Social media is an increasingly important component in successful marketing. For example, did you know that almost three quarters of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others? Creating a social media marketing plan that takes into account your objectives and audiences, and sets measurable goals, is a crucial part of making social media work for your business.

7 steps to creating an effective social media marketing plan

1. Goals and metrics

Start by defining your goals for social media marketing. It’s a good idea to use the SMART approach to establishing these goals – each one should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Define now how these are going to be measured. While retweets etc can be useful it’s often better to measure something more solid, such as conversions, referrals or leads.

2. Who are you trying to reach?

Knowing your audience is going to be crucial. Look at the statistics for use of each social platform and make sure you’re putting your efforts into the social channel where your target audience is going to be. For example, if you’re keen to reach professionals, LinkedIn, not Instagram should be your goal. As you gain more followers, keep using social media analytics to refine your strategy, based on information such as the location, interests, languages and timing of social use of your audience.

3. Audit your existing efforts

If you’ve already started social media marketing and it’s just not working, why is that? You may be on the wrong platform for your goals, posting the wrong content or using the wrong kind of schedule. Evaluate each of the channels you use already to decide whether they are appropriate, audience-wise, being used in the right way to reach your target audience and likely to serve your business goals.

4. Learn from the competition

If you have competitors with wildly successful social media accounts they are always worth studying. Engage in social listening and competitor monitoring to get a sense of the content, tone, strategy and schedules that work in your industry.

5. Create a social content calendar

This will include both the scheduling and the mix of content that you want to use. Aim for no more than 20% of content that directly promotes your business or brand. The remaining 80% should be a mix of entertainment, information and genuinely useful posts. You can find inspiration everywhere for great social content that inspires and engages – as well as your competitors, look at social media success stories or just your own favourite accounts.

6. Update and improve your profiles

Whether you’re starting from scratch or overhauling existing social profiles, take the time to set them up well. Have you filled in every section and included a clear and concise bio that tells others users about your brand? Do you have compelling imagery? Have you included keywords and links?

7. Track and test your ongoing efforts

The best social media marketing plans are fluid and can be updated and tweaked based on the results of what you do. Test different strategies and content styles and mixes, work with different platforms – and keep an eye on the analytics that each social channel provides so you can compare and measure results.

Social media strategy is crucial to every business today – contact us for inspirational guidance in defining yours.