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Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing Plans

It goes without saying that we live in an age where the social media scene is constantly evolving. Live video has developed into a fresh and exciting way to interact with users in real-time. We’ve seen polling opportunities rise from nearly every social network. This provides the means to gain valuable feedback from our audiences. We’ve also witnessed new technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, propel us into the future of social media marketing. The following post will guide you through the process of developing your own social media marketing plan. It will also help you adapt your strategies to industry standards.

This guide will also help you:

  • Set reasonable goals that align with overall business objectives
  • Establish how you will measure the success of your social media marketing efforts
  • Integrate emerging trends and best practices into your social media marketing plan

Setting Goals and Selecting Metrics for Your Social Media Marketing Plan

Before you jump the gun and start considering which ground-breaking social marketing content you will create, consider why your business has a social presence and the business goals you hope to impact and achieve through social media. Here are a few common goals for businesses on social media and the metrics you can track to measure and determine their business impact.

Social Media Marketing Plan

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Increase Brand Awareness

According to Sprout’s recent Social Index, the biggest goal for social marketers is to increase their businesses brand awareness. For those not familiar with the concept, brand awareness the extent to which consumers are familiar with the distinctive qualities or image of a particular brand of goods or services. With the growing number of people adopting social media and integrating social into their daily activities, marketers have become reliant on social media to increase their brand awareness.

You can track your potential impressions over a specific time period by using a social media listening tool. Doing so will also help you notice any trends in the number of impressions your posts receive. Pair this with a social media analytics tool and you can track the growth of your audience, determine the number of new followers for each of your social accounts, their engagement rate, and much more.

Increase Brand Engagement

Increasing overall engagement is another big goal for social marketers. Social media provides an effective means through which businesses can interact with both their current and potential customers. Your audience will unfollow you if they do not find value in the content you share. One study found that four brands posting too many promotional posts on social media were those consumers found most annoying. It is important for social marketers to track brand engagement in order to determine the effectiveness and desirability of the content they share.

Social media analytics provide a way for marketers to determine audience engagement levels fro their various social profiles. Brands should dive deeper into the type of content shared, who engaged with that content, and which platform drove the most engagement.

Drive Website Traffic

The third most prominent goal of social marketers is to increase their overall website traffic. Your website is the core of all information related to your business, its products and offerings, and the people behind your brand. Your website also provides a way for people to gain a sense of your brand personality. People will determine if they want to do business with your brand based on the effectiveness of your website to showcase your brand personality.

 Social Media Marketing Plans Web Traffic

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Google Analytics is a great tool to evaluate social’s impact on website traffic. You can compare each of your digital marketing tactics to determine how social media ranks as a driver of web traffic. Google Analytics also provides a way to dive deeper into the data to pinpoint the social platforms that drive the most traffic. This allows you to readjust your strategy to leverage your most effective networks.

Generate New Leads

Social media provides marketers with an opportunity to reach a continually growing audience. Social serves as a great tool to achieve two primary goals:

  1. Attract people to the top of your funnel
  2. Introduce them to your business for the first time

Picking Objectives and Key Results for Your Social Media Marketing Plan

Veteran marketers set clear objectives before planning or implementing a new social campaign. Objectives can vary greatly depending on the industry or the brand. For instance, some brands want to tailor their campaigns to increase customer retention. On the other hand, some brands focus on amplifying reach in the marketplace. Your objectives can be fairly broad. However, they should be the guiding principle behind the rest of your social marketing campaign plan.

One such method is the Objective and Key Results Method. This approach is employed to identify broad objectives that are supplemented with specific, numbers-driven key results that align nicely with predetermined success metrics. Said success metrics could reflect engagement metrics including shares, likes, and comments. They could also focus on conversion tracking to determine the business value of the shared content.

Your main objective is to increase web traffic driven by social media. Success for this objective will be determined by the number of unique page visits and the click-through rates attributed to your selected social channels. Your key results should define what metrics you will analyze, what success looks like, and how you will determine if your campaign has positively impacted overall business objectives.

Organic vs. Paid Content Will Both Impact Your Social Media Marketing Plan

There’s no real way around this one…the organic content you share via social media has a huge impact on your SEO and the overall community-building process around your network. Another fact that we need to accept is that organic reach is decreasing by the minute. However, when one door closes, another door opens. In our case, the door that has opened is that of paid content. That being said, the best social media marketing campaigns are now complementing their organic content with paid advertisements.

