A 9-Step Guide to Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan

social media marketing planMost of us marketing professionals think or have considered that we should have a social media presence to get ahead of the competition.

There’s no doubt about social media’s impact when it comes to brand awareness and website traffic.

You probably have thought of doing it in the past, yet you’re still stuck, not clear how you can move forward.

With social media’s overwhelming vastness, you can easily get lost. Or sometimes, you simply don’t know where to start..

Today, I’m going to share with you a step by step guide on how to get your social media marketing started. I’ll walk you through a social media marketing roadmap on how I get things done.

Download this 9-step guide on how to create a social media marketing plan.

Let’s get started!

1. Define Your Purpose and Goals

Creating a solid purpose and definitive goals is the first step. It doesn’t matter if your business is new or have been operating for a few years, knowing exactly what you want to achieve from social media and keeping your goals in check is fundamental.

In my humble opinion, this is one of the most difficult tasks when you’re just starting out. Why? Because it forces you to figure out why you wanted to be on social media in the first place?

Often times, the reason why companies struggle to measure their results is that they are uncertain with their goals. It’s either they have a really broad goal or they focus on not-so-important goals like the number of likes, shares, comments, and whatnot.

Remember this: Without proper goals and objectives in mind, measuring success is obviously impossible.

Here are some examples of goals:

filipino seo speaker goalsWhat I did here is I simply made a list, then trimmed it down to what goals I think are achievable in the next 3 to 6 months.

If you find it hard to create a list, begin by asking yourself this – What is the number one metric you’re trying to influence? Is it traffic? Leads? Reach? Buzz? Customer support?

2. Create a Buyer Persona

For those who don’t know what Buyer Persona is, it’s basically a semi-fictional representation of a business’s ideal customer based on market research and real data about their existing customers.

Why is it important?

You might know WHO your ideal clients are or maybe you already have existing customers, but my question for you is, have you taken an extra mile to dig a little deeper and learn more about them?

For example, do you know what keeps them up at night? Do you know where they spend their time online? These are some of the questions that you need to consider.

You see… DETAILS MATTER! And If you don’t nail down your buyer persona, your strategy may turn out ineffective and you won’t get the results you wish to see. Just imagine the time and money you’ll waste.

A buyer persona will help you identify where your ideal clients spend time on the internet so instead of just sharing your social media content everywhere hoping that your potential customers will find it. A defined buyer persona will help you identify where you have to be, and exactly where to put that content.

Moreover, a clear semi-fictional depiction of your target audience helps you create the right content. The right content will most effectively attract your ideal customers, convert them to leads and close them into sales.

A few tips in profiling your ideal customer:

  • Conduct interviews (Ask your current customers)
  • Create a survey
  • Create a poll

Don’t have customers yet?

No problem, You can use educated assumptions for the meantime. Close your eyes and think of a person you wanted to work with. Is this person a man or a woman? Is he around 30 to 40 years old? Does he live in Manila? Again, details matter, so you have to be specific.

buying persona template

3. Set metrics ahead of time.

According to Adobe, 52% of marketers cite difficulties in accurately measuring ROI as their biggest source of frustration in social marketing. But why do they struggle so much on it?

Metrics metrics on the wall, who's the vainest of them all? Click To Tweet

One of the reasons that I can think of as to why many people struggle is that sometimes they get too excited when they see how many likes or retweets they’re getting.

If social media marketing is a fairytale book, they’re like the vain queen in Snow White who’s so beauty obsessed and constantly asks her mirror who’s the fairest of them all. I personally call it the ‘vanity metric’ virus and I’m telling you, it’s highly contagious.

According to Lars Lofgren, a KISSmetrics marketing analyst, vanity metrics are all those data points that make us feel good if they go up but don’t help us make decisions.

Define your Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Social media channels are equipped with a handful of metrics and it is hard to set realistic expectations when you’re not aware of the metrics that you want to track. Thus, defining your key performance indicator(KPI) is important.

'KPI is a metric that helps you understand how you are doing against your objectives.' - Avinash KaushikClick To Tweet

When defining your KPI, there’s nothing wrong with starting by saying that you wanted to track your number of shares and likes but try to find the most hyper-relevant metric that will keep your strategy in check.

filipino speaker kpis

Remember: It may be the ugh! the boring piece but this will tell you where you’re heading. It is critical that you don’t only understand where you want to go and but you also know how are you going to get there.

Pro tip: Looking for some super awesome KPIs? Check out Avinash’s guideline here.

4. Assessment – Figure out where you stand presently.

We’ve set up your goals. We’ve define your audience and KPIs. Now it’s time that we analyze your current social media status.

filipino seo speaker current stats

Let’s see what marketing activities have you lined-up so far and how is it going.

filipino seo speaker social media stats

Remember: This step will help you quickly spot any anomalies that need to be investigated and corrected to stop them from hurting your full potential so make sure not to skip this one.

5. Competitor/Influencer Analysis

Now that you’ve analyzed your current status, you will need to check out what your competitors and influencers are doing. Check out their activities and see what works for them. That may become handy on our end later.

How to perform a quick competitor analysis?

