One of the most common strategies we come across as a business is where social media is the sole or major marketing channel. Yes it’s free, yes it’s measurable and yes it puts us on a level playing field with big business (they have a Facebook page, we can have a Facebook page) but if you have no overall marketing and communications plan, offline and on, social media is unlikely to deliver your financial goals.

You don’t have to be a sophisticated marketer to lay some groundwork before planning your social media content. 71% of companies who carry out this work exceed their revenues and lead goals plus enjoy 73% higher conversions. Here is my super simplified marketing plan checklist:

What’s your value proposition?

In other words what problem do you solve for your customers? And have you validated this by asking for feedback? This is such a crucial piece of work for your business. It ensures you understand why people will buy from you. Too often we build our product or service and off the back of a few supportive comments, we launch and think ‘this is amazing’. However, testing it with a wider market can give you a different picture. Be really sure about the needs you are meeting.

Who are you talking to?

Once we understand how we meet our customer’s need, we need to define who they are and what motivates them. Lifestyle and emotion play important roles in driving purchase, even in a business to business setting. The better we understand this, the more likely we are to develop content that triggers curiosity into discovering more about our business, product or service. Aside from the basic demographics of our customer, we should try and ascertain the specific challenges they face and how they feel about them. We also need to understand their daily habits online. What websites do they browse? What social media platforms do they use?

Answer these questions and you have your customer profile. I always suggest doing at least two of these for main customer groups.

Where are your customers lurking?

Using your customer profiles, next define where you are most likely to interact with your customer. INTERACTION is the operative word here. Not where you have the most following or where your content is likely to reach a wide variety of people. Those metrics are worthless if no one is clicking, liking, commenting on or sharing your posts.

This is what we call your channel strategy.

What are you going to say?

The temptation with social media is to share everything about your business, how ace it is and ask people to buy your stuff, all at once (sometimes in one post!). But if you think about your own social media habits, that’s simply not how we use it. And if we reflect on how we consume information online and offline, we will realise it’s that drip-fed approach of consistent messages which works. This is commonly known as ‘effective frequency‘ or the ‘rule of seven’ in marketing terms. But it’s rooted in psychological research on how much short-term memory holds.

Therefore, it’s really important to have a clear brand identity informed by the value proposition, customer profiles and channel strategy. I would usually suggest to clients to have between 3-5 core messages you want to thread through your content, building creatively each time around it.

Is social media the saviour of business?

Looking at all of these findings, you’ll realise that the social media element is the tool. The marketing plan is the voice.

Need some help putting this together? There’s never a perfect time to start but if you are not seeing a return on investment in your digital marketing, book a 15-minute chat to find out more how my Digital Thrive programme solves this problem.