Social Media Marketing: Plan, Strategise and Build a Calendar
I know social distancing norms and COVID-19 have changed our social lives but think about the last time you hosted a big gathering at home. It could be a birthday, a festival, or just a social get-together.
The first thing to consider is the reason for the event (promotion, sale, engagement, etc.). You then make a guest list (target audience) and move on to picking the right day to host the event (publishing date).
The next step is to send out invites (building a calendar), and move on to finer details like planning the menu, sourcing the things you’ll need, decor, etc. (design, theme, creatives, content etc.).
While spontaneous plans are fun, and sometimes the much-needed respite from a hectic schedule, planned events are more special, and leave a lasting impression — both in our social lives and in social media marketing.
The best way to plan a social media strategy begins with careful planning, step-by-step strategising, and most importantly building a calendar for seamless execution.
Strategies To Improve Your Social Media Marketing Plan
Social media marketing has become an integral and critical part of marketing strategies for every business today. Whether you’re an enterprise or an individual, a B2B or B2C company, a product or service-based brand, and no matter what industry you fall into; one cannot deny or ignore the impact and need for social media marketing.
Today, customers have multiple options to choose from. This choice is further widened by the ease of access and availability across multiple platforms. Thus, to be able to stand out and capture your potential customer’s interest you need to be available on the right social platforms.
Whether you’re just starting, or revamping your social media presence, the best way to plan a social media strategy is a simple 3-step process:
Let’s understand the various factors you need to consider during the 3-step process of building a social media strategy.
Step 1. Plan
Planning is the most important step in the process of building a successful social media strategy. This directly affects everything else you do. However, you need to understand that social media platforms and customer needs are dynamic and fluctuating, so even before you start planning, make room for flexibility.
Key Factors and Considerations:
- Understanding your business goals
Consider what you want to achieve through social media. Are you looking to drive engagement, get more business, communicate with your audience, bump up sales or what is it that you want? For examples, if your primary goal is to increase sales through social media, you may want to create more promotional content and give more product details to drive sales.
- Understanding your audience
Consider the age, demographics, buying habits, needs and demands of your target audience. Where and what are they looking for? What problems are they facing and how can you offer the right solution? For example, let’s assume, your e-commerce store offers beauty products and your primary audience is females in the 25-35 years age bracket. Your content must thus directly speak to new working women, new mothers, urban women, housewives and all other aspects you can think of that falls in this age bracket.
- Bandwidth and Consistency
Before you build out a strategy plan your bandwidth and resources. How often will you be able to create and deliver effective social media campaigns? How much do you have to offer? Additionally, plan in a way that you can be consistent in terms of delivery as well as quality. For example, assuming you have the required resources, you can plan 2-3 posts a week, every month. This could include one promotion, one engagement post, and maybe one poll or quiz to bump communication.
Step 2. Strategise
Now that you have planned why, for whom and how often will you be able to create effective social media content, it’s time to start strategising. At this step, you have a more focused direction and tangible goals that you are working towards.
Key Factors and Considerations:
- Brand Personality
Consider your existing brand personality while thinking about your social media posts so you can create a comprehensive look and feel. Your website colours, fonts and language, your email marketing style and your social media marketing style of communication must all have the same brand personality.
- Engagement Vs. Promotions
Consider creating a healthy mix of engaging and promotional posts. You don’t want to come across as too pushy to sell stuff, nor someone who has nothing to offer. Factor in upcoming sales or promotions, important events, holidays and key industry talking points to create a wholesome mix of content and ramp up customer engagement.
Note: Here’s where you need to keep some room for ‘trending’ topics, breaking news across the globe, industry disruptions, technological inventions, etc.
- Measure and Re-build
Not only do you need to consider what to build, but also have a plan to re-work on your plan along the way to get better results. Using social media analytical tools, and measuring key factors like engagement and conversion will allow you to tailor your strategy with every post you publish. The idea is not just to plan, strategise, build and publish but be vigilant about the responses and reactions to make future posts better.
Step 3. Build: Key Factors and Considerations
We’re all set to start building. The plan is ready, we have strategised everything we need to do to bring the plan to action, as well as to make our social efforts more impactful for the future.
Depending on your audience, availability of resources and offers you need to stipulate a set publishing timeline. Create a calendar and mark in the days you plan to publish a post and what it’s about. Ideally, you should build a calendar for each quarter, but at least a month in advance. It’s like putting post-it notes but (literally!) in a calendar.
- Design and Copy
Start chalking out the copy and design for each of the posts. Remember, keep in mind your brand colours, tone, themes, and fonts to create more on-brand posts. Be sensitive to your audience and environment to create more impactful posts.
- Publishing Tools
By now you have a calendar ready and you know on what day, what post goes out. As and when your posts are ready, use a publishing tool to start scheduling your posts. Again, analysing your audience’s behaviours will allow you to know the best times and days to schedule posts to further strengthen your social media marketing strategy.
So, once you’ve done all the above-mentioned homework, research and preparation — what does a social media calendar look like?
Keeping all the steps, key factors and considerations in mind here’s a great example of a Holiday Social Media Calendar:
Image Source: Constant Contact
Up Your Game With The Best Way To Plan A Social Media Strategy
Plan, Strategise, Build — this simple 3-step process will set you up for success.
When working on strategies to improve your social media marketing plan always keep your audience as your priority. After all, all your efforts are directed towards them. Whether you’re trying to increase engagement, get more sales or just widen your network, building a well planned social media plan will get you the desired results.
Lastly, just like these social platforms, you need to be innovative and dynamic. Trends and customer expectations are constantly changing, and you’ll need to change with them to stay on top.
If you have any questions, doubts or tips for other readers, please feel free to drop it in the comments section below.
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