When I went rock climbing for the first time, I had no idea what I was doing. My friends and I were complete newbies about ropes and rappelling and every other bit of jargon and technique that goes with climbing. We saw others doing it spectacularly well. We were thrilled at the thought of reaching the top of the climbing wall; we had no idea how to get there.
I’d imagine that a social media marketing strategy could feel the same way.
If you’re starting from square one, it might feel equal parts thrilling and overwhelming. You know what you want to do and why. You can see that others have climbed the social media mountain; you’ve got few ideas how to get there yourself.
It’d help to have a plan.
Now we’re pleased to put it all into a cohesive, step-by-step blueprint that you can use to get started. If you need a social media marketing plan, start here.
Social media marketing plan
Starting at the ground floor and building up, here is our overview of how to create a social media marketing plan from scratch.
I like to think of this plan like a road trip. Start out by pointing yourself in the right direction, then choose the way you’re going to get there, check in regularly to make sure you’re on track, and have some fun along the way.
Step 3: Find your voice and tone
Step 5: Analyze and test
Step 6: Automate and engage
Step 1: Which social media sites you should use?
Social media is as homogenous from network to network as soda pop is from brand to brand. Sure, it’s all social media, but Google+ and Twitter might as well be Mountain Dew and Pepsi. Each network is unique, with its own best practices, own style, and own audience.
You should choose the social networks that best fit your strategy and the goals you want to achieve on social media.
You don’t have to be on them all — just the ones that matter to you and your audience.
Some things to consider that can help you choose not only which social networks to try but also how many to try.
Audience: Where do your potential customers hang out? Which social network has the right demographics?
Time: How much time can you devote to a social network? Plan on at least an hour per day per social network, at least at the start. (Once you get going, tools like Buffer can help you save a bit of time.)
Resources: What personnel and skills do you have to work with? Social networks like Facebook emphasize quality content. Visual social networks like Pinterest and Instagram require images and videos. Do you have the resources to create what’s needed?
For the first part of this decision, you can reference the audience research and demographics from surveys like those conducted by Pew Research. For instance, Pew has complete data, collected last year, of the demographics for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the major social media platforms’ user demographics.
For Snapchat’s user demographics, you can check out this “Who’s on Snapchat, anyway?” blog post by Snapchat.
Step 2: Fill out your profiles completely
One of our monthly checks here at Buffer is to visit each of our social media profiles and make sure that our profile photos, cover photos, bio and profile info are up-to-date and complete. It’s a key part to our social media audit. A completed profile shows professionalism, cohesive branding and a signal to visitors that you’re serious about engaging.
Profiles will require two parts: visuals and text.
For visuals, we aim for consistency and familiarity with the visuals we use on social media. Our profile photo on Instagram matches our profile photo on Facebook. Our cover photo on Twitter is similar to our cover on LinkedIn.
To create these images, you can consult a social media image size chart that will show you the exact breakdown of dimensions for each photo on each network. For an even easier time of it, you can use a tool like Crello or Canva, which comes with prebuilt templates that set the proper sizes for you.
For text, your main area to customize is the bio/info section. Creating a professional social media bio can be broken down into six simple rules.
- Show, don’t tell: “What have I done” often works better than “Who I am”
- Tailor your keywords to your audience
- Keep language fresh; avoid buzzwords
- Answer the question of your potential followers: “What’s in it for me?”
- Be personal and personable
- Revisit often
Step 3: Find your marketing voice and tone
The temptation at this point might be to jump right in and start sharing. Just one more step before you do. Your foray into social media will be more focused and more on point if you come up with a voice and tone for your content right off the bat.
To do so, you could spend time coming up with marketing personas and debating the finer points of your mission statement and customer base. These are all well and good. But for a social media marketing plan just getting off the ground, you can make this process a bit easier.
Start with questions like these:
- If your brand was a person, what kind of personality would it have?
- If your brand was a person, what’s their relationship to the consumer? (a coach, friend, teacher, dad, etc)
- Describe in adjectives what your company’s personality is not.
- Are there any companies that have a similar personality to yours? Why are they similar?