Marketers usually start the
financial year with a social media marketing
plan
—what channels they will target, their audience, the kind of
content they want to create.

But halfway through the year,
that social media plan will have to be changed because it hasn’t done its job.
Why?

Because social media is
saturated with content and consumers, and the changing algorithms are making it
harder for your posts to be seen.

If you want the impressions your brand deserves, you need a new plan, something advanced that doesn’t need to be changed every quarter.

Holiday Marketing Toolkit 2020

In this guide, we will take you
through the steps of creating an advanced social media plan that will boost
your content marketing strategy.

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Content Audit. Source: Venngage

A social media plan is
constructed with a great deal of thought and detail. But if it isn’t yielding
the desired results, you need to take a long, hard look at your current plan.

They say hindsight is 20/20
vision, and you should make use of that adage. Look at what aspects of your
current plan have worked.

Then turn the clock back even
further—what aspects of last year’s social media plan yielded results? What
about before then?

Social media may have
progressed in the past few years, but there are some aspects of content marketing that continue to thrive—such
as long-form writing, for example.

How was your business
successful in promoting those posts on social media before and can you use
those strategies now? Or at the very least adapt them to current social media
practices.

Once you have seen what worked,
it is time to examine what didn’t. This part of the assessment process requires
you to be brutal, but it is necessary.

Is Facebook not generating the
traffic and lead generation opportunities that Twitter and Instagram are?
Perhaps it is time to cut that channel out or change the strategy for Facebook
entirely.

Has your Instagram account
failed to give you more leads? It could be time to switch to a business account.

You also need to understand how
much effort is going into your channels and the kind of content you are
creating for them. What results are they yielding? Is it proportionate to the
labor and time being spent on it?

Despite the amount of energy a
social media audit will take, you will find some surprising and helpful results
that will help you structure your advanced social media plan.

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Audience persona. Source: Venngage

Having assessed your past and
current social media plans, you will have a fair idea of what has and hasn’t
been working for your social media strategy.

To create a better plan, you
now need to analyze your brand to find your target audience.

Go back to the basics—what is
your brand’s mission statement? What does the brand represent to its ideal
audience?

Ask yourself what your brand
has been trying to achieve through social media. Is it brand awareness, web
traffic, or sales? Incorporate the needs of your brand into your plan.

And on the flip side, study
your audience. Have the demographics changed over time? Has your social media
plan accounted for these changes?

Social media platforms share a
great deal of insight into the interests of followers. Have these interests
been changing over time? Your social media content should also be adapted to
these changes.

This step requires you to
return to the grassroots of your marketing strategy. You may even need to
examine your business plan.

Your brand and audience are
intrinsically tied to how you make your social media plan. Only with a thorough
understanding of these aspects can you create a foolproof plan.

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Competitor analysis. Source: Venngage

A comprehensive examination of
the needs of your brand cannot be completed without understanding your
competitors. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are your competitors doing on
    social media?
  • Which competitor posts are doing
    well?
  • How do their social media numbers
    compare to yours?
  • What are your competitors doing
    that you aren’t doing?
  • Who is their target market? Where
    do they not overlap with you?

Asking these crucial questions
and doing in-depth research into your competitors is a crucial step in advancing
your social media plan.

Use SWOT analysis templates to examine your
competitors and compare them to your social media efforts thus far.

Conducting a competitor
analysis will give you insights into your industry and your particular niche.
It will also give you an understanding of what you should be doing, and what
kinds of content you should be avoiding.

When conducting a competitor
analysis, remember that just because something is working well for one brand,
it doesn’t mean that it will work for you.

Social media is not a
one-size-fits-all medium—different brands evoke different reactions from their
followers.

Also, while analyzing
competitors, avoid trying to co-opt their tactics. Not only will such a move
impact your brand negatively—wily followers will notice that you have copied
from someone else—but the plan may not work at all because of your target
demographic.

Be inspired by people in your
industry, but don’t copy their work or methods. Being original is hard work,
but the rewards will be immense.

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Social media metrics. Source: Venngage

Having understood your brand’s
needs and your competitors, you need to look at the metrics you have been
measuring on social media.

There are numerous metrics you
can examine on social media but which KPIs work for your brand?

Some of the more popular
metrics that brands examine include:

  • Mentions
  • Comments
  • Number of Followers
  • Likes
  • Shares/ Retweets

The old saying ‘less is more’
is never truer than with regards to social metrics. There are so many available
that a marketing analyst can feel like they’re drowning in numbers.

