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How to Create a Social Media Marketing Plan

Social Media Marketing PlanMuch has been written about how to use social media to get more exposure and reach more audiences. The majority of the advice tends to be focused on the tactics, though, the things you can do to reach more potential clients.

Long before you consider the tactics you are going to use, you must set business goals when you are creating a strategic social media plan. Many businesses, however, do not.  They create accounts on various social media networks and then jump right in and begin posting.  This, though, is the equivalent of “spray and pray” advertising; it is a lot of effort with little results.

The first step in setting social media marketing goals is to research how well you can address the requirements of using social media.  You should choose the social networks that best fit your strategy and the goals you want to achieve on social media.

Social media networks are very different from one another. Each network is unique with its own best practices, style and audience.  Here is what is important: you do not have to be on all of them.  You just have to be involved on the networks that matter to you and your audience.

So as you are putting together your strategic social media marketing plan, consider not only which social networks to try but also how many to try. Here are three points to help make that decision:

Time: How much time can you devote to being active on a social network? When you start, you will want to plan for at least an hour per day per social network.  As you get more involved, you will want to allocate more time to it as your audience grows.

Resources: What personnel and skills do you have to work with? There is a human-involvement cost to being active on social networks that must be accounted for.  Business social networks like LinkedIn require article-writing, resource-sharing and business interaction without sales pitches.  Visual social networks like Instagram require images and photos. Do you have the resources to create what is needed?

Audience: Is your target audience on the social media networks you are considering? Which social network has the right demographics?  Just like selecting the right print media for advertising, actively analyzing the social media network for the right demographics is critical for success.

To understand the demographics of the social networks, you can reference the audience research and demographics from surveys like those conducted by Pew Research. Pew offers complete data detailing the demographics for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

In summary, when you are creating your strategic social media marketing plan, make sure you have set realistic and measurable goals.  Social media must be treated like any other outbound marketing channel; expected results must be clearly stated and set up for measurement and regular review.  Consider your resources and the demographics of the social network and then select which will work best for you.  This will ensure your social media campaigns are as productive as you want them to be.

Christian Lowery

Christian has over 5 years of experience in social media content creation, curation and management. He is passionate about thoughtful, creative branding and storytelling, and enjoys helping companies develop a strategic social media strategy. In addition to social media management, he is an experienced photographer and copywriter for many B2B and B2C brands. His understanding of consumer outreach and engagement, along with his eye for design, helps our clients target new customers, re-position themselves in the marketplace, or strengthen their existing audience.