How to Write a Social Media Plan
Anybody looking to deal intelligently with social media searches for examples and plans. We already advised you not to simply start using social media without a plan, as it’s important that all your content expresses a clear idea. This is where you need to have already prepared a clear-cut social media strategy. This can be set up in 6 steps, and although essential, it is too general for short-term activities such as product launches, projects or campaigns. These require a social media plan that is much more specific, and primarily focused on the details. Fortunately, such a social media plan can be written on a sheet of A4.
The Difference between a Social Media Strategy and a Social Media Plan
A social media strategy looks at the long term. It’s usually applicable for at least a year and defines the general direction of everything you do related to social media. What it doesn’t do, however, is cover aspects such as campaigns, important changes to your products or service, projects you want to divulge online, or ongoing events affecting your business. Here, a strategy is not specific enough, and this is where a social media plan can come to your rescue. A social media plan has a clear-cut beginning and end, and specifically deals with a single campaign or event. Think of it as the specific detailing of your wider social media strategy. You have to consider the two as intertwined: your mission, vision and core values must be reflected in everything. Getting a social media plan down on paper only needs a few short steps.
1. Start Your Social Media Plan with an Objective
A social media plan is subject to the same rule as a strategy: it must contain a clear objective. The difference with the objectives in your social media strategy is that the objectives of your plan concentrate on the short term. Consider the following objective, for example:
‘Website traffic to product page X must increase by 30% during the duration of the campaign from January 1 to January 31, 2019, compared to the same period last year.’
The SMART objective has been well formulated: specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic and time-bound. The rest of your social media plan must therefore help you achieve this objective. Once you’ve established your objective, don't forget to define some social media KPIs which will help measure the extent of your success.
2. Decide the Message of Your Story
It’s important that the message of your social media plan hits the sweet spot between what your target audience wants to hear and what you as an organization have to say. Bear in mind the challenges and needs of your target group, and look for openings which allow you to get a toehold with your social media plan. Try to summarize the story of your campaign/event/plan in a single sentence.
3. Define a Clear Target Group
Hopefully you’ve already defined a target group in your social media strategy. This target audience can often be divided into various buyer personas. A health insurer, for example, distinguishes between age categories or where people live, while a bank can target either the consumer market or the business market. It’s unlikely that your social media plan is designed to appeal to your entire target audience, as your specific message won’t be relevant to everybody in it. The best approach is to select a specific subsection of your target group, and concentrate your efforts there.
4. Make a Schedule for Your Social Media Plan
A social media plan is called a plan for good reason: its implementation has to be planned carefully. Sketch a timeline for yourself as a guide, with the beginning and end of your plan and a schedule of what exactly you will do and when. Make sure it’s really useful by defining who’s going to do what. Before you know it, you’ll have a proper action list.
5. Evaluate the Interim and Final Results
Obviously, your social media plan has to include an evaluation at some point. The implementation period is relatively short, which makes it all the more important to measure interim results. Take a close look at all your social media interventions: has content design X delivered the desired result? What do those results mean in terms of the objective formulated in step 1? Do you have to go an extra mile? Is your target group engaging with your message? Constantly ask yourself these questions so you can change course and make rapid changes where necessary. Make sure you remain flexible, and don't spend too much time making plans. After all, a social media plan is a good start, but the real key to success is putting it into practice properly.