When creating a social media marketing plan, a crucial decision one must make is determining goals and a strategy to implement in the planning process. The social media marketing professional can utilize the goals in order to decide what direction to go with the plan. Additionally, the goals and strategy measure success. Once the destination is determined, a strategy can be determined for achieving the goals. The steps to reach set goals and a strategy are vital in social media marketing.
The social media marketing plan is an ongoing cycle that involves eight important skills; listening, goal setting, defining strategies, identifying target markets, tool selection, implementation, monitoring and tuning. This process is vital, however it is in constant adjustment in order to best suite the needs of reaching set goals and reaching the destination.
Listening can ultimately determine the direction and needs of the social media marketing plan. The competition, current consumer and potential consumers all have a voice on social media and it is crucial to be constantly listening to what they have to say about your organization or similar competitors. Listening to what others have to say before joining the conversation can be beneficial for all parties. There are five stages to observation: (1) listening to conversations about a brand or company, (2) to what people say about the competitors, (3) to what people say about the industry, (4) for the tone of the community and (5) to different social media channels.
(1) Understanding how the company is perceived both negatively and positively can be beneficial in order to determine problems or improvements for the organization. (2) Listening to comments about the competitors can allow the opportunity to see where the greatest competition lies. (3) Observing what people have to say about the industry can give light to where the consumer and the organization can build a relationship. (4) Observing the behavior of specific audiences on each social media site educates users and organizations on lingo and behavior in those specific domains. (5) Similar to understanding the tone of the community (4), the organization can determine individual behaviors based on the specific social media site.
Goal setting is done by determining the unmet needs of the target market by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the organization and making improvements based on the results. Goals can include building a brand through establishing a social media presence.Building a brand can serve as an umbrella over a several goals that are based on the brand. Improving brand perception, expanding brand loyalty or increasing brand awareness are three examples of aspects of building a brand.
Defining a strategy is based on the specific case using the available information, reinforcing the need for listening and research in the early stages of planning. The strategy provides a platform for the organization to achieve set goals. Eight elements apply to this platform: Categorize, Comprehend, Converse, Collaborate, Contribute, Connect, Community and Convert.
Identifying specific audiences and categorizing specific groups allows the organization to efficiently and strategically reach intended groups and create the opportunity for relationships and brand loyal customers.
Once the target audience(s) are determined, locating what social media sites these specific groups are utilize allows the organization to better reach them.
Taking all the goals, strategies, target markets and tools into consideration and ultimately creating specific tactics with these elements allows for implementation of the plan to begin.
Just as evaluation is vital in the beginning of creating a social media marketing plan, monitoring, tracking, measuring and evaluation through-out and near the end of the plan determines how to better reach set goals and what improvements and changes can be made based on how the plan is effecting target audiences. Similarly, tuning into the plan constantly can increase the possibility of success.
Once the social media marketing plan is established, a call to action paired with the plan can make it possible to measure conversations. A call to action is the action you desire your target market to take during the social media marketing campaign. Typically, some form of transaction is the final step in the call to action; a purchase of a product, service or idea or a change in idea or opinion. This effort can keep consumers engaged and allow for the furthering a relationship with the desired target market.