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Social Media Plan – How to Create One in 9 Steps

How to create the right social media plan for your business in 9 steps.

How to Create a Social Media Plan

1) Determine Your Goals

In order to create a successful social media plan, you need to know what goals you want to achieve, and how those goals will be measured.

Are you looking to increase the number of people who sign up for your e-mail? Or are you trying to create more leads from Linkedin? Once you’re able to determine your short and long term you will be able to use social media much more effectively.

2) Conduct a Social Media Audit

Most people miss this step, but it’s important to look back and give yourself a social media audit as part of your social media plan. This is because if you don’t know what you’ve been doing in the past, you are likely to repeat the same mistakes. A social media audit will give you insight into creating your new social media marketing strategy

An audit is about taking an honest look at your marketing efforts and asking yourself what’s working, what’s not, and how to make your marketing efforts even more effective.

3) Study Your Competition

To create a successful social media plan you need to know what your competitors are doing. The worst thing that can happen is that you accidentally copy another company’s strategy. This will also help you differentiate your brand from others in order to stand out from the crowds of businesses that are also using social media.

It’s good to find out what types of social media platforms that they are using, how they’re engaging fans, and what types of messages they’re conveying on these platforms.

4) Determine Your Target Market

Social media is so massive, and with more and more baby boomers jumping aboard, you need to determine who your target market is. This will allow you to be more careful with your time and budget when trying to aim at a specific group.

It’s important to understand the demographics that are available on these different social media channels If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to find out, then I would suggest looking at different infographics. They’re always packed with demographic data. If you want easy access to infographics, go to Pinterest and search for them.

Your target market may also include contacting specific social media influencers that you can form a mutual relationship with.

5) What Are Your Key Messages

Part of any goal, is to also convey what the key branding messages are about your business. While Coke may have many goals in mind for specific contests and giveaways, they have one message they like to focus on, and that’s happiness. Other large companies such as Nike focus on finding your inner athlete to be better and to get things done.

When you understand your messages you’ll be able to co-operatively create opinions with your social media followers.

6) Determine Your Social Media Channels

There is more than a hand full of social media channels you can go with, but you need to truly understand which ones will benefit you the most. Often times it may not be the obvious ones such as Twitter and Facebook, you may find out that you’re having much better success on Linkedin if you’re holding professional seminars.

However if you’re designing crafts, you’ll most likely find spending time on Etsy and Pinterest may be the best win for you.

Don’t be afraid to look outside the box. For example if you’re looking to grow your presence within China, then you will need to create a presence on Sina Weibo or We Chat.

7) Create an Editorial Calendar

Creating an editorial calendar will be your life saver. Plan out what you want to share, and plan ahead to see if there are ways to incorporate special days or themes into your postings. Oreo did a fantastic job in planning out their social media content to celebrate 100 years. There’s no doubt it took a lot of time and effort, but it’s paid off big time.

A lack of an editorial content can lead you to wasting a lot of energy planning out what to say day after day. Make it easier on yourself and your team and cut down the amount of decisions that need to be made on content, so that they can focus on engaging customers and influencers on the different channels.

Ensure that you create a timeline for all your goals and milestones. If this is your first social media plan, it’s reasonable to plan out for 90 days.

8) Determine Who is Responsible for What

If you’re doing social media planning all by yourself then that’s an easy one, but if your content focuses a lot on pictures, a lot on sharing articles, and engaging, then it’s important to understand the role that each person plays.

Play on your team members’ strengths. I wrote an article about how extroverts and introverts operate very differently on social media and how their role in the execution of social media strategy will differ.

9) Measure the Results

It’s important to understand how successful you were in achieving your goals. And so you need to measure the results. Ensure that you’re measuring results that truly matter to your organization. I’m still not big fan of Likes or Followers on Twitter, these are soft metrics.

The most important thing I was taught about measuring results was why is that measurement so important to the overall plan. How is the number of likes important to the strategy?

Those are 9 steps to take to creating a social media plan. Is there anything you would like to add? Feel free to let us know in the comments section.

Like to listen about marketing stories, check out MCNG’s Marketing’s podcast, Revolutionary Marketing.

Photo courtesy of Kalexanderson.

How We Got The Vancouver Christmas Market 3000 Facebook Likes

Vancouver Christmas Market Banner We’re very grateful to be the social media marketing agency for the largest Christmas Market in the Pacific North West. The Vancouver Christmas Market, which operates from November 24th to Deceber 25th, has been around for 3 years, and during those years the number of visitors to this world famous Christmas Market has totaled 400,000. Every year it gets more and more popular as an additional 20,000 visitors dropped by in 2012 than 2011.

