A Strategic Social Media Plan is Still Relevant Going into 2024

Is your business still in denial about social media marketing? As of this year, three in five people worldwide—nearly five billion people—consume social media. How much might your business benefit by capturing even a fraction of this market?

While you wait, debating the importance of social media campaigning, your competitors are likely already planning theirs. Of course, businesses can still thrive without a social media presence. But it will take longer for your brand’s voice to break out of the crowd. In the meantime, you’ll miss out on crucial digital opportunities to connect with new audiences—or build loyalty among existing ones.  

Team illustrating a social media plan
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The Foundations of a Detailed Social Media Plan

Most success stories start with a plan—a goal, a strategy to achieve said goal, a list of expected results and contingency measures for if things go wrong. Social media marketing is no different. You can’t just throw content at the wall and expect people to respond. Your products often have certain markets in mind—and it makes sense to talk to them in language they understand and connect to. This means setting the right tone, choosing the right content and choosing the right channel.

At the same time, you need to set clear goals and define your objectives. The point of engaging in social media is to connect your brand with the right audience. However, you’ll need to be specific on your endpoints. Are you looking for new customers, or trying to increase existing customer loyalty? Do you want to educate your audience, or share experiences? By establishing clear objectives, you can develop content that your audience resonates with.

Understanding the Role of Content

Now that your social media plan is taking shape, it’s time to focus on the most integral part of the plan: the content itself. You’ll need to develop coherent, compelling content strategy to keep your audiences wanting more.

Your choice of content should align with your wider social media plan objectives. Whether you want to increase brand awareness, grow your revenue or keep your customers loyal, your content should follow the script. Simply creating a video telling people to come visit your store won’t create much of an impact. Instead, take time to research your target audience and see what cues excite them.

The Four Content Pillars

Most content falls under one or more of the following pillars:

  • Promotional content is the most direct form of content. It openly calls for the audience to make a purchase or support the brand.
  • Entertainment content aims to do exactly as the name implies—to entertain. It often shares engaging stories aimed at connecting the audience with the brand.
  • Educational content goes a step beyond entertaining audiences, informing, inspiring and motivating them as well.  
  • Conversational content addresses specific issues concerning the brand or industry. It spurs the audience into further engagement by generating reactions.

A well-designed social media plan addresses all four pillars with a variety of articles. However, you may find that this doesn’t necessarily demand four strict lanes—some content can tick multiple boxes at once.

For example, say a home improvement company wants to see more DIYers visit their stores (online or physical). Should they make promotional content asking people to come visit the stores for a wide selection of DIY products? Sure, but that doesn’t differentiate the company from any of its competitors. Instead, the brand might opt to produce a series of educational—and hopefully entertaining—content that homeowners can easily follow. Whether it’s simply fixing furniture or a complex porch installation, a DIY post is more likely to engage the intended audience.

This content can also serve as indirect promotion. At some point, the narration might mention the actual brand materials used in this project. When DIYers decide to start their project, they’ll find the brand ready to help.  

Types of Engaging Content

So what sort of content should brands make? Different formats appeal to different audiences, so be sure to choose the one that fits. The content pillar can also prove a factor, as some formats favor certain objectives.

Some popular digital content genres include:

  • Blog posts
  • Email newsletters
  • Presentations
  • White papers
  • Brochures
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Interactive websites
  • Graphics
  • Social posts
  • Online games
  • Apps

What works best for your brand depends on the objective and your audience.

Incorporate a healthy mix of industry content and brand information. Focusing too much on the industry takes attention away from the brand. However, posting about the brand too much reduces your credibility as an industry authority. This is where a broader social media plan can help; with the help of a content calendar, you can distribute your output schedule so as not to oversaturate any topic or overuse a format.

Additionally, you can employ certain content management solutions to better handle your resources. Content management systems (CMS) can help you organize, access and store your entire digital library, positioning each asset ready for use anytime.

Visual Storytelling and Branding

When developing your social media content, don’t rely too heavily on text-based posts. We live in a quick-scrolling social media landscape; expecting a viewer to stop for a wall of text is an exercise in futility. On the other hand, dynamic graphics and video content can keep audiences focused.

For example, instead of simply laying down numbers in a chart or as part of a text block, infographics turn these figures into interesting snippets on their own. Similarly, a presentation slideshow might help you deliver information while holding viewers’ attention. A well-designed presentation won’t overburden its audiences with blocks of paragraphs or bulleted lists. Instead, slides should focus on powerful visuals consisting of images or charts, with a few choice words for emphasis.

