If you’ve ever been a one-person marketing department, then you understand how important planning ahead can be. But here’s the challenge—where do you find the time and energy to plan every detail in advance? Between often managing customer relationships outside of the office and being an integral partner to the sales team, it’s not surprising that businesses’ social media platforms go dead from time to time while juggling other priorities. It’s also not unusual to see a businesses’ social media take off with great momentum, only to wither on the vine while the focus shifts to presumably more urgent or important marketing tactics.
The truth is that all of your marketing tactics are important. While social media might seem like something that’s easy to ignore, not planning ahead and executing a strategy means you’re losing a huge opportunity to speak directly to your audience, as well as shaping your voice and brand when speaking to your customers. Think of these social media platforms as ACTUAL platforms that literally elevate your messaging over and above all the noise. It’s time to climb up on it and start using your voice.
Here are 5 aspects of your plan to consider before jumping right into execution-mode:
Before you get excited to use the shiny new planning tools you may have at hand, setting goals should be your first step in content planning. What are you trying to achieve with your audience? And who are they? Are you trying to gain more followers? Guide someone to your website? Promote engagement with shares? We do not recommend making a regular practice of just “throwing something together” simply for the sake of posting. Set your goals. Refer to them often.
Once you have your goals in mind ("achieve 70% growth in leads", "gain 1,000 followers", "drive traffic to our blog", for example), begin to dive deeper into your planning, all within the framework of your brand’s voice. You may be launching a new brand, refreshing an existing one, or maintaining an already successful brand. Regardless, be authentic on social media, and be part of the conversation.
Social media is unique in the way in which the platforms allow you to speak directly to your audience. This is a place that allows you to establish your brand voice—or in less “marketing-ish” terms—you have the opportunity to be real. Authenticity goes a long way and is practically an expectation these days. Social media remains the wild west of our times, and people are not afraid to call your bluff. So just be real. As long as you’re legitimately providing a solution to a problem, this shouldn’t be difficult.
As you create connections with your audience, you build a relationship that ultimately results in trust. In a perfect world, these connections will eventually become customers, or even the ultimate—brand evangelists.
Having the best-laid plans in your head is a start, but consistency will never come unless you put pen to paper first (or fingers to keys). If you’re working in the constant and fast-paced world of social media, just keeping up occupies an enormous amount of brain space. Take a minute to plan. Use your tools—like calendars, planners, content idea lists, and important dates—and the consistency will come as a result.
Your target audience on social media may look different than those on your traditional marketing. Whether you’re looking to attract followers or convert the ones who are already there, it’s imperative that you understand who they are, where they are, when they’re looking, and where they’re looking. Our news feeds are filled to the brim with noise. Cutting through with content that delights your audience must be a top-of-mind consideration as you create your social media content plan.
We’ve come full circle. We set goals, we planned, we executed—now what? Well, truthfully, we should be monitoring analytics throughout any social media content campaign and making necessary adjustments as we go. You didn’t just do all of this work for nothing, did you? A whole world of information is out there about loads of tools to help you with analyzing your campaign, including within the platform itself. (Don’t worry, we have blogs about those, too). But, for the sake of this quick blog—measuring results and diving into your analytics is SO important. Don’t skip this step.
Ultimately, social media content planning can be fun, but it can’t be totally willy-nilly. Take time to think about the items above before you embark on your plan, and then you can get to the good stuff.
Feeling overwhelmed? We've created a handy Weekly Social Media Content Planner to help you get started.