Of course one of the most common questions that float around the internet is regarding social media marketing is…

“How do I get More Likes for my Facebook Page?”

During the time that MCNG worked with the Vancouver Christmas Market, we were able to increase the number of Facebook likes from 6300 to 9300 for an increase of almost 50% within less than a 2 month period. Here’s how MCNG and along with partnering agencies accomplished that goal and was able to get additional thousands of likes.

1) Have a Facebook Social Plugin on Your Website

Part of website design is knowing how much content to put on the landing page of your site. For the Vancouver Christmas Market there are several different points that allowed web visitors to click on our Facebook page, but the Facebook page was never blatantly advertised on it because it would be a huge distraction.

Instead ,a tab labelled News was created, which when a user clicked on the tab she would see a large Facebook social plugin (It took up about 1/3rd of the page). Web visitors could like the Facebook page as well as be informed of what was happening at the market. In this case the, the plugin is the main visual feature upon clicking on news making it dominant.

Creating interesting content that discussed about upcoming contests, discounts, and posting wonderful photos were part of the strategy that lured visitors of the website to like the Facebook page.

2) Cross Promote Your Social Media Channels

It’s important to cross promote your social media channels with others. For us we ensured that we tweeted important contests and announcements that were too long for Twitter would be redirected to Facebook. This would bring awareness to the Facebook page and helped us gain likes. But we also ensured that we promoted our Facebook page in the YouTube video that we created.

It’s important that if you are creating a YouTube video and you want to drive more traffic to your other social media sites that the link is listed in the first two sentences.

Many marketers make the mistake of leaving it to the end where people are required to click more. But the huge majority of people won’t click on the show more feature.

We also used a URL shortner, with the ability to track the number of clicks, to save on valuable space in the description box.

Some of the blogs and newspapers we responded to also used a Facebook plugin for commenting. This was great way to have people aware and drive a little bit of traffic to the Facebook page.

What I did notice was that many of the blogs that we responded to had a commenting system related more to Twitter, whether this was through WordPress or Disquis. A great opportunity to connect your Twitter accounts to your blog commenting.

3) Hold Contests that Encourage Comments and Shares

One of the ways that we drove Facebook traffic was to hold a 12 Days of Giveaways contest. Prizes ranged from free entries and carousel rids to a $90 foodie galore experience, we had a lot of vendor support for the contests. Some of the contests were announced on Twitter while others were announced on Facebook.

The prizes of the contests were announced a week before they officially started. This allowed for our loyal fans to get a sneak peek of what was to be expected. We also sent out reminders of those contests to keep our fans excited and in the loop.

The Facebook contests involved two themes. They would either focus on online engagement, or listing the location of where the giveaways would be and people had to physically be there.

For our contests we encouraged our fans to comment and publicly share our Facebook posts. Those that did publicly share also received an additional entry for great prizes from the Vancouver Christmas Market. By encouraging people to comment and publicly share several contests and posts, we were able to reach friends of fans.

This strategy was a big part of helping us reach over 3 million impressions over the course of the two months.

One thing I need to stress more is that if you want to increase the reach of your posts, don’t be shy to actually ask your fans directly to share your content, such as “Don’t forget to Share with your friends!” This simple call to action will get you a higher reach of fans, but don’t abuse it. Use it for your best promotions and posts.

4) Have Exclusive Discounts for Facebook Fans

One of the best ways that we increased our reach and the number of likes to our page was to announce special discounts or theme days. When discounts were offered to targeted groups, through targeted posts that allowed us to create relevant to that group. Many of those in the group felt compelled to share the news with their friends.

An example would, free student night. Posts would be targeted to a specific age group, and geo locations.

However these deals wouldn’t explicitly be stated on the website page, it would only be found on Facebook and Twitter. This was a great way to reward loyal fans who engaged with the social channel (since those that were to engage with it, were also more likely to see the feeds we posted) with free entries.

Increasing the awareness of the page was strategically important in driving more likes.

5) Advertising the Contests/Promotions

Facebook Glass Because the page already had 6000+ likes, we didn’t feel the need to try to advertise to get more.

But we did do advertising, but none of it was explicitly to get more likes. The ads that got the highest click through rates, were the ones that were presented contests as well as unique promotional activities such as, “Ugly Sweater Day” or “Find a Pickle in the Tree Day for kids.”