Social Media Marketing Plan

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It is critical to decide early on whether paid content will benefit your business. The following is a quick look into the differences between organic and paid social and how you can boost your organic efforts with a well planned paid social strategy.

Organic Social Content

This one is pretty basic. Organic social content consists of using social media tools to share posts, respond to customers, and interact with your social community.

Paid Social Content

Paid social content, on the other hand, consists of paying to display advertisements (eg text, images, videos, etc.) or sponsored messages to a defined group of social users based on their user profiles. It is important to audit your content and attempt to identify your most effective content pieces.

Did a specific blog post perform better than others when you shared it via social media? If so, would boosting that content with a paid advertisement make a significant impact on your lead generation? How about your overall conversion rate? It is also important to remember that organic content is essential and your collection of assets can still prove helpful year in and year out.

Think of ways that you can repurpose or update your content to that what you share via social is reaching your audience through the best possible channels. Also, don’t be afraid to invest – or reinvest – in your top-performing posts.

Develop a Detailed Plan

Social Media Marketing Plan

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It is time to start building out a detailed plan once you’ve determined your objectives, key results and have considered the role of organic and paid content. This plan should…

  • Outline your target audience
  • Define the type of content that you will produce
  • Where you will share it
  • Any resources or budget you need to make it happen

Emerging Social Media Trends to Guide Your Social Media Marketing Plan

It is essential for marketers to stay on top of emerging marketing trends. Doing so will not only enable you to diversify your content, but it will help keep your business competitive in an over-saturated social media world. Here are a few trends that you should keep in mind as you plan your social media marketing strategy.

Live Video

Live video has flat out taken the social world by storm. Nearly everyone is leveraging live video to enhance their brand and engage with their customers in real-time. A study conducted by Livestream discovered a few compelling reasons supporting why brands should find ways to connect with their audience via live video. Here’s a summary of what they found:

  • 80% of people would rather watch a live stream video from a brand they follow than reading that brand’s blog
  • 82% of people would rather watch a live stream video from a brand they follow than read a social media post
  • People spend an average of 2.8 minutes watching standard videos, yet they spend 5 minutes on live streams

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is an extremely intriguing tool that is rife with potential. Marketers could very well harness this exciting tool to reinvent the way in which they share information, demo products and engage with audiences. 71% of consumers feel that VR makes brands appear more “forward-thinking and modern.” In regards to brands’ bottom lines, 53% of respondents stated that they are more likely to invest in a brand that uses VR over a brand that doesn’t.

Social Media Marketing Plan Virtual Reality

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Augmented Reality

The Pokemon Go app was the first introduction to AR in mainstream society. It transformed users’ real-life surroundings into a Pokemon playground. The app attracted 20 million daily active users and generated over $1 billion in revenue…not bad for an updated version of a classic video game!

Augmented reality enables marketers to amend their customer’s real-life experiences. Snapchat was one of the initial networks to adopt augmented reality into the overall platform. Snapchat started off organically with users seeing dancing hotdogs and their bitmojis dancing around. More recent updates allow brands to use the AR experience for paid lenses.

Ephemeral Content

The concept of sharing content that eventually disappears totally contradicts the traditional understanding for marketers to create evergreen content. Many brands are now making use of ephemeral content – content that disappears – as an important element of their overall marketing strategies. It has proven to increase engagement and it also adds an element of authenticity to their brand.

Vanishing content has a certain appeal to customers who fear missing out on unique deals or exclusive content. Brands are no making use of ephemeral content to drive urgency and action from their target audience.

Instagram Stories: The Modern Leader of Ephemeral Content

Instagram Stories currently boasts 300 million active users each day. This surpasses Snapchat, which is often thought of as the frontrunner of ephemeral content on social media. If the growing user base isn’t enough evidence to persuade you of the power of Instagram then you best consider the following ways that Instagram Stories can further benefit your business.

Easily Create Content

Instagram Stories doesn’t demand perfection by any means. However, it does add a level of authenticity and personality to your brand. Even though Instagram may require ideal lighting, a clever hashtag and the right combo of filters, a good story requires nothing more than an intriguing moment and some creativity.

Abundant Features

Instagram Stories has tools for drawing, placing stickers, adding augmented reality filters, and now you can poll your audience to gain even more insight into the minds of your customers.

