There are countless quotes on why you need a plan in order to reach a goal. No matter which one you like, or which one you heard yesterday, having a plan and acting on it are not the same thing in social media. With your marketing, you need both, and here’s a little acronym to help make sure that you are both planning and doing – with a goal in mind.
P is for Prepare. When you take on a marketing campaign for your business, prepare your messages, your colors, your links, and your focus around your goal. If it doesn’t match your objectives, don’t post it, tweet it, ping it, or link it. That means you must have a solid goal – one that is realistic. That is part of preparing, too, and in fact, one of the critical first steps. “P” is the tough one, the one that takes a bit more time in social media, but it is well worth it.
L is for Leverage. Once you have a goal, and a prepared approach or strategy, leverage the timing of your posts to best suit your audience of both current customers and future customers. For instance, a restaurant might want to take advantage of the hour to half-hour before meal times; a bank will want to increase posts around typical paydays. Leverage the tools you use, too. Some social media platforms work better for some businesses than do others. Know the tools you can use, and know the platforms your customers will be using – that’s essential.
Assess is the A in PLAN. No social media campaign is effective if you do not analyze it along the way. However, there are numerous opinions on how to measure ROI in social media. Your goal will have bearing on your assessment, but remember that social media cannot be clearly defined by ROI alone. Some level of your assessment must include other benchmarks. Carefully consider those in your assessment, and pay attention to what’s happening in your business after social media campaigns begin, that might be because of, yet not directly tied to, your social media. Social media often produces ripple-effect benefits that aren’t immediately noticed in dollars or sales.
And the N is for Normalize. Whatever is working, whatever your customers are responding to, and whatever tasks are helping to reach your goals effectively, these should be made a natural part of your business interactions. Create procedures or checklists to make these things part of the daily service or routine social media marketing. The more that you make it normal for you to offer what your customers respond to, both in online conversations and business services, the more you will improve your reputation and image in your industry niche.
All of these elements work together, but they will look different in different companies. You must be fully prepared with your social media campaign, ready to consistently leverage the best strategies, mindful of assessing your progress, and quick to normalize positive behavior. When you have this type of PLAN, not only will you be planning, but you will also be doing!