  • List down your competitors – You probably have a good idea who your competitors are but I have a bad feeling you haven’t listed them down yet! 😛
  • Determine if your competitors have a presence on:
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Google+

Note: There might be some other social networks that are important to you – Pinterest, LinkedIn and Youtube for example. You may audit them as well but try to focus on 3-4 channels that marketers are utilizing the most.

  • Now for each social media network, try to analyze the following:
    • Number of fans & followers
    • Engagement rate
    • Frequency of posting
    • What kind of content are they posting?
    • Month over month growth

I pretty much agree with Kristi Hines when she said that competitor research will help you determine where you should focus your social media marketing campaign, so better not neglect this one.

6. Set targets.

Just like what Gary Viray mentioned in his presentation at the GDI SEO Training camp, setting targets is absolutely important. Yes, it seems complicated and heartbreaking at some point but it really is helpful in many ways. How? It gives you an idea of whether your campaign is successful or not. Knowing if your campaign is working forces you to think of ways on how to make it better. It helps you see the big picture.

filipino seo speaker targets

Note: Targets are not just numbers you assumed. They should be based on your social media assessment. Always ask yourself these? Are these expectations realistic? Are they achievable? Try to come up with a number that will not embarrass you and your team.

Always come up with a number that you know you can achieve. You don’t want to disappoint your clients and embarrass your team if something goes sour due to false targets.

7 . Outline the channels you’ll use.

Now that you’ve completed your assessment, it’s time to ask yourself which channels will help you support your plan?

Here are a few things for you to consider:

Time – How much time can you devote? Do you have a social media team to handle it?
Resources – Choosing a channel may depend on the resources that are available to you. Some channels require great quality videos, photos, and content. Do you have the resources to create what’s needed?
Your audience – Where do your ideal clients spend their time? (Tip: You can use your buyer persona and competitor research to decide.)

Remember, you don’t have to be on them all but you need to figure out which channels would be most beneficial for you to use.

8. Be Tactical

Now that we know which channels we are going to use. Create a daily and weekly action step of what you plan to do on each channel. List down what you will do in order to get from point A to point B.

Creating a smooth process will save you from headaches and obstacles down the road. This is where Grant Merriel’s presentation about PROCESS really comes handy.

social media action plan

9. Re-assess and revise.

This last part is often overlooked by many. Whether you’re hitting your targets or not, it is important to analyze your data from time to time. Try to isolate and compare subsets of data to be able to see which segment is underperforming.

filipino seo speaker segments

And voila! You’re done. It’s a lot of work but remember that it’s going to be worth it. Start right and it will render you the best results in the end.

What actions will you take today to better prepare your social media strategy?

Grab My Presentation on Slideshare:

Photo credit: missduck08

22 thoughts on “A 9-Step Guide to Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan”

  1. As expected to one of the rising superstar in social media marketing in the Philippines. Congratulation on your first great post Val! I’m looking forward to seeing more from you. *Cheers!*

  2. Really great writeup Valerie! Well articulated and full of insightful stuff! I also love that you were intentional about adding in visuals and charts– very engaging! Also love that you created a slideshare for it as well! Great work!

  3. Hi Valerie! This is awesome! I read and re-read every word of it. I am trying to learn more about social media and your post hit the nail in the head. I like the part of creating a buyer persona and setting goals. I am going to do that. I’m sure this will help me get better results in social media.

    Hope to read more from you. Thanks

  4. It’s an amazing read. I was not clear about the Buyer persona and was little bit confuse how to implement it successfully. After read here about the buyer person and KPI, I am sure now that I have full knowledge of it which helps me for costumer based market research.

    Thanks valeriedeveza , Did a good job…:)

  5. Hi Valerie,

    really enjoyed this read, especially your writing style – it has a fun to read approach which kept me reading till the end. One interesting article, often leads to more clicks on your page wondering what more have you got to offer. I came through a Google+ post by Dustin on your page who posted above in the comments.

    Tracking, statistics and performance requires for some of us to break out from a certain habit or comfort zone of ‘ignoring it’, by just doing and wondering what will happen, or to label posting on social media as having done what had to be done – getting some likes and shares is for some the peak of the iceberg hmm or the other way round!?… ☺

    But you are right, there needs to be a goal and plan to get there, else your page will be a page amongst million of other pages (which it is anyway… but we want to stand out right!?).

    Engagement is key and I’m sure a company also wants to benefit from their social media network. Not only to have a page for the sake of it. But many companies have told me, that they now have a page because everyone else has it – it shouldn’t be an excuse to have it right?

    I quote some of your passages that I liked: “I personally call it the ‘vanity metric’ virus and I’m telling you, it’s highly contagious.” ♥

    “They should be based on your social media assessment. Always ask yourself these? Are these expectations realistic? Are they achievable?” ♥

    Sunny greetings from Mauritius!
    Dietmar Reigber

  6. Thanks for sharing these very comprehensive guide to creating a Social Media Marketing Plan! I am now starting to lay the foundation of my Social Media Management role aside from doing website management. Lucky for me I found the best SM strategist in you who is very generous, sincere and true!
    God bless you even more Ms. Valerie!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this very helpful post. Everything is much clearer now and I think I now know what to do to get myself started in improving my social media skill. All I need to do now is to apply all these.

    Looking forward to more amazing posts like this.

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  9. Simply want to say your article is as amazing. The clearness in your post is simply nice and
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