And not all metrics are
equal—impressions may be of greater importance to one brand, while for another,
follower growth could be the aim.

The metrics that you deem
important are also related to the stage your business is in. For a startup,
follower growth may be more important as it means that they are boosting brand
awareness.

While you were examining your
current social media plan, you would have also taken note of the best and worst-performing
posts. This is where that information will come in handy.

The metrics you achieved in the
previous quarter or previous year can be used as your baselines to measure the
metrics you can achieve with your new social media plan.

But we have to reiterate the
importance of choosing the right metrics, as those will impact the ultimate
goals for your plan.

Set your aim too high, and your
plan will never be profitable. Keep the goals too low and you will undersell
your brand.

Use the SMART
goal setting
method to give yourself two or three major goals and
you will be able to create a social media plan that is goal-oriented.

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Social media goals. Source: Venngage

Having decided on your goals,
you need to turn them into actionable tasks that can be executed by your team.

If your goal is to attract 25%
more followers on Instagram, you need to break that into tasks that will help
you reach that goal. This could include any or all of the following tasks:

  • Creating content
  • Posting content regularly
  • Repurposing content for other
    channels
  • Commenting and engaging with
    audiences
  • Following members of the target
    audience
  • Following industry experts
  • Tapping into influencers
  • Hosting a Facebook contest
  • Advertising or promoting posts

These tasks can be further
broken down into smaller tasks that can be executed by members of your team.
Together, they will help you achieve that goal of increasing your followers by
25%.

A goal on its own may seem like
a mammoth task but by breaking it into smaller tasks, you make the goal easier
to achieve in your social media plan.

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High-level content calendar. Source: Venngage

With your goals and tasks outlined,
you can start creating a content calendar. Your first drafts for the calendar
will need revisions, but you should not skip this step.

You should start by creating a
content calendar overview for the year—you won’t have to go into too much
detail for this.

Avoid adding exact times and
dates—we will discuss channel-specific content and scheduling times in the next
step.

Only add specifics if you are
absolutely sure about them—for instance if you have to create content for an
event or launch that has already been set.

Set out your high-level goals
per quarter or for every month and give a rough outline of what kind of content
needs to be created and shared on social media.

A content calendar will include
such information as to how many blogs and vlogs have to be created every month,
as well as an overview of how many social media posts are meant to be shared.

Knowing how much content needs
to be created in a certain period helps the marketing team become
goal-oriented. It also gives them an idea of what is expected of them.

With a high-level understanding
of the content calendar, you can decide whether your social media plan is too
ambitious or not ambitious enough.

Once you have an overview of
the calendar, you can get down to the details.

With a content calendar for the
month/ quarter/ year set out, you can start scheduling in the exact times and
channels for each piece of content.

This part of the content
calendar is extremely detailed—you need to know exactly when you want to send
out a post for what kind of content, alongside the media that will be
accompanying it.

This step is not something that
can be done in a hurry. It is also best not to attempt to create a detailed
content calendar for a long period. A month is enough, but work out the details
of a week first.

By being too ambitious in this
step, you could make crucial mistakes that will have a snowball effect on your
entire plan.

Use social media lead generation tools that will help with the
planning and execution of your content calendar.

Also, remember to be
flexible—neither your content calendar nor your social media plan are cast in
stone.

Things change, new trends
appear, and your calendar needs to have enough wiggle room to accommodate these
changes.

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Social media timeline. Source: Venngage

You have examined your old
plans, measured your posts, analyzed your competitors, chosen your metrics and
divided them into actionable tasks. Your high-level and detailed content
calendars are ready.

For all intents and purposes,
your social media plan is good to go. But this is not the end of your planning
process.

As we mentioned, your social media plan can’t be set in stone. But it isn’t only because of the changing nature of social media—it is also because you want to avoid becoming complacent.

Holiday Marketing Toolkit 2020

Your social media plan can, and
likely will, change year on year depending on the latest innovations and trends
in the industry.

The plan you have created is
more advanced than what you used to have but it is still subject to change. And
you need to be ready to accept those changes.

Examine your plan once it is
created and conduct a SWOT analysis on the plan—as you did earlier for your
competitors.

Are there still weaknesses and
threats that can be ironed out? Work on eliminating those and see how it improves
your plan.

By following these steps to
create an advanced social media plan, you can improve your engagement and
achieve your goals. But be prepared to keep working on making it better.



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