Introduction and Calendar Template
Your goal is to deliver high-quality, relevant content that will engage your audience, establish brand trust, and drive business—but how can you tailor your social content to break through all of the noise, provide value to your audience, and ultimately impact your bottom line?
This 30-Day Social Marketing Plan is designed to help you re-invent your social marketing strategy so that what you share aligns with the interests of your audiences and contributes to overall business value.
You will learn how to:
- Create an effective social strategy that aligns with audience interest
- Diversify your content and build a robust content calendar
- Determine business value driven by social
By completing just one task each day for the next 30 days, you can fully transform your social marketing strategy.
Day 1: Establish Goals for Social
Establishing clear social marketing goals is the first step toward transforming your strategy. Think of exactly what you want social to achieve. Here are several examples of goals you might establish for social.
- Drive website traffic
- Raise brand awareness
- Boost brand engagement
- Generate new leads
- Nurture leads
- Build a community around your business
- Establish authority and industry expertise
The objective here is to give purpose to your social efforts. Once you’ve established your social goals, the content you produce and share should continually support those goals.
Not sure what goals to choose? The 2018 Sprout Social Index surveyed marketers and found the goals below the most popular.
There are a number of methods to help you write out specific social media goals, including the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) method.
The OKR method asks you to set a broad objective statement and list out key results that describe what successfully achieving that objective looks like. Here is an example of a broad objective statement supported supported with clear standards that define meeting that objective.
The objective here is to boost brand engagement. In order to meet this objective, we must increase the number of likes, shares, mentions, and comments by 20% by the end of the fourth quarter.
Day 2: Define Your Success Metrics
How are you going to define the success of your social efforts? Decide which metrics are going to provide you with the right type of data so that you can determine whether or not social was successful.
As you determine your success metrics, set clear standards for your social campaigns so that you know when success was achieved. If you are tracking audience engagement, what exactly do you consider to be successful engagement rates for your social content?
Depending on the type of content you produce, where you share, and the goals you set for your social marketing efforts, the metrics you track will change.
If you’re at a loss for the goals your team should set, check out our blog post on All of The Social Media Metrics that Matter.
Day 3: List Out Your Challenges
The task is simple: make a list of the challenges you are facing when it comes to social media marketing. Think of any barriers that are keeping your social content from making its biggest impact.
As you list out your challenges, write out simple explanations of how these barriers are impacting your marketing efforts or overall business success. Here are a couple examples to help you get started.
Although we consistently post on social, we are not achieving ideal engagement levels.
We have seen a dramatic drop in our social content’s organic reach
Not sure what your specific challenges may be? Our recent Sprout Social Index surveyed social marketers and found the below five challenges the most common.
Day 4: Brainstorm Solutions
Round up your marketing team and brainstorm possible solutions to the challenges you previously listed.
Be sure to provide evidence to justify how you know this will be an effective solution so that you’re prepared when the time comes to gather resources and advocate for your budget.
Solution to Challenge 1:
We can utilize influencers to engage with our social content and drive conversation.
Justification: 71 percent of influencers believe that an honest and authentic voice keeps their audience engaged (TapInfluence). With loyal followings, influencers can boost engagement and keep relevant conversations going on social.
Solution to Challenge 2:
We can invest in paid social media advertising to run highly targeted campaigns and reach the right people.
Justification: Social media spending in the U.S. alone is expected increase to $17.34 billion in 2019 (Statista). Marketers are investing more in social ads to reach a wider audience through the appropriate social channels.
Day 5: Analyze the Competition
If you are running out of ideas, try running a competitive analysis. Be careful not to mimic the content of your competitors, but use their social strategies for inspiration.
Your brand and its competitors have similar ideal customer personas, so focus on the type of content that is most engaging, both within your own social efforts and those of the competition.
Here are a few questions to consider as you analyze your competitor’s social marketing efforts.
- Which marketing channels are my competitors using and are they successful in those channels?
- What are my competitors talking about and are those topics leading to high audience engagement?
- Are there areas within our social strategy where we are outperforming our competitors?
