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Social Media Marketing Plan: How To Create One and Drive Sales

by Anne Carton Tweet - in Social Media

Social Media Marketing

Last updated on April 29th, 2023

Due to its widespread adoption, social media has emerged as the primary means of communication and brand promotion. It is an effective marketing tool businesses of all scales can utilize to attract and engage with their target audiences by posting relevant and compelling content. Therefore, developing a social media content strategy is essential to interact with the masses effectively. A well-thought-out content strategy, distinct for each platform, can help you drive traffic to your site and eventually boost sales.

Do you own a business, or are you planning to start one?

In either case, you must find ways to promote sales and compete with others who sell similar goods or services. Gone are the days when many companies printed and distributed catalogs as their primary advertising method. Today, you must have a solid online presence.

Social media digital marketing may seem overwhelming, but with guidance, everything is possible!

Why do you need a social media marketing strategy?

If you don’t have a healthy social media presence, you’re missing a lot of potential sales. You can simply make posts or choose to utilize targeted paid ads. With the majority of people using social media daily, a well-thought-out growth strategy can reach a large audience quickly.

A social media plan that works perfectly for another company may not be your best strategy. Your company and marketing plan should be unique too!

Why is social media marketing so successful?

If you’ve researched marketing tips, you’d have come across the three fundamental areas: customer data, connection, and interaction. When you market on social media, you hit all three! Therefore, a well-designed social media marketing plan can boost your sales, exposure, and credibility.

Customer Data

SMM tools collect customer data that you can use to analyze the market, hone your promotion strategy, and find more customers.

There are Five Broad Categories of Customer Data:

  • Attitudinal: The emotions and feelings of users, including purchase preferences, social media platform satisfaction, and motivations.
  • Behavioral: User patterns, which can be related to the types of social media content they interact with, average order amount, the time spent doing specific actions, and the devices customers use.
  • Engagement: How users interact online; for instance, social media posts, comments or likes, website visits, and paid advertisement interactions.
  • Personal: Who users are, including ages, locations, genders, ethnic backgrounds, employment, and email addresses.
  • Preference: The types of content, ideas, and activities that users show interest in, for example, sports, politics, food, and show genres.

Connection

Almost everyone has a smartphone, tablet, or laptop with internet access. No matter where people are, they have connectivity. That has opened multiple ways for people to communicate.

Number of social network users in the United States from 2018 to 2027 (in millions)

Businesses can use one or more social media platforms to promote their brands and specific products or services, drive website traffic, provide helpful information, and find new customers.

The Most Commonly Used Social Platforms are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Tik-Tok
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Snapchat

Interaction

Social media users can communicate and interact with posts by liking, commenting, and sharing them. Businesses that use social media for marketing can benefit from this electronic word of mouth.

If you reach one person who interacts with your post somehow, that person can participate in your social media growth by spreading the word for you!

What is social media content strategy?

Your strategy defines your social media strategy template and includes all your posts’ what, why, when, and how. You can use a marketing plan social media template or create your own strategy document. So, the template or strategy is available at a glance and easy to share with your marketing team — even if you’re the only member.

Follow These Easy Steps To Create Your Social Media Marketing Strategy:

  • Define your target audience, then do lots of research.
  • Check out your competition.
  • Set social media marketing goals.
  • Set up accounts and use a brand kit builder to ensure consistency on every platform.
  • Decide which social media targets you’ll track.
  • Set a schedule and keep a calendar.
  • Define the types of content you’ll use for each site.
  • Create your content.
  • Analyze your results and adjust your social media tactics to reach your goals.

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Define Your Target Audience, Then Research

Your company may offer various products or services. But gather information about who your typical customers are.

Your Target Customer Might be:

  • Females
  • Between the ages of 25 and 45
  • Blue-collar workers making around $35,000 per year
  • Android users
  • Mothers or grandmothers

So, your target audience is a specific group, members of which are most likely to purchase your services or products. For example, if you’re trying to sell children’s toys, you need to reach consumers with specific characteristics. On the other hand, young, single men probably won’t be interested, so you need to find ways to reach out to your target audiences only.

