Every business owner knows that their business needs to have a social media plan that integrates with their marketing strategy and, most importantly, delivers measurable results.

But the question is how to do it, especially when you’re already busy running your company…. Here are my six steps.

1. Know your customer
When you have a clearly defined idea of who will buy your product or service then you can focus on the social media platforms that they use and discover when they access them. Using this information, you can tailor your posts to reach them at specific times.

2. Listen
Social media is about communication and that’s a two-way street, you can’t just push your message all the time. Social listening is the process of tracking conversations around specific phrases, words or brands (yours and your competitors) and then using what you’ve discovered to create content for your potential customers, to solve their issues, improve customer service and much more. There are various tools and apps which can make this easy.

3. Create content
Start with brainstorming twelve topics that you could write about, one for each month. Try to write 300+ words on each topic. There is much debate on whether longer posts deliver better results, but always go back to your customer – what are they like? Will they lose interest quickly? According to a recent survey the average blog post on WordPress is 280 words. These 12 posts form the basis of your content calendar; they can be reused as a monthly newsletter, or cut down to make shorter social media posts and tweets. The objective should always be to drive your customers and potential customers back to your website or to where you want to make sales.

You can then build an editorial calendar that lists the days and times when you intend to publish blogs, Instagram or Facebook posts etc. You can automate and schedule posts with tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite.

4. Audit
Before you start to post consistently and regularly take a quick audit of where you are on all the social media platforms, how much web traffic you get etc. This will be your
baseline from where you can measure progress, week by week and month by month.

5. Goals
Your social media plan must work in sync with the rest of your business strategy to ensure your overall business goals are met. So, decide what you want to achieve: is it sales, bookings, newsletter sign ups? If it is something less concrete such as increasing brand awareness, how will you measure it? It’s a good idea to set SMART objectives that can be measured. For example, “On Facebook we will share posts that communicate our company products and services. We will achieve this by posting every day and the target is 30 likes, 5 comments and 2 shares.”

6. Review
After a month, evaluate your progress by measuring your revenue, the reach and engagement of your social media platforms, as well as the traffic to your website. Remember to measure what matters to your business. This will enable you to see whether your effort and resources are being used effectively and also allow you to identify any gaps in your strategy or content. There are tools to make this easier. However, each social media platform will have insights and analytics that you can access. Adapt and review your plan accordingly, as it should be a living, evolving document.

Don’t forget to ask your customers how well you’re doing on social media, you could design a survey in Survey Monkey or Typeform.

Once you’ve worked through these six stages you’ll have a clearer idea about what you want to achieve with your social media. If you feel unsure of the next steps or if you need an extra pair of hands to make it work, please get in touch, I’d be delighted to help. My email is esther@onlinemediaworks.co.uk

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