Social analytics solutions are an effective way to compare your efforts against your competitors.
Using Sprout Social’s social media analytics, we can directly compare our efforts to one or more of our competitors.
We can pinpoint days when our competitors experienced peak engagement and can dive deeper into what content was shared on those days so that we can gain insight into the type of content that resonates most with our target audiences.
Day 6: Determine Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Take a deep dive into your social strategy and determine where you are successful and where there is room for growth.
It might even be a good idea to conduct a survey among your marketing team to gauge where they see areas of success or room for improvement.
For each criteria regarding your social marketing strategy, determine whether it is one of your strengths or weaknesses.
Day 7: Audit Your Content
Running a social media audit to identify your best-performing content and most popular channels so that you can build future content that caters to the interests of your audience and share your content in the most effective way.
This step will improve your social media content strategy. If your posts aren’t engaging and resonating with your followers, you won’t succeed. Use your audit to review the content you’ve shared and identify which posts had the biggest impact.
For platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular networks, you can use Sprout Social to quickly figure out which posts received the most engagement.
For others like Snapchat or YouTube, there are alternative options to track your content’s performance. For instance, with Snapchat you can track engagement manually with a spreadsheet or other analytics tools.
Day 8: Create a List of Relevant Keywords
Using social media listening, you can identify the keywords most-often associated with your brand and can utilize those keywords both when sharing out content and to help guide the creation process.
For example, when people are mentioning Simply Measured, they are also talking about #influencermarketing, a keyword that has been used 493 times in conjunction with Simply Measured during the first two weeks of October. As a trending topic, we purposefully joined the influencer marketing conversation because it aligns perfectly with Simply Measured’s ability to help brands identify influencers.
From this data, we can say that our efforts to engage in the influencer discussion has gained traction and is making a positive impact on our social strategy. As we create future content, we can continue to drive the concepts and insights we have on the topic of influencer marketing and how they can impact social strategies.
Day 9: Determine Your Brand Voice
Creating a brand voice will enable you to keep a consistent voice among all of your social channels.
This voice should align with the interests of your audience and match their communication style, while staying true to your brand. Start by choosing three words that are characteristic of your brand. If your brand was a person, how would you describe them? After you choose these words, describe what that means for your brand and create do’s and dont’s for your content creation.
Day 10: Optimize Your Social Profiles
While much of your time is spent on creating content and scheduling posts, the information included on your profiles is vital to the success of your social marketing efforts.
When you’ve determined your brand voice, you can now build out your profiles to align with that voice.
At a quick glance, your profile should speak to your brand with relevant visuals and engaging copy. Here are a few tactics to optimize your social profiles.
1. Use a Consistent Profile Picture
If you own multiple social channels for your business, it is important that your profile picture is consistent across every channel. Most businesses will use their company logo or variations of their logo that have been designed specifically for their social accounts. Keeping consistent across your profiles will better your brand recognition.
2. Complete Every Section of Your Profile
This should go without saying that your profile should be filled out completely. If there is a field for information, take advantage of the opportunity to brag more about your business. In creative and succinct ways, you should be able to describe what your business does, the offerings you can provide, and how you add value into the lives of your customers.
3. Add Keywords to Boost SEO
On Day 8, you were able to compile a list of keywords relevant to your industry, brand, and its offerings. Use these strategic keywords in every section of your profile to to boost SEO. They should appear in your bio copy, in photo names, interests, and experiences.
Day 11: Develop Your Buyer Persona
Transforming your social marketing strategy may require you to either revisit your current buyer persona or to create a new one from scratch.
It’s important to develop your buyer persona so that you know exactly who you are marketing to and can create content and offerings that align with the persona you’ve identified. Start by writing down everything you know about your target customer and perform research to fill in any gaps. For a robust buyer persona, try to capture the following information.
- Purchase Behaviors
- Goals, Challenges, Pain Points
Day 12: Listen to Your Audience
Listening to your audience can help you gain a great amount of insight into the minds of your followers, which will enable you to be more strategic in your social marketing efforts.
Using social media listening, you can learn a lot about your audience to inform a more effective strategy.