Check Out Your Competition

Anything you can do, I can do better. Remember that phrase? You can apply that to your social media marketing plan too! Just check out your competitors’ activities.

  • What kinds of content they’re posting
  • Which platforms they’re using
  • Viewer and customer comments
  • The effectiveness of their social media strategy

You can improve your social media marketing strategy by examining competitors’ successes and failures.

Keep A Few Things in Mind, Though:

  • If a competitor is successful on one social media platform but not doing well on others, use those other platforms to promote your business.
  • You can use their posts and ads to generate ideas but don’t copy their content too closely.
  • Don’t focus too much on what they’re doing. Instead, create your strategy.

Social-Media

Set Up Social Media Accounts and Use a Brand Kit Builder To Ensure Consistency on Every Platform

One of the most critical parts of a social media strategy for brands is being consistent. You want consumers to recognize one of your ads on sight without looking closely at the details.

We’re all familiar with the double golden arches and know what they mean. You want to create something similar that represents your brand and use it in every social media marketing plan aspect.

What is branding?

It encompasses your business’s mission statement, customer relationships, products or services you provide, the quality you offer, and other aspects of “who” your company is. Think of it like your face that consumers see.

As we said, consistency is key to building a brand identity. You want everything you post and publish to be recognizable as being yours.

You Can Do That Using Several Elements:

  • Color schemes
  • Fonts
  • Shapes
  • Logo
  • Your tone

Now that your brand kit is complete, you can put it to work when you set up company accounts on various social media platforms. Of course, your cover and profile photos don’t necessarily need to be identical across every outlet. Still, they should be similar enough that people will recognize them as representing your company.

Set Social Media Marketing Strategy Goals

When you do anything in business, you should know and understand the reasons behind your actions. What do you hope to accomplish with your social media marketing efforts?

You May Want To:

  • Promote specific items or services that you have available
  • Get people used to seeing your brand
  • Ask viewers to subscribe to your blog or newsletter
  • Present a survey
  • Provide information about topics relevant to your audience or your company’s offerings
  • Explain your brand
  • Provide entertainment

Whatever your goals are, they should be clearly stated in your strategy document and kept in mind when you implement your social media marketing plan.

SMART Goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Say you’d like to promote a winter holiday gift item. Applying the SMART goals concept, you might say you want to:

  • Focus on a specific women’s sweater.
  • Sell 100 sweaters as a direct result of your social media marketing.
  • Realize that selling 100 sweaters is doable while selling 1,000 probably isn’t.
  • Launch this campaign at an appropriate time of year; spring probably isn’t the best time.
  • Set a time limit on how long it should take to sell 100 sweaters.

Setting precise goals is your first step, but what’s the point of having goals if you don’t know whether you’ve achieved them?

Decide Which Social Media Targets You’ll Track

You can track specific metrics that tell about your social media marketing plan. You can choose the ones that are more meaningful to you and your company, but there are a LOT of commonly tracked metrics:

  • Amplification Rate: The ratio of how many times a post is shared compared to your number of followers.
  • Audience Growth Rate: The number of new followers you get in a specific time range.
  • Click-through Rate: How often viewers click on an embedded link in your posts to access more information, whether it’s a specific item page, your website, or a blog.
  • Conversion Rate: How often your social media posts lead to a conversion, for example, a sale, a download, or a newsletter subscription.
  • Cost-per-click: The amount you’ll pay every time someone clicks on your social media ad post.
  • Cost Per Thousand Impressions: how much it costs you for one thousand people to view your post.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score: How satisfied consumers are with the products or services and customer service they receive from your company.
  • Engagement Rate: The percentage of comments, likes, and shares a post generates compared to your total number of followers.
  • Impressions: How many times viewers saw your content.
  • Net Promoter Score: Measures customer satisfaction and loyalty to your brand and is used to predict future sales.
  • Reach: The number of consumers who view your posts. This differs from impressions because a single person may view the same post more than once.
  • Social Sentiment: People’s attitudes and feelings about your brand online.
  • Social Share of Voice: How many people talk about your brand online?
  • Video Completion Rate: How many times viewers watch your entire video.
  • Video Views: How many times people begin playing your video.
  • Virality Rate: Measures how widely your content spreads as people share it, measured in an impression percentage.

