8 Steps to creating your Social Media Marketing Plan
Before launching into your campaign you will need to know exactly what you want your business to achieve and what you want to achieve through marketing your business on Twitter. Without the necessary planning and preparation your campaign is very unlikely to succeed. Here is a plan on how to create your essential Social Media Marketing Plan
1. Create your Mission Statement
Many campaigns fail at the first hurdle simply because they do not have a clear idea about why they are undertaking a campaign or what they want to achieve. They set up a Social Media Account account and have little or no idea why exactly they are doing it, "Everyone else is doing it… we probably should too" Then they launch in without first articulating the purpose of their Twitter campaign and aimlessly start posting content. Before long they realise that this is having no positive effect on their business and either give up or continue half heartedly.
Once you have defined your brand and your target audience you will need to produce your mission statement for your social media campaign. Your mission statement is vital for your business as a whole and for your prospects and customers and should clearly state your commitment and promise to them as well as communicating your brand message. To create your mission statement simply follow these for four easy steps:
Describe what your business does. Describe exactly what you do and what you offer and the purpose of your business.
Describe the way you operate Include your core values, your level of customer service, your commitment to your customers. You can include how your core values contribute to the quality of your product or service
Who are you doing it for? Who are your customers? Business owners, entrepreneurs, working women, gardeners, shop owners, etc.
The value you are bringing What benefit are you offering your customers ? What value are you bringing them?
Once you have created your statement everyone will know exactly what you are about. You will know exactly what you need to deliver to your customers. Your employees will know what is expected of them. Your customers and prospects will know exactly what your promise is, and what they can expect when buying your products and services.
2. Define your Target Audience
Your target audience is your most important commodity as they are your future customers and ambassadors of your business. Every single one of them is valuable and every single one of them can make a difference to your business. This can be because they are actually going to buy your products or simply spread the word by interacting with you on Twitter.
However it’s a big social world out there, the possibilities of finding new people are limitless but targeting everyone is not the solution. The biggest mistake you can make is trying to reach everyone and then not appealing to anyone. Your first step is to identify exactly who the people are who are going to be interested in your products or services and then you need to find out everything about them. You need to get inside their heads and work out what motivates these people, what they are interested in, what their needs, hopes, aspirations and fears are and what are their dreams. Your product or service is the link between them and what they want. When you know this you can tailor every single message or piece of content towards them.
When you know exactly who your ideal customers are, Social Media offers you the opportunity to go and find and reach them. It’s then up to you to capture them so you can continue to communicate with them. When you know everything about your customers you are more likely to speak the right language to be able to communicate with them and build trust to the point where the next natural progression is for them to buy your product.
It’s only when you truly understand your audience you can start converting them into customers. Once you know you are targeting the right audience, you can confidently focus every ounce of your effort creating exactly the right content, nurturing them, engaging with them and looking after them. It’s only a matter of time before they will buy your product.
Creating your ideal customer persona or avatar
The following exercise is absolutely essential and your answers to the questions will be the very information that is going to help you communicate with your customer in the right way, by providing them with the right content and the correct brand experience. Once you have done this exercise you are going to own some very powerful information. If you do not do this exercise it is very unlikely that you are going to be able to truly connect with your target audience in the way that is necessary to build trust so that you can ultimately convert them into your customers.
Your answers to the questions in the previous section will have given you a clear idea of which types of customers you need to target to give you the best chance of achieving your financial goals. You now need to find out everything about them so you can get your brand into their hearts and minds. The best way to do this is to create an imaginary persona or avatar of your ideal customer and you can build this picture by finding out the following:
Describe your ideal customer and include the following details, are they a consumer or in business, their age, gender, income, occupation, education, stage in family life cycle.
Where do they live?
What do they want most of all?
What are their core values ?
What is their preferred lifestyle?
What do they do on a day to day basis?
What are their hopes and aspirations?
What important truth matters to them ?
What motivates and inspires them?
What sort of routines do they have?
What are their day to day priorities?
How do they have fun?
What do they do in their spare time?
What subjects are they interested in?
Which books do they read?
Which TV programmes do they watch?
What magazines do they read?
Who do they follow on social media?
Who are their role models?
What really makes them tick?
What are their fears and frustrations?
What are their suspicions?
What are their insecurities?
What are their typical worries?
What is the perfect solution to their worries?
What are their dreams?
What do they need to make them feel happy and fulfilled?
To answer the following questions you will need to step inside your ideal customers mind and imagine you are them.
How do you feel when you find your product or service? What is your initial emotional reaction ?
What are the words that go through your head?
How can I justify buying this product for myself?
Are you ready to buy immediately?
Do you have any suspicions that the product may not be what it says?
What are those suspicions? And why do you have them?
Do you need more convincing?
What do you need to convince you that the product is right for you?
