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Webucator's Free Introduction to Social Media Tutorial

Lesson: Developing a Social Media Plan

Welcome to our free Introduction to Social Media tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's Introduction to Social Media Training course.

Now that we've discussed the various social media platforms for your business, let's take some time and put those thoughts together by developing a social media plan for your business.

Lesson Goals

  • Learn about determining goals.
  • Learn about choosing tools and services.
  • Learn about measuring success.
  • Learn about communicating the plan to your team.
  • Learn about getting management on board.

Developing a Social Media Plan

When developing a social media plan, here are some overarching considerations:

  1. Determine which employee(s) will be responsible for both your social media efforts and for owning the social media plan. In smaller companies, this will probably be the same person.
  2. Set goals. It is important that you are clear as to the purpose of your social media campaign.
  3. Make sure you have all of the tools and processes complete before sharing with everyone. The team needs to be clear as to what the expectations and rules are so there is no confusion.

A great example of what should be included with your plan is from Mike Sweeney of socialmediatoday.com. He lists these top ten items to include in any social media plan:

  1. Baseline metrics
  2. Competitor benchmarks
  3. Goals and objectives
  4. Naming strategy
  5. Staffing plan
  6. Content calendar
  7. Partner integration
  8. The ideas!
  9. Examples
  10. Reports and analysis

Initial Social Media Planning

Duration: 30 to 45 minutes.

In this exercise, you will develop an initial social media plan.

Considering the list of suggested social media plan inclusions, write down one key component for your business tied to each of the ten points. We'll create a more detailed plan at the end of this lesson as well.

Determining Goals and Successes

An integral part of any social media plan is setting your expectations. If your goals are not clearly stated from the onset, your social media campaign(s) may never be considered a success or a failure. Another consideration is that if you set goals, and you determine success points, additional resources could be used at any point to increase exposure and engagement.

Site Type Business Objective Suggested Goals to Consider
E-Commerce website To increase online sales
  1. Number of sales from social media website(s) traffic.
  2. Number of leads associated with social media sites.
  3. Overall engagement with the website.
Content website Increase visitors' engagement on the website
  1. Average time on the site from social media traffic.
  2. Average page views per visit from social media sites.
  3. Number of comments on website from social media traffic.
Lead generation website To obtain a potential sales lead
  1. Number of contact forms filled out from social media traffic.
  2. Number of contacts from social media traffic.
  3. Amount of shared product/service links on social media.
Branding website To increase brand awareness
  1. Percentage of repeat visitors from social media sites.
  2. Number of mentions across social media platforms.
  3. Number of comments on social media sites.

Choosing Tools and Services

We have mentioned numerous tools in the previous lessons. The following table includes additional social media planning tools that are worth learning about.

Tool Website Tool Overview
www.socialmention.com A social media search engine that searches user-generated content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos, and micro-blogging services for keywords of your choice and then sends email alerts.
www.yoono.com Yoono allows you to see your social site feeds all in one location, directly from your browser or desktop. You can then share this content with all your social networks and instant messaging services.
www.inboxq.com InboxQ makes it easy to find people who have questions about your business, products or general industry on Twitter.
www.topsy.com Real-time search for the social web with the ability to create email alerts and get RSS feeds. This is also another resource for searching for relevant hashtags on Twitter.
www.nutshellmail.com With Nutshell Mail, you can receive all your Facebook and Twitter updates through one single email account (setup is free).

When it comes to your overall social media plan, it is important to decide which tools your company will support and make sure all employees use the same tools. Most social media tools allow for collaboration among team members.

Google Alerts

We recommend you sign up for Google Alerts and set an alert for your company name. This will provide you with daily alerts when your company name is mentioned on popular websites. The screenshot below highlights one day's web alerts for AT&T:

Communicating Plan to Team

Once your social media plan is ready to share, communicating your plan to your team is very important. Since social media is evolving, your company might want to consider a feedback forum where employees can offer suggestions.

In general, here are some considerations for disseminating your social media plan:

  1. Make sure all of the points we discussed above are laid out in a fashion where there will be no confusion. Everyone needs to be aware of the exact responsibilities and rules.
  2. Have the plan available on a resource that is available to employees both at work and at home. As social media is 24/7, you never know when someone might need an answer.
  3. With that, make sure you assign a point of contact for employees to go to in case they have questions.
  4. As social media can be viewed as a fun resource, make sure you deliver the initial plan in a fun way to the company!

Getting Management on Board

Here are some considerations for getting your management team on board:

  1. Make sure your plan has specific, actionable steps along with specific goals that you are looking to accomplish.
  2. Try to source case studies that are closely aligned with your company focus area(s) and share with your management team.
  3. Always be honest. If you know it will work, admit that. If you're not sure and you're just testing, be open about this.

Developing a Social Media Plan

Duration: 45 to 60 minutes.

In this exercise, you will develop a complete social media plan.

  1. Divide up into small groups.
  2. Each group should create a high-level social media plan.
  3. Be ready to present your plans to the group.