The website Statista reports that more than 4.26 billion people were using social media worldwide in 2021, and the number is projected to increase to almost six billion by 2027. Retail TouchPoints further reports that 76 percent of consumers purchased products they saw in a brand’s social media post, with 11 percent buying immediately, 44 percent buying later online, and 21 percent buying later in a physical store.
All of this said, promoting on social media is a clear no-brainer. There will still be several different approaches a company can take to its social media marketing efforts, and some could be far more advantageous than others.
Understanding social media planning
A company can promote its business on social media with or without planning. Many newer businesses with fewer resources will try to do social media marketing without any planning, as they may know how important social media marketing is and occasionally post to one or two social networks.
While this method can work fine for some companies and is certainly better than having no social media presence at all, it can also be a little stressful and disorganized, causing a disjointed brand voice and more pressure on the business every time there are concerns about the number of social media posts. Social media planning will be a much more organized, strategic way to do social media marketing.
This involves creating a content calendar and planning ahead, often a month in advance, so a company can know exactly which posts it will create each month. Many businesses use posting tools to have social media posts automatically published on certain dates at certain times.
Benefits of social media planning
Social media planning certainly offers a significant number of advantages over doing nothing. Some of the benefits a company can expect if it opts for social media planning for the business will include all of the following:
- A sense of direction — A social media plan or content calendar will serve as a kind of guiding light that helps fight uncertainty and indecision. When a company makes a plan ahead of time, it will not have to grapple with all of the minutiae and questions every time it wants to post something because everything will already be decided. Avoid decision fatigue and gain a comforting sense of direction and guidance.
- Consistent branding — An important advantage of social media planning is that it will help ensure that branding on social media stays consistent. If you are wondering about the value of brand consistency, then consider that consistent branding across all channels can increase revenue anywhere from 10 to 20 percent. Planning social media posts in advance will help a company make sure it is always using the same brand voice and imagery and expressing the same brand values.
- Staying active on social media — It can be challenging to stay consistent on social media without social media planning. When a company starts planning its posts, it will make it much easier to stick to a consistent posting schedule in which accounts never go too long without activity. Advantages of keeping up a consistent posting frequency include an algorithm prioritizing your posts more and displaying them more prominently, being exposed to more viewers, increased engagement, and making followers look forward to your next post.
- Efficient processes — When a company plans its social media posts, it builds consistent processes that it can use every month to keep its accounts active. The more a company goes through the same workflow again and again, the faster it will get every time, and the more efficient it will be. When a company is inconsistent about it, however, and fails to plan, it will essentially have to reinvent the wheel every single time. There are social media planning tools that a company can use that are specifically designed to save them time and make workflows more efficient.
- Bigger-picture thinking and social media campaigns — When a company is not planning social media posts in advance, it keeps all of the focus on the micro level on a post-by-post basis. Social media planning will allow a company to expand its focus to the macro level and give it a big-picture overview of what it is doing each month. This will also enable a company to start planning social media campaigns, or series of related posts that lead one to the next.
- Enables analytics and data focus — Another element of social media marketing that all of the biggest brands implement is data-based decision-making. In order to make sure that they are optimizing their accounts for the most success, social media pros will look at analytics to see how each post is performing, making future decisions on the basis of past performance. Social media planning enables a company to implement this type of data focus by giving it a clear record of all of its posts, past and present, that it can use to track how successful different types of posts have been.
- Continual improvement — Many of the most successful, biggest brands are not satisfied with consistently good social media performance. They want to continually improve, growing their views, engagement, and follower count to reach more and more people and make more and more sales. By planning your social media posts and implementing data-based decision-making, a company can work to grow its social media accounts month after month to help it meet its business’s goals.
According to the 2021 Sprout Social Index, the most common goals for social media are increasing brand awareness (58 percent) and increasing community engagement (41 percent). The 2022 Sprout Social Index reported the top challenges for social media teams included finding talent, proving ROI, social execution, resourcing and using social as a business function.
Examining goals independently, we see that increasing brand awareness means getting a company’s name out there. Creating authentic and lasting brand awareness means avoiding solely publishing promotional messages as a company should instead focus on content emphasizing its personality and values.
Generating leads and sales will be another key factor, and whether a company is hoping to improve online, in-store, or directly through social profiles, followers will not make purchases by accident. Social media can give a company an avenue to generate revenue by alerting customers about new products and promos, integrating product catalogs into social profiles, and running exclusive deals for followers.
Growing a brand’s audience means bringing new followers into the fold and finding ways to introduce a company’s brand to people who have not heard of them before. Growing an audience will also mean discovering conversations around a business and industry that matter the most.
Boosting community engagement is also enormously important, as social media is all about engagement and it pays to explore new ways to grab the attention of your current followers. Sprout Social’s 2022 Index report showed consumers wanted to see content highlighting a brand’s products, services, and personality, as well as customer testimonials.
Finally, driving traffic to a website will also be a major area of concern. If a company is focused on generating leads or traffic to a website, social media can make that happen.
Promotional posts and social ads can boost conversions and URL clicks. Different social media websites can require different posting habits, as companies may only need to post to Facebook a couple times a week while Twitter can require several posts daily.
Some of the social media management tools a company can use will include:
- Buffer — Offers a forever free plan, but paid plans start at $6 per month per channel with a 14-day free trial.
- Hootsuite — Offers a limited free plan, but paid plans start at $49 per month per channel with a 30-day free trial.
- Sprout Social — Paid plans start at $89 per user per month with a 30-day free trial.
- Agora Pulse — Free, but offers paid plans starting at $99 per month.
- Sendible — Plans start at $29 per month with a 14-day free trial.
- eClincher — Plans start at $59 per month with a 14-day free trial.
- Social Pilot — Plans start at $30 per month with a 14-day free trial.
- CoSchedule — Free plan, with paid plans starting at $39 per user per month (14-day free trial).
- MavSocial — Plans start at $19 per month with a 14-day free trial.
- Crowdfire — Free plan with paid plans starting at $9.99 per month.
- SocialBee — Plans start at $19 per month with a 14-day free trial.
- Post Planner — Plans start at $9 per month with a 7-day free trial.
- Tailwind — Free plan, with paid plans starting at $19.99 per month.
- Later — Plans start at $15 per month with a 14-day free trial.
- Sprinklr — 90-day free trial and $299 per month thereafter.
Other companies of note include Oktopost, Brandwatch, HubSpot, Khoros, and Reputation.
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