Thursday, 23 April 2015

11 Essential Elements of an Effective Social Media Business Plan

11 Essential Elements of an Effective Social Media Business Plan

Are you using social media to market your business, but struggling to create momentum?
Would you like to make sense of each social network, clearly defining where and how to spend your time online?
While there’s no one-size fits all solution, you can succeed with an effective social media business plan in place.
Ready to get started?
Let’s go!

Why Create a Social Media Business Plan?

Lewis Carrol said,
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
And just as in life, the same holds true in social media.
If you don’t know where you’re going — you’re most surely going to get there.
With a social media business plan, you act on purpose.
This customized strategy – one specific to your business – guides you towards defined goals.
Not sure where to begin?
Below are ten tips to help you craft your social media business plan and take full advantage of all that social media has to offer.

Elements of a Social Media Business Plan

1. Track Your Starting Point

There’s no way to know how far you’ve come if you don’t know where you started.
Your first step is tracking your starting point. Identify where you are today and capture that in an Excel sheet, Word or Google doc.

Here are a few things you’re looking for:

  1. How often does your website show up in search?
    • Go to Google and type site: (replace the URL of your web site for, look at the top of the page, above the search results and below the menu and you will see a count of the number of search results. Write down this number which shows how many pages from your website are indexed by Google.
  2. How often do you show up in search?
    • Go to Google and type your name in quotes. For example: “John Doe.” See how many pertain to you and write down that number.
  3. How often does your company show up in search?
    • Go to Google and type your company name in quotes, followed by the word “and,” (not in quotes), and the words city and state in quotes and separated by a comma. For example: “Social Success Academy” and “Phoenix, Arizona”. See how many reviews pertain to you and write down that number.
  4. Check sites like and for competitve data and insight into how well your site is performing.
  5. Go to each social network and write down number of fans/followers, along with any competitors you’d like to track.

2. Know Your Audience

Before you hop on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or Instagram – get hyper-focused on your audience.
Who is your target market? Understand their area of expertise, what they’re talking about online and how you’ll use content to make a connection.
You’ll also want to do an online audit of your competition to see how (or if) they’ve reached your target audience and where opportunities still lie.
The key here is to cater your content to the specific needs of your audience.
Stop trying to be everything to everyone.

3. Choose Your Social Network(s)

Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus open the door to conversation.
But while many believe you need to spread yourself out on each channel above, I disagree.
Instead, identify where your target market is spending time online and then master that network.
Create an action plan designed with that network and audience in mind.
For example, if you’ve decided on Pinterest – what is your audience pinning? What content can you pin to attract their attention?
To get started, your plan of action might look something like this…

Sample Action Plan: Pinterest

  • Create 12 new boards with Pinterest board names based on keyword research – make them descriptive, optimized and enticing
  • Pin 2-3 pieces of content from blog, website, Facebook and others on a daily basis
  • Follow 10 relevant people and/or brands that pin similar content
  • Re-pin 2-3 pieces of their content daily to increase awareness
  • Design or pin eye-catching images with the possibility of “going viral”

3. Be a Valuable Resource

Want to become a valuable resource to your community?
Share relevant, thoughtful, interesting and educational content – and share it often.
Become a giver. This is the best way to establish thought leadership and position you as an expert within that field.
As Eric L. Mitchell says,
Do we really need to be rewarded for everything? Give to give.

4. Monitor the Chatter

While social media is an excellent communication tool, it’s also an incredibly helpful listening tool.
As you listen to your customers, take time to truly hear what their needs, wants and desires are.
Then work to fulfill those needs and wants with your content, time, compassion and genuine feedback.

Use tools like:

5. Establish Rhythm, Tone and Voice

In order to attract the right people online, you need to get real.
As you begin to share content, identify how to best translate your authentic voice across social media.
What does this look like?
If you’re playful, let that shine through. If you’re serious, keep that tone within your writing.
People do business with those they know, like and trust.
Trust erodes very fast when you’re putting on an act or pretending to be something you’re not.

6. Create a Consistent Schedule

The only way to build a solid social media following is to stay in the conversation.
Create a schedule to consistently share and engage on a daily basis.
Determine what, how and where of your social media strategy.

    • How will you share
    • What will you share
    • Where will you share
Break this down into a content calendar with a separate column for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram with an example of which type of media you will share.

7. Use the Right Tools

With the daily barrage of streaming content, it can feel overwhelming to keep up and manage a social media presence.
That’s where the right tools come in.
They can take the overwhelm out of actively monitoring and engaging across various social networks.

Two of my favorites:

My daily management tool is Sprout Social. I can listen in on conversation (keyword monitoring) and engage in the conversation through their Smart Inbox.
It simplifies my life and streamlines communication.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Pinterest. Tailwind is my go-to tool for data, analytics and analysis.
If you’re spending any amount of time on Pinterest, you need Tailwind!

With it you can:

    • Publish content
    • Find relevant content to share
    • Identify trending pins
    • Check profile performance
    • Track popular boards, and much more!

8. Be an Expert Networker

Have you ever walked into a networking event and immediately started shouting details about your business? Of course not. Can you imagine what the response might be?
I would think that most would turn and walk away. Why? No one is interested in being sold.
They want to get to know you and they need to know that you’ve taken an interest in who they are.
The problem is, most people show up to any social networking site, screaming about their business.
Stop showing up on social media to throw up and instead start connecting in a meaningful (and productive) way.

9. Be a Relationship Collector

While we don’t collect business cards online, we do collect friends, followers and fans.
But, what are those friends or “business cards” actually worth?
Let’s imagine for a moment that each of your connections were worth $1000. Now think what that would mean to your bottom line if you could truly tap into those connections and leverage your relationships?
Dr. Ivan Misner, the Founder & Chairman of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization, says you only need four referral sources to succeed.

Top Referral Sources

    • Staff members – because no one understands your product or service better than someone who works for you
    • People you’ve give referrals to in the past
    • Anyone who has given you a referral in the past
    • Your community – people that are connected to you and already know, like and trust you.
Engage your top referrers and help them share your story. There’s nothing better than a third-party referral that can edify you and your business.
Make a commitment to stop collecting, and start contributing. It’s the relationships, not the numbers, that matter.

10. Get Blogging

Social media can be an enormous boost to online credibility, but it cannot replace the value a blog brings to your business and personal brand.
It should be one part of an integrated marketing plan.
Determine how often you will post to your blog and then get it into a tool like Buffer to help spread that content across your social channels.

11. Track, Measure and Adjust

Are you wishing for social media success, or are you planning for it?
Put a plan in place that allows you to track, measure and assess your results.
You can't manage what you don't measure and what you don’t measure gets lost in the noise.

An example of metrics to track:

    • Traffic referrals from each social network
    • Leads from social channels to a specific landing page
    • Engagement across social media – retweets, comments, likes
    • Social media audience/community growth
    • New blog subscribers
Once you have put a system in place to measure your success, you now need to analyze your progress.

Identify what is working and adjust what is not. A successful social media strategy is an agile one.


Post a Comment