Updated April 15, 2023
Introduction to Social Media Strategy Plan
Individuals and businesses are now increasingly having a presence on social media and actively reaching out to others with a desire to communicate, network, and let others know what they are doing. The earliest networking efforts were through Hotmail/MSN Messenger and Google Chat, which was possible through identifying friends, colleagues, and associates on the email service platform.
However, that was more at the person-to-person levels and provided no business promotion opportunities. Orkut revolutionized social networking, but it soon petered out with the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and other services.
Social media is an online platform for people, groups, and organizations to communicate, share and collaborate. Individuals use it to keep in touch with friends, while organizations use it now to promote their businesses, branding, and create new customers.
- Facebook: Facebook is by far the most popular social networking site. It enables users to upload profiles, photos, videos, random postings, share posts of others, and have advertisements or campaigns.
- Twitter: Twitter is a free micro-blogging service where users publish small podcasts called tweets with limitations on the number of words to use. Although account opening and maintenance are free, Twitter has created a new service called Twitter for Business. Twitter allows businesses to put up their profile with photos, header bio and pinned Tweet, which should reflect the business identity and personality. It can use to showcase the company’s best social media strategy plan content. It is also possible to place ads on Twitter.
- Google Plus: Google Plus is Google’s networking and sharing project, although it is now being overshadowed by other competitors such as FB and Linkedin. However, for professionals, Linkedin is still a good way to share articles, information, photos, and data.
- Reddit: It is a social media website where articles are socially curated and shared by members. There are thousands of sub-communities within Reddit called subreddits. Each sub-community will have a topic: technology, politics, marketing, music, and business.
- Pinterest: Pinterest started to post photos with short descriptions online. When a visitor clicks on the visual (photo or drawing), he is directed to the original, containing more details on the topic. A visitor clicking a jewelry picture may require a company that sells the product offline or online.
- LinkedIn is a professional group that promotes individuals’ and organizations’ business and professional goals. Since it is a professional platform, jokes, politics, personal matters, and controversial topics are best avoided in this forum. Individuals or corporates can join groups, participate in discussions, publish insightful articles in Linkedin Pulse, and share content or photos with others. Companies can create good profiles, and pictures can use effectively here too.
It Pays to Have a Budget for Social Media
If you ask small, medium, or large businesses, they will likely say they are on social media. Still, their activities may be restricted to posting happenings in the company, sharing photos, and new product launches.
And most probably, employees and associates will promote more likes and visits to pages through their friends or business networks. This social media marketing strategy may be good, to begin with, but will not yield good results in the long run, with only incremental growth in page visits, likes, and sharing of posts.
There is no entry barrier for promotion in social media, and organizations can have accounts opened and maintained for free. But free social media strategy plans and services are limited, so it pays to keep some budget reserved for social media presence and promotion.
To begin with, it is important to have a good strategy for promoting business through social media to achieve the desired objectives of the social media strategy plan and a good return on investment (RoI).
Before social media began to get noticed by marketers, the online promotion of businesses was mainly through websites, promoting it through Google Adsense using keywords, email marketing, and SMS (Short Messaging Services).
Five Steps to an Effective Social Media Strategy Plan and Tools
1. Identify the right mix of social media platforms
At the outset, it is very important to identify the best platform to promote your business. For textiles, fashion, and other accessories, FaceBook and Pinterest may be the right platform; for banking, finance, and investment industries, a mix of Facebook and LinkedIn may be appropriate, while for the news and publishing industry Facebook and Twitter may be apt.
According to content marketing professional advisor Neil Patel, Pinterest may be suitable for niche markets, with 68% of its users being American females.
2. Photos and content
Ideally, logos, company products, and key company people get promotion through social media. Photos and content posted and shared should be of professional quality and in tune with the content shared by other industry leaders. This helps the company to be in the professional loop.
E.g., Professional aspects of a company related to its human resources and competencies can be promoted through Linkedin even as a FaceBook page could saturate with several other happenings in the company such as events, new appointments, product launches, and sharing of new industry insights in brief.
Care should be taken not to put company products, services, and marketing promotion alone in social media postings. Instead of getting sales conversion right away, an effort should exhibit the company’s competency in the industry domain by posting good insights, sharing, and commenting on industry-related issues so that stakeholders in the industry are attracted to the company’s social media pages.
3. Free promotion vs Paid promotion
Some companies with social media strategy plans may spend several million on traditional advertising channels such as print media, hoardings, television, and radio. However, they need to be made aware of the potential of investing a small proportion of their marketing spend on social media and instead relying on free postings.