Here’s what you should listen for when monitoring your audience on social media:
- What your audience is talking about and what they are sharing most often
- What your audience is saying about your brand, industry, products, services, and competitors
- What your audience is sharing (including on dark social)
- What your audience’s engagement level is with influencers, trending topics, and relevant events
Day 13: Research Industry Trends and Topics
In order to produce timely and relevant content and join the right conversations on social, you must stay up-to-date with what’s happening in your industry.
To establish your organization as an authority in your industry, join conversations surrounding high-interest topics. Perform ongoing research to make sure that the content you produce and share aligns with the current interests of your community. Here are a few resources that may help guide your research.
As social marketers, research is one of our most valuable skills, helping us make sure that our own strategies stay on par with trends in the industry. Instead of browsing aimlessly through content, rummaging through thousands of social profiles, or running endless Google searches, an easy way to streamline research is to sign up for as many newsletters as possible.
Newsletters provide insights into the state of the industry, changes in technology, updates to social networks, and explain emerging trends and best practices.
Here are a few newsletters that social media marketers should add to their resource list:
Social Media Examiner helps you discover how to best use social media to connect with customers, drive traffic, generate awareness, and increase sales. Their newsletter shares articles, expert interviews, and reviews of the latest industry research.
Social Fresh has a strong focus on the future of social marketing including future trends and inspiration for fresh social campaigns. Social Fresh provides information on conferences, articles, podcasts, research, and courses to help social marketers find inspiration and produce creative content.
MarketingProfs focuses on educating social media marketers by providing modern marketing tools, training, strategies, articles, online seminars, and discussion forums. Their solution-based content helps marketers identify gaps in their marketing strategies and provides resources needed to overcome problem areas.
Webinars can have a huge impact on our social marketing strategies by enabling us to generate new leads and prospects, nurture existing relationships, and demonstrate expertise in our industries. During webinars, many businesses will live-tweet along with their users to engage them, answer questions, and keep the online conversation going.
Webinars can also provide a way for us to learn, which can spark content ideas during our brainstorming sessions, as they are typically education-focused. Social Media Today provides a wide variety of webinars specific to social marketers. You can register for upcoming webinars or watch from their library of on-demand webinars.
Forums provide an effective way for marketers to identify the topics that are spurring the most conversation online. Quora is a great resource to discover topics of interest, ask questions, and engage in conversations relevant to your brand. As a brainstorming tool, forums can help social marketers build social content plans that address questions people are already asking.
Adweek (and pubs like Digiday and Marketingland) are terrific because they give you the anatomy of the latest, most creative campaigns out there, and also fill you in on the most recent news. The Mission (and Medium generally) is great to turn to for thought leadership and gauging the pulse of our industry and the visionaries in it.
Day 14: Connect with Other Departments
As you continue researching industry trends and topics as inspiration for your content creation, connect with other departments within your organization.
Remember that marketing is just one aspect of the business and other teams can provide insight about your organization that can help you brainstorm content ideas.
For example, try speaking with members of your sales team. Our sales teams are our first points of contacts with consumers, and they can provide insight into the needs, challenges, and successes of our customers. This insight can help us generate content that addresses these needs or highlights successes.
If you’re having difficulty working across social media with your team you should look into a social media collaboration tool to streamline your efforts.
Day 15: Choose Your Content Types
Start thinking about the types of content that will benefit your brand the most, while keeping your audience engaged.
Refer back to the buyer persona you created to help determine if an image linking to a blog post would perform better than a Twitter chat or a Facebook Live broadcast. Consider the resources available to you to determine if you can create a highquality how-to video or if you need to scale down your efforts and create an infographic using the same content.
For best results, diversify your content to keep your audience interested. If you post the same type of content day after day or week after week, your audience will inevitably disengage.
Here’s a list of possible content types you can start incorporating into your social marketing strategies.
- User-generated content
- Photo and video
Before you start searching for content to share on social, you need to figure out what your audience actually likes. One way to do that is to look at past social media posts to see which were most successful.
