SOCIAL MEDIA PLANNING - COME OUT OF LOCKDOWN AHEAD
Modern-day social media allows you to pretty much upload anything you can think of. From text posts to videos and everything in between you can give your followers what they want. However, sometimes an abundance of options can bring its own problems and it's easy to fall into the trap of paralysis by analyses. Here is a rundown of some things to always consider when creating a social media plan which should help simplify the process.
WHO IS IT FOR?
This should be the first question you ask yourself before you undertake any marketing communication. Of course, your social media posts will be directed at your followers, however, it is often beneficial to target specific segments of your following with each post as niche, targeted posts often perform better than broad posts aimed at everyone. Your following may be split into demographic factors such as age, gender and location. You may also consider segmenting your following based on buying behaviours or patterns of engagement.
In order to successfully segment your following and target your posts, you must understand your customers. We provide a walkthrough of a buyer persona exercise in our free How to Advertise in 2021 guide. Check it out for a deeper understanding of this concept.
For every action, there is a reaction. At least on social media, you really hope there is. When posts get no engagement on social media within the first half-hour or so of being posted, the algorithms - that pick and choose who gets shown what - will look at your post unfavourably and it will get shown less frequently. Most major social media news feeds are no longer presented to the user on a chronological basis, Nowadays, algorithms decide what posts to show first. The posts that are shown first are the ones that generate the most engagement per view because more engagement implies that the user is enjoying their time on the platform. And, the more users are having a good time on the platform, the longer they will stay on to generate more ad revenue for the service provider.
For this reason, all of your social media posts have to have a call to action. Even if not explicit. Your post should, in some way, encourage users to interact with it and let the algorithm know that it is worthwhile and should be shown to more people.
WHAT IS THE END GOAL?
It may sound obvious but when it comes to social media, don’t post for the sake of posting! There are many reasons to post on social media such as lead generation, brand awareness, PR and customer relations but make sure you at least have a reason. Often business owners and marketing managers get into the habit of posting just because “you need to post on social media”. But the more you post aimlessly, the more likely you will confuse and lose followers while telling the algorithm that your account is spammy at the same time.
Ideally, you should have an end goal or conversion path in mind. For example, a blog post driving a website visit resulting in a lead being generated which ultimately converts to business. It doesn’t need to be as layered as that, however, if you have no end goal you are less likely to see a desirable result.
WHERE TO SAY IT?
There are a few primary social media platforms the majority of users will congregate on. Each has its own unique features and reasons why someone would visit them. Here is a rundown of the major platforms in order to help you establish which one is right for your social media plan. Keep in mind, a full social media plan would take advantage of as many platforms as possible and utilise unique posts tailored specifically to their audience base.
Facebook is the king of social media due to its vast volume of users. On one hand, it is a great tool to communicate and engage with customers because most of your customers will be on the platform. Facebook has plenty of great media options for you to show off your work and its users have become accustomed to engaging with and sharing posts. This is great news for businesses who want to connect with customers, discuss new promotions, post images and videos that get views and ultimately build brand awareness. Facebook marketing is best practised in the events industry where organisers use the platform to market upcoming events through the use of media and Facebook's invitation feature. On the other hand, Facebook is not the most professional platform. Those who are on it are more likely to be interested in funny animal or tasty recipe videos. If you are looking to network and connect with professional clients Linkedin is better suited.
Linkedin is an essential platform for business to business (B2B) companies. It is the perfect social media platform to network and increase your brand awareness with potential clients. It is best used as a tool to build your professional network. Find potential partners and clients, connect with them, give them an initial introductory then utilise your feed to post media that will wow them into working with you. Unfortunately, LinkedIn is getting way too crowded so you need to find creative ways to get your message across.
Twitter is a great platform for engaging with consumers and taking part in conversations. If you operate a business that requires time-sensitive updates to be posted to a large group of consumers, Twitter is a great platform to make announcements and PSAs about your bakery being out of doughnuts for the day. Alternatively, if you are a business aiming to be seen as relevant and up-to-date, the platform's trending page is a great place to join in on discussions on important daily topics and build brand awareness while you are at it. However, this can often backfire and do more damage than good so consider keeping your more controversial takes to yourself.
A tradesman or small B2B company can feel free to ignore the Twitter world without any meaningful consequences. However, as companies grow, Twitter becomes a vital customer service and publicity tool.
Instagram is great for two uses, targeting younger consumers and promoting highly visual content. If you are looking to promote a product or service primarily aimed at a youthful audience, Instagram boasts the highest engagement from younger users. If your product or service is highly visual such as graphic design, art or fashion, Instagram is the platform for you. Features such as the grid layout and the carousel view of photos make it the most effective and fashionable way to display creative work. Its vast pool of ‘influencers’ is also a great tool for marketers who want to promote their products to niche audiences through sponsored posts and affiliate links. However, Instagram isn’t the best platform for business to business (B2B) networking unless within specific creative industries.
SCHEDULE IT IN ADVANCE
Set it and forget it is the mantra of any good social media plan. The beauty of taking time to create content for a social media plan and schedule it in advance is that you have more time to either deal with urgent matters in the future or more long term planning.
There are many tools allowing you to schedule cross-platform social media posts such as Buffer, Hootsuite and Sprout Social. Each social media scheduling tool will offer its own perks and pricing plans. As these tools are so abundant there is a niche tool for every team size, whether you are a one-man-band or a huge organisation. The right scheduler for you is out there, you will just need to do some digging to get the best price.
Of course, when scheduling content in advance, the major issue is that it is impossible for it to be up-to-the-minute relevant. There are a number of ways to work around this issue. The most simple is just posting evergreen content. Evergreen content such as fundamental educational posts will be useful for years to come regardless of any catastrophic global events. If you have the manpower available, you can always assign someone to double-check the upcoming posts to ensure they are still relevant and appropriate.
If you'd like to learn more about social media strategy, download our free How to Build Awareness on Social Media guide!
In order to successfully create a social media plan, you must first understand who you are targeting, how you want them to react and what your end goal is. You must have a considered understanding of the relevant social media platforms of the day and what platform will best suit your message. If you want to be efficient as possible, you should create your content in batches and schedule it over a reasonable period of time. This way you can truly make the most out of your plan.
About the author: Vincent Bissette is a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant with over 30 years experience of branding and rebranding businesses and organisations, systematically, thoroughly and objectively. He has worked in major Design Consultancies as well as having run his own agency for 25 years, working with SMEs all over the UK to help them modernise their brand, grow their business, attract new customers, penetrate new markets and increase their sales, market share and profit. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. He’s a creative, strategic thinker and problem solver with a wealth of experience in diagnosing trouble spots in brands and discovering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Now based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, he works throughout the entire UK.
Get in touch with him on Linkedin here