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1 10 STEPS to a Social Media Plan By Lindsay Thomson Lynda.com

2 Introduction For any organization, resources are a challenge especially when it comes to marketing. A key and cost-effective way to reach prospective customers or clients is through social media. Before social media exploded, online marketing was a fairly one-sided endeavor. Organizations pushed out ideas. Consumers passively received them. But the landscape has shifted. The Internet of today is extremely interactive. Social media enabled a new style of communication, and there are now billions of conversations happening online about news articles, brands, even photos of pets. It all feels relatively natural to the participant. Social networking is a big part of how the web operates Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

3 Managing social media is a full-time job. Done well, it can deliver incredible return on investment (ROI). In a recent study by Social Media Examiner, 90 percent of all marketers indicated social media increased exposure for their organizations. Boosting traffic was the second major benefit, with 77 percent reporting positive results. When using social media as few as six hours per week, 66 percent of marketers saw lead generation benefits. Among respondents who had used social media for at least one year, 64 percent found it useful for building a loyal fan base. This guide describes 10 key steps to help your marketing team get started on an engaging social media plan one that strengthens your organization s online presence, drives engagement, and delivers growth. USING SOCIAL MEDIA, A MAJORITY OF MARKETERS*: 90% increased exposure 77% generated positive results 66% noted lead generation benefits 64% built a loyal fan base *Social Media Examiner 3 10 Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

4 Table of Contents 05 Step No. 1: Understand the value 24 Step No. 7: Create a content calendar 07 Step No. 2 : Set goals 26 Step No. 8: Prioritize visuals 10 Step No. 3: Reach the right audience 28 Step No. 9: Build a community 13 Step No. 4: Choose social platforms 31 Step No. 10: Measure and optimize 17 Step No. 5: Create a local presence 34 Authors 20 Step No. 6: Create a content plan 35 About Lynda.com 4 10 Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

5 5 10 Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com Understand the value

6 STEP NO. 1 Understand the value Social media marketing can provide a new kind of exposure. Using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and more, you can reach new prospects and further engage existing customers and clients. Social media also offers value beyond brand recognition and website traffic. Let s explore additional value-adds. create new and immediate opportunities for feedback Prospects and customers can share thoughts directly or ask questions that help you identify the good and bad in your organization. get a sense of what s important Get to know your audience members by understanding what and how frequently they share. With an active audience, you can ask for feedback or test ideas before crafting larger marketing initiatives. Today s savvy consumers spend significant time researching brands and products before spending money. Customers can indirectly advocate for you. If they post a comment, share a review, or interact with your content, it can boost your overall credibility. develop a community A community can drive awareness of your brand. As customers become advocates, they ll shower you with praise, ignite word-of-mouth marketing, and help you reach untapped territory. Friends look to friends for recommendations, and social media allows you to activate those opportunities Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

7 7 10 Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com Set goals

8 STEP NO. 2 Set goals Social media marketing works best when it creates interaction to achieve defined goals. Most often, the primary goal is to boost website traffic or draw attention to a brand. Unlike other forms of marketing, social media is rooted in using prospects and customers or clients as marketing vessels. questions to ask What are you trying to accomplish? Is it brand awareness? Do you hope to drive more traffic to your website or blog? Are you selling a product or service? 8 10 Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

9 Set goals to help determine which marketing resources you should devote to tactical programs and which social media platforms you should use; the more aggressive the goal, the more resources typically needed. Setting goals also helps measure progress, and helps inform adjustments. For additional tips, watch a three-minute video about setting goals from the Lynda.com course Marketing Fundamentals Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

10 10 10 Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com Reach the right audience

11 STEP NO. 3 Reach the right audience Understanding what you re selling can be easy, but understanding who you re selling to, and where to find those customers, can be difficult. Reaching the right audience will deliver the biggest ROI. Anything less is a waste of time and advertising spend Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

12 How to reach the right audience Define your audience. Start by creating personas that describe your ideal customers. Include interests, demographics, motivations, goals, pain points, and behavior patterns. The more detailed these profiles are, the better. Build your message for that audience. Create personalized value propositions for each of your buyer personas. Create content that supports those propositions. Figure out where to find your audience. Specifically, research which social media channels are best to deliver your message to each persona. We ll explore this more in Tip No. 4. To help understand your audience, complete a customer strategy worksheet created by Lynda.com. For more information on how to reach the right audience, watch a four-minute video on building a brand strategy from the Lynda.com course Online Marketing Fundamentals Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

13 13 10 Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com Choose social platforms

