For a business, a social media plan should always start with an end in mind. Does a business want to drive more traffic to its website? What about growing an engaged community? Does it want to be seen as a thought leader? Or does it want to increase its sales? A business may want to do all of the above. It is important to pick the right channels for a business. A business does not have to embrace all social media platforms that are popular. It can focus on a select few and excel at them.
Focusing on the right channels
To choose the right social media platform, a business must find out where its ideal target markets are hanging out. It should only use the channels that its audiences are on. For instance, if the target market of a business is teenagers, it should focus on Instagram. If the business is a consultancy, then it should focus on LinkedIn. Focusing on the channels that are enjoyable for a business to maintain is also important. Enjoyment leads to happiness, which leads to more productivity. Prioritize the channel with the best results. Seeing what others in the industry are doing can also be helpful. A test period of three-to-six months can be assigned to see if efforts on a particular channel are gaining traction. During this test period, different types of content can be used to see what message works.
Mapping out content
After clarity on channels, map out the content. The tone of voice and theme of content is important. Use the voice that best represents brand identity. The tone of voice can be conversational. Innovative, funny, or friendly. When creating content, refer to the brand strategy. This helps to ensure consistency of communication.
Content themes can cover an interesting range. Set up a weekly social media agenda where each day receives a certain flavor. For instance—call Mondays ‘Motivational Mondays’, use Tuesdays to show new products, and so on. Create content in advance to avoid last-minute scrambles. It should not be planned more than one-to-four weeks in advance—any longer than that and the content might not be relevant. Content that is motivational works well as it adds value. Content that is not aligned with a brand should not be used.
The last part of a social media plan is publishing content. Publish content daily, or use tools to schedule posts. If the content is scheduled, then only 10 minutes is needed per day for community management on social media. A few minutes every day is enough to respond to comments and messages. It is not necessary to publish content every day. It is important to publish content that is valuable.
Dara Busch is Co-CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR agency.