Pull all of your unique social media analytics with a tool like Sprout Social, Twitter or Facebook Insights. Below is an example of how to view your Sent Messages with Sprout (available with a free trial).
Make sure you’re sorting your messages by the metric that is most important to you, whether that’s clicks, responses or total reach. Once you have an idea of what kind of content works best, you can move onto the next step.
Day 16: Develop a Posting Schedule
This step depends on a handful of different things like the company, your audience, the campaign, and the social networks being used. We cover this more in our guide to creating a social content calendar, but here are some highlights.
If you’re looking for some basic standards, though, Constant Contact wrote a post containing guidelines on how often to post to social. Here are some of the highlights:
- Facebook: 3-10 times per week
- Twitter: at least 5 times a day
- LinkedIn: 2-5 times per week
- Google+: 3-10 times per week
- Pinterest: 5-10 times per day
There’s a great chance your post frequency will depend on the amount, experience and authority of your social media team, so don’t feel like you have to send out less than stellar content to meet these guidelines.
Again, your brand’s analytics can be extremely helpful here. You can use Sprout to see how often you post on each social network.
Then compare that against how much engagement you received over that same period of time.
Look for trends between publishing rate and engagement. The screenshots above are from our Facebook analytics report, but you can do the same for Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn posts as well.
Day 17: Brainstorm Content Ideas
Now’s the time to get your creativity flowing and plan out content you know will resonate with your audience. The key to effective brainstorming is to put yourself in the mindset that inspiration can come from anywhere and from as many places as possible.
Think of what your business does well and how you can turn that into an engaging content piece. Look through some of your older content and see if you can repurpose it or reformat it for a different channel. Based on the conversations you’ve discovered are popular among your audience, how can you contribute to those conversations with fresh content? Here are some of 2017’s most popular types of content.
Video and Live Streaming
Adobe reported that 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. By 2019, video content will be the driving factor behind 85% of search traffic in the US, according to Cisco, making it essential for marketers to start investing in video content.
According to eMarketer, 81% of marketers agree that interactive content is more effective than typical, passive content. Think of ways in which you can add value to the lives of your customers, engage your customers through polls or surveys, or create a contest and move your audience into action.
Quizzes, for example, have serious appeal and can generate a ton of social media shares for your brand. People are excited to discover new things about themselves, which is why quizzes are so effective on social media.
Marketers have been able to utilize user-generated content to increase brand awareness, promote products and services, and use the digital world-of-mouth concept to build brand trust and increase sales.
In fact, user generated content is 20% more influential than any other type of media when it comes to influencing Millennial purchases, according to a survey by Crowdtap and Ipsos.
Day 18: Gather Resources
Once you’ve determined the types of content best suited for your business and have decided on a cadence for content delivery, start gathering your resources.
Think back to the types of content you decided to incorporate into your social strategy and what resources are needed to actualize them. Here are several questions for you to consider as you start collecting your resources.
- Do you have a social analytics solution to track and analyze your social efforts?
- Who within the company needs to be involved in order to create this specific content piece?
- Do you need any sort of creative support for visual elements? • Do you already own content (guides, e-books, blog posts) that can easily be repurposed for social?
Day 19: Create Your Content
It’s time to get to work! Start the creation process and set reasonable timelines for project completion.
Be sure to build social content that speaks to your customer persona, stays true to your brand voice, and can easily fit within the posting schedule you’ve established.
Day 20: Optimize Your Content
During the creation process, it is essential for you to optimize your content so that your efforts don’t go unnoticed in the overcrowded social arena.
Here are a few tactics to optimize your social content to maximize your reach and increase engagement.
- Include hashtags
- Shorten links
- Include images
- Adapt content for various social channels
Day 21: Create a Call To Action
Not all of the content you share on social needs to encourage customers to take action.
You may even find that some of your most popular posts are those that simply showcase your brand personality or provide a good laugh for your audience. Zulily, an online retailer, shared a picture of their Seattle hometown with the simple CTA to comment with favorite cities to explore.
