Social media can be a slippery little thing – one moment you’re flying high with engagement through the roof and more inspiration than you can poke a stick at, and the next, crickets.

With an ever-changing algorithm, it is increasingly difficult to figure out what to post, and when – while pretty photos or witty quotes may keep your feeds ticking over, it’s not going to provide a path to growing your business, increasing your marketing or boosting sales.

Enter, your social media marketing plan.

A subset of your overall marketing plan, this hones in on social media in all its forms. By taking the time to deep dive into your existing, strategies, content and channels you can get a feel for what’s working, what’s not and what you need to change.\

One of social media’s best attributes is its ability to be agile – the instantaneous nature of the beast allows businesses and brands to be reactive in their approaches to scheduling and content, however, blindly jumping on trends and re-posting others’ ideas does not a strategy make. Knowledge-sharing, inspiration-invoking, market-targeted posts are what is going to help you build your brand and raise your profile, so we’ve broken the process of doing this
through the creation of a quarterly social media strategy below.

First things first, do your research.

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On your own feeds, that is. Posting the exact same thing to each of your channels at the exact same time of day is like standing on a street in Barcelona speaking English – you’ll get a few hits on a few phrases, but the majority of your words are just floating off, unheard. For each of your channels, dig through the data and find the days of the week, the times of the day and they types of content that get the most engagement, which channels reign supreme and where each sub-section of your audience hangs out.

Understanding where your audience is, how they communicate and what ideas or products they gel with is crucial in forming the foundations of your strategy. So, break it down.

A few key things to look for on each channel:

• Who: what’s the key demographic here – break it down into age groups, gender, and geographical location to start with and then zero in any other key factors you use for your sponsored posts.

• What: where are you getting your highest levels of engagement – images, infographics, reels and videos all have a part to play, you’ve just got to figure out where.

• Where: Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn – each of these are a world of their own, with different audiences, different post formats and different types of engagement.

• When: time of day matters – think about the types of lives your audience live, are they free to scroll through social media in the middle of the day, do they work nights, or are they early risers? By understanding when your audience has the time to engage, you can tailor your posting schedule to suit.

By figuring out what you want to achieve, you can then work backwards to include this in your strategy. Whether you’re starting small with the aim of posting twice a week and remembering to share to stories, or you’re thinking big and looking to increase engagement on Facebook by 25%, it helps to have measurable goals.

Again, data is your friend here. Using the analytics from your platform of choice you can track how your posts are performing, as well as keep tabs on when and where you’ve shared (and how those posts have been received). Reach, engagement and re-shares are all great
places to start tracking your achievements.

Create a content calendar

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This is crucial to the success of your social media strategy. Just like a calendar in everyday life, you want to include all the details – what you’re posting, when and where. Marketing is a moving beast, and there are no set rules around what to include here, so choose things that are relevant to you and your audience. Some examples

Launch dates – have you got a product or a course that you’re launching this year? Whether it’s a new clothing line, the next level in a series of lessons or an expansion of your business offerings, if you want your audience to know about it, purchase it or share it, put it in the calendar. Remember, launches don’t happen overnight – you can schedule in teasers throughout the weeks and months of the lead-up, which help to grow awareness and anticipation.

• Holidays – whether these are your own vacations, or the days that are observed and celebrated nationally and internationally. For small service- and product-based providers, your holidays may mean that your business is closed for that time so let people know that you’re taking time out to recalibrate, refresh and return better than ever. If your business focus is on sustainability, dates like World Ocean Day and Global Recycling Day are great to jump on – using their campaign hashtags and resources can help you tap brand-new markets.

• Partnerships – it can be a lonely world out there for small businesses, so joining forces is a big deal. Merge your audiences, cross-promote, and remember to tell your people why they’ll love the new guys, and what they might get from the team-up.

Knowledge – no matter what you do, you are in possession of a niche knowledge bank. Fashion labels sharing perfect product care routines or styling ideas for their new range, service providers posting their top industry tips and creatives sharing their most recent sources of inspiration are just the start.

Inspiration – sometimes people just want something pretty. From sharing beautiful product imagery and stories about recent achievements, to stellar office setups, your favourite keep cup and local café, or shouting out a newcomer to the industry, there is always space to keep things light.

Humans respond well to a degree of familiarity so creating a content calendar with a mix of consistent elements, and placing them gently and methodically throughout the weeks and months will help you to develop a cohesive and engaged feed.

You’ve likely heard of batching content, with marketing folk and entrepreneurs alike shouting it’s praises across the internet. Once you’ve figured out where you’re posting and when, you need to create the posts (obviously). Rather than hoping for a daily stroke of inspiration, sit down on a day when the creative juices are flowing and create and curate your posts – in a batch. This helps you stick to a similar style of post, with a consistent tone
of voice and brand messaging, and with scheduling platforms that allow you to choose the image, caption, time and the channel on which to post, you have the option to schedule posts for weeks and months in advance.

Finally, why quarterly? Social media is dynamic, so your strategy needs to be, too. Like anyone who has ever joined a gym knows, it’s 12 weeks before you start seeing results. Repeated and consistent effort is (often) rewarded by the algorithm, audiences find it easier to engage with concepts and content that they are familiar with and it makes your life easier. Strategising your social media over a 3-month period provides the push to work towards public deadlines and the flexibility to change them if needed, as well as the space away from the social realm to focus on your business, not just marketing it.

If you’d like a hand in working out your quarterly social media strategy, need help crafting content or have any other marketing queries, the Gerald and Rose team would love to help. Contact us today.