Templates for social media plans are all over the internet. Whether you’re a florist or a car dealer, I’m betting you can find a social media plan template that is made just for you…and everyone else in your industry. Templates can be helpful to get your creative juices flowing, but how can you expect to make your business be seen above all the digital noise if you’re using the same template as everyone else? In the decade (yikes, that makes me feel old) I’ve been coming up with social media plans for small businesses, and managing them, I’ve learned a few things about how to love the plan you have.
Create a social media plan
I know many of you have no social media plan at all. You’re throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks. So the first step in loving your social media plan is to actually create one! Not having a plan for your marketing will create stress and can cause you to hate social media. Waking up each day, getting to your computer and wondering what the heck to post…it’s not fun. So, take some time to actually think about what you need to do and make a plan!
Understand your audience
Before you can do anything towards building a social media plan that will actually help you grow your business, you need to know who your target audience is. Notice the phrase “target audience”. We’re not really concerned with who follows you currently, but who are your IDEAL customers or clients? If you don’t know who you are targeting with your product or service, you aren’t really ready to market and you need to do your audience research first.
It’s easy to look at who is currently engaging with your content and think they are your audience, but I encourage you to think deeper about this.
- What pain point does your product or service improve?
- What “job to be done” does your product fill?
- Who has these pain points or jobs to be done? What do you know about those people?
Without this kind of knowledge you’re throwing more spaghetti at the wall. For tips and strategies on understanding your audience, I highly recommend reading Katelyn Bourgoin’s blog and following her on Twitter. Once you understand your audience you can check off the following two things on your social media plan.
I know, I know…Clubhouse is all the rage right now. That doesn’t mean you have to be on it. It’s all the rage for marketers… is your target audience marketers? Honestly, you need to think about where your audience spends their time online and prioritize those spaces. As a small business owner you don’t have time to be on all the networks, so don’t! It’s much easier for you, one person, to go to your audience, potentially thousands, than it is to bring them over to the network you prefer.
Choose the best content types
Does your audience like to read? Watch videos? Listen to podcasts? Have heated debates? Look at informative infographics? Do they want the quick and dirty details, or are they more interested in a deep dive? Before you decide you need to make TikTok videos, be sure they will resonate with your audience. If you’re going to invest in time-consuming white papers and case studies, make sure your audience wants the deep dive. This is, again, all about understanding your audience. Not everyone is going to appreciate the humour and style of a TikTok video. Not everyone is going to read a 100 page white paper. Pick your battles wisely, based on your audience research.
Plan to be consistent
Once you know which networks you’re focusing on, and the type of content you want to make, start planning when you’ll post it. This doesn’t have to be complicated. I like to reverse engineer my social media plan and when I stick to it, it really makes my life much easier.
Consider choosing themed days of the week for your content, i.e. posting your blog or podcast on a specific day of the week, or your tips, or your in-process videos. Give each type of content a place and time. Think about this strategically and plan it around your business and life. Will you write your blog on the weekends? Maybe posting on Sunday evening will work for your blog, like my friend The Phone Lady, who has posted consistently every Sunday evening for years.
Decide how often you can feasibly post and mark it on a calendar. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking more is better. Think quality over quantity. (Sheesh, I really need to work on using fewer cliches, don’t I?) Do not post for the sake of posting. You want each and every post you make to work towards your overall business goals. If you can only create content once a week, then start with once a week and stick to it. When that becomes easy, revisit your plan and increase it to two or three times a week.
Reverse engineer your calendar
Once you have your theme days decided, look ahead for the next couple of months and see what special days are coming up that you want to use in your planning. Obvious ones would be major religious holidays, federal or provincial holidays, and national observances. This article was written just before Valentine’s Day, thus the love theme. Think also about days that are specific to your audience or industry. For example, as a social media consultant I might like to create content around Social Media Manager’s Day, or Social Media Day, Twitter’s Birthday, or the introduction of the next mobile phone. Once you have those days, think how far back you want to be talking about them and build your content around those upcoming days.
Repurpose your content
The number one way you can reduce stress and the amount of time you spend on your social media marketing is to repurpose and recycle the content you make. Repurpose a blog post by teasing it out on Twitter in different ways. Create a quote graphic from something you wrote in the post. Compile several blog posts into a comprehensive guide or lead magnet. Use the same topic for a podcast or video.
Don’t be afraid to post about your content more than once. Not everyone is going to see it that first time. And to be honest, some people will ignore it (GASP). Posting about your content more than once is absolutely critical to reaching more of your ideal audience. Consider as part of your plan reposting content once it is three months or six months old, and if it’s evergreen content, can you keep posting it longer after that? (Spoiler alert: Yes, you can!)
Social media plan, simplified
There. Doesn’t that feel better than a template you’re trying to make fit your business? Building a social media plan doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does take some time and thought to be strategic about it. Save the spaghetti for supper… you’ll have time to make it now! If you need someone to walk you through this, check out the No BS Social Media Blueprint training I offer regularly in my Facebook Group.