What do you feel when you have the product in your hand?
The reason why these are such big questions is because your answers to them will establish whether or not you have correctly defined your ideal customer and whether you have really understood their needs, desires and fears. If you are imagining yourself as your ideal customer and you are saying woohoo, ecstatically jumping up and down with glee, immediately buying the product or relieved that you have at long last found the solution to your problem, then you have created the right avatar. If not then you need to think again.
It’s only when you have imagined yourself in the hearts and minds of your target audience that you are going to be able to connect with them on any emotional level. With the information from the above exercise you will have everything you need to produce exactly the right content to match the needs, desires and expectations of your ideal customer so that you can create the right brand experience and sell your products. This information is like gold.
3. Choose your priority Social Media Platforms
Unless you are a big brand or you have a social media team then it will be very difficult to be everywhere and communicate to your audience on all the platforms. Although it is straightforward to deliver content to multiple platforms ( and I do recommend this ) it is not so easy to build your audience and communicate with your audience on multiple paltforms on a daily basis. Once you have the information on your target audience you need to work out where they are on social media and where the best place to communicate with them is. If you are B2B then maybe LinkedIn or Twitter may be a good place to start. If you have a visual product then maybe Pinterest or Instagram is the best place. It maybe that Video Content works best for you and therefore YouTube and Facebook are obvious favourites. It is really important to work out which are your priority platforms. You may find you will need to experiment with the different platforms for a while before you decide which ones your are going to focus on.
4. Setting your goals and objectives
Setting goals and objectives is the key to your success on Social Media. Once they are set you will be ready to plan and create the strategies and tactics to achieve those goals and objectives and you will be able to review and measure the success of your campaign.
Definition of a goal
A goal is a statement rooted in your business’s mission and it will define what you want to accomplish and offer a broad direction for your business to follow. The three main goals of any business will ultimately be to increase sales, to reduce costs and to improve customer service and each goal will have a direct effect on the others. Here are some examples of goals and objectives within those three main goals:
1. To increase revenue and generate sales
To increase website traffic
To increase brand awareness through Twitter
To build a reputation as an expert within the industry
To build a loyal and engaged community on Twitter
To increase the number of customers from word of mouth and referrals
To increase the number of sales
To increase average spend per customer
To increase the number of leads generated
To introduce new products
To increase online visibility
To promote an event
To build a highly targeted list of email subscribers
To connect with new customers
To build trust and build relationships with prospects and customers
To put a content marketing strategy in place
To increase business in ‘X’ country/state
To become a thought leader in your industry
To develop new markets by introducing your products into ‘X’ country/state
To build a loyal and engaged community on Twitter
To decrease spend on traditional forms of advertising and invest ‘X’ amount in Twitter marketing
To build relationships with key influencers on Twitter
2. To reduce Costs
To decrease spend on traditional forms of advertising and invest in Twitter marketing.
3. To deliver customer satisfaction and retain customers
To answer customer questions promptly
To respond to customer complaints promptly, politely and helpfully
To provide online help/technical support
To respond to customer feedback
To listen to your customers
Setting measurable objectives
Once you set your broader goals then you need to get more specific and create SMART objectives (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound). Here is an explanation of exactly what each of those terms means:
Specific You need to target particular areas for improvement.
Measurable Your progress needs to be quantifiable and putting concrete figures on your goals is essential for success and is the only way to measure the effectiveness of your campaign.
Attainable/Realistic You need to be realistic with the resources you have available and the results you are expecting need to be realistic.
Relevant Your goals need to be relevant to the business climate you are in.
Time Bound Make sure you set a realistic time period to achieve your goals. If a time is not set then things don’t tend to get done.
Here are some examples of the sort of SMART objectives you should be setting and you can set these objectives for which ever social media platform you are using :
Increase sales of product X by X%
To build an audience of X number followers on Twitter/ Facebook/ Instagram/ Pinterest/ Youtube . within one year
To increase number of followers by X per week
To increase website traffic from Social Media by X times
To increase opt-in list subscribers by X per week
Increase conversions from Social Media by X per week
To increase the number of leads generated from Twitter by X per week
To increase the number of new customers by X per month
To increase the average spend per customer by X
Introduce X number of new products every 6 months
To increase sales from X country/state by X%
To decrease spend on traditional forms of advertising by X and invest X amount in Social Media marketing
Utilise Social Media to increase attendants at X event by X people
Utilise Social Media to increase YouTube views by X people per week
To receive X number of Brand mentions per week/month
5. Choosing your Strategies and Tactics
Once you have set your quantifiable goals and objectives you are going to have to work out how you are going to accomplish them using Twitter. You will need to think about the strategies and tactics you are going to use and they need to be quantifiable as well. Here are some examples of the strategies you may want to implement:
To Tweet on Twitter/ Posit of Facebook ‘X’ number of times per day
To retweet 5 users per day
To get retweeted ‘X’ times a day/week
To make ‘X’ % of posts photo/posts
To create ‘X’ number of blog posts per week/month and post them on Twitter with images
To follow ‘X’ number of new accounts per week
To send out direct messages to new followers
To post ‘X’ offers per month/6 months on Twitter/ Facebook/ Instagram/ Pinterest
To run ‘X’ competitions/contests per year on Twitter/ Facebook/ Instagram / Pinerest
To post ‘X’ number of YouTube videos per month
To follow ‘X’ number of influencers on Twitter/ LinkedIn per week
To create ‘X’ number of online events per year
Of course at the beginning you are going to need to make an educated guess at the number of times you are going to need to do one thing to achieve another. As your campaign runs you will need to adjust certain aspects to achieve what you set out to achieve. For example, you may need to follow more accounts to gain more followers or you may need to change the type of content you are posting to increase the amount of engagement.