Paid promotion with a better return on investment (RoI) can be achieved, for example, on FaceBook and Linkedin through advertisements, FB post boosts, event promotion, and increasing page likes and shares. In social media, the effectiveness increases as more people like and share the pages or posts.
Some experts advise businesses to try a free social platform before enabling paid services. Companies should schedule multiple posts across networks using good media management tools.
4. Targetted & time of promotion
In traditional media such as print, television, and radio, our marketing promotion reaches a huge audience across geographies, interests, age groups, and economic and social statuses. However, it also reaches out to many people different from our target audience but still has to be paid based on the perceived reach claimed by the media house.
In social media, it is possible to target the audience and hence get a small number of effective responses. Targeting can be in the form of setting the geography, age groups, interests, hobbies, and social media keywords, which lowers the cost of marketing and brings the most relevant inquiries that can help in sales conversion.
Social media, unlike print media, physical hoardings or displays are potentially visible to its audience 24/7. But there are peak and non-peak timings for visitors logging into a page and accessing content. Thanks to smartphones and internet connectivity, staying updated on social media is possible even while on the move.
Nights, weekends, and holidays are ideal for some campaigns and posts. However, social media activity may be lower during working hours compared to the morning and evening hours. Hence it makes sense for advertisers to think of the time to launch an FB or Twitter campaign or paid promotion through Linkedin.
5. Using social media tools, blogs, and websites
This is the age of automation, smart work rather than hard work. Therefore, It’s necessary for a good team of social media experts should assist with relevant social media strategy plans and tools available in the industry. Companies can actively offer software or apps, which can either be free or subscription-driven and can effectively automate certain social media activities.
According to Neil Patel, the social media strategy plan and tools help save time, get more results, and ensure consistency of postings across different social media. Ankit Fadia’s best-seller, Social: 50 Ways to improve your professional life, can help create awareness about the huge potential of social media strategy plans and tools to enhance your professional life and company prospects.
Neil Patel highlights that the Buffer tool for Pinterest can easily automate pinning images, create a posting schedule, and post to multiple networks.
For better results, companies could use social monitoring platform that tracks metrics. It enables corporates to check campaign performance and learn from the data.
Many new businesses need websites but create a good social media marketing strategy around FaceBook, LinkedIn, etc. Companies actively sell some garments exclusively by creating Facebook pages or stores on the platform.
However, for many small and large businesses, there is no alternative to having a good website with all the relevant details regarding promoters, products, and projects and giving elaborate contact points for each department or wing.
The marketing promotion done through social media should land on the contacts page or landing page to capture relevant information of the prospective customers. Several organizations now effectively use blogs to write articles about their industry or a new product offering, the latest technologies, and how they impact the marketplace.
The firm actively promotes posts through social media, which can establish its competence or expertise in that domain.
Companies use Employee Advocacy programs to enable salespeople to actively post approved sales campaigns as part of their social media strategy. It can get a specific social media strategy plan content based on sales function, territory, and interests. With access to appropriate content, sales teams can become effective social salespeople even while moving.
Some Vital Stats on Social Media
- According to Forbes magazine, 54% of salespeople reported closing at least one deal using social media.
- The International Business Times notes that most top brands actively use five to nine social media platforms.
- Globally, most companies (87%) have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, the most popular platforms for social communication.
- Women account for 80% of Pinterest users, the majority in the USA.
- The 55-64-year-old people use Twitter more than any other age group.
- Media Bistro reported 64% of Google+ users are male.
- Forbes reported that 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers who didn’t use social media.
Social Media Enhances Business Analysis, Metrics
Businesses are finding new ways to analyze social media data to make informed decisions as more people use social media for communication, purchasing, and sharing information. Social media analytics gathers data and information from blogs and social media sites for analysis, which helps in decision-making. The companies actively assess customer sentiment for support activities.
Social media optimization (SMO) is for social media, whereas search engine optimization is for website content. Adding links to social media content, such as RSS feeds and sharing buttons, helps small businesses draw more visitors. It can also do through status updates, tweets, or blog posts.
Social Customer Relationship Marketing enable by customer feedback about a service or product. Small businesses can effectively respond to feedback, attend to customer problems, and maintain customer confidence through a well-planned Social Media Strategy.
It is an enabler of crowdsourcing. Customers can offer small businesses valuable feedback and ideas for future products or improvements through social media platforms.
This is a guide to Social Media Strategy Plan. Here we discuss five steps to an effective social media strategy plan, tools, and some vital stats on social media. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –