Make your Social Media Plan Result in Business Success

Here’s how to create a Social Media Plan that Works for your Sales & Marketing in 2021: It should include a social media strategy, and specific plans for monitoring and engagement.

Social Media Plan by Channel Choice

While there is great overlap between social media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, We-Heart-it, Pinterest, Instagram, and others, in terms of features and audiences, each social media also induces its own unique customer behaviour and thus offers a slightly different business opportunity.

For example, it could be argued that Facebook is a better tool to get to know a person (personal values, likes/dislikes), while Twitter offers a better aid in understanding what a person does. Overlapping shades of social media benefits.

Your social media plan should take advantage of the slightly different benefits of the range of social media out there and pick those social media channels that best suits your type of business. If you are in fashion, obviously you must be on Pinterest, Polyvore, We-Heart-it, Flickr, and Tumblr, to name a few. However, if you are a B2B widget seller…. or, to stay in consumer markets: if you are a resort owner and must fill up your summer vacation rentals, your social media plan must embrace completely different actions and social media channels.

Social Media Plan & Strategy Link

Connect Your Efforts to Your Business Goals

Before it’s overlooked, your social media plan is to start with business objectives, which then break down into social media goals, which then break down into a series of tactics using various social media.

Your Social Media Plan: should include KPI for listening and engaging. Just how do you do that?

5 Vantage Points of Social Media

From a sales & marketing point of view, your social media plan should touch upon the 5 vantage points of social media:
1. the ability to listen .. to customers as well as competition and industry participants
2. the ability to learn … who customers are and what they need
3. the ability to engage .. with customers. This engagement should stretch beyond the direct sales function into the pre-sales and customer services functions as well.
4. the ability to influence … and transform dissatisfaction into loyalty
5. the encompassing need to analyse, reflect on and respond to market inquiries and needs.

Social Media Planning for Your Entire Business

The social media opportunity sphere goes beyond direct sales however. The opportunity of social media affects every business function, not just sales and marketing. A plan is paramount to embrace the company-wide range of social media business objectives.

Social Media as Employee-empowering Tool

When social media is used to improve collaboration within the business organisation, the social media plan is also used for internal teams and supplier integration. In this case, the vantage points of social media are exploited to improve internal and supplier communication efficiency and responsiveness as well.

Social Media Moving Center-stage

As enterprises evolve their use of social media and cloud computing for internal communications and business operations, social media will take more and more center stage as a fundamental communication tool. Obviously, an increasingly holistic social media strategy plan is needed to manage the process.

In this slide show you will find 30 ideas to further your current plan stronger, at any stage of your social media adoption. It contains suggestions for you to further your social media strategy development, how to listen & engage customers and the wider community, and how to measure social media results.

Fresh Ideas For Your Social Media Plan

Ideas for your Social Media Strategy

  1. Socialize your culture, not just your technology
  2. Write up a plan
  3. Cultivate long term relationships
  4. Automate ‘boring’ tasks
  5. Calculate the value of your ‘social customer’
  6. Give training and require ‘certification’ for employees to represent your company on social media.
  7. Extend your company social media strategy with governance and principles that employees can follow
  8. Monitor and guide employees’ social engagement to correct brand compliance and actual engagement.
  9. Write a strategic blog content plan, to be shared on social, and realise that it can take years to execute.
  10. Ideate and present your blog content in different formats: video, tables images, infographics, tip sheets, white papers, eBooks, etc.
  11. Tactically fill in that content plan, with trendy topics (that no one is writing about and knows about as much as you).
  12. Build relationships through your content

Ideas for Social Listening

  1. Listen to people talking about your brand. Be sure to respond, but also keep track of what is being said. Invite opinion leaders to help you further your business. Tag both brand detractors and brand advocates. Detractors can help you strengthen and resolve what’s can be improved. Brand advocates can help you sell more and become better known. Be sure to use them for new product launches, in review strategies etc.
  2. Listen to how people talk about your brand. And I don’t mean just good or bad: listen to the words and phrases they use. Those are the very words you need to use in your marketing.
  3. Collect Competitor Information
  4. Learn what’s new and hot and well as trends and developments in your industry. Tag industry influencers.
  5. Be a thought leaders. This means you lead the conversation rather than merely chime in. You eh… need to put some thought into this.
  6. Generate leads and sales. Listen for leads’s product questions and recommendation requests, and other opportunities.
  7. Use social media to offer amazingly fast and fantastic customer service. Be sure to respond to all questions fast. Take issues privately and accept accolades publicly and give those ‘a stage’ online. Be sure to collect common complaints and feed that back to the product team — you knew that.
  8. Social should be included in your crisis management plan. Be sure to have a process of customer (and employee) communication in place, for when in need of one.
  9. Use Social Media to improve your advertising performance. Listen for social responses to your ad campaigns. Track ad-specific keywords, hashtags, phone numbers and urls; track tradeshow conversations as well as any brand mentions.

How to Create a Social Media Plan for Engagement – 10 Tips

  1. Surprise and delight fans, e.g. with a Cyber Monday coupon for followers. Take some time to be creative and think up what would surprise and delight your customers and social community.

2. Be sure to invite customer input via social media. People love being asked for their opinion. They will often volunteer their best ideas for free. 10 years ago, we use to call this ‘crowdsourcing ideas’. 10 years before that, we called this ‘market research’. But all we were and are doing today is inviting prospects to give their opinions on our products and services. Embrace the bad and do something about it, embrace the good and be sure to market that. And handsomely reward all those who participated, encouraging others to do so in future.

Make your interactions as human and authentic as possible as this will help your brand being seen as approachable.

3. Follow good social media etiquette. So, short and sweet: Do Followback, Have a Face (as opposed to being faceless and a robot); be consistently responsive and engaging.

4. Develop a pleasing interaction cadence. Wonder how to do this? follow this simple formula: give, give, give, ask. Give 3x as much as you ask for. Don’t talk about yourself all the time. Be helpful.

Social Media Measuring

Measuring Success online in KPIs and ROI is tricky. But this is where tools like Salesforce Marketing Cloud Social Studio can help you out.

  1. First up, listen for how much of the industry’s conversation is about your brand. This might small, but significant.
  2. Measure your increase in public engagement: # of conversations, sales leads, customer service cases, and quick Q&A’s you’ve provided.
  3. Document the benefits your business has been getting from social in non-numeric terms.
  4. Develop social media engagement ‘stories’ of sales, service and R&D, that illustrate the business benefits of your social media plan at work. Those anecdotal stories can carry more weight then micro-measurements: # of retweets, likes and shares.
I first wrote this article in January 2013. Seven Years later, I thought this article deserved a makeover! Date of this latest updated: September 9, 2020.


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