So you need to create a social media marketing plan.No easy task, right? Put simply, every action you take on social networks should be a part of a larger social media marketing strategy.That means every post, reply, like and comment should all be guided by a plan that's driving towards business goals.It might sound complicated, but if you take the time to create a comprehensive social media strategy, the rest of your social efforts should follow naturally.

WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING PLAN???

A social media marketing plan is the summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve for your business using social networks.This plan should comprise an audit of where your accounts are today, goals of where you want them to be in the near future, and all the tools you want to use to get there.In general, the more specific you can get with your plan, the more effective you'll be in its implementation.Don't make your social media marketing strategy so lofty and broad that it's unattainable.

STEP 1: CREATE SOCIAL MEDIA OBJECTIVES AND GOALS

The first step to any social media marketing strategy is to establish the objectives and goals that you hope to achieve.Without goals, you have no means of proving your social media return on investment.These goals should be aligned with your broader marketing strategy so that your social media efforts drive towards your business objectives. You should also use the SMART framework when setting your goals.

S.M.A.R.T GOALS

S-Specific

M-Measurable

A-Attainable

R-Relevant

T-Time-bound

SMART goal example: " For Instagram,  will share photos that communicate our company culture.We will do this by posting
three photos a week. The target for each is at least 30 likes and 5 comments"

STEP 2: CONDUCT A SOCIAL MEDIA AUDIT

Prior to creating your social media marketing plan, you need to assess your current social media use and how it's working.this means
figuring out who is currently connecting with you via social, which social media sites you target market uses, and how your social media presence compares to your competitors.once you've conducted your audit you should have a clear picture of every social account representing your business, who runs or controls them,and what purpose they serve.this inventory should be maintained regularly, especially as you scale your business.It should also be evident which accounts need to be updated and which need to be
deleted altogether.If you audit uncovers fraudulent accounts-a fake branded Twitter profile,forexample-report them. this will help ensure that people searching for you online only connect with the accounts you manage.As part of your social media audit you'll also want to create"mission statements for each network." These one sentence declaration will help you focus on a very specific goal for
Instagram, Facebook, or any other social network. Mission statement example: "We will use Snapchat to share the lighter side of
our company and connect with younger prospect customers."

STEP 3: CREATE OR IMPROVE YOUR SOCIAL ACCOUNTS

Once you've finished with your social media audit, it's time to create your online presence.Choose which networks best meet your social media goals.If you don't already have social media profiles on each network you focus on, build them from the ground up withyour broader goals and audience in mind.If you do have existing accounts, it's time to update and refine them to get the best possible results.We've created a guide on How to set-up Facebook, Twitter, and Every other Major  Social Network to walk you through that process.Each social network has a unique audience and should be treated differently.

STEP 4: GET SOCIAL MEDIA INSPIRATION FROM INDUSTRY LEADERS, COMPETITORS, CLIENTS

Not sure what kind of content and information will get you the most engagement? For inspiration, look to what others in your industry are sharing and use social media listening to see how you can distinguish yourself from  competitors and appeal to prospects they might be missing. Consumers can also offer social media inspiration, not only through the content that they share but in the way that they phrase their messages. Here are a few suggested sources of inspiration in different areas of social media marketing:

* Content marketing: Unbounce, Virgin

* Social media customer service: Tangerine, Warby Parker

* Social media advertising: AirBnB, the American Red cross

* Facebook strategy: Coca- Cola, Walmart

* Google+ strategy: Cadbury,National Geographic

* Twitter strategy: Charmin, Oreo

* Instagram strategy: Herschel supply co., General Electric


STEP 5: CREATE A CONTENT PLAN AND EDITORIAL CALENDAR

Having great content to share will be essential to succeeding at social media. Your social media marketing plan should include a content marketing plan, comprised of strategies for content creation and content curation, as well as editorial calendar Your content marketing plan should answer the following

questions:

* What types of content you intend to post and promote on social media

* How often you will post content

* Target audience for each type of content

* How you will promote the content

Your editorial calendar lists the dates and times you intend to publish blogs, Instagram and Facebook posts , Tweets and other content you plan to use during your social media campaigns. Create the calendar and then schedule your messaging in advance rather than updating constantly throughout the day.This gives you the opportunity to work hardon the language and format of these messages rather than writing them on the fly whenever you have time.Be spontaneous with your engagement and customer service rather than your content.

An examples editorial calendar:

Make sure your calendar reflects the mission statement you've assigned to each social profile.You can establish a content matrix that defines what share of your profile is allocated to different types of

posts for example:

* 50% of content will drive back to your blog

* 25% of content will be curated from other sources

* 20% of content will support enterprise goals( selling, lead generation etc)

* 5% of content will be about HR and culture

If you're unsure of how to allocated our resources, a safe bet is to
follow the Social Media Rule of Thirds:

* 1/3rd of your social content promotes your business, converts readers, and generates
profit

* 1/3rd of your social content should share ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses

* 1/3rd of your social content should be personal interactions with your audience.