Branding Matters

Whatever format you ultimately choose, be sure to always apply consistent branding. Your output should always reflect your voice, tone and personality; this way, audiences learn to identify with your’s brand particular flair.

Branding via hashtags is also a popular option. Using hashtags helps connect your content to a wider ecosystem of related content; when viewers explore the specific hashtag, they’ll also access relevant info from other sources. At the same time, hashtags allow audiences to share their own experiences and directly connect with your content.

Tips and Best Practices for Crafting a Relevant Social Media Plan

While it remains true that content is king, it’s always a good idea for your content to keep within the kingdom’s boundaries. Having a great social media plan helps in this respect. By staying within the set goals, playing to the target audiences and choosing the right platforms, brands can remain the sole masters of their domains.

Here are some more tips and best practices to keep in mind when developing your social media plan:

Find Your One Thing

Unless you’re an exclusive monopoly with a global license, your business isn’t unique. One or more competitors will always be around to claim that their offering is better than yours. Before your market concurs, find your unique selling proposition (USP).

This is the one thing that your brand is famous for (think of, for example, how Burger King is the “home of the Whopper.” Outside of quippy marketing slogans, however, your USP shows the world what makes you more appealing than the others. Whatever that one thing is, find it quickly—and talk about it consistently across the content spectrum.

Take a Pulse

Before upending your entire social media campaign, take a moment to find out if your current strategy is helping or hindering desired effect. Is your brand awareness increasing? Are you getting rave reviews and seeing an increase in sales? If yes, by how much?

Checking your results against set targets is a great way to see if you’re on track to achieve your goals. If things are better than expected, keep the pressure on to maintain forward momentum. Meanwhile, if interest is slow but steady, find ways to pick up the pace and increase engagement.

If the entire campaign fell flat from the beginning, maybe it’s time to save resources and pull the plug. In all three scenarios, metrics and analytics can help provide an accurate reading. Insights generated from analytics can suggest the best course of action to improve the situation.

Add Interactivity  

When disseminating ideas and information, find the most engaging way to get your message across. For example, infographics might work better at telling a numbers-based story than displaying a chart. However, making that infographic interactive with clickable elements can make the content even more interesting. Alternatively, content creators might present the information in the form of interactive quizzes.

Straightforward videos can also benefit from interactivity. Adding pop-up trivia or interactive quizzes during video playback can make the audience more responsive to the content. Similarly, playing personalized content based on a viewer’s choices—a “choose your own adventure” approach—can keep them coming back for more.

Adapting to Change: Navigating New Trends and Technologies

Over the past few years, emerging social media trends have changed the landscape considerably. Brands and businesses should stay on top of the situation to leverage these changes.  

Utilizing AI

Like it or not, artificial intelligence (AI) is now a key component of content creation and customer service. With a few creative prompts, you can create images, text and even presentations on the fly.

Data Analytics and Decision-Making

Simple engagement metrics like “likes,”  shares and follower counts can’t provide the whole story for your campaign. Other factors such as choice of platform, how long viewers linger to read content or which posts generate interest can prove more helpful. Thankfully, modern analytics can provide all this data and more! This help marketing teams fine-tune campaigns and accomplish objectives with more finesse.  

Synergy Across Marketing Channels

A great social media plan leads to a great social media campaign—which in turn integrates across with strategies and channels for yet wider impact. For example, successfully shared content can always be repackaged for email newsletters; this helps branding stories reach prospects’ inboxes directly.

Meanwhile, search engine optimization (SEO) clues you into what prospects are searching for online. Marketers with knowledge of SEO and mastery of SEO tools can incorporate these keywords into social media content to access a broader—yet more precise—audience.  

Ingage Helps You Execute Your Perfect Social Media Plan

Part of a great social campaign is knowing which material to use at the right time—and which tools can help you do so. A reliable content management tool can help sales and marketing teams manage their digital assets.

Ingage is a top-tier presentation software—but it’s also so much more than that. At heart, it’s also the ultimate collaboration tool, helping remote teams collaborate on presentations and campaigns in real time.

But aside from these collaborative cloud features, Ingage empowers users to create highly interactive stories that follow the audiences’ personal sales journeys. Built-in analytics track if and when users get bogged down—or worse, completely disengage. Content creators can then step in and make the necessary adjustments.

Learn more about how Ingage can be your team’s ultimate content management and collaboration platform. Sign up for a free demonstration today!

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