Why making a long-term plan makes sense for your small business' social media profile
You’ve created your new Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts and already posted on each of them.
There have been lots of likes, some favourable comments and a few shares, yet you still feel a bit like there’s such a long way to go to get those thousands of followers you desire. You can keep that momentum going by making a long-term plan for all of your social media activity.
Long term planning will make your social media posting far less of an ordeal in the long run. The truth is that creating a social media presence with many followers is a lot of hard work, but you can make it far easier on yourself by breaking the work down into prepared posts via a plan.
Making a long term social media plan
It can feel like a real struggle to add something like social media into your already hectic working schedule. Keeping all your information up-to-date; replying to comments from your connections; while also coming up with new ideas for unique and interesting things to say can be extremely time consuming on one social media platform, let alone three or four.
Some people feel really at home creating new social media posts, but for others it feels like the worst sort of homework. You’ll know very early on which camp you fall into and if it’s the latter you’ll benefit from forward planning.
The key is to set aside some time early on to create a plan that has details of what you’d like to post, when you’d like to post it, where to make your posts and who within your organisation should actually be posting, if it’s not going to be you.
Fortunately, there are digital tools that you can use to help you send out the right content, to the right networks, and on the right day, by planning in advance.
Choosing the right tools to help you create your next posts
There are some great social media management tools, like Hootsuite, Buffer and a host of others, that can help you prepare, well in advance. If you’re able to block out a day in your calendar at the start of a six month plan, you can write up all the things you’d like to post and then queue them up, so they automatically get shared on your preferred networks, where and when you’d like.
For some people, putting time into their calendar to work on social media advertising is something they’re just not likely to do often. If this were the case for your business, then maybe you would want to look at tools that take care of the time consuming parts of the job for you. You might want to consider using an advertising tool like Social Admate.
The social media management tool you choose can also be used as a central hub, where you can collaborate with your co-workers and share the load. These tools are also very useful for listening to how all your followers are responding to your posts on all your different social media channels.
What are your goals and how are you going to achieve them?
It might be worth stepping back a bit and reviewing exactly what it was that you wanted to achieve with your social media marketing in the first place and use that information to help you create your plan.
What was your original intention for posting all of these updates and which business goals are these posts meant to support?
If social media marketing is a smart way for you to deepen your relationships with existing customers, your posts will have a very friendly tone and you’ll hope the content inspires them to like, comment or share your post. Whereas, if you’re trying to acquire new customers by building awareness around your products or services, you’ll still want to sound friendly but your posts will be more direct and contain a call to action.
There’s no right or wrong approach to social media, but remember why you’re sharing what you’re sharing and let that help guide you, when writing your plan.
Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself to create the plan:
- What does your audience want to read about and/or look at?
- What are the most interesting subjects I can post about over the next six to twelve months?
- Are there events, occasions or seasons in the calendar when I definitely need to be posting?
- What are the best times of the day, week and month to be posting?
- Are there any big gaps in my social media timing plan?
- What can I do to remain consistent throughout my messaging?
- How often should I review responses on my social media channels?
- Who’s ultimately responsible for all the different duties?
Following a few simple rules will help you create a long-term social media plan that can keep you, your small business and your momentum going.