14 STEP NO. 4 Choose social platforms Decide which platforms connect you with your audience and in turn generate the biggest ROI. To get started, don t take on more than your team can manage. Create two or three social profiles. You can add more later. One of the worst things you can do in social media is neglect a platform and rarely post. To successfully drive social engagement, be consistent and active. Think about your defined audience. Figure out where your audience spends its time online by researching the demographics of platforms; each has a different purpose and attraction. For example, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are quite useful for business-to-business (B2B) marketing, while Pinterest and Instagram are better for business-to-consumer (B2C). LinkedIn is great for generating sales by advertising your organization and discussing relevant industry topics with specific buyer personas. Twitter is largely a real-time feed of short, public thoughts. Twitter is wonderful for customer service and providing short brand updates. Facebook is more private. Members mostly catalog information and ideas with friends and family. Facebook is an excellent place to share in-depth content and create conversations Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

15 Social platforms comparison linkedin twitter facebook members More than 364 million in 200-plus countries. More than 172,000 new members every day, or 2 new per second. About 20 percent of entire Internet population, or 750 million worldwide. 1.2 billion worldwide. demographics 64 percent of members older than 30. Has the oldest age demographic for a social network with more 100 million age 50 or higher. Most popular with 18- to 29-year-olds. Appeals most to users age 24 to 50. gender ratio Nearly equal, but slightly more male**. Slightly more female, but not by much. Split between male and female. communication Great for discussing hot topics in an industry. Social advertising tends to be underutilized, but a great place to go for persona-based marketing. Great for short, rapid messages. 500 million tweets sent daily. A top choice for consumers seeking support or celebrating brands. Impressive mobile saturation. About 30 percent of users check feeds multiple times daily from a mobile device. Delivers content specific to user interests. Think of Facebook as an ongoing conversation. best time to post Busiest times with maximum reach are between 7 and 8 a.m. or 5 and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday*. Weekdays provide 14 percent more engagement than weekends. Nearly 90 percent of engagement happens in the first hour after a tweet*. Thursday and Friday. Note that status updates can maintain traction for several days* Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com *http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-media-post-best-times **http://www.statista.com/statistics/246169/share-of-us-internet-users-who-use-linkedin-by-gend

16 When choosing social platforms Think about your defined audience. Figure out where your audience spends its time online by researching the demographics of platforms; each has a different purpose and attraction. For example, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are quite useful for B2B marketing, while Pinterest and Instagram are better for B2C. To further explore how to promote brands, increase sales, engage customers, and drive site traffic using Facebook and Twitter, watch the Lynda.com course Social Media Marketing Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

17 17 10 Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com Create a local presence

18 STEP NO. 5 Create a local presence It s essential for your organization to be represented in local online search engine results. At a small or medium-size business, it can make or break efforts to build momentum in your immediate surroundings. At a large company, it can draw attention to your regional offices and help you establish credibility and trust. The way to achieve this is by targeting social media marketing campaigns for mobile devices. If you haven t yet considered mobile while putting together your social media plan, start now. A significant 50 percent of all searches conducted on mobile devices are to find local results and 61 percent of those searches result in a purchase, according to Search Engine Watch Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

19 Why is mobile important? 37% 27% 54% 45% 47% of consumers are more likely to purchase on a mobile-optimized site. ExactTarget, 2014 Mobile Behavior Report of consumers will leave a site that is not mobile-optimized. ExactTarget, 2014 Mobile Behavior Report of consumers say it is easier to find information on mobile-optimized sites. ExactTarget, 2014 Mobile Behavior Report of US organizations conduct some form of mobile marketing on mobile websites (70%), mobile applications (55%), or QR codes (49%). percent of marketing companies planned to increase activity on mobile apps in ExactTarget, 2014 Mobile Behavior Report StrongMail Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

20 20 10 Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com Create a content plan

21 STEP NO. 6 Create a content plan Great content can drive marketing success. Breaking through is difficult in today s multi-channel world characterized by a whirlwind of devices and technologies. Gone are the days when a sales representative furnished a prospective customer s first contact with an organization. Today customers do their own research online, and without you. But you can cut through the noise by creating great content and sharing it socially Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

22 To create great content, you need a plan. Make planning a team collaboration between marketing leads, copywriters, graphic designers, and other key stakeholders. Referring again to your defined audience, identify themes to cover for each persona. Decide which pieces of content are best for each stage of each buyer s journey. For best results, expect to do some A/B testing (e.g. version testing), analyze results, and change course as needed. Consider your content mix. What types of content can help make your social media offerings diverse? Determine how much original content you will create. And decide how much content will be sourced from outside sources, curated, and re-shared Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

