Create a Simple Social Media Plan in 5 Steps

Although social media is no longer in its infancy, there are still businesses that have yet to get on board. Before companies get started with social media, it’s important to lay the proper foundation for your efforts.

However, creating a social media plan doesn’t have to be a herculean effort.  Asking some simple questions can help you build a basic social media plan that will set you up for success.

Can it really be that simple?

Yes, I believe it can. And, I’ll show you how it works.

5 Ws of Social Media Marketing

Right now, we are helping one of our clients get started with social media. As we are training them, I realized that my journalism education could come in handy to help my client understand the basic strategy behind our efforts.

In journalism school, we were taught to ask five simple questions to build the framework for every story. You’ve probably heard of the Five Ws – who, what, when, where and why.

Although these questions are geared to help journalists write a complete story, these questions can also lay the foundation for building a basic social media plan.

Build a Simple Social Media Plan

Whether you’re just getting started with social media or if you want to refine your efforts to achieve greater success, take the time to answer these five important questions to build a simple (but effective) social media plan.

1. WHY do you want to use social media for your business?

Far too often companies don’t take the time to determine why social media might make sense for them. Instead, they just want to “check the social media box” and move on.

But if you want your efforts to be successful, you must get a crystal clear picture of what you what social media to accomplish for your brand.

Not sure what I mean? Here are some ways that social media can help your business:

Determining your key objectives will help focus your overall efforts and help you build a social media strategy to help you get there.

2. WHO are you trying to reach?

Once you understand why you want to use social media for your company, you can determine your key audience is for your efforts.

For instance, if you want to use social media for customer service or brand loyalty, your audience will be focused on your existing clients and customers.

However, if you want to generate awareness for your brand, your audience will be larger and might include industry leaders, journalists, brand partners and prospects.

Either way, make sure you get really specific. Everyone is not your target audience.

Take time to uncover the demographics (age, gender, location, occupation, etc.), psychographics (hobbies, lifestyle, beliefs, etc.) and other details about your target audience.

3. WHAT does your audience want?

Understanding your audience’s needs and preferences will help you create engaging content that they can’t wait to devour.

Prospective customers might want to know how to solve a certain problem. Or, they might be looking for deals and coupons.

Your customers and loyal fans might be looking for unique ways to use your product or service.

But, you don’t know the answer until you take the time to get to know your audience.

Spend time listening on social media channels, talking to your prospects and conducting keyword research to help you uncover the needs of your audience.

The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to develop content that’s relevant, informative and entertaining to them.

4. WHERE does your audience hang out online?

Oftentimes, companies START by focusing on the social media platforms. However, it’s better to decide on that AFTER you have taken the time to determine your goals and target audience.

Now that you’ve done that, you can focus on discovering where your audience hangs out online. This will help narrow down your efforts to the one or two social networks that are going to make the biggest impact for your brand.

How do you do this? Here are some ideas on how to get this answer:

  • Ask your customers – which social networks do they use most? Which networks do they use to make buying decisions?
  • Listen on social media channels – Where are people talking about your brand? Where are they talking about your competitors?
  • Look at research – There are lots of studies out there about social media usage by demographics and other key factors.  Although this may be a little broader than what you may need, it can be a great place to start.

5. WHEN do they want to hear from you?

There is not a universal time that makes sense for companies to share on social networks. Instead, you should focus on when your audience wants to hear from you.

Targeting B2B prospects or C-Suite executives? You might find that most of your efforts should fall between 9-5.

Focusing on busy moms? They might be more likely to hop online later in the evening once the kids are asleep.

Test out different times to share on various social media channels to see what resonates most with your audience.

Getting to know your audience and their preferences will help you maximize your efforts and share information at the times that your audience is most likely to see it.

Yes, You CAN do This!

Yes, there are certainly other considerations you need to remember as you get started with social media. For instance, you need to think about the resources and budget needed to get the job done. And, social media measurement needs to be a key consideration.

However, starting with these five questions will help you build a rock solid foundation for your social media efforts.

Does this sound like something you can do? What questions do you have about building a basic social media plan?

About Laura Click

Laura Click is founder and CEO of Blue Kite Marketing, a Nashville-based integrated marketing firm. In addition to being the lead blogger on the Blue Kite blog, Laura is a proud Mizzou alum, avid runner and dog lover. You can connect with Laura on Twitter at @lauraclick, on LinkedIn or Google Plus.