Social Media Marketing Plan Instagram

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Market Testing

Instagram Stories provides a great platform for you to discover the types of content that truly speak to your audience. If your story gets a lot of positive replies or was watched all the way through without dropping off, you might think of posting it permanently on your Instagram or adapt the content for a different channel.

Drive Traffic

Instagram offers the ability to add links to your Stories, making it easy to drive your audience to your website. The vanishing nature of ephemeral content has historically made it troublesome for marketers to collect and analyze data. With Simply Measured Instagram Insights, marketers can evaluate the effectiveness of their Instagram Stories. Here are five metrics you can now track and analyze using Instagram Insights.

Instagram Saves

When an Instagram user saves your Instagram content—a photo, video, carousel, or even a sponsored post—he or she is saying, “I care about this. I don’t want to lose this content/information, and I want to return to it later.”

An Instagram user’s Saves live on their account profile under the Save icon, where the user can return to the content whenever he or she chooses. A user’s Saves are private—only he or she can view these pieces of content. Knowing which of your content gets saved the most can help identify who within your audience has intent to purchase and which of your content resonates most.

Instagram Stories Views

Insta stories are a great way to introduce flexibility, spread awareness about events and product launches, encourage audience interactivity, keep your brand top-of-mind (and top-of-feed), and even drive conversions to your website.

Instagram Engagement Rate (Stories and Feed)

The best way to calculate Instagram engagement rate is total engagement (including Instagram Stories views and post engagement) divided by total impressions (number of times these Stories and posts were seen). This will give you an accurate depiction of how many times per view you received interactions on your content. By tracking this rate over time, you’ll be able to make engagement-driving improvements to your content, using this number as a North Star.

Instagram Stories Exits

If you are investing in Instagram Stories, and you know your Stories are being watched, are you able to determine how frequently they’re being exited? What does that ratio (views to exits) look like for your brand? How can you improve the ratio? A high number of exits might also mean that you don’t have a strong enough understanding of what your target audience wants to see on Instagram.

Instagram Stories Tap-Backs + Tap-Forwards

Not everything you post on your Instagram Stories is going to resonate with every person, every time. Your followers may be interested in some of the Stories you share, while being bored by others. A Tap-Back from a follower on your Instagram Story means they enjoyed your content enough to watch it again. A Tap-Forward means they lost interest and skipped right over that particular Story.

A New Generation of Consumers

By 2020, Generation Z will account for an astounding 40% of all consumers, according to Fast Company. And brands are quickly trying to figure out how to appropriately communicate to that demographic.

Major Differences

There are definitely some major differences in the needs of this generation compared to previous generations, and they can often be attributed to the fact that Gen Z (those born after 1995) was immersed into a world with thriving technology and mobile devices. IBM’s research on Gen Z revealed some interesting facts:

  • 74% of respondents spend most of their free time online
  • 75% cite their smartphone as a “most frequently used device”
  • 66% frequently use more than one digital device at the same time

For marketers, this means that our social strategies—and even all of our digital marketing efforts— must be optimized for mobile and multiple devices if we hope to reach this demographic. It has become important for businesses to adopt multiple social media profiles in order to reach the upcoming generation, who may be actively engaging in multiple profiles simultaneously, through different devices.

Marketing Messages Must Provide Value

Generation Z has developed an incredible ability to filter out unnecessary or irrelevant content from their lives, including advertising and other promotional content. Less than 25% of Gen Z has a positive perception of online ads, according to a report by Millward Brown. This generation wants brands to help them solve problems and make their lives simpler.

Get to the Point

The average attention span for Gen Zers is eight seconds, according to a study from Sparks & Honey. If you want this demographic to engage with you on social—or even stop to view your content at the very least—you need to get right to the point and provide value vast. Be upfront about why they should care and how it will either help them or entertain them.

Closing Thoughts

As you start planning, be sure that your social media efforts continually support the goals of your business.

This guide walked you through the initial steps of planning your social media marketing strategy:

  • How to track & measure metrics that matter most to your business
  • Establish objectives that align with overall business goals
  • Identify emerging trends in the social marketing industry

You are now ready to start planning your social media marketing strategy. Good luck!

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About Andrew Roche

Andrew Roche is an underwriter by day at United Wholesale Mortgage and a digital marketer by night. Andrew is currently pursuing an MBA in Marketing & Finance through the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University.

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