Can you believe that 2017 is right around the corner? I always love this time of year – in between the holidays and the New Year because it feels like such a great time to relax with family and also enjoy some quiet time in our business to reflect and plan for the year ahead.
I’m sure many of you are thinking about how to create your social media strategy and what you will focus on (or not focus on) in 2017. I’ve been reading many of you sharing on social media how you are starting to plan and some of you are using things like Google Calendars and Google Docs and some of you are using good-old notepads and pens (I love both for the record!)
Some of you are stuck and overwhelmed by the idea of creating a plan and some of you are still probably asking yourself, “Is it really worth it?”
I’ve been creating marketing and social media plans for close to ten years now and so I thought I would share with you seven key things that I do when creating a big social media plan, and my hope is this will inspire you this week and beyond into the new year.
Tip 1: Evaluate what worked and what didn’t work. I recommend taking a self-audit of yourself and really looking to see what platforms worked for you in this year and which ones not as much. Now, when I say “work for you” – I mean did you:
- See your community grow?
- Find people engaged with you on the platform?
- Receive business referrals from people you interacted with on the platform?
- Receive business from people you interacted with on the platform?
- Enjoy being on the platform?
In addition to self-auditing yourself, ask yourself, “How much time, energy and strategy did I really invest to make this platform worth it for me?” As my Dad would say, “Have you given it the old college try?” 🙂 Because, if you simply posted something every once in a blue moon on Instagram or Snap once every three days – you have to be honest with yourself to see if you really made the effort!
Tip 2: Eliminate what you don’t enjoy or you didn’t see a return on investment in. You don’t have to be all things to all people. A year or so ago, I decided to not be on Meerkat and Periscope because it was too much to be on two different live streaming platforms. Meerkat has pivoted and that was the right decision for me at the time. The same is true for Vine. I loved the idea of Vine, but it just never seemed to work for me and my objectives and interestingly enough – Vine has closed up shop earlier this year. I recommend – pick a couple platforms and go all in with those. You can always add more as needed. For some of you, it will be Facebook and Instagram, others it will be Facebook and Snapchat or maybe for others it’s Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. At the end of the day – you have to do what’s right for you without spending all day on social media!
Tip 3: Use a content grid to map out your strategy. A content grid will get you thinking about the type of content you can share on social media. It is designed to give you a jump-start with ideas on what to post. The content grid is organized by looking at your main “buckets of content” and then it gives you ideas for those buckets. For example, if you are in real estate, a big “bucket of content” may be “Local Real Estate News.” Within that category on the content grid are ideas like: a favorite feature of a new listing, a screenshot of a recent testimonials, a quick video of you talking about the local market, a photo of your recent clients, and more. If you haven’t downloaded our free content grid, here is the link.
Tip 4: Create your 6-12 month content plan. Creating a few days of content could be daunting but 6-12 months? Yes, it can happen! Here is a recent post where we lay out how we did this recently. It’s vital to plan out at least a loose plan of attack for the next 6-12 months. It’s easy to tell yourself, “I want to be in the moment. I don’t know what I’ll feel like posting about. It’s too hard to plan that far out.” I can tell you from personal experience that when you have a plan – any plan – you will be more productive, you will spend less time on social media, you will be more effective with your time and you will generate more business because a plan will help you be consistent. A plan will ensure that you consistently post when and where you want to post and that consistency is where the magic happens! Remember – the best leads from social media are the ones that come from people who say things like, “I love reading your posts! I feel like you are in my head! I’ve been following you for years!”
Tip 5: Plan how you will repurpose your content each week. As you create content, you need to have a plan of how you will extend the life of your content and repurpose it. Instead of just creating a blog post or video and sharing it to social media – think about how you can slice and dice your content to re-purpose it. For example, if you have one blog post, you could:
- Create 3-5 Instagram graphics about that one post and share those graphics over the course of 1-2 weeks
- Create 3-5 Twitter graphics about that one post and share those graphics over the course of 1-2 weeks
- Post a link to your blog post on your Facebook Business Page and then re-post it again 7 days later, 30 days later and 6 months later. Add a reminder to yourself on your calendar to do this!