If a primary goal of your social marketing is to generate new leads and guide people into your sales funnel, you need to give your audience their next step with you. Include very clear and obvious CTAs on those posts that you are using to drive action. According to CrazyEgg, most CTAs include the following components:
- Offering something in order to reduce risk – giving the prospect more confidence toward the buying decision, focused on the benefits of trying it out.
- Explaining what the next steps are. Should the prospect click? Download Now? Share on social?
- Encouragement to act quickly, limited timeframe to respond, or an otherwise compelling reason to take action.
Day 22: Connect to More Resources
Connecting your audience to more resources can benefit your brand in a couple of ways.
First, by connecting your audience to more resources (especially owned resources) you are inviting them to learn more about your brand, industry, or related topics to keep them engaged. The more they learn about you and stay engaged with your brand, the more likely they are to convert.
At Simply Measured, we often share links to some of our favorite blog posts for our audience to learn more about the social networks, best marketing practices, and trending topics.
Day 23: Amplify Your Efforts
Once you’ve started promoting your content on social, think of ways you can amplify your messages to reach a larger audience.
Here is a small list of methods to consider in order to extend the reach of your content.
- Leverage an employee advocacy tool
- Give incentive for customers to share on their social
- Use influencers to extend the reach of your content
Day 24: Put Paid Behind Your Best Content
As you promote and amplify your content, you may quickly notice that some content performs better than others in terms of engagement and conversion.
Promote these high-performing pieces even more through paid ads. You can target a highly specific audience, attract qualified traffic and leads, and grow your customer base.
The algorithms for big social networks like Facebook and Instagram are now starting to favor paid content over organic content, making it increasingly important to invest in paid to give your content a fighting chance for discovery.
Which social media network you choose will depend on 3 important factors:
- Where your target customers are most concentrated
- Where your target customers are most accessible
- Where your target customers most actively engage with ads
Day 25: Engage with Your Audience
Digital marketing expert Jay Baer said, “A lack of response is a response. It’s a response that says, ‘We don’t care about you very much’.”
It is important to engage with and respond to your audience. Engaging with your audience in a two-way dialogue builds brand trust and adds authenticity to your brand. As you monitor your audience’s reaction to your content, you can also gain valuable insight into the effectiveness of your content.
Read through comments on your social posts and respond when appropriate. The comments section is a great tool for social marketers looking for feedback on their content and can even inspire ideas for future content if the audience is asking relevant questions and providing insightful comments.
Day 26: Track Your Content
Content share tracking is an effective way to gauge engagement and track the movement of your content across social channels.
You can track all of your content with the Sprout Social Sent Messages Report. Use the Sent Messages reports to analyze published content down to the individual post and understand its performance with your audience.
Below is an example of how to view your Sent Messages with Sprout (available with a free trial).
Day 27: Compare Results to Goals
Think back to the objectives you set at the beginning of these 30 days.
Going back to the example from Day 1, your objective was to boost brand engagement. In order to meet that objective, you must increase the number of likes, shares, mentions, and comments by 20% by the end of the fourth quarter.
Using Simply Measured Social Analytics, you can compare month-over-month engagement for all of your social profiles to determine if you are on track to meet your social marketing goals.
Day 28: Report Out
Share the results of your social marketing efforts with your marketing team and leadership.
This is your opportunity to showcase the goals you’ve established and your progress towards those goals. You should use hard evidence, like the data you’ve gathered through content share tracking, listening, and social analytics, to report on the success of your social marketing efforts.
With Simply Measured Social Analytics, you can prepare your report using dynamic graphs and charts to demonstrate how your content has performed through various social channels. Social Analytics helps you determine which of your channels lead to the highest conversion rates, can identify trends in engagement levels, and can place real business value on your marketing efforts.
Day 29: Revisit and Readjust Your Strategy
The most savvy marketers know that marketing strategies are in constant flux. Revisit your strategy, revise your marketing goals, and adapt your strategies based on the data you’ve collected.
Day 30: Celebrate Your Transformation
Congratulations! You’ve successfully made it through the 30-day social marketing transformation program.
Celebrate your new strategy and the effort you’ve made to enhance your social marketing.
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