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Top 10 Questions to Ask When Developing a Social Media Marketing Plan

By Mandy Gross, FAPC Communications Services Manager - “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” a popular quote by Benjamin Franklin, can be attributed to many situations, including developing a social media marketing plan for companies and businesses. Planning is essential to attract and engage social media followers and convert them into customers. By answering the following 10 questions, you can create a social media strategy to help meet your business needs.

By Mandy Gross, FAPC Communications Services Manager

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” a popular quote by Benjamin Franklin, can be attributed to many situations, including developing a social media marketing plan for companies and businesses. Planning is essential to attract and engage social media followers and convert them into customers. By answering the following 10 questions, you can create a social media strategy to help meet your business needs.

  1. What are the goals and objectives? Develop goals and objectives that are S.M.A.R.T.: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Are you wanting to provide information, gain exposure, sell products or offer services? Once you have outlined your goals and objectives, it is important to define your audience, develop a timeline to achieve the goals and objectives, and decide how to monitor and evaluate your platforms.
  2. Who will manage the company’s social media accounts? Identify individuals with marketing and communications expertise to take on the social media role. It’s also important to identify more than one person with access to the accounts and identify page roles for writing, reviewing and publishing content.
  3. Should a company be on every social media platform? Select one or two that have the best potential to reach the company’s audience and needs. It is more important to be efficient on one or two platforms than having a sub-par representation on several. Once you have achieved your goals and objectives on the initial platforms, then you can expand to other platforms.
  4. What are the best social media networks for businesses? Research each social media platform and select the ones that provide the most benefit to your audience. Each platform is different and reaches various audiences. Although Facebook is considered the king of social media platforms, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms also can be valuable for businesses.
  5. How often should a company post? Posting 2-5 times per day is ideal for businesses, but 1-2 times per day is more realistic. You should stagger posts throughout the day and play around with posting content at different times to see what works best for the audience. Also, in most cases the type of content will help you decide when to post. For example, if you are posting a dinner recipe, you might want to consider posting it late afternoon when people are deciding what to fix for their evening meal.
  6. What types of content should businesses post? Content type depends on the platform. Posting videos on Facebook can help increase engagement; however, you should still post a variety of photos, links and text-only content. Visual content is posted on Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. Twitter consists of tweeting plus retweeting, and LinkedIn is known for sharing business information, company news, productivity tips, leadership articles and job positions. The key is to have a diverse mix of content to keep the platforms interesting and fresh, so followers will come back for more.
  7. How should companies manage content? Developing an editorial calendar with content ideas is a must. An editorial calendar is a spreadsheet that helps businesses plan the type and timeframe of posts on multiple platforms and allows for highlighting trending topics and identifying evergreen posts to recirculate. Some ideas to include in your editorial calendar include national holidays, designated days like National Donut Day and Earth Day, and events corresponding to your company. You can create your own spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel or there are a wide variety of editorial calendar templates available online.
  8. How do I convert followers to customers? Converting followers to customers is not easy and requires work and time.You must “pay to play” to get the full benefit of social media marketing. Purchasing Facebook ads can help grow your fan base, increase engagement and collect sales leads. Also, holding contests, offering awards and cross-promoting over platforms can help convert followers to customers. It is important to use call-to-action posts to increase engagement and generate content to drive people to your website for more information. Having a social media presence should not take the place of having a website. Social media and websites must work in unison to market a business.
  9. How do I measure success? You need to track social media marketing efforts to determine which tactics and posts are working the best. Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics are examples of tools available within each platform to help monitor reach and engagement. Google Analytics is a free tool that tracks and reports website traffic. Social media dashboards, such as HootSuite, Buffer, TweetDeck and Crowdfire, are beneficial to coordinate a presence across multiple channels through a single interface. The above examples are free dashboards, but there also are paid ones like Sprout Social. Choose the one that works best for you and your business.
  10. What is the biggest mistake to avoid? Not having a social media plan is the biggest mistake a company can make. Social media is constantly changing, so it is important to regularly evaluate, audit and refine a social strategy.

Getting started with social media can feel overwhelming. However, social media is a great way to connect with prospective and current customers, and when done correctly, can increase sales.

Let us know if you need assistance with your social media needs. We can help you answer these 10 questions and provide you with tools and resources to help you succeed on social media. Call 405-744-0442 or email mandy.gross@okstate.edu for more information.

Now, let’s get social!