The ads were targeted to specific demographic groups that would most likely be interested in the event. We also noticed that by creating great advertising content, people not only saw the posts, but some viewers of the ads who had clicked on it would also like the page.

Advertising contests and special events through Facebook that linked to a post specifically allowed us to kill two birds with one stone. It allowed for people to be informed about the events, and it provided an opportunity to drive loyal fans that may not have been aware of the Facebook page to visit the page and engage with the post and like the page.

Need us to help with creating an integrated marketing strategy, then contact us today at vince @ mcngmarketing. Operators are standing by :) .

Photo courtesy of Scott Beale

Twitter Marketing Tips for Beginners

hootsuite university

How to Get Started on Twitter for Marketing

I wouldn’t say that I was an early adopter of Twitter (I am the 21,547,942nd user to join) but I was on the social media network early enough when it was still a wild wild west, and having motivational quotes was considered the rage back then and people followed you back because you followed them. Now, Twitter has over 500 million registered users, and has changed a lot since I’ve joined.

Twitter can be overwhelming to those that are starting to use the social media tool. There’s so many conversations going on, and so many different people to follow. To top it off, you’re limited to writing 140 characters per tweet.

Where does a business or person start with Twitter? Here are 6 Twitter marketing tips for beginners.

1) Start Small and Slowly Build

I once had a lunch meeting with someone at Sun Life Financial who was overwhelmed on where to start with Twitter. I suggested that he approach Twitter like any other type of medium and start off with dedicating about 15 minutes of his day using the social network.

Choose a dedicated time during the day, such as lunch time, and spend 15 minutes each day so that Twitter becomes part of your daily habits over time.

This way it doesn’t consume your whole day, and your brain can slowly rewire itself to get used to the multiple conversations that are going on at any given moment. It’s like meditating, you can start off meditating for an hour a day, but it’s quite hard to do that. Approach Twitter in small time chunks to get started.

2) Follow People who You’re Interested In

When marketers are starting off, they often measure the success of their Twitter account by the number of people that are following them, and sometimes buy followers.

Unless your account is being purposely followed by users who are interested in your content, the number of followers really doesn’t mean much. It’s better to have 100 dedicated followers, than 10,000 followers who won’t pay attention to a single thing you’re saying.

In order to build this Twitter tribe, you should follow people that you would like to engage with or learn from. This could be other locals. You can get an idea of some Tweeters who are prominent in specific areas of an industry or a geographical area. Visit wefollow since it’s a great tool to start off with.

3) Start Engaging in Conversation with Strangers

Once you’ve started following people, start having mini conversations with people on Twitter. Your tweets can be about comments about a blog post that was shared or photo that a tweeter poster, or it can be responding to their question. It’s important not to discriminate from the start, but to have fun and meet people like you would at any cocktail party.

I tweeted @MissDestructo on Twitter regarding a comment about playing political bingo on Facebook with words that were popping up people’s Facebook status, such as 9/11 and Illuminati.

We started to have a small chat, but it was her friendliness and openness are what really impressed me. She wrote an article on the difference between left and right brained social media marketers, which is worth a read. And she added me on Linkedin after, if that’s not a great example of social media networking then I don’t know what is.

Just because your start a conversation with someone, doesn’t mean that he’s going to respond back right away, or respond back in general. Twitter users with a lot of active followers generally don’t have time to respond to everything. This doesn’t mean that they don’t read their tweets though.

If you continue to tweet certain people with engaging conversation or share articles of interest, they will eventually tweet back to you. Over time, you’ll find out who the tweeters are that are open to discussion and those that aren’t. Focus your energy on building relationships when starting Twitter, not selling. Your integrity and character will sell more than any tweet can.

Also if you feel there is a tweet that may be valuable to your followers, then feel free to RT it. The authour of the tweet will know and this is also a great way to start relationships with others on Twitter.

4) Share Interesting Content, and do Only a Little Bit of Selling

While Twitter is a great tool for marketing, it’s important to remember that it’s not a place to hock your wares. You don’t want to be known as the stereotypical second hand car salesman of Twitter.

In order to be able to promote your services and products, you must be able to provide your Twitter tribe with valuable information such as great blog articles, or informing your followers of relevant events first and foremost.

The general rule is engage and share great content 80% of the time, and spend 20% of your time promoting your services and business.

5) Create Lists

As time goes by, you may find yourself following a lot of people. This is when Twitter’s option of creating lists can be helpful in segmenting your followers. This should be done from the very start since it can be hard to locate old followers when the number of your followers start to grow.

