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  • How to Create a Social Media Marketing Plan

    Game Plan

    In-Depth

    Executing Your Social Media Plan

    You’ve selected your audience, established objectives, and set up your strategy. Now it’s time to execute your plan. Remember that social media success relies not just on establishing accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on, but on actually using these platforms to their full advantage.

    Although members of your team should be contributing ideas, you’ll want to designate one person (or more) to coordinate social media activities. These efforts are likely to be the equivalent of a part-time staff member, if not more.

    As you execute your plan, keep these best practices in mind:

    • Establish accounts. If you don’t have accounts on the social media channels you’re interested in using, now is the time to set them up. Ask people you know to start following you so that you can start to build a presence. Following other influential users can also help you establish connections.
    • Generate quality content. Most of what you post should be of interest to your target market, not self-serving content about your business. If you find that there’s little or no interest in what you’re posting, try different topics until you identify themes that resonate with your audience. You can post information about your business, but try to keep it to less than 15% to 25% of what you are posting.
    • Post regularly. Many companies submit posts several times per day. Although that schedule may be too demanding for your organization, do try to post something at least five times per week. The “latest news” gets old quickly on social media, so you don’t want your content to seem stale.
    • Develop an editorial calendar. Although some of your content will be in reaction to emerging news and industry developments, other pieces of content can be planned in advance. For example, if you know you will be attending an upcoming trade show, you might post information previewing the event, more content as the event unfolds, and even more content reflecting on the event.
    • Be mindful of other social media accounts. It’s likely that some of your employees have their own personal social media accounts. There may be good reasons for your staff to share or retweet your content to their followers, but multiple messages on the same topic can be overwhelming.
    • Evaluate performance. Many tools exist to help you manage and review your social media performance and progress. Some tools, such as Hootsuite, can help you monitor most social media channels. Other, more specialized, tools are geared toward specific social media channels such as Twitter.
    • Refine performance. Your social media monitoring technologies will provide reports on various metrics, which you can use to refine your strategy. Discuss your results with your marketing team to determine whether you can improve key performance indicators such as sales, leads generated, social media mentions, and other gauges of interest.
    • Keep tabs on competitors. If your competition is posting content daily, and you’re posting just a few times per week, you may want to amplify your presence by posting more often.
    • Involve your sales and support team. Your staff members can provide insight on whether customers and prospects find your content engaging. They can even help you develop content ideas.
    • Encourage sharing. Make sure your websites, blogs, and email signatures include relevant social media buttons users can click to follow you. All social media channels make these buttons available.

    Executing a social media plan will require time, effort, and most importantly, support from you and your managers. Except for the optional costs associated with promotional spending and tracking technologies, getting started on social media won’t cost you much in dollars, but don’t underestimate the time it will take your team to execute and refine your plan to meet your business goals.

    Game PlanGame Plan

    Game Plan

    • Establish social media accounts by posting quality content, encourage people that you know to follow you.
    • Post regularly and develop an editorial calendar you can use to plan content in advance.
    • Use one or more social media monitoring tools to keep track of your progress and monitor competitors. Social Media Today provides a list of 50 of the top social media monitoring and management tools, some of which are free.
    • For executing business-to-business social media plans, read this article from Marketing Think, which offers 5 specific tips.
    • Review this infographic from Intersection Consulting for an excellent overview of the social media workflow and how much time it may take to execute various tasks.
    • See this SteamFeed post that provides information on how to respond to mistakes you might make in using social media.
    • If you’re doing business internationally, review this Hubspot article with tips on extending your social media presence to a global audience.