Creating a social media plan for your business might seem like a daunting task – especially if your social media experience is just posting videos and pictures of your dog to your Instagram. (Your dog is very cute, but he might not be right for your brand.) So, how do you use social media for business? There are so many strategies to choose from that it can feel overwhelming at times. But don’t fret! This guide will walk you through simple steps to get your social media plan together and have you feeling like a pro in no time!
1. Choose Your Content
The type of content you post will vary according to your particular niche. But, if you’ve done your target audience research, then you’ll have a handle on what types of posts will spark the most engagement. Remember that the reason for being on social media is to be social! That means you should not just be posting about new products or sales but also letting your audience get to know you and your business brand on a relational level.
People want to be inspired, entertained, or taught something new. Think personal, behind the scenes, promotions/events, blog posts, shared links, and the like. Try this exercise: Pause to think about a business you follow on your personal social media and why you follow them. This might give you some insight as to what your audience would be drawn to.
2. Utilize Every Part of Your Posts
You might be sharing a photo or video, but that doesn’t make your caption any less important. From the visual to the text, make the most of every part of your posts. Always be thinking about how you can interact with your audience in a meaningful way. Once you have the basis of your caption, you’ll also have to tailor it for each specific platform. Twitter has limited words, Facebook has “scroll-happy” followers, and Instagram entices with pictures.
Store your captions for each platform, the images you want to use, and the hashtags you think will work the best in your editorial calendar. Your content should include a variety of keywords, your unique voice, high quality images, videos (live & pre-recorded), stories, relevant hashtags, engaging questions, and tags and cover themes and topics for the week. Make sure your brand is represented consistently throughout the content.
3. Make an Editorial Calendar
The hardest thing about social media for most businesses is having to stay active. You’re the most successful when you’re posting and engaging consistently. To encourage activity, plan ahead with an editorial calendar! An editorial calendar lays out your posts by time of day, how many times per day or week, and who is in charge of what. For instance, if one person is in charge of a “Product of the Week” feature, let them know which days and times they’re responsible for. Plan for content on a regular schedule so it gets done.
A cool thing about most social media platforms is that you can actually see analytics of when your followers are the most active. Right down to the day of the week and the time of day! Maximize reach and engagement by planning your posts for when your followers are most likely to see them. Batch work is key. Have the plan done in advance, whether it’s one month or one week – whatever works best for you or your team’s workflow.
4. Use Posting Platforms
While it’s important to engage with your followers in real-time, you can also manage your social media plan without dropping what you’re doing whenever it’s time to post. Set aside a time each week or month to pre-post some evergreen content across all social platforms via sites like Buffer or Hootsuite. That way, you can appear more active on social media without letting it dominate your entire day.
Another cool hack: Instead of selecting a time for every single post you’re scheduling, some social media management tools allow you to create a posting schedule. Refer back to those times we mentioned earlier when your audience is the most active and use them to set reoccurring post times.
5. Turn On Notifications
Remember the first tip where we mentioned that your purpose is to be social? Part of your plan needs to include responding back to your audience! Notifications can alert you to comments for you to engage with and monitor. This builds rapport and also keeps any bad comments in check, giving you an opportunity to respond to or hide particularly nasty posts.
In today’s fast-paced online world, people will more readily take their complaints or concerns to social media and will expect acknowledgment fast. If you keep your eyes peeled for tags and mentions, you can join the conversation and provide personable and efficient customer service.
Your social media plan can be as simple or as complex as needed. You can research strategies, plans, and secrets until you are blue in the face, but the main thing is that you are intentional and consistent. With this guide, hopefully you are off to a strong start on getting your business to socialize confidently and intentionally in the digital space.