23 When planning content Start by planning large content initiatives. These could include guides (like the one you are currently reading), a large ebook, or any other ideas with extensive promotional plans and thought leadership elements. Second, consider boiled-down pieces that are quickly consumed. These could include tips and tricks suggestions, data sheets, checklists, and collections of best practices. Third, plan fun and light-hearted, indulgent pieces. These could include infographics and videos. Last, evaluate whether each piece can be used across multiple channels. Decide which platforms will drive the best engagement for each piece. To learn more about the fundamentals of content marketing and how to create a content plan for your organization, watch the Lynda.com course Content Marketing Fundamentals Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

24 24 10 Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com Create a content calendar

25 STEP NO. 7 Create a content calendar In conjunction with deciding what to post, create a content calendar for when to post it. A calendar helps keep your social media initiatives well timed and your colleagues up to speed on your activities. Use a simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheets. The key elements of a content calendar are: social platform, date, post copy, link, and image or asset description. Take advantage of inexpensive or free social media management tools to help automate this process. For spreadsheet inspiration, check out a simple template. For more information about social media management tools, check out the Lynda.com course Top 10 Social Media Management Tools Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

26 26 10 Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com Prioritize visuals

27 STEP NO. 8 Prioritize visuals Sourcing good images can be a pain. But images often are the most important ingredient of good social content. Rely on your creative team to take the lead. Don t use copyrighted images without permission. Doing so can bring legal troubles and damage your online reputation. Also note that all social platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have specific requirements for image size and image copy Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

28 28 10 Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com Build a community

29 STEP NO. 9 Build a community Don t just publish content and hope prospective customers or clients see it. Build a following and gain authority by engaging with a community. Communities are based on relationships. Relationships can be between two people, but also between brands and people, or between customers. All matter. By effectively cultivating an online community, you can keep relationships positive. When dealing with customers online, demonstrate that you care about their experiences with your brand. If you don t care, you won t convert. Whether you know it or not, you re being reviewed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by everyone using your product or service. People are having conversations about your organization. You need to join those conversations and influence the narrative. Don t and you ll be left behind Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

30 When engaging people online: Answer questions. You d provide excellent customer service to someone walking into your brick-and-mortar store. Your online social media channels are no exception. People expect the same level of attention and timely response. Start conversations. This boosts the visibility of your organization, makes it easier for people to find you, and reduces the need to give a sales pitch. Search for people engaging with relevant topics and hashtags. Provide value. Use social media as more than a mouthpiece. Interact and give back. For more on engagement, watch the Lynda.com course Building an Online Community Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

31 31 10 Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com Measure and optimize

32 STEP NO. 10 Measure and optimize As you scale up, A/B test your efforts and optimize your programs for the best ROI. Optimization is key; don t expect to push Go and have a fully realized campaign producing top results. Matching the right content with the best audience takes tweaking over time. Use tools including Google Analytics, Adobe Reports and Analytics, and Optimizely to measure results Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

33 Conclusion With a little direction and organization around these 10 tips, any any business, school, or government agency can benefit from social media. But remember that these tips are just a start. Going forward, stay consistent with your posting habits and learn as much as you can about what type of content your audience interacts with most. To learn more, check out Lynda.com courses How to Rock Social Media and Social Media Marketing with Facebook and Twitter. Or browse even more expert-taught Lynda.com social media marketing courses Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

34 Authors LEAD CONTRIBUTORS Lindsay Thomson, Lead Generation Specialist Lynda.com Lindsay Thomson is a marketing specialist at Lynda.com focused on providing enterprise learning solutions to academic institutions, businesses, and government agencies. Working in the elearning industry allows Lindsay to share her passion for helping organizations build effective elearning programs that promote lifelong learning. Michelle Hernandez, Social Media Manager Lynda.com Brad Batesole, Staff Author Lynda.com Dayna Rothman, Author Lynda.com Justin Seeley, Staff Author Lynda.com Tom Schultz, Enterprise Marketing Writer Lynda.com Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

35 About Lynda.com For 20 years, Lynda.com has helped marketing professionals, leaders, IT and design pros, project managers anyone in any role build software, creative, and business skills. We work with the best instructors. Our production standards are second to none. And with training that is quick to market, we ve grown our online video-based content library to include thousands of engaging courses. Now a LinkedIn company, Lynda.com serves more than 10,000 organizations. With tutorials presented in five languages, Lynda.com is a global platform for success. Contact us for Lynda.com Enterprise Learning Solutions pricing. US: 1 (888) International: +1 (805) EMEA: +44 (0) APAC: web: Steps to a Social Media Plan Lynda.com

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