Social Media Planning Platform
Learn about the benefits of running a business social media account. Discover how to plan, manage and pick a platform for your social media posts.
Social media has almost become essential for both large and small businesses. Many data analysts suspect that, over the next few years, the majority of businesses will have a social media presence. One of the reasons why more companies are using social media is the number of different sites available. With so many sites, it is easier to find an option that best suits your product or services. In addition to being an excellent way to get information to your customers, it also allows you to interact with them. Customers appreciate this personalized experience and are more likely to remember your business after a social media interaction.
Advertising on social media is different than other platforms. Because social media relies more on interactions, you must post fairly frequently. To make the most out of social media, it helps to create a social media plan. This is a blueprint for not only what you want to accomplish from social media, but how you intend to accomplish it. There are several tips and tools you can use to build a strong social media plan.
What is a Social Media Plan?
A social media plan is similar to a business plan. Both plans involve outlining your overall goal, and is then broken down into smaller categories, detailing how you will achieve your goal. Common goals for social media include increasing brand awareness, engaging with customers and measuring how much customers are discussing your business. Some companies also use social media to provide basic customer service or even sell their products or services, typically by linking the social media account to an online marketplace.
Some businesses choose to focus on multiple areas, but you do not want overload your social media. For example, if your goal is primarily to advertise, you do not want to fill your social media with customer support posts. Larger businesses sometimes run multiple social media accounts with different goals, such as one account for customer service, another for interaction and one for advertising. These accounts may even be created across different platforms. Many businesses use Instagram for advertising because it is primarily a visual website, while they use Facebook or Twitter for customer interactions, since these sites are more text based.
Creating a Social Media Plan
Once you decide what your social media goals are, the next step is to implement a plan. Most businesses build a plan that lasts for several months, making minor updates and changes as needed, while other companies stick with a single business plan throughout the year. An important part of creating a plan is identifying your target audience.
There are several important factors to consider with your target audience. Age and location are two of the biggest considerations. With a more specific product or service, you may also consider the general jobs or hobbies of your audience.
Once you know your target audience, consider what social media site you want to use. This is commonly the area where most businesses make mistakes. Instead of picking the site with the most users, you want to select the one that best lines up with your goal.
As of writing, Facebook is the largest social media site. Facebook is a popular site because it has an easy-to-use interface, brand recognition, has video and image sharing options as well as the ability to write comments and share posts. It is also one of the oldest social media networks, which is part of why it has such a large userbase. However, with so many businesses already advertising on Facebook, it makes it harder to stand out from the crowd. It is still a good resource to direct your existing customers to, but it may not be the best option if you are trying to find new customers.
YouTube is a great site for advertising, but it takes much longer to create a YouTube video than a traditional social media post. Instead of creating content directly, many businesses hire a third party to maintain the YouTube account. While there are many users on YouTube, most companies that advertise on YouTube target younger demographics.
Twitter is one of the best social media sites to engage with your customers. Many businesses run customer support services through their Twitter. Because of the limited amount of text with each post, you cannot provide full customer support. Instead, you can take complaints and redirect customers to resources. It is also a great website to post advertisements. Another marketing benefit of Twitter is you can easily track your audience and view useful demographics about who is engaging with your posts.
Useful Tools for Social Media
It is common for businesses to plan social media posts in advance. ContentCal is a social media scheduling tool that allows you to connect multiple social media platforms and run different advertising campaigns. ContentCal also has advanced analytics tools to keep track of who is engaging with your posts.
Falcon is another program that allows you to setup a social media calendar. It is popular with both large and small businesses because it is compatible with a number of other programs. While you can use it for multiple social media sites, Falcon has the most options for Facebook and Instagram.
Loomly is designed for larger social media campaigns. It supports multiple users, allowing you to set up a tiered permission system. This lets users draft potential social media posts, but only allows them to be posted if a social media manager approves them. Loomly also has advanced options for running paid advertisements on most social media sites. It also has an interaction screen to track comments, messages and account mentions.