There are other metrics you can track as well. For example, each social media platform provides analytics data to those who advertise. You can also utilize tools that collect this data across every platform where you have a social media presence.

Set A Schedule and Keep A Calendar

Finding a balance between making too few and too many posts can be tricky. You want to post more content to maintain a solid presence without making viewers tired of seeing another ad. Your products, content, and audience are unique. You will learn it through trial and error while deciding when to make your posts.

Many experts advise following the 80/20 rule, implying that 80% of your posts should provide something valuable to your viewers. But the content might be educational, entertaining, meaningful, or give a solution to issues they might be facing. The remaining 20% can promote your business as a whole or by focusing on specific products or services.

Others are more specific and recommend using the 4-1-1 rule. Using this method as your guideline, you’ll make four “useful” posts. In addition, you’ll make two promotional posts: one should use a soft sell approach, with the other being a hard sell.

You can also use the 4-1-1 rule, which would apply separately to your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts, for example. You should use something besides Facebook for helpful content, Twitter for soft-sell posts, and Instagram for hard-sell content.

For your social media marketing plan to be effective, you’ll probably need to post at least once daily. Don’t keep track of your schedule in your head because it’s virtually impossible — even if that’s the only task you do all day. As a business owner, we all know you have many hats and responsibilities to wear.

You need to keep track of when you plan to make your posts. Create a detailed calendar showing the following information (and anything else you think is helpful) for each entry:

  • Which platform do you use
  • The type of content
  • The format
  • Date and time

Helpful Hint: Use color coding in your calendar. You might assign a different color to each social media platform or format. Whatever makes it easier for you.

Define The Types of Content You’ll Use For Each Site

With so many sites and types of content you can post, how do you develop a successful content management strategy for social media? Where in the world should you start? Let us help you with that.

You first need to understand the types of content your target audience wants to see and which platforms are the most appropriate for each to create an effective social media marketing plan.

  • Facebook: Image ads, carousel ads, and stories
  • Twitter: Short, no-nonsense message that gets straight to the point
  • Instagram: Image or carousel ads
  • Tik-Tok: Original, creative videos
  • YouTube: Skippable ads that automatically play before, during, or after the YouTube video you plan to watch
  • Pinterest: Single item or collection photos in shopping ads
  • LinkedIn: Single image or video ads
  • Snapchat: Lenses and shoppable ads

Specific groups of people prefer different ad types and social media platforms. You’ve already researched the sites your target audience prefers, so now you need to designate the purpose of the ads you’ll place on each platform.

You might use Instagram to promote newly released products, LinkedIn to highlight your company’s culture to potential future employees, and Facebook to create broad brand awareness. These are examples, but you can select purposes that align with your social media marketing plan goals.

Once you’ve done that, record your purpose for each social media outlet in your strategy document. Then, you can choose the types of content you’ll post on each platform that suits both the network and your goals.

For instance, TikTok users prefer short videos that don’t seem too staged. You’d be wasting time, effort, and money if you create a longer, professional-quality video to post there. Likewise, since you’ve designated LinkedIn for recruitment, you should refrain from posting ads promoting your newest product.

Consistency is vital in several aspects of your social media marketing strategy. Using each outlet for a consistent purpose is a must. It lets your viewers know what to expect from your brand on each site and makes it easier for you to keep track of your content.

