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How can I plan ahead for my social media campaign?

If you want to take full advantage of social media outlets to help promote your business, you should have a plan in place to keep the process smooth and simple. Every action you take on social media should be to help propel your overall campaign. This means that every single reply, "like," comment, or post should be purposeful in improving your business. The key to accomplishing this effectively is through a comprehensive social media marketing plan.

What Exactly is a Social Media Marketing Plan?

A social media marketing plan summarizes everything you intend to do and the goals you hope to achieve through the use of social networks. Your plan should include an audit to determine where your accounts currently are, goals for where you want them to be in the near future, and the specific types of tools you want to use to achieve those goals.

You should keep them consistently concise, and avoid making the strategy too broad or simple.

Create Clear Objectives and Goals

The first step of your social media marketing plan should be to implement goals and objectives that you wish to achieve with your campaign. Without sufficient goals in place, you won't be able to determine how well your campaign is performing. These goals should also be aligned with the rest of your marketing campaign.

Measured metrics should include not only "likes" and "retweets," but should also include generated leads, conversion rate, and web referrals.

Conduct an Audit

Before you get started on your social media marketing plan, you should assess your current use of social media and determine how well it's working. This will involve figuring out who is connecting with your business, which social media sites your demographics use, and how your presence compares to the competition.

Once you have completed an audit, you should have a clear picture of your social media accounts to help shape your plan.

Create Accounts or Improve Existing Ones

Following an audit, you should work on developing your online presence. Enhance your current social media profiles with SEO optimization such as image and video tags to help generate more traffic as well. You can also cross-promote social accounts to spread your content farther.

Look for Reputable Sources That Are Ideal for Getting Ideas

Industry competitors, leaders, clients, and other sources with good reputations are great sources for content ideas. They might either write or spread content that makes for a great topic to cover in your own social media posts. Also pay attention to the phrasing of their messages.

Develop a Schedule for Content

With a content plan and editorial calendar in place, you can consistently maintain your social media accounts without allowing for stagnation. You need to know the types of content you want to promote, how often you'll post content, the target audience, creator of the content, and how you'll promote it. The editorial calendar will list specific dates and times for publishing blogs and social media posts.

Test and Adjust your Plan Accordingly

Make sure you're constantly testing your social media strategies to see if they work or fail. Following testing, analyze the results to further figure out how to improve upon the campaign. This way you'll be able to turn weaknesses into strengths and improve the efficiency of your campaign.