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How to Make a Social Media Plan for Your Business

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How to Make a Social Media Plan for Your Business

By Tim Berry, Guest Blogger
Published: August 22, 2012 Updated: March 7, 2013

Online buzz about social media for business owners seems to be moving from “Should I” to “How do I?” I’ve been working on this a lot lately as part of my work on planning, and I’ve developed this process for a specific social media plan for small business:

Start with strategy

Define how your social media serves your business. Usually that’s in the marketing area of the business related to branding and awareness at the top of the marketing funnel, but it can also be focused on other business functions. For example, airlines are using Twitter for customer service, food trucks are using it for delivery by tweeting locations, and consultants use follower and like counts to validate their expertise.

Strategy is focus, so you need to sort through the different social media options. Community management expert Megan Berry of LiftFive in New York says, “Facebook tends to be more personal, so if a product is fun and consumer oriented, then Facebook is really good. Twitter has the advantages of public searches, and business searches, so you can see how much a given topic matters. Google+ is mostly techies, photography, and people who work at Google.” I think of LinkedIn as more about careers than specific businesses, and Pinterest as great for photo collections. You can’t do it all and the fastest road to failure is trying to please everybody, or do anything.

For purposes of illustration, my examples in the rest of this post focus on Twitter and use the terminology of Twitter. That’s just to make the narrative easier to follow.

Add specific tactics

The strategy means nothing without specific tactics. In social media that means making some practical decisions. For sake of illustration, imagine a manufacturer of environmentally better construction materials selling to a local market looking at Twitter. Here are some tactics to work through:

  • What accounts to follow: In our example, of course we’d follow people tweeting about homes, green construction, construction materials, architecture, and the building industry. Maybe also small business, small business management, and local business. Gardening, landscape architecture? We should also follow people representing the old-fashioned methods our green construction replaces, and yes, all of our competitors. And we’d definitely want to follow industry leaders, the best blogs, and media people for our industry.
  • What content to tweet and retweet: In our example we’d tweet about green building, construction, architecture, and homes for sure, to build a content stream that would attract like-minded people. We’d probably also tweet about local events, local businesses, and local people to attract local connections. But we would never offer content promoting the old-fashioned ways or our competition. We would set up programmed searches for hashtags like #green and #greenbuilding, #homes, and #greenhomes.  (Hashtags are a Twitter feature people use to aid searching for topics. People offering content include them in their tweets, so people searching can find them).
  • What to watch out for: We should set up searches to catch any mention of us especially, of course. Also, mentions of our competitors, substitutes or competing products, and (as much as possible) local building issues.
  • When to reach out: We’d want to watch for media people and issues that could create media opportunities for us, like interviews with the founder, or reviews in blogs or trade magazines. Reaching out in Twitter means either tweets mentioning specific handles or direct messages to specific people.
  • How to reach out: We’d want to reach out correctly and respectfully, only for specific cases and specific people. Direct messages should ever look or feel or act like spam.

Add Specific Metrics, Milestones, and Tracking

Your strategy and tactics are of no use without concrete specific steps, measurements, and tracking.

In our Twitter-oriented green construction materials example, we’d want set objective and trackable numeric targets for how many:

  • accounts to follow
  • new follows to add each month
  • tweets per day, week, and month
  • retweets to send
  • retweets we want to receive
  • followers we expect to add per month
  • leads we should get
  • web visits tracking from our tweets, retweets, and Twitter profile 

And for our review meetings, we’d want to start with actual numbers for each of these measurements. Then we’d review these results and discuss changes to the metrics, tactics, and strategy.

And that, all together, is a plan.

About the Author:

Tim Berry

Guest Blogger

Founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software and bplans.com, on twitter as Timberry, blogging at timberry.bplans.com. His collected posts are at blog.timberry.com. Stanford MBA. Married 44 years, father of 5. Author of business plan software Business Plan Pro and www.liveplan.com and books including The Plan As You Go Business Plan, published by Entrepreneur Press, 2008.

Comments:

Every serious business owner should therefore have a social media presence. It's a strong requirements in business nowadays.
And say that I did not know this site, here you are in my favorites! Thanks to the author.
Social media is growing all the time and it has become more an more important. Every serious business owner should therefore have a social media presence. If you don't then chances are you won't be taken seriously and you will appeal less trustable.
The problem using social media is there is lot of fake account, so sometimes we only get useless marketing.
I think of LinkedIn as more about careers than specific businesses, and Pinterest as great for photo collections. You can’t do it all and the fastest road to failure is trying to please everybody, or do anything.
I represent Del-Air Security in Orlando Florida and we rely on social media very heavily. I do recommend a business look at the all the platforms and decide what will work for them. There are so many to choose from and not all platforms are going to work for every business. Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube seem to be the main stream ones from what I can tell. Our security territory is rather large. We service customers from Daytona Beach to Kissimmee Florida so using social media has help us reach out beyond what traditional media can do. I also recommend hiring somebody or outsourcing the social media to a company who manages it. Having a dedicated person to manage your the social media for your business will be key to success. It's like a plant you must "water it" (feed content to it) for it to grow.
There are so many different types of social media accounts that you definitely need a strategy and plan to ensure you are utilizing the correct avenues and tracking your success. When considering which social media venues to choose, keep in mind your target market and how to best communicate with them. If you utilize data you have previously collected and always keep your target market in mind, you will have a good chance of being successful.
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This is details information must be sharing to the all the user thanks to the author for the supported keep up it. Thanks
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