Like many other business activities, Social Media requires planning, measurement, proper objectives and professional staff member/s to execute.
Social media plan for marketing, recruiting, or customer service can work really well, if done right. These components should be included in your social media plan, regardless of organization type, size, and structure.
- Initial self-benchmark
In order to improve, we need something to compare to. A baseline. Doesn’t matter what it looks like now, all that matters is the up-trend…
- Competitor Benchmarks
Competitors make an easy (and fun) target. See what they do; learn from what they do well as well as their mistakes.
Whatever you do, don’t assume that because a competitor seems to have their act together that they actually do. Follower counts, engagement and a well-designed presence are often the result of pure longevity, and not the implementation of unique ideas.
- Goals and Objectives
Social Media activities aren’t as easy to measure as a Pay-per-Click campaign, or email direct marketing. Some of the objectives will be not as tangible, like “engagement” or “awareness”, and some will have a number associated with them (follower/following ratio or sales inquiries).
Although it isn’t an easy task, you should get creative, and put together a set of easy-to-reach goals and objectives, to help you get started.
- Naming Strategy
Seems like a simple thing, but it is seldom done right. Your social media accounts can represent individual people, departments, company or brands. Different social media tools will appeal to different audiences, so it is vital to do some thinking before naming a Facebook/Twitter/…. Account.
- Human Resources Plan
You are going to need people to execute your social media plan. That’s right. People, not a person.
Even if you are a small business just dipping your toes in the social media water, it will take the efforts, influence and direction of more than one person to make your plan come to life. You may only have one person doing “the work” but any successful social media plan relies on a group, not an individual to carry the weight of the plan. I could write an entirely separate post on this, but you cannot successfully execute a social media strategy without ideas, support, and resources flowing from throughout your organization.
- Content Calendar
I can’t stress enough the importance of generating content for your social media marketing channels. Each channel has unique audience, which you’ll get to know over time. Make sure you feed them with content they’d like to consume, and put your finger on the pulse, so to speak, to test the level of engagement with each piece of content.
Consider important events, and plan your social media activities to complement them.
- The Ideas!
Don’t create a plan that only revolves around day-to-day tactics: tweets, updates, followers, friends. It may be organized, but it won’t be special.
Special comes from social media Creative Campaigns, not the day-to-day tactics. Stand out from the crowd and create a contest or special-offer campaign.
At some point, you’re going to have to sell this plan to supervisors, investors, or colleagues. Chances are that most will not grasp the business case for social media, and will question whether your plan makes sense compared to other corporate initiatives (when discussing budget allocation).
The easiest way to conquer these objections is to show examples of how similar organizations have used an organized social media plan to achieve specific goals and objectives. You’d need to do your homework, and see what other organizations in your industry have done in the social space. Examples are easy to find, and will mean far more than your own proclamations about why social media can have an impact on your organization.
- Reporting and Analysis
How are we going to track our progress and return on investment? You’d probably get this question multiple times during your social media planning process.
First, based on your goals and objectives, decide what you want to measure. Second, decide how you want to measure against those goals and objectives.
Count on this: While each social media property includes some basic analytics, you may need to explore a variety of tools and software packages to arrive at your ideal reporting and analysis solution.
Social media planning is not easy. As a matter of fact, it’s painful for most organizations, because many of your stakeholders will not understand the first thing about using social media for business. All you can do is embrace and include these components in your plan, develop some thick skin, and get moving!