Social media is BIG. Pretty much everyone is on it (including my 85 year old Father) and I can’t see this changing anytime soon.
And the bigger social media gets, the more important a role it plays in your marketing. Gone are the days of putting all your marketing dollars towards the more traditional forms of advertising such as TV, radio and newspaper commercials. You need to be investing more into the online world where people are spending more of their time.
Therefore your social media activities deserve a plan all to themselves. Don’t forget your marketing plan, you have got to have that. But you need a social media plan as this is probably where you will spend most of your marketing dollars and time.
So what should go into your social media plan to ensure every network gives you the return you are after? Well wait no longer – here are my top 10 items which need to go into your plan:
1. Know your business goals
What are the big picture items you want to achieve? How much revenue do you want to make? How do you want to be positioned in the market? How many customers do you want to maintain? How much do you want your business to grow?
You need to make sure all your social media marketing activities are going to help you reach one or more of your business goals. All your marketing needs to be alignment with what you want to achieve for your business. So always ask, how is this social media idea going to help me reach my business goals.
2. What are your social media objectives?
Next think about what you want your social media activities to achieve? For example:
- Increasing the awareness of your fitness or sport business – increase your brand recognition and online influence. When customers are aware of your brand and interact with it on different social media channels, they are more likely to recommend it to their friends by liking posts on Facebook or retweeting you on Twitter.
- Increase the amount of traffic – the more people you have visiting your site or social media networks, the more chances people have to engage with your blog content, click your social media networks, interact with your brand or share your site with friends and followers using your sharing buttons.
- Increase the loyalty for your brand – by increasing the amount of time spent with you, the more likely they are to choose you.
- Increase total conversions through social media – this is an important one, a visitor converting to a lead captured by entering personal information into one of your web forms. This goal is the lifeblood of any fitness business and a key measure of how successful your social media is.
3. Audit of your current social media
Time to take stock and have an honest review of what your social media now.
Are you posting enough? What about the content? How do your profiles look?
Did you set up a Twitter account a year ago and only used it once or twice? Time to close it down. Did one of your employees set up an Instagram account but uses it more as a personal account? Then get rid of it. Perform a general search for your brand on all the major social networks – you might be surprised what’s out there!
As you locate your profiles, make note of the ones you find and keep make a note of the the network, the URL, the name, descriptions, the number followers or fans and the date of your last activity. Now ask, why are we using this channel, will this help us reach our goals and do our target audience use it?
Now check your profiles, check all the important details are included. And make sure your branding is consistent across all channels. Each channel may have a slightly different feel but the basic branding should remain the same.
4. What is your personality?
This is where you need to work out what your voice and tone will be? How is it going to represent your fitness or sports business? How do you want people to think of you? How your are going to talk to your fans and how will you respond to any angry complaints? Make sure it is a personality that makes your fans want to spend time with you?
Again this may vary depending on what channel you use – LinkedIn should be fairly professional whereas Twitter can be a bit more casual and cheeky. Make sure it resonates with your audience and is authentic so your brand stands out.
5. Who is your target audience?
The next step in your social media plan is to identify your ideal customers. And this is going to be different depending on what social media network you are using.
Facebook is often skewed towards an older audience whereas Twitter is more for younger users. LinkedIn is mainly used my professionals with an above average income. More females use Instagram and more males use Pinterest.
So think about your typical clients and customers? What do they use? That is what you should be on! And the more you know about them such as their their age, occupation, income, interests, likes, dislikes and what motivates them, the better you understand them and know how they use and interact with social media.
6. What is your competition up to?
What I really like about social media is that you can find out exactly what your main competitors are up to. Monitor their social media activities, learn about their promotions, and listen to their conversations.
Find out what social networks they’re using and analyse their content strategy. Look at their number of fans or followers, posting frequency and time of day. Also pay attention to the type of content they’re posting and how they’re responding to their fans. Watch, listen and learn.
7. Content schedule
Now we are getting into the nitty gritty – a content schedule is basically the type of content you post (video, pictures, blogs etc) the time and how often.
Always use pictures and as I keep banging on about, videos are even better and will give you more traction and engagement with your audience.
Timing is everything so make sure you are putting your message out when your fans are online. For example, LinkedIn posts could be done before or after work, Facebook around the early afternoon and Twitter in the evening.
When it comes to frequency, again this will be different for every network you are on. Facebook may be once a day but Twitter may need to be several times a day.
Your schedule should also include:
- The day,
- The time,
- What the message, post, tweet will be,
- The link (if you are using one),
- What the image or video will be.
Trust me – getting this right is going to make your life so much easier. And a tip, don’t forget to add holidays in as well in case you want to any special campaigns around Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, New Year, school holidays etc.
8. Who does what?
Now you have your content schedule, you need to work out who will be doing what?
This will be simple if it is just you but if you have several staff or trainers working with you, perhaps look at allocating posts to particular people. For example, have someone at reception do the weekly motivation quote, have a PT look at exercises posts, if there is someone who loves to cook, maybe they could do the weekly nutrition tip etc.
Just a word of warning, make sure if you do get your staff involved, they don’t treat it as their own personal channel – any content and images need to be professional and reflect your personality and guidelines.
9. Measuring the results
Like any marketing activity, you must always measure your social media to see was is working and what isn’t.
The key to making the most of social media is listening to what your audience has to say about you, your competitors, and the market in general. Once you have the data you can undertake in-depth analysis, and using all these insights, get to know your customers better which in turn will help you improve your marketing strategy.
In the old days you would use “media monitors” to keep track of where you are being mentioned in the papers, radio or TV. Today there are a range of social media monitoring (or should that be listening) tools, to uncover relevant conversations and hopefully give you a better understanding of how you can use this to your advantage (whether it be on you, your competitors, campaigns, key people in the industry or hashtags).
And it goes without saying that you always need to keep close tabs on any advertising you do too so you know what ads are working and what needs to be changed.
10. Is that it?
Of course not!
Social media is always changing and so will your social media activities. No plan is ever set in stone. New opportunities arise and there are additional features added to social media networks, so you need to be flexible and open to change.
For example, we now have Facebook live and reactions, Twitter introduced Sports Broadcasting, Instagram now allows you to post videos and Instagram stories and so forth.
So as you can see there is a lot involved in a social media plan. It should never stand alone as all the activities need to feed into your overall business goals but like having a marketing plan, it gives you better direction and focus, it will help you get to know your customers and competitors better, and give you a better return on your investment. By spending a bit of time planning your activities, you will save a lot of time down the track and will greatly increase the chances of social media helping your reach your goals for the year.