Social media is a crucial part of an effective marketing strategy for most business owners these days. Consistent posting on social media can provide benefits like raising brand awareness, driving sales, and establishing your brand as an expert in your field. But how do you start using social media? We believe that like many things in life, success on social media starts by creating the perfect plan.
A social media plan can be as detailed as you want, but it starts with just three basic questions:
What will I post? Where will I post it? What will it look like?
Let’s work through some steps to find the answers each of these questions:
#1- What will you post?
The first step in figuring out what you will post is to find your brand voice. Try a chart like the chart below from the Content Marketing Institute to get a concrete idea of what tone your posts should use. First, use general terms to describe how your business sounds like “passionate” or “quirky.” Then you explain what each of those mean. Use a chart like this to determine the “do’s” and “dont’s” for your business’ communications.
Check out our Facebook page for some more ideas about how to find your brand voice: Finding Your Brand Voice
Your voice will determine whether you post about serious or lighthearted topics. If your brand is dealing with an inherently serious topic, you will probably not post memes or funny videos. You will probably stick to sharing news items and general tips for your business. But if your business can afford to be a little silly or wants to be seen as a “friend,” you may be very casual with your followers and use slang or popular viral images and videos on your pages.
#2-Where will I post?
Figuring out where to post also takes some research. You can start by performing an audience analysis. An audience analysis examines the demographics, location, and interests and other aspects of a group.
To figure out demographics and location, try using Facebook’s built in analytics tools. You can use the “page insights” feature to get an overview of the age and gender for your existing audience as well as the cities and countries your followers came from and the languages of their browsers. Simply navigate to the “people” tab under page insights to see an overview of your followers’ demographics like the one pictured below:
After looking at your demographics, you can research to see which platforms they are most interested in by doing a simple Google search. For example when we search this largest demographic, women ages 35-44, we can find statistics that tell us that most of these followers use Facebook and Instagram. From there, we can figure out when the best time to post will be by searching to see when most women ages 35-44 will be using Facebook.
After figuring out the best time to post and the best platform to use, create a social media calendar. This schedule should have what types of topics will be covered each day, the times they will be posted, and the platforms where they will be shared. Check out this example from Hootsuite which addresses the content that will be posted each day on four different platforms:
#3- What will it look like?
What your posts look like will be determined by your brand. No blanket look or feel will work for all businesses.
If you want a concrete idea of what look to use for your posts, you can create branding standard. In this file, you can document the colors and fonts that your business will use and what situations you will use them in. Your brand standards should include:
- Clearly defined logo usage, spacing, and colors
- Specified colors & fonts
- Make sure the colors and fonts are outlined for use in all instances. For example, for colors, you want to be sure to have CMYK for print usage and Hex for online graphics. For fonts, make sure weights and styles are specified as well as alternatives for both digital and print. You will likely have a greater variety of options to use for graphics.
- Rules for usage of stock photography, photos from clients, and photos of team members.
- An overall standard for how your brand’s message should be represented (Voice).
For more information about what should be included in your brand standard, read our blog about brand standards and why you need them: https://advyon.com/brand-standards/
Once you’ve set the colors and fonts you will use, you’re ready to start creating. To get ideas on what your posts might look like, check out the competition. Find social media accounts for similar businesses in your area and make notes on what kinds of graphics they’ve created. Your posts should not be a direct copy, but using similar ideas will help put you on an even playing field with your competitors. You can use design tools like Adobe Indesign or Illustrator or free tools like Canva to create appealing graphics with your colors and fonts.
Many businesses put off creating a social media plan because it seems time-consuming or intimidating. We think that answering by answering three questions: “What will I post? Where will I post it? What will it look like?,”you can create a solid social media plan that is easy and fun for your team.
Examining your brand voice, demographics, brand standards, and competition will provide you with valuable information on the best approach to social media for your specific business. If you’d like more help with social media planning, strategy, and scheduling, you can always ask an expert! We offer social media posting and plans as a part of our comprehensive marketing services, so please give us a call at (843) 324-5824, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website, advyon.com for more information on our services or to schedule a consultation.