The only way you can do this is by constantly monitoring and measuring your results against the original goals and objectives you set and adjusting your campaign accordingly.
6. Creating your Posting Calendar
Now you have your strategies in place you will have a good idea of the amount and type of content you need to post to achieve those objectives. One of the most challenging tasks of your social media marketing campaign is going to be to consistently deliver a high standard of content to your followers on a daily basis. You are going to need to post between one to eight times a day. This does not mean you need to create numerous blog articles each day but you are going to need to communicate in some way and find unique ways for your audience to interact with your brand and offer some kind of value on a regular basis. This may seem daunting to begin with but you will be surprised just how one idea leads to another.
To help you map out your content for the next six months or the year ahead you need to create a Social Media Posting Calendar which is your key to consistent posting. There are many online tools and apps that can help you with this. Google Calendar is a very good calendar to use and lets you colour code the different types of post. You can also use Hootsuite, the social media dashboard to plot out your calendar or use a spreadsheet in Excel. There are also other online applications like www.trello.com which has easy to use drag and drop features and using mind mapping applications like ‘Simplemind’ can really help when brainstorming for content ideas.
To get started you will simply need to map out and schedule the days of the week for each week of the year and decide what types of post you are going to create for certain days. You will need to balance the type of content in order to create variety and interest for your audience. You then need to create topics or themes and then break the year down into weeks/months and make a schedule. You can then add all the things that you are planning within your business, like offers, contests, product launches, webinars and then add all the things going on outside your business like public holidays and special events. You then need to incorporate all that information into your daily action plan.
It may seem daunting to look at a blank calendar but you will be surprised how it comes together when you start breaking it down into months, weeks and days. A posting calendar will help you keep your campaign focused and on track and in line with your brand and your marketing goals and also keep it balanced in terms of the subject and type of media you use. A calendar will help you look ahead and help you to incorporate your marketing plan into your campaign. It may be that you are launching a new product, or maybe certain products tie in with specific holidays, you may have certain industry events you need to attend or indeed be creating your own. Maybe you are going to run a competition at a certain time of the year, whatever it is you are planning throughout the year you need to include it on your calendar.
The following example shows just how by creating a regular weekly schedule you can really simplify the process of creating your social media posting calendar:
AM Inspirational quote image to start the week.
PM Post a useful tip.
Special Post Competition teaser.
AM Link to weekly blog post with image.
PM Caption this photo.
AM Post a cartoon that relates to your niche.
PM Post educational YouTube Video.
AM Post an engaging question which is business related (B2B)
PM Post or share an infographic (B2B)
Special Post contest photo and entry details.
AM Share a business tip (B2B)
PM Post a weekend photo wishing all a happy weekend.
Special Holiday weekend post.
AM Post a question that is not business related.
AM Share a funny video.
PM Post a relaxing image for a Sunday.
This is just an example and you obviously need to tailor make this to your business with the content that is important to your particular target audience.
7. Investigate Different Automation Tools
There are automation tools available for most social media tasks , whether it be posting content or helping you build your audience or monitor your activity.
If you are going to be really successful on Social Media then you need to think automation, Automation does not mean that you need to let go completely and then just be like a robot, automation will help you to deliver your content to multiple platforms in one go . This sets you free so you can then focus on communicating with your audience on a day to day basis. Tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, Postplanner and Edgar can help you psot to multiple platforms.
Other tools like Social Oomph and Unfollowers can help you to buidl your audience and there are numerous others available too.
8. Get Started.
By the time you get to this stage, I promise you you will be literally sailing. you have done the work and now you are ready to deliver your content , buidl your audience and communicate with them. Good luck This is a small excert taken from my book. For more information and to choose from all 9 of my books please go to http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alex-Stearn/e/B00OHHJW0Q