Is your company lacking a social media marketing strategy?

With so many different social media platforms out there and so much competition, the only real way to solidify your marketing strategy across platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is to develop an action plan.

This action plan should include everything from the type of content you share to the frequency of your posts and even the tone and voice of everything you write.

While this may seem like a daunting task, the good news is that we have put together everything you need to know about approaching social media.

Here is all you need to know about putting together a killer social media plan:

Step #1: Choose your Social Network

There are hundreds of different social media platforms and contrary to popular belief you don’t have to be on them all. So, how do you go about picking which platforms to use?

It’s not good enough to just go after the most popular platforms, instead you really have to go after what platforms are most relevant to your audience. For example, if your audience really responds to visual images and infographics than perhaps sites like Pinterest and Instagram are going to be better worth your time than Twitter or Facebook.

There are a couple of other factors you may want to consider when choosing which social platforms to market your brand on. These include:

1. Time: How much time do you really have to devote to social media? This will heavily effect how many platforms you choose to market on. If you are just starting out and your budget is limited, aim to start with 60 minutes a day and then see if you need to reduce or increase the time from there. You may also want to consider using a social media posting tool like Buffer or Hootsuite in order to maximise your time.

2. Resources: What skills does your team really have when it comes to social media? If you don’t have a designated social media team it may be harder to use certain platforms like Vine or YouTube, which solely rely on video footage. Sites like Instagram also require posting high quality images. Think about what resources you have at your fingertips and see how you can utilise them when choosing your social platforms.

3. Audience: As mentioned earlier, choosing a social network really comes down to your audience. Take the time to research where  your target market likes to hang out and then make those platforms a priority. You may also find some valuable statistics on what types of users use certain platforms on sites like Pew Research.

Step #2: Create a Profile

Once you have selected your social media platforms it is time to create a profile for your page. Remember that your profile is going to help showcase your branding, your professionalism and what your company is all about. While this sounds like a lot of pressure, here is how to break it down:

1. Visuals: Most social platforms will require you to upload a user photo. The number one tip here is to keep all your images the same across all your platforms. This helps you to establish your brand and be instantly recognised by your audience. Most companies use their logo for their profile photo however, don’t be afraid to experiment with something different. Just keep your images consistent and of high quality.

Each social platform will also have their own image dimensions that you will need to observe in order for your image to look professional. Here is quick list of the different dimensions across a few platforms:

  • Facebook: Cover photo 851 x 315
  • Twitter: Header Image 1500 x 500
  • LinkedIn: Header Image 1400 x 425
  • Instagram: Image size: 640 x 640

2. Text: This is usually to write your biography or what your company is all about. Don’t fall into the trap here of just including your company tag line. Instead, really think of a creative way to showcase your business by using the following suggestions:

  • Instead of writing about who you are try showing your customers what you do by highlighting a few of your successes
  • Tailor your keywords to your audience, think about what they may be looking for and how you can help
  • Avoid using buzzwords, keep it original
  • Attempt to answer your customers main question- “what’s in it for me?”
  • Be personal and keep it short and sweet
  • Revise your biography every now and again to keep it updated

Your profile is really a way for your customers to not only find you but also get to know a little bit about who you are and what you do. For example, Entrepreneur magazine’s bio on Twitter is: “Inspiring, informing and celebrating entrepreneurs since 1973…”

This bio instantly evokes professionalism, authority and clearly highlights the mission statement of the company.

First impressions count, so take the time to construct a bio that is going to help showcase your brand in the best light.

Step #3: Establishing your Brand

Establishing your brand is really about establishing your tone and your voice when it comes to what you post across social media. Having a distinguishing tone and voice will also help customers to better engage with your content and remember you.

In order to work out what type of voice your are going to communicate to you readers, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What message do you really want to get out to your customers?
  • What relationship do you want to have with your customers?
  • What adjectives describe your company and it’s vision?
  • What do you want customers to think about your company?
  • What adjectives or tone do not describe your company?

These questions should leave you will a pretty solid idea of what type of tone or voice you want to have on your social media sites and how you want your customers to feel about your brand.

Step #4: Posting and Sharing

Perfecting your social media marketing really comes down to a science between sharing great content, posting at the ideal time and sharing at the ideal frequency.

The blend of content, frequency and time is really a recipe that is going to be unique to your business, but here is how to get started with the process.

1. Content: There are five main types of content that are shared across social media: links, images, quotes, updates and reshares. Out of these content types, visual images tend to perform the best, however this is something that you will need to test with your own market. To test what is going to work best, aim to share a variety of the content types and see which ones perform the best.

2. Frequency: How often you post across social media is really going to depend on the platforms that you are using. For example, on Facebook 5-10 times per week seems to be the average, whereas on Twitter, 5 times a day is often recommended. Use your judgement here to see how well your content is doing and then gage if you should share more or cut it back.

3. Timing: The timing of when you post will also fluctuate depending on the different platforms. To give you a basic understanding of the optimal times for each platform here is a quick guide:

  • Google+: 9-11am weekdays
  • Facebook: 1-4pm and 2-5pm weekdays
  • Instagram: 5-6pm weekdays
  • Pinterest: 2-4pm and 8-11pm on weekends
  • Twitter: 1-3pm weekdays
  • LinkedIn: 5-6pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
  • Tumblr: 7-10pm weekdays and 4pm on Fridays

Step #5: Analyse and Test

Once you have started to establish your social media marketing it is time to test and analyse your results to see where you can improve and make adjustments. The best way to track how well your social media is doing is by:

  • Using the analytical tools provided by most social networks
  • Tracking performance in Google Analytics
  • Using analytics from social media posting tools like Buffer and Hootsuite

To interpret the data look at the average number of clicks, shares, likes and comments per post type. This way you will be able to determine which post types your audience is engaging with and how your audience is responding to your content.

Over time you should also be able to notice different trends in when your audience is most active and what types of campaigns or posts they enjoy reading about.

Working out your secret sauce is important, but also don’t be afraid to test out different strategies as well.

Step #6: Automation and Engagement

Social media can be time consuming when you first begin but as you learn the rhythm and flow of how it all pieces together you can begin automating your content.

Using a social media tool is highly recommended for this as you can schedule your posts months in advance and easily keep on track across multiple platforms. This also allows you to stay consistent and better manage and track your analytics.

Other tools like Mention also help by sending you an alert every time your brand is mentioned online. This can help you to stay on track with your audience and to also engage back with them. Remember, social media marketing is about being social and responding and writing back to your followers as well.

Establishing a social media plan is a great step when it comes to approaching the ever changing world of social media marketing. Although it may seem overwhelming and time consuming at first, once you understand how to manage it and put all the pieces together social media can become your number one traffic source.

To recap:

1. Pick your Platforms

2. Create a Biography and Profile

3. Find Your Voice

4. Share Your Content

5. Analyse and Test your Data

6. Automate the Process and Engage Your Audience

Do you need help with your social media marketing? Contact us.