The great thing about lists is that you have the option of customizing different lists depending on your business goals. Lists that I have created in the past include media contacts, locals, previous customers, and marketing agencies.

For a restaurant client, I created a list of all the previous customers who had eaten at our restaurant who mentioned the restaurant on Twitter. When business was slow, I would use that list to start talking to customers to try to lure them back into the restaurant. It’s always easier to get an existing customer to come back, then to get attract a new one.

If I didn’t create that list it would have been a nightmare for me to engage with previous customers that had not attended the restaurant for a month or more.

6) Use HootSuite to Manage Your Accounts

HootSuite is a social media dashboard that allows you to manage your Twitter account (as well as other other social media networks like Facebook), and to be able to customize columns of information into one place. This means that you can create a live feed of your Twitter account, and have next to it your lists, and even have a column that has tweets that mention your city in it.

HootSuite will also allow you to shorten links so that you’re able to use analytics to find out what type of content is being clicked on the most to help guide you in what type of material to post in the future.

The dashboard also allows you to schedule tweets so that you can share articles around the clock with your followers, but remember not to spam.

Using HootSuite from the very start can be overwhelming. I highly recommend that you follow principles 1-5 to start off. Once you’ve gotten a hang of Twitter as a tool on it’s own, then move onto the next level and study the different capabilities of HootSuite.

To help you get started with your social media campaigns, feel free to contact us at MCNG Marketing.

Do Small Businesses Need Social Media?

Should My Business use Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Cartoon Hubspot

With all the talk about social media in the last few years, and now that it has become part of our every day language, the question to ask is, “Does my small business need to be on social media?”

The answer – depends. The question should be more of, “How does this particular social media tool help my business reach the marketing goals?”

Not All Social Media is Created Equal

The nature of marketing isn’t about using what’s the latest tools or what’s cool, it’s about being able to use the tools in measurable and creative ways to ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck (or the most out of your time invested). The trouble begins by lumping all social media together as one group, but like the way that radio stations work, each social media tool has a specific demographic it reaches.

Being able to know which social media tool fits the type of customer or client that you’re looking for will help you a lot in determining which social media tool is right for you to use.

Not Every Business Has to be on Facebook

I don’t advocate every business be on Facebook, unless they are truly prepared to be active on Facebook on a weekly basis. With the proper Facebook engagement, content, and advertising, your business can gain Facebook Likes much more easily than just leaving it alone.

Facebook isn’t a static website, it always needs to be under construction. And while there are reports that people have done B2B, it’s not always going to be the most effective.

What often happens is that small businesses neglect their Facebook Business Page for months, while customers are trying to reach them through that particular social media channel. What kind of experience do you feel a customer has if they don’t get an answer to their inquiry?

It might not be a big deal, but how do you like being e-mailed back 2 weeks later for an inquiry you had about your phone bill?

Twitter is the same. It’s a social media tool designed for engagement. Learning where to start with Twitter and not be overwhelmed by it is important.

For restaurants, retail, hospitality, and businesses that have customer service, being on Twitter is a smart move. It allows you to engage with potential customers and ensure ties with existing customers to continue to build relationship loyalty.

Or if you’re in the business of real estate, then you may actually want to target people who are on Linked In and create online relationships there. Or you may want to develop relationships with people on Yelp, surprisingly, almost 1/3 rd of users earn more than $150,000.

Social Media Marketing is Strongly Suggested

I don’t think small businesses NEED to have a social media presence, just like most business owners don’t need to go out and network. However, those small business owners that make it a priority to go network also know that by networking, they can grow their business. As long as they don’t suffer from networking overload and forget the other aspects of their business.

Social media operates in the same manner, once you’re able to find a network where your ideal customers and clients are digitally hanging out, it allows you access to a whole different community of people and referrals that you would have never been able to reach before. The most important part is not to put too much time so that it takes you away from the core of your business.

There are times that it’s better for your business to be a part of old school discussion forums. For example if you run an automotive shop, search for local car forums, and offer advice on how to fix cars. Develop credibility by offering your opinion and recommendations.

Social media marketing should always be part of a larger integrated marketing plan for your small business. Rarely does it succeed purely on it’s own, with the exception of a few industries such as food trucks. But before jumping into any social media tool, or any marketing tool for that matter, always ask yourself, “How does this help my marketing goals?”

If you don’t have clear answer to that question, then you’re using social media because everybody else told you to. Not because your business needed to.