Getting serious with social media means a lot of work and you can find yourself lost pretty quickly if you don’t have a plan. This post will give you all the details you need to put a plan on paper and show you some tools that can help you put it into action.
Let’s jump straight in. If you’ve already started to dabble in social media you’ve probably noticed how much work it takes to do things. Well it’s not easy to keep everything up to date, reply and interact with all your connections or come up with a steady stream of ideas for unique and interesting things to be posted all the time across a number of different networks. But don’t worry the key is to sit down and sketch out a formal plan of what you want to post, when you want to post it and what makes sense to post and even who at the business should be posting. Why is that so helpful? Well if you just assume you’ll have enough free time to come up with creative compelling posts on the spot the odds are you’ll end up disappointed. Life gets in the way and other things take priority. And without a plan your social pages might end up silent for too long or your post might be lower in quality because you’re feeling the pinch for time. It’s understandable this stuff is challenging and you’ve got a lot going on but the truth is a good social media strategy deserves just as much careful planning and sort as any other type of marketing.
All right, so what should a social media plan look like? Consider the next 6 to 12 months and start creating a calendar. Sketch out details like what topics it makes sense for you to post about, what’s your audience interested in. Then take it a step further. When does it make sense to post about those topics? If we go back to our vintage clothing shop think about when there might be a major fashion show special shopping seasons like back-to-school or the holidays or other timely events that you can piggyback on. Whether you post daily hourly or weekly out your calendar will help make sure that you’re consistent in your sharing what and when is a great start but you also have to consider where you should be posting. For example if you’re sharing some awesome pictures of the new line of dresses that just came into the shop, that might be a great update to share on social sites like Instagram or Pinterest. On the other hand, if you want to share a special offer for your biggest fans you might share that with your connections on Facebook or Google+ instead.
Next, don’t forget to think about who’s going to be doing all of this posting and sharing. Are you going to be doing it all yourself or are you going to share the work. Writing down who’s responsible for what in your plan will help make sure you can follow through. And finally don’t forget about the “why”. Why are you posting all these updates? Which business goals are your posts meant to support. If social media is all about raising awareness for you make sure your posts are designed to do that. On the other hand, if social media is more of a way for you to deepen relationships with your existing fans and customers your posts are going to look quite different. There’s no right or wrong approach but again make sure you know why you’re sharing and what you’re sharing. So that’s a social media plan.
Once you’ve got all these tasks spread out across a calendar for the next several months all of a sudden, it’s much easier to see how you’re going to tackle the brave new world of social media. I mean you might be thinking well. It’s a lot of work how. Am I going to actually do it well? Wouldn’t it be great if you could block out a day in your calendar, write up all the things you’d like to post in the next six months and then queue them up, so they automatically get shared when you’re ready.
The good news is there are tools out there that can help you do that and more. With social media management tools like HootSuite buffer and every post you can create the things you want to post and share in advance. You can decide which networks you want to share them on and you can collaborate with your co-workers to let them help you along the road to social media success. On top of that you can use tools like these to listen to what people are saying back to you on social media. You didn’t forget, did you? Social media is a two-way conversation. Not just a megaphone for you to broadcast your messages.
So what have we learned? Social media takes some work and dedication. If you want to have real success, putting together a detailed plan will help you take your efforts to the next level and there are lots of tools available to help you. Now you’re well on the way to conquering social media.