sizes are different, too! Twitter posts a landscape-formatted photo, but Instagram posts a square one. If you post the same Instagram image to Twitter and it contains words, they may be cut off. Keep this in mind when creating the images for your social media posts. You should create separate images, or format any text so that the words aren’t clipped.
Monitor Your Own Performance
It’s important to monitor the posts in your social media strategy. Use Buzzsumo on your own site to see your most effective posts. Do more of what is working and less of what isn’t. Developing a successful social media plan takes time so don’t get discouraged. The right approach can drive valuable traffic and leads to your site, grow your authority, and can also build quality brand recognition.
Hootsuite allows you to generate a report of your posts, which includes all sorts of statistics and information you can use. I have Facebook pages for different websites I own. Each week, Facebook sends an email, notifying me of the statistics surrounding my Facebook pages. This information includes:
- Weekly Visits – How many people are visiting your page.
- Weekly Total Reach – This information tells you how far your content was spread.
- People Engaged – See how many people have interacted with your page, clicking links, posting comments, etc.
- Total Page Likes – This tells you how many page likes you received over the past week.
All of this information is compared with the previous week, and it’s always available in Facebook’s analytics system, called Insights. You can always access it, but it’s still nice that Facebook sends you a weekly report to help you keep up with how your pages are doing.
Tips for a Great Social Media Plan
Your plan should be executed with a direct strategy in mind. You shouldn’t be posting things just to be seen or heard. Everything should be tied into an overall strategy. Your strategy should be based on several things:
What is your objective? That will have a direct correlation to the types of things that you post via social media. For example, if you want more personal interaction with your customers, you will want to create a social media plan that involves getting social followers to interact with you more. This could be anything from posting their own photos or tips centered around what you’re trying to promote, or holding contests with prizes to encourage interaction.
What You’re Promoting
Your social media strategy should center around what you’re promoting, such as an event, a new product launch, etc. Think of creative ways to generate a buzz around your business and what you’re doing. If you’re trying to get people to a new store location, promote it with a contest or a giveaway. People love free stuff, and make sharing part of the rules for entry.
Target customers in your area.
You can run a ad campaign, or you can boost specific posts to customers in your area. This is especially useful to customers in your area. You can use Facebook, with specific location targeting to make sure that the people in your area see your posts and campaigns.
Facebook is especially useful for this type of promotion. You can target people in your area, but it also flies under the radar. Your post shows up in their news feed, and they are much more likely to click on it than an ad that shows up on the side. The click-through rates, or CTR on those side ads are much lower than ads in the news feed. Also, with the right image and headline, your ad will be enticing to click, piquing their interest and curiosity.
You can coin key hashtags to generate a buzz in your local area. Think of simple, unused hashtags and combine those with known local hashtags that people are already following. This is the beauty of Instagram and cross-referencing your posts with relevant terms. You can sometimes grow your following by 10-15 followers per Instagram post with the right images and hashtags. This is something that can work more for long-term purposes, but it works.
Consistency is Key
Promoting your business with a consistent social media campaign is how you build traction. Far too often, I see businesses posting content that is random, with no real direction or purpose, except for to just be seen. Use consistent imagery, graphics and key terms that make sense.
Treat It Like A Traditional Advertising Campaign
Social media shouldn’t be treated casually. Your posts should seem fun, but professional, while not losing sight of your main objective. Whether your goal is to build awareness, to drive traffic, or increase online sales, everything you do should be to help you meet those objectives.
With all of these things in mind, your social media action plan should keep your business on the right track. Having a plan will ensure that you take social media seriously, and that you leverage each platform’s strengths to your advantage to drive traffic, build awareness, and increase sales. Generating leads for your business starts with people knowing about you and what you can do for them.
Also published on Medium.