Social Media Plan: The 7 Basics

Social Media Plan: The 7 Basics

Even though your business might be posting on social media channels, your practice of social media marketing needs to be intentional. This is true for both large and small businesses.  You don’t want to approach messaging on a public channel in a haphazard manner that could possibly have public relations implications.  That’s why you need a social media plan.

The Basics of a Good Social Media Plan

Social media guidelines lay out the specifics regarding your social media activities. A good social media plan includes at a minimum the seven items listed below. Your plan should never be ambiguous, either. Instead, leave nothing unidentified and spell out everything. When you do so, you reduce the likelihood of unwelcome and potentially embarrassing surprises on your public social sites.

While you will want to make sure these seven are part of your social media guidelines, you’re not limited to them. You may find that you need to add other pieces, as well.

Your Marketing Plan

Look at you Marketing Plan and identify how social media marketing will serve it. Most likely, this will be pretty easy to identify. Make sure you include that linkage in your social media plan so it is plainly understood for the person or persons implementing your plan. This explanation serves as the foundation of why your business will be active on social media.

Who Develops Content

Identify who will develop the content for posts inside your organization. This person might be different from your social media manager, so it is important to identify that position in your plan.

Who Manages Social Media

Identify who will manage the social media activity for your business. This person or vendor will create an editorial schedule, handle the postings, set up and tweak your social sites and be your go-to person for social media needs inside your organization. Often times, this person also creates content for posts. If so, make sure you note that in your guidelines.

What and When

This is where you actually specify the details of the plan. There are a number of things that need to detailed here and they includ the following.

  1. What social media sites will you use? Based on your target market, on which sites will you be active? If you will have a different strategy for each social media site, then identify those details here, as well.
  2. How many posts will you make per week? This is pretty straight forward, but it is important to identify it so your social media manager knows how to approach the job ahead.
  3. What times of the day will you post? Don’t just pick a time. Make sure there is a justification for posting at the time you identify.
  4. What will you post? The content that you post should be thought out carefully. Create a number of content categories that are relevant to your business and post from these.
    1. Think of each post time that you identified above as a slot. Assign an area of content from which you will post for that slot.
    2. For example, each Tuesday at 10:00am could be a post that includes a marketing message about your business.
  5. What won’t you post? This is as important as what you will post. Identifying what should not be done helps to reduce the chances of mishaps. Things that you might not want to post include nudity, pornography, swearing, slang, personal interests and things that don’t promote the business and its marketing goals. Here’s an example. Many businesses post photos of their office parties. While this is a way of being friendly, it doesn’t contribute much to your marketing plan or goals.

Measuring Success

What are the key metrics that your organization cares about, and how will you measure success? Clearly identifying this will help the organization know that the social media activity is serious and it will help them understand whether it is achieving its goals or not.  When identifying success metrics, consider the following:

  1. The Role of Employees – What role will your other employees play in your business’ social media, if any. Some organizations encourage their employees to post about their products or services. On the other hand, you can maintain a firmer grasp of what is posted about your business if flows through one, designated employee.
  2. Make it a Priority – Getting the entire organization to support a new initiative works best when there is support from the top. Encourage your leadership to make social media marketing a priority for your organization by having them:
    1. State publicly that social media is a marketing priority,
    2. Identify and support the social media manager to the various department heads.

The Wrap

These seven guidelines are the foundation to a strong social media plan. Instituting guidelines such as these will ensure that your public persona on social is one that supports your marketing goals, and won’t lead to embarrassing situations for your company.

As noted earlier, these guidelines are the basics. You might find that you need to add more details to develop a plan that better fits your business.

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Bob Turner is a Small Business Social Media Consultant with Social Flair.

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