Social media marketing…the three golden words on every small business owner’s lips. It is a daily mantra for everyone who is trying to build a successful business and who enjoys making a difference in people’s lives through their hard work. But what actually is a social media marketing plan? If I were to give a brief definition, it is a master plan showing you where you should be present online, what to tell, in what tone of voice, and to what specific audience you should tell it to.
So, how do you create this master plan? How do you start and when can you say that you are finished? Here’s a little secret: this plan is never finished, at least not if you want to stay relevant to your audience over time and embrace all the changes that occur in their life, in the industry and in the way of doing business.
Today we will talk about the beginning, about how to define your social media marketing plan and what you need to do in order to reach and engage your target audience and drive conversion for your business.
1. Find Your Social Media Platforms
You do not have to be on all the social media platforms. It would be unrealistic for a small business owner to have the time to devote to all 10-12 platforms out there and be active in the right manner on all of them. Define what type of messages and engagement you need to create for your business.
For example, a photographer will choose Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook because he can properly display his artwork. A PR specialist will choose LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter (it is a great art to say big and interesting things in just 140 characters).
2. Find Your Target Audience
Think of the type of person who needs your products or services. Are they young or old? Mostly men or women? Busy professionals or bohemian artists? What type of approach works for them – friendly or formal? Once you define this target audience, you can shape your content strategy accordingly.
3. Create Engaging Profiles
People will read the ‘About’ section very carefully before liking a Facebook page or following a Twitter account. Their choice will be visible to all their friends, and everyone is careful about their social media status and reputation these days. So be honest, open and persuasive and give people a good reason to join you as a follower without giving a second thought to what their friend may think of this.
4. Determine a Clear Posting Schedule
How many times should you post per day and per week? What are the best hours to share your posts and gain maximum exposure to your followers? Many marketers discovered by trial and error that this is an ideal posting schedule:
- Facebook, 5-10 times per week, with one of the posts on Friday
- Twitter, at least 5 times a day
- LinkedIn, once per day
- Google+, maximum 5 times per day
As for the best hours, afternoon hours (1pm to 4pm) are ideal during the week, and mornings (9am to 11am) during weekends.
5. Create an Engaging Posting Mix
Start creating engagement with the five basic types of posts: status update, photo, link, re-sharing influencers’ content and inspirational quotes. Then find the type of posts with the highest engagement and focus on them, but do not forget to spice things up with other types of posts as well.