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A social media marketing plan is like a mini-marketing plan. Depending on whether or not you already have in place a company wide marketing plan in place will dictate the level and detail of your social media marketing plan. But even if you're starting from scratch, a social media marketing plan is

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Social Media Marketing Plan

A social media marketing plan is like a mini-marketing plan. Depending on whether or not you already have in place a company wide marketing plan in place will dictate the level and detail of your social media marketing plan. But even if you're starting from scratch, a social media marketing plan is a great place to start to ensure you've got your bases covered and time spent on social won't be time wasted.

Step 1) Current Analysis - Where are you now?

The first step is to identify what you're already doing, and what platforms you're on. From here you can decide where you want to go. Do you already have a few accounts set-up? Do they have customized headers and branding? Do you have any followers or "likes"?

Step 2) Competitor Analysis - Where are they now?

While it's often a good idea to lead rather than follow, it's still prudent to be aware of what the competition is doing. Making a list of competitors and their current social media usage can indicate 1 of 2 things.

Step 3) Goals - Where would you like to be?

Having goals is important to prevent 3 hour marathon Facebook sessions that provides little or no value. Is your goal to increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to your website? Build social authority?

Step 4) Strategy - How are we going to do this?

Given the goals set in the previous step, how are you going to achieve these?

A few common social media strategies include: Listening, Engaging, Influencing and Contributing.

Step 5) Target Market - Who's going to listen?

Knowing the details about your target market and the key statistics around which social media platforms they tend to use can help determine what to post, where to post, when, and how.

Step 6) Implementation - It's go time!

When most people think social media, they think Facebook, maybe Instagram or Twitter, and possibly Pinterest. The truth is there are a ton of other related tools available under the header of social media that may, or may not, be suitable for your needs.

But here's the good news, you don't need to use them all! In fact, you're probably best to select only 1 or maybe 2 to start, and focus on doing them well. Determining which ones depend on your business, goals, and of course, your target market.

Step 7) Monitoring - How are we doing?

As Peter Drucker said, "what gets measured, gets managed" so this is a good opportunity to look back at our goals, see how we're doing, and most importantly, see if we're making any progress. Which is why a key part of having a social media marketing plan is to measure your performance and see how things are actually working out. The best and easiest way to do this is with something called a KPI, or key performance indicator. KPI's are a marketing term that allow us to really identify what's important, and then measure that.

Step 8) Budgeting - How much are we going to spend?

Having a social media marketing budget is an important part of the social media marketing plan because contrary to popular belief, social media in a business context isn't free. There are costs involved with the time to set everything up, plan, and implement, as well as advanced options like monitoring, content creation, sharing, and increasingly important, promotion.

Step 9) Return on Investment - How much did we make?

Calculating a quantitative return on investment with social media can be a difficult task due to its largely qualitative results. It's challenging after all to put an exact dollar amount on improved brand perception, increased brand awareness, or the number of customers reached or impressions gained through exposure from social media.