6 Steps to Creating the Best Social Media Plan
It doesn’t always get the credit, but social media is your hardest working employee. Always there, 24/7, it’s ready to answer your customer’s questions, field complaints, and foster relationships. It can be used to monitor the pulse of your industry, providing you valuable insights about your customers, that allows you to connect with them in a whole new way. It educates and entertains your audience. It helps tell your story, expands your brand’s reach, and builds your tribe of loyal, committed fanatics.
Despite the somewhat ephemeral nature of social media, every tweet, post, photo, or snap you put out there says something about your brand and shapes your audience’s opinion of you. Think of yourself as the host of a party – your guests might not remember everything you say to them, everything they ate, or details like the flowers, but they will remember if they had fun. That’s your goal with social media. To create a lasting, feel good impression, that your guests (i.e. audience) can’t resist to follow, share, and engage with.
#socialmedia is like a party.Your guests may not remember the details but they’ll remember if they had fun… Click To Tweet
That vibe requires more than just posting. It requires a plan. A delicate balance between the art of communication and the science of understanding your audience and what they want to see. Too often companies miss the mark by throwing this responsibility to a junior member of their marketing team (millennials are good at social media right?), or just posting about their products (and subsequent benefits), without really listening to what their audience wants, or needs, to further them along the sales cycle.
At Pineapple Collective we get all heart-eye emoji about social media, and wanted to share with you some insight into our method that we employ with our own social media plans, as well as clients we work with.
Define your goals
When we ask this question, the answer we hear the most is brand awareness. Totally reasonable, but don’t forget – social media is your hardest working employee. It can be a great tool to field customer service inquires (freeing up your team for entering more orders). It can help educate, and ease consumer pain points, shortening the buying cycle. And with ¾ of people on social media saying it influences their purchasing decisions, it can help you tap into the estimated $1.3 trillion dollar sales value that social media stands to unlock.
Audit what you’ve got
Now you have your objective, take a look at your current social media platforms. What’s working on them? What isn’t? Are your target consumers using these platforms, and if so in what way? Could your brand be better represented on a different platform that caters more to your audience? A big mistake we see is that companies often feel they need to be everywhere. Doing social media properly requires resources – don’t stretch yourself too thin, get lost in the noise, and create a poor brand experience. Choose the places where you can have the biggest impact and connect with your audience in the best way possible.
Create a clear actionable plan
You now know where you are going to play to make the biggest splash, it’s time to create a clear, actionable, plan for each platform.
Here’s an example of our @thinkpineapples Instagram plan:
We want to show that we are natural health lifestyle leaders, and truly live the vibe we put out there. We want to inspire people to live healthier lives, and show that we are deeply connected to what is trending in health and wellness, as well as what is helping to grow our industry. We post 3-4 times per week, bright, creative, informative posts. We plan to have 500 followers by the end of Q1.
This plan is differs from our Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook strategy, where we know different types of content resonate better with our different audiences. Be really clear with what you want to share and achieve through each platform.
It might sound silly, but it is often overlooked. Get committed to your plan. Schedule your posts in advanced, be consistent, and stick with it. Now keep in mind, this does require a measure of flexibility (life happens and you might need to share something amazing asap), but valuable posts, that move your business objective forward take time. Consistently writing up your posts five minutes before it is supposed to go live, or scrounging for a useful article to share at the 11th hour, is a recipe to leave you harried and frazzled. We’re fans of using scheduling apps like Buffer, so all members on our team know what is coming down the pipeline. For Instagram we know the shots and stories we want to tell about a month before (even if the photos aren’t taken yet), and have them mapped out so we know who is accountable.
Oh remember we said social media is like a party – well would you go to a party and not talk to anyone? Social media is social. People like it when you follow them, like their posts, and share positive comments. If customers reach out to you, always respond back. If it is a conversation that is better had offline (or in a private message) do so, but never ignore your followers. Plan a few times throughout the day to check in with your comments, respond to messages, and engage with those in your community.
Measure what matters
Is 227 likes good or bad? Depends. You’ve got to go back to your goals. We all want a bigger following, but if that isn’t moving the needle on our main objective, is it really that awesome? Was your goal to reduce the workload on your customer service team? Check in with their call logs. Did you aim to alleviate some pain points along the path to purchase? How has your customer’s sale cycle been impacted? Or maybe it was to drive a larger basket on your e-commerce site. How are sales doing?
There are analytics embedded within the various platforms themselves, or 3rd party tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, and Iconosquare to help you get your hands on some data, but those numbers don’t mean much if you don’t have clear goals defined, the right metrics to track, and ways to distill and action that information in a meaningful way.
Remember social media is just another player on your fantastic team. Challenge it, nourish it, have fun with it, and don’t be afraid to be afraid to put it on a performance improvement plan if it isn’t living up to expectations.
If you’re looking for some more social media insights, or to discuss how we can help your brand we would love to hear from you. Give us a shout via email, or say hello through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram. Oh and you can always find more tips in our monthly newsletter. Sign up right this way!