The New Year is upon us, probably just like you, my thoughts have turned to planning for the year ahead. You may already have or at least be working on your marketing strategy for the year, so once the overall marketing plan is ready, it’s time to start planning your social media content. First let’s cover a few social media basics, as a reminder:
Goals – What do you want to achieve from your social marketing? Raise Brand awareness? Sales? Leads? Customer retention? Customer service management? Are you on the right social platforms to accomplish this?
Platforms – Decide who your target markets are and choose the platform(s) that they can be found on.
Consistency – Choose a realistic posting schedule and stick to it.
Social Media Planning for 2020
Now on to your social media planning. I recommend utilising a calendar, whether your preference is for a spreadsheet, an online calendar or a printed calendar, even if there are only 3x of you in the business a calendar for your content is a must. Reviewing your marketing plan, start identifying which elements social media can be utilised to support the overall strategy. Here are just a few suggestions of marketing activities that might require supporting social posts:
- New product or service launches
- Company anniversaries or celebratory dates
- Company social events
- Networking and business events
- Industry specific exhibitions and shows you will be attending or sponsoring
- Charity work
- Team recognition/Company achievements/Projects completed etc.
- Pre-planned press releases
- Special dates – Christmas, New Year, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentines, Easter etc. (more relevant if you are B2C however some of these are still pertinent if you are B2B)
- Industry specific dates – for example, if you are a firm of accountants you can include HMRC deadline dates.
- Sale periods and special promotions
That should give you a good start, your calendar should now have quite a few entries. But what about the rest? Easy!
I like to split content into 2x segments that I call marketing & engagement. Marketing in this instance contains my sales or promotional messages and engagement here includes things like industry specific news, sharing informative blog content (both internal and external), testimonials, case studies, product or service reviews, supplier spotlights, collaboration efforts, jargon busting, knowledge sharing, how to guides and tips etc. Some of this content collateral will have a short shelf life, and so schedule those into your calendar first, to make sure they get the coverage they deserve. The other items I split out and create a rolling “Bank” of social media messages, that can be added to throughout the year. For more ideas of what to include check out our article 15 Social Media Content Ideas.
Social ads can be very successful and not just for B2C businesses! Just like organic content this should be scheduled, preferably complementary and in support of the main marketing strategy. Decide what products or services will be promoted on which platforms and to which target market. Whilst these ads are running ensure you have relevant and relatable organic posts appearing during the lifetime of the ad.
Growth and Engagement
OK, now we know what we are going to post and when, we need to work on growing your Organic Reach and engaging online. This will take time, so make sure time is allocated not just for creating and posting social content, but also for working on your social presence, increasing likes, followers and advocates. Engage with your target market, suppliers and business friends. A great way to do this is to comment, like, retweet or share their content. Being supportive online will attract reciprocation, creating a large snowball effect. Avoid Panda Posters – those that post and leave with very little engagement as they are unlikely to reciprocate. It is a good idea to enlist some help with this, allocating Brand advocates within the company will give a second voice to your social media efforts.
As with all forms of business development, social media marketing is much more successful when you have a plan! Not to mention a whole lot less stressful, knowing exactly what you are going to post and when will make things run much more smoothly. Final note: Don’t worry if you have gaps in your calendar, this is a work in progress, you can constantly add and tweak the plan throughout the coming year, think of it as your solid foundation.