- Create 2 or 3 Snapchat or Instagram Stories sharing part of the your content with a call to action at the end to read your post
- Create a Facebook Live, Instagram Live or Periscope about your blog post with a call to action at the end to read your post
- Re-publish your blog post on Medium or LinkedIn with a link back to your original post.
Repurposing content is vital because it will help you not feel like you are ‘reinventing the wheel’ every day, it will extend the life of your content, it will drive more traffic to your website and it will help you be smart about how you share your content on each channel that you choose to be on.
Tip 6: Plan how you will engage with others and build your community. Remember, social media is not a one-way street and it can never be all about all the great content you are going to push out there. Want to annoy your audience? Be the person that just posts about your new blog posts or videos – tags 100 people and then never engages with any of them (or worse yet, never takes the time to comment, elevate or engage them on their posts!) No one wants to be this person, right? So make it part of your plan to decide how and when you will engage. For me, it’s a part of my morning coffee routine. I love sitting at my kitchen table every morning and going through each of my social media platforms and intentionally engaging; not just responding to notifications but engaging. Here are a few ways I do this (I usually pick a few things off this list to do daily):
- Snapchat: Listen to 5 Snap stories and be a good finder – look for a reason to engage and comment back on someone’s Snap story
- Instagram: Go through your Instagram feed and find 5 photos that really speak to you. Like and comment on the photos (post more than just “great photo” – make it a meaningful comment)
- Facebook Business Pages: Pick a Facebook List to go through – perhaps your Client List or Potential Client list and see who is doing something really awesome and find one thing that you can share on your Facebook Business Page. I love trying to be a ‘good finder!’
- Facebook Personal Profiles: Go to Facebook and see who has a birthday. Go to each of their Facebook profiles to see how they are doing and catch up on the last few things they have posted. Record a 30 second video and post it to their wall or send them a private message on Facebook.
- Facebook Groups: Go to BuzzSumo.com (I have a paid account) and click on Trending topics to find a few relevant and interesting articles for a few of the Facebook Groups you are a part of. Share one or two really great articles with one or two of the awesome Facebook Groups you are a part of.
- Twitter: Go to Twitter and pull up one of your lists – perhaps your local Media list and find one or two great articles that you can re-tweet. Look for something that you think someone else will also like and tag them in the tweet!
- LinkedIn: See who has a job anniversary or job promotion and reach out to 5 of them personally via email and send them a personal note (more than just ‘congratulations’)
Tip 7: Don’t forget about your email marketing strategy too! When it comes to an effective social media strategy – email marketing is like the kissing cousin. An effective and consistent email marketing plan will help get your content out to the people who want to receive it the most. I recommend determining which platform you will use; Mailchimp, Constant Contact or BombBomb are great places to start! (Full disclosure: I am an affiliate partner with BombBomb.)
I’d also recommend that you coordinate your email marketing efforts with your content calendar. Determine how often you will email your list; once a week, twice a month or monthly? We started with our weekly Saturday email newsletter and then grew from there. I’d also recommend thinking about how you can create a lead magnet to grow your lists. A lead magnet is simply a free item you can give of value in exchange for someone signing up for your email list. These two lead magnets for us have been extremely effective: our content grid and our Facebook Live cheat-sheet.
One more bonus tip – don’t be afraid to pivot and change as your year goes on. As 2017 unfolds, you may decide to change and edit your content calendar, you may choose to add or subtract social networks you engage on – and that is ok! The key here is to have a plan – use a calendar to time block until it becomes a habit and then stick to the plan (but be flexible enough to change as needed.)
If you’re looking for more help in creating your social media plan for 2017, check out our free social media strategy webinar. In this webinar I shared my ten steps to creating a successful social media strategy in 2017. Check it out!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – leave me a comment below or join us in our group on Facebook, the Social Media Forum!