QUESTION: Is your Social Media helping or hurting you…?!!Image result for CONFUSED AT THE DESK
Regardless of industry, company size, product or service, social media is a crucial part of any marketing strategy!!
We’ve all been there. Back in the day, I had to make the case for some businesses to even have a social media presence in the first place. But finally, finally! …it seems like folks are catching on. After all, 69% of marketers are now promoting social media to build a following.
Now that most marketers really do understand that social media is a strategic must-have, how can we make it more manageable? Like many other things in life and in business, planning ahead is the way to go.
To avoid becoming one of those brands whose Facebook page hasn’t been updated in months — and we’ve all seen them — learning to plan and schedule your social media posts in advance is key.
Today I have outlined nine crucial questions to ask when you start this planning process, along with some helpful tools and resources to help along the way.
Here you go….
9 Questions About Planning and Scheduling Social Media
1) What are you promoting?
Part of planning your social media presence is knowing what you’re there to talk about. Knowing what you’re promoting should run in tandem with your social media schedule.
If you have multiple product or content launches taking place over the course of the year, this is where a calendar is particularly useful to announce the launches themselves and to drop “teasers” leading up to them.
Let’s say you’re launching an annual report, and you want to use social media to push a high number of downloads. In the days leading up to it, your blog can feature smaller pieces of content pertaining to the different findings within that report. That creates a top-of-mind presence of your brand and your content, among your audience — just in time for the big launch.
2) What are your goals?
“Digital Leaders” vs “Digital Learners”
In 2015, Google did a study of “Digital Leaders” which are the folks who have seen success with digital marketing versus Digital Learners who have not been successful. Out of the two categories, a whopping 92% of Leaders had clear digital marketing goals, compared to only 69% of Learners.
Here are a few typical goals you may want to consider…
Increase awareness → newsletter subscription → purchase consideration
Think about your ultimate goal… be it sales, downloads, or event attendance and consider the smaller pieces that will lead to it. Then, shape and schedule your social media presence around those variables.
3) Who is your target audience?
Here at M2 Digital Media Group, we’re big on buyer personas, the semi-fictional “characters” that encompass the qualities of who you’re trying to reach.
Outlining your personas is a vital part of planning your social media presence. It’s one of the best ways to determine the needs, goals, and behavior of your potential customers, which can dictate how you digitally convey a product or service. In turn, that can help you understand the voice to use when trying to reach that audience. It works!!
When you plan and schedule your social media, think about your personas. What are they looking for? What motivates them? What’s going to help them? How are they going to feel at a given time of year? Answering those questions can help determine what kind of media your personas are consuming.
4) What can your audience do with what you’re promoting?
What’s going to help them?
Part of the reason why it’s so important to know who your personas are is to make sure that they can actually do something with the content you’re posting on social media. When you plan or schedule a social media post, ask yourself if it’s going to interest, benefit, or ultimately delight your target audience. If the answer is “no,” reconsider sharing it.
Which brings us to our next question …
5) Are you planning accordingly for each network?
Not all social media is created equal.
Different platforms attract different audiences. Plus, each one has its own “secret sauce” of when to post, and how often is key.
Remember your buyer personas?
As you figure out who they are, it’s also important to determine where they “live” online, and what kind of media they’re consuming which will help you plan your social media presence for each individual network.
It might be helpful to review the Pew Research Center’s Demographics of Social Media Users, which profiles the users of five major social media platforms — Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
6) Are you promoting seasonal content?
I don’t know about you, but I love the holidays.
But I also like them with the right timing. In other words, I don’t get excited when I hear carols and bells in October. Too soon, right?
That said, it’s still a good idea to start planning your social media holiday presence early on.
And, it’s important to understand how your personas behave during certain times of the year.
There is a big difference, for example, between B2B and B2C audience behavior during the holidays.
For that reason, it’s important to use a calendar to schedule posts that will both engage potential first-time buyers, and keep them coming back after the holidays. That’s called reactivation.
In the B2B sector, it’s less about influencing purchases and more about increasing brand awareness. Around the holidays, for example, B2B companies are encouraged to promote sharable content that’s both seasonally-oriented and branded. That’s especially true on Facebook, which people browse 4.2X as much as they do search engines before shopping. So while you might not be offering a holiday promotion, you’re still aligning with the mood of your buyers and keeping your brand at the top of their minds.
7) Are your posts agile enough to be replaced or rescheduled on short notice?
Despite our best planning efforts, unexpected things still come up.
The world keeps turning, despite what our social media schedule dictates which is why it’s important to keep it flexible.
When you plan your social media presence, it’s generally a best practice to leave open slots for things like breaking news or the content that you develop around unexpected current events.
In other words, things come up so be sure to allow for them as you plan your posts ahead of time.
8) What’s performed well on your social networks in the past?
Measuring the ROI of social media is known for being a bit tricky.
Which network performs best? What kind of posts? What time of day? It’s answering all of the questions we’ve posed so far, and finding out if your answers to them are effective. And that data on what’s working (as well as what isn’t) will ultimately influence your future social media posts.
Digging into that data doesn’t have to be so complex, and there are quite a few resources that can help. Some social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, have their own analytic tools that provide some insights into post performance.
But in the case that you also have to illustrate the effectiveness of your social media, especially when using that data to plan and schedule future posts, it can be helpful to compile a monthly report that can shed detailed light on performance.
9) Have you identified influencers?
When it comes to genuinely reaching your audience, trust is huge.
That’s why so many of us seek the advice of friends and family in choosing a product or service.
Valuable Statistic: 83% of people trust their recommendations more than anyone else’s.
But then, there are influencers…
Influencers are the people considered to be leaders and trendsetters in their respective niches (think: bloggers).
Many times, brands partner with influencers because the public listens to what they have to say.
In fact, 49% of Twitter users says they count on recommendations from influencers.
There’s a reason why it’s called social media.
We’ve come to think of contacts on these networks as reliable acquaintances, even if we’ve never met them in real life. That’s why people like influencers have earned a so much consumer trust, and why marketers are partnering with them.
In fact, many businesses say that they earn $6.50 for every $1 they invest in partnerships with influencers. That’s because influencer campaigns are a bit like economical celebrity endorsements. People have come to recognize, follow, and trust what they have to say.
Ready to start planning?
With the right tools, managing social media isn’t so overwhelming. And planning ahead can help to create that peace of mind, especially when you allow for the flexibility we discussed earlier.
But make sure you’re not overdoing it.
The amount of time spent on social media can vary from marketer to marketer, and can even depend on your industry.
Answering these questions and following the right steps accordingly will help determine what works for you.
And as social media continues to evolve, we’ll be here to let you know about it, and what it means for you.
If you are still not clear how to utilize this information, what’s holding you back?
If you have questions, JUST ASK!! We would be happy to help…
Contact us today to receive your FREE Digital Footprint Analysis Report – 800-234-1522 or [email protected]