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Learn To Create Result-Oriented Social Media Marketing Plan Template

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A social media marketing plan represents everything you plan to do and want to achieve for your business by leveraging social networks. It should include an audit of where your online accounts are at present, where you want them to be in the future, and the tools you would use to get there. The more specific you get with your plan, the more effective you’ll be in its implementation. Keep it concise and don’t make an unattainable social media marketing strategy. It should be a blueprint of your actions and also a measure by which you can determine whether you’re succeeding or failing at social media marketing.

Step 1: Create Social Media Objectives

The first step is to establish objectives that you seek to fulfill. These objectives will allow you to quickly realize if your virtual campaigns do not meet your expectations. Without these goals, you have no means of measuring your success and return on investment. These goals must be in sync with your overall marketing strategy, so that your social media efforts drive towards business objectives. They should go beyond vanity metrics such as retweets, likes etc. to more advanced metrics that assess sentiment or website traffic referred and leads generated. Develop these goals using the S.M.A.R.T. approach i.e. they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound.

A simple way to begin your social media marketing plan is by jotting down at least 3 social media goals. Ask yourself what you’ll achieve once the goal is fulfilled and use that to determine how you will track it.

Step 2: Conduct a Social Media Audit

Analyze your current social media usage and what you derive from it. It requires figuring out who you’re currently connected to you on social media, the social media websites used by your target market and how effective is your social media presence as compared to that of your competitors’.

Following is a social media audit template that you can refer to for each step of the process:

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After you’ve conducted your audit, you must have a clear picture of every social media account that represents your business, people who run or control them for you and what purpose do these accounts serve. This ‘living inventory’ should be regularly maintained, especially as you scale your business. Find out which accounts need to be updated and which need to be deleted. Report fraudulent accounts if any.

An integral part of your social media marketing plan is to create mission statements for each social network profile. These are one-sentence statements that help you focus on a specific goal you wish to accomplish via Facebook, Twitter or any other online platform. They guide your actions and help steer you back on track when your social profiles become less effective. Furthermore, they make you realize that not every social network is relevant for your business. For instance, Instagram can be great for promoting a clothing brand, but for construction supplies Facebook might be a better platform. Determine the purpose of every social profile you create. If you can’t, you should probably delete it.

To create mission statements, understand your audience better on each profile by using Forrester’s Social Technology Profile Tool. It will provide you with data that categorizes consumers into seven types depending on how they engage with technology. Profiling your customers’ habits on technology will help you gain a better perspective on where each of your social media profile stands among your customers. 

Step 3: Create or Improve Your Social Media Accounts 

After you’ve audited your accounts, get ready to hone your online presence. Choose networks that best meet your social media objectives. If you don’t have social media profiles yet, on each network you focus on, create them from the ground up keeping in mind your broader goals and audience. If your accounts exist already, update and refine them to get the best results.  Every social network has a different audience and hence, should be dealt with differently. Optimizing profiles for SEO can help you generate more web traffic to your site. Cross-promoting social accounts will help you increase the reach of your content and enhance brand awareness. In general, social media profiles should be completely filled with text and images optimized for the particular social network in question.

Step 4: Take Social Media Inspiration from Competitors, Clients and Industry Leaders

An important reason for being active online is that your consumers are too. It means so are your competitors. Though it might not be comforting but it implies that immense knowledge is already available for you to incorporate into your social media marketing plan. Your competitors can be your inspiration when it comes to the type of content and information that garners the maximum engagement. Also, use social media listening to distinguish your company from competitors and present consumers with whatever is missing. 

Consumers can also be a source of your social media inspiration, not only through the kind of content they share but also through the way they phrase it. Examine their tweets, posts etc. and try to imbibe that style. Also, heed to at what time they share their content and use it for your social media marketing plan. 

Another source of inspiration is industry leaders. There are people who are incredibly good at social media marketing, from Taco Bell to Red Bull and KLM Airlines to Tangerine Bank. Companies in every sector imaginable have been able to distinguish themselves by leveraging advanced social media strategies. Research about them and learn everything you can. Find out if they have shared any social media advice or insight on the web. 

Following are a few sources of inspiration:

Content marketing: Virgin, Unbounce

Social media advertising: the American Red Cross, AirBnB

Social media customer service: Warby Parker, Tangerine

Facebook strategy: Walmart, Coca-Cola

Twitter strategy: Oreo, Charmin

Google+ strategy: National Geographic, Cadbury

Instagram strategy: General Electric , Herschel Supply Co.

Step 5: Create a Content Plan and Editorial Calendar

Unique and crisp content plays a key role in succeeding at social media platforms. Your social media marketing plan should comprise of a content marketing plan, which in turn should consist of strategies for content creation and curation, along with an editorial calendar.

Your content marketing plan should answer the following questions: 

  • What kinds of content you intend to post and promote on social media?
  • How often will you post the content?
  • Who is you target audience for each type of content?
  • Who will create the content?
  • How will you promote the content?

Editorial-Calendar-Example-620x408

The editorial calendar notes the dates and times you want to post blogs, Twitter messages, Facebook posts and any other content you plan to use for your social media campaigns. Make the calendar and schedule your posts in advance instead of constantly updating throughout the day. Work hard on the format and language of these posts and messages. Be spontaneous and quick with your engagement and customer service. Make sure your calendar depicts the mission statement you’ve allotted to each social profile. If the objective of your LinkedIn account is to generate leads, then make sure that you’re sharing significant lead generation content.

Step 6: Test, Evaluate and Adjust Your Social Media Marketing Plan 

Test every action you take on social networks. Track your links using URL shorteners and UTM codes. Track page visits driven by social media via Google analytics. Analyze your success and failure, and then change and adjust your social media marketing plan accordingly. Surveys are a great way to gauge success and they work both offline and online. Take feedback from your social media followers and website visitors. Also, ask your offline customers if social media played any role in their purchase. This insight might prove helpful when you look to improve.  The most imperative thing to understand about your social media marketing plan is that it should be constantly updated to cater to the changing requirements. As new networks come up, you should add them to your plan if they serve your purpose. Moreover, new goals and challenges will also come along. As you scale your business, you might need to add new roles or grow your social presence for different countries or branches. Therefore, it is a plan that is meant to be modified with time, so be flexible and welcome these changes.

Image Credits: hootsuite.com

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