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As a business owner, you should never forget to include social media marketing in your firm’s marketing plan. Social media is everywhere now and there is no escaping it; everyone who owns a smartphone is most likely engaging on at least one major social network. Your business can benefit greatly from social media; it creates brand awareness for your company, your company will have a larger online presence, and you will have another method of communication to reach new customers as well as talk to existing ones. But in order to engage in social media marketing, you must create a social media marketing plan.
The first step in creating an effective social media marketing plan actually takes place before you even write it. Take out a sheet of paper or open a blank Word document and then take ten minutes to write down everything that you want to accomplish for your business this year. When you start writing, do not stop until your ten minutes are up; once your ten minutes are up begin reviewing your list. Begin highlighting using two colors: use one color to highlight the business goals you would like to accomplish in a short-time period and then use another color to highlight the goals you wish to accomplish in a longer time period. Examples of business goals include creating brand awareness, increasing sales by X amount of months and launching new products or services.
Now that you have identified your business goals, it is time to sort them out based on how realistic, relevant and obtainable they are. Review your list that you have just written and ask these questions in your mind about each one:
On a new sheet of paper or blank Word document, begin copying down the goals that you feel confident your business can easily achieve. You will now establish marketing objectives for your company that are based on the goals you have set. These objectives should have measurable results and you must define the parameters around what you will consider a success when attempting to take on these objectives. For example, if your marketing objective is to double the number of customers you got last year then you will not consider this objective met until you actually get 2x those customers. Make sure that you have set a time frame to complete these objectives and again, make sure they are realistic. If your objectives are based on unrealistic goals, then you are setting yourself up for disaster!
One of the biggest mistakes that many business owners make is the false assumption that every single person in the world is their target audience. That is not true, because your company’s products and services are not going to be relevant to every single person; everyone is not the same! For example, if you own a steakhouse your target audience does not include vegetarians (even if you serve salads). If you run a supermarket, a diabetic person isn’t going to be interested in your 2-for-1 sale on cans of Dr Pepper. See why it is important to understand that “everyone” is not your target audience! It is extremely important to remember this, or you could be going after the wrong people. In order to understand who your target customer is, you should create a persona like the one below:
A persona is a written profile of a fictional person that represents your target customer. You should write out as much information as possible about them such as their age, marital status, occupation, interests, problems/pains, needs, etc. You can create a persona for free of your ideal customer using PersonaGenerator.com. We recommend that you define as many details as you can think of!
In order to outperform your competition, you need to know what they are doing first. Think about at least two or three of your biggest competitors. Which social networks do they seem to use the most? What types of content are they posting? Can you see if they are doing anything that you aren’t doing? Are they doing something that your business could do better? Take a look at our 2018 blog post titled “What Your Business Should Be Doing On Social Media.” It describes several engagement tactics that you can try; if your competitors are not doing anything to keep their followers engaged, then you have a chance to steal them away with some engaging content. Whenever possible, watch your biggest competitor closer than the rest by watching the types of posts they are making. Take notes on the theme of the content, user reactions (comments, likes, shares, etc.) and how the company responds to the followers. You can then swoop in by making a post that has better content. Is your competitor offering 20% off on the same product or service that your company provides? Counter your competitor’s tactic by offering a 30% discount (but keep profitability in mind as well. Don’t go overboard if you feel that you will not make a profit).
You have defined your goals, wrote your objectives, defined your target audience and studied your biggest competitors; now you need to create a plan of action of take on your competition. Which social media networks does your target audience use? Which social networks are your competitors using to communicate to your target audience? We recommend that you place your business on as many social networks where relevant. For example, if you own a film production company than YouTube would be the best place to get the attention of your target audience followed by Facebook and Instagram. If you own a photography studio, then Instagram and Flickr would be two of your best options. If your budget allows, consider buying paid advertising from the social networks that you know your audience is using. Make sure you have content on your pages that is visually compelling, educational, entertaining and of course engaging. A social media calendar will help you plan your posting easier and give you a clear path over what to do as time progresses. Don’t just simply post randomly, instead think about what and when you plan to post so you can stay organized.
Special thanks to Social Media Examiner for the information provided in this post. For more information on setting up a social media calendar, we invite you to check out this awesome guide from our friends at Loomly.