5 Steps To Create Your Social Media Plan

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by Steve Holt on August 22, 2012

I recently wrote a post about the importance of planning. I have always been a ‘planner’ and so I see the value in creating a plan that can guide you and keep you focused. So now I want to give you the 5 steps you can follow to create your own social media plan that you can follow to use social media effectively in your business. Every plan starts with step 1, so here you go…

1. Participate on a personal level – This is always the first piece of advice that I always give. “I don’t know where to start” is something I hear alot. My suggestion is to use the social media tools as one of your customers would so that you can start seeing their perspective. You’ll see what the tools do, what is used the most in each tool, which aspects are fun and exciting to use, etc. Then you’ll have a much better perspective on how you can flip the coin and see the same tools from the perspective of a business.

2. Write it down – There’s a reason the bank wants you to sign a bunch of paperwork when you get your mortgage loan. When you write everything down and sign it, everything takes on much more importance, right? Also, when things are written down you are much more likely to be committed to what you are trying to do. And of course, things will be much easier to remember if you write them down. And you’ll have something to refer back to when you write things down. What do you need to write down? What are your objectives for each social media tool? What benchmarks would you like to reach? How will you know that you have succeeded? You’ll have your written plan to help you determine all those things.

3. Create valuable content – This is the most challenging in my mind, and the most rewarding as well. If you create something of value that your customers want, you’ll generate more interest, more eyeballs, more foot traffic, and eventually more sales. Provide value and value will come back to you. Provide helpful, useful, interesting, engaging, funny, wonderful content that people will want. Sounds simple, but it isn’t. You have to know your customer before you can provide them something they want. But once you figure them out and you start providing stuff they want, you better put your seat belt on because that’s when things will take off. I can’t tell you exactly what types of content to create because your business is your business. But you should know your industry and your competitors. Provide something of value that your competitors aren’t and that puts you even that much further ahead.

4. Become an expert – If I were to ask you who is a recognized expert in cooking, who would come to your mind? And what if I were to ask anybody who is a customer of the products that you sell who they thought was the leader in those products or services? Would your name be the first one on their mind? That’s where you need to be. Use your social media outlets to develop yourself or your company as the recognized expert in what you do. How do you do that? Write about what you do. Talk about what you do. Share what you do. Help others to solve problems that have to do with what you do. For example, if you have a lawn and garden business, then you need to seek out people in your social media channels who are asking questions and dealing with problems and help them solve their problems, for free. Use your social media channels to provide free advice and ideas on gardening and planting that people can use. Use social media to showcase your successes and brag on your customers who are successful using your products and services because they followed your advice. If you are an expert, people will gravitate to you. They will seek you out because you are the expert. All day long.

5. Change your plan – As you grow and learn in your journey of using social media to promote your business and connect with your customers, you are going to make mistakes. Probably a bunch of them. Everyone does. So you need to be prepared to change your plan as you go along to be more realistic. You’ll find things that made sense at first but now don’t make much sense. So change the plan to reflect things that make more sense. And when you achieve some success and meet your goals, change your goals. Be more ambitious. Push yourself to do better. Change things up and try new things. But never, ever stop your plan. Keep going and change your plan if you have to, but keep planning. You’ll be glad you did.

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