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7 Steps to Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan that Drives Revenue and Growth

Meet your business objectives

It’s an age-old business question. What’s the difference between firms that have high growth and those that don’t? In today’s world, one key distinction is that high growth firms create and execute an effective social media marketing plan.

social media marketing plan

According to recent survey results published in Online Marketing for Professional Services by the Hinge Research Institute, high growth firms focus on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, much more than average growth firms.

social media marketing plan

High growth firms also rate social media tools to be much more effective at meeting business objectives than average growth firms.

social media marketing plan

In order to focus on the right social media platforms and use them effectively to meet business objectives, follow these seven steps to create your social media marketing plan:

Step 1. Identify your business goals

One of the major reasons that high growth firms are successful with social media marketing is that they are clear about what they want to achieve. You may be thinking, isn’t increasing revenue the goal of social media marketing? Yes, but in order to accomplish the ultimate goal of increased revenue, you must define the smaller business goals that will get you there.

Keep goals simple, quantifiable, and realistic.

There are many types of business goals that you can achieve with social media. It’s not necessary to incorporate all of these into your social media marketing plan, but consider which ones are right for you:

Drive leads and sales
  • Example goal: Generate X leads that convert into X clients by QY
Increase brand awareness
  • Example goal: Become the number one thought leader and resource for information about your type of product or service within your industry by QY
Build relationships with influencers (journalists, bloggers, industry analysts, etc.)
  • Example goal: Identify top X influencers and establish consistent dialogue with X of them by QY
Create a community of advocates
  • Example goal: Acknowledge and reward people that make positive statements about your firm with a special offer within X hours by QY
Extend client service
  • Example goal: Improve issue resolution time by X% by QY
Enhance and protect your reputation
  • Example goal: Respond to negative statements about your firm within X hours by QY

Facilitate research and development
  • Example goal: Receive feedback on new product idea from X people by QY

Step 2. Do your research

Investigate where your target audiences hang out online, such as social media channels, forums, communities, and blogs, and listen to the conversations and activities taking place to understand your audiences and determine how you can contribute in a valuable way. Often, these places are owned or frequented by influencers that you want to identify and establish relationships with.

Another way to find influencers is to search online and on social media platforms using keywords your target audience may use to find information about a topic. Check out how your competitors are using social media to discover how you compare, to find ways to improve, as well as to gain an advantage by using strategies and tactics competitors aren't using at all or aren't using effectively.

Step 3. Identify common traits of your target audiences

People that you want to purchase your product or service have similar characteristics you need to identify in order to successfully engage them. After doing your research you’ll be able to recognize these common traits, such as what your audiences’ roles and responsibilities are, challenges they’re facing, how they find solutions to those challenges, and why they select one product or service over another. Make note of these similarities and use the information to ensure your marketing is always on target.

Step 4. Develop a content marketing strategy

What information you provide, and when, where and how you provide it is the cornerstone of a successful social media marketing plan. After performing the previous three steps, you’ll be able to create your content marketing strategy by:

  • Identifying relevant topics in which you can add value
  • Defining tone
    • Consider your brand and firm culture to define tone. Is your brand sophisticated and elegant,      humorous and light-hearted, or maybe sassy and sarcastic? Being authentic is key to engaging with  your audiences.
  • Deciding on how frequently to publish and promote content
  • Determining what format to deliver content, such as a video, blog post, eBook, etc.

Step 5. Select social media platforms and tools

Whether LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, SlideShare or other social media channels are right for you depend largely on what your business goals are, what type of product or service you sell, and who your target audiences are. Not all of the platforms may be right for you and it’s important to focus your budget and resources on what will be most effective.

For example, for most professional services firms LinkedIn will be the most effective channel for sharing new content, connecting with industry thought leaders, and engaging in discussions with peers. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center study, 22% of online adults are LinkedIn users. As a platform geared towards professional networking, LinkedIn usage is especially high among people with a college degree or higher, and among those with above average annual household incomes. It is also the only social networking site for which usage among 50-64 year olds is higher than usage among those ages 18-29.

There are many tools available to manage and report on social media activities, from simpler tools like HootSuite to sophisticated tools like Radian6. After performing the previous steps and determining what platforms you’ll use, you can evaluate these tools based on your needs and make the right choice.

Step 6. Determine budget and resources

It’s a common misperception that social media marketing is free. Of course the platforms are free to create an account on, but some tools to manage and report on social media cost money, as does the time and people needed. If you have a person or team you want to assign social media to, ensure they’re well trained and able to implement the social media marketing plan. Another option is to have an agency manage all of the day-to-day activities.

One way to alleviate budget concerns is to start small and grow your efforts over time. Also, you can reallocate money you may be spending on low performing marketing strategies to social media.

Step 7. Measure results against your business goals

Tracking and analysing your results and progress toward achieving your business goals can be done in several ways, including:

  • Using a tool like Google Analytics for website traffic and conversion data
  • Integrating your web properties (website, blog, etc.) with a marketing automation solution and/or a CRM solution enables you to track every step in the sales process from lead generation to purchase and determine ROI
  • Manual searches and social media management tools like Radian6 or Sysomos can help measure share of voice and sentiment. Share of voice is how often your brand is mentioned online compared to your competitors. Sentiment is whether your brand is mentioned positively, neutrally, or negatively.
  • Awareness can be measured in relation to your firm’s competitors. An example is being the top website for relevant Google searches.
Be sure to test social media activities and optimize your social media marketing plan based on results to continue to achieve your goals and become a high growth firm.

Crhis Ourand is an Account Director at Hinge, a marketing and branding firm for professional services. Chris can be reached at courand@hingemarketing.com or 703-391-8870.

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/
7 Steps to Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan that Drives Revenue and Growth Reviewed by Alex Carson on Friday, February 28, 2014 Rating: 5
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