Whatever purpose you designate, your content marketing strategy should:

  • Capture the attention of your target audience and encourage them to interact with your brand
  • Educate, inform, and engage your viewers and followers
  • Converts your followers into customers or employees through the trust you build with your posts
  • Establish your expertise, credibility, and reputation through brand awareness that helps to solidify your brand

Create Your Content

While creating your content, put yourself in place of the viewers and ask the following questions:

  • What type of ad would attract my attention initially?
  • Should it include a single image, carousel images, or a video?
  • What information would be most helpful to me?
  • What would motivate me to click an action button in the post?
  • How could a post encourage me to learn more about the company?
  • What might I see to make me want to comment, like, share, or follow?

Your answers to those questions will hopefully spark some ideas. You can also find inspiration by looking at other posts or ads. If that still doesn’t work, think about these suggestions:

  • Rework some of your old posts and publish them on a different platform
  • Create a themed series to encourage people to follow you
  • Use a trending topic and present it in a creative way
  • Share tips that users will find useful
  • Create excitement for an upcoming product release
  • Make a seasonal or holiday post

When You Create Your Content, Remember To:

  • Make it resonate with your target audience.
  • Include appropriate search engine optimization keywords.
  • Make it relevant.
  • Make it skimmable.
  • Format it so mobile users can view it easily.
  • Keep it short and to the point.
  • Use a professional tone but without lofty language.
  • Be authoritative.
  • Keep it fresh; don’t use the same post repeatedly.
  • Have fun!

Creating such a massive amount of content can be overwhelming for small companies. So, while hiring additional content creators, ensure you clearly issue them your content-related guidelines.

Analyze Your Results and Adjust Your Social Media Strategy Templates

Ensure you keep tracking how your content strategy works to your advantage. If the results are unsatisfactory, take the following steps to improve:

  • Adjust your social media marketing budget
  • Re-think your post schedules and platforms
  • See which posts generate the most interaction
  • Find posts that aren’t successful so you can look into why they don’t perform well
  • Track your growth

Have patience, as the results will take time to realize. But keep analyzing and tracking how your strategy is doing.

Should Your Social Media Strategy Template Be Fixed?

Absolutely not! You should use a pencil, not a chisel. Conditions change rapidly, but the beauty of social media marketing is that you can use real-time data to adjust to those conditions quickly.

  • Supply chain issues can interrupt a product promotion, leaving you needing more inventory.
  • A competitor may announce a sale for a product similar to the one you’re promoting.
  • An abrupt change in the weather might allow you to promote some overstocked cold-weather gear.
  • A TikTok video might go viral, and you must make one fast to compete.
  • You may be promoting a blue skirt but realize that plum is the one that people want.
  • A tropical storm might delay shipping, and you must let your customers know.
  • You might realize nobody interacts with one or more of your posts.

You may need to make small or significant changes to your strategy for many reasons. However, you can react quickly when you stay on top of your data analytics, market trends, and other factors that affect your customers and your business.

Why is brand awareness important?

When viewers see and like your ads, they will keep your company in mind while buying those products or services. They might also suggest you to friends looking for recommendations.

The key is to make your brand reliable, trustworthy, competent, and accessible to target customers. That is what brand awareness is all about making people like your brand.

Ready To Create Your Social Media Strategy Template?

We’ve given you a lot to think about, but we’ve also given you tools and methods that will help. We always add more information, tools, and templates to our site. So subscribe to our newsletter so you can take advantage of it.

Think carefully about your social media marketing plan to be sure it will accomplish your goals and drive sales. Remember that you must tweak it often to accommodate your ever-changing needs.

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Wrapping Up

Social media content strategy is crucial to driving your target customers from different social channels to your small business. You must first define your target audience and set your social media marketing goals. Next, decide on the type of content to post and set a schedule. Also, analyze how your strategy is working and know the areas of improvement.

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Anne Carton is a small business consultant, designer and an enthusiast blogger working with Designhill, one of the fastest-growing custom design marketplace. She has authored several blogs, articles and editorials on various topics related to interactive content, concerning design, social media strategies, growth hack strategies, digital marketing and e-commerce. Facebook | Twitter

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