Planning + Communication + Execution = Social Media Success
Have you struggled or even failed with your company's social media marketing plan?
Have you created tons of posts with no results?
Have you spent thousands of dollars on ads and boosts to have a 0% conversion rate?
Have you hired professionals to do it for you with not much better results?
The question here is why isn't it working?...
In this article I will try to briefly tackle the primary reasons social media marketing often fails for companies.
When it comes to social media marketing, having a clear plan of not only what you are going to do, but also when, why, how, who, and what it's going to take to accomplish it. All too often, companies rarely sit down and create a schedule for the week, month, quarter, or year, and if they do it's very vague. Plans such as "we're going to post 2 times per week" or "I'm going to start doing videos every week about ____" are nowhere near detailed enough to stay on top of your social media marketing. For most companies a good plan should have two layers, if you want to think of it that way.
Layer 1- High-level month over month or week over week plan- This should look something like:
3- Posts per week on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. One of the posts will be a business service or advertisement post, one will be a personal or more human-nature post, and one will be a P.R., cross promotion, or local event post.
1- General exposure or brand awareness ad per month.
1- Re-targeting ad per month.
1- Lead generation ad per month.
This gives you a rough outline to work off of month after month and simplifies the process of you creating more detailed social media marketing plans in the future.
With this high-level social media plan in place, you and your team can now create a more specific plan for each day that you have scheduled. The way we like to do this is simply building a monthly calendar in Excel and as a team, brainstorming specific posts ideas for each of the days we have planned. For example: if we're planning posts for a mortgage company, the business service post for one week would get broken down to something such as "interest rates are near all time lows, link the post to company website daily rates page. Use a photo of loan officer for graphic". This also includes assigning who will be taking care of which posts, who will get the pictures or videos if needed, and any other required steps or tasks.
If you don't do this planning up front, then things more often than not, get forgotten or slip through the cracks, you get busy and don't have time for it, and your intentions of a strong social media marketing plan go to the wayside. Additionally, with lack of planning, you run the risk of your team not being clear on who is responsible for doing what and this then creates stress and conflict.
Remember, "If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
Life is crazy at times between work, home life, kids, pets, clients, politics, pandemics, riots, and all the other millions of things that are biding for our attention. This chaos often causes people to forget to communicate clearly and effectively with others. The problem here, when dealing with your social media marketing success, is that if those involved aren't communicating then your whole plan is destroyed. Here's a hypothetical situation to demonstrate:
John is the social media marketing manager for a medium-sized construction company. John is working off of the plans that the marketing and sales teams put together 3 months ago and has been diligently making sure all the plans are carried out properly. From what John can see, the social media posts are getting great engagement, the ads have a great click through rate, and they are getting 5 lead forms per week filled out online. As far as John knows, things are going great with the social media marketing for their company. At the same time, Sarah, the sales manager, has not been getting good conversion rates from the social media leads or getting an uptake in calls from people who are engaging on social media posts. She then starts complaining to her bosses and coworkers that the social media is a waste of time or that John doesn't know what he's doing. During this process, neither one of these individuals are checking with the other to see how things are going or to compare their analytics and results. This leads each party to believe that the other one isn't doing their job properly or is simply looking to place the blame somewhere else.
This example is EXTREMELY common when dealing with many different avenues of marketing, and especially social media marketing for companies. The sales team blames the marketing team, and the marketing team blames the sales team. Sound familiar? Had the two departments worked together, they would have realized that, while the social media marketing analytics were looking good, they weren't reaching the correct people or demographics to convert to customers. They could have then adjusted their strategy to attempt to reach a different demographic. The point here is that had there been clear communication, the results could have been very different. While it's important to have a well laid-out plan, you've got to check if it's working the way you were hoping and planning for it to, and if not, course correct. This requires honest, effective communication.
The first two parts are pointless if people don't execute. Knowing what to do, and what does or doesn't work makes no difference if the individuals responsible for specific parts aren't fulfilling their duties. Part of planning needs to be making sure the right people are assigned to each task so that it actually gets done, and gets done right (and on time). Too often people plan based on what they "can do" but that is often not what they "will actually do". The problem arises when the person responsible for taking these photos doesn't like doing it, forgets, or simply isn't good at doing it. This then creates an issue for the social media manager as they aren't getting what they need to fulfill the plan that was established ahead of time. This then causes the quality of content to suffer and the results to be less than they should have been. It creates the same cycle of things breaking down and the sales team blaming the marketing team for the social media not driving sales. A great example is taking photos or videos for the social media posts. Imagine a rep is working a booth at an event and they are supposed to be taking photos during it for a scheduled social media post. However, like so many others who simply don't like taking photos or they get busy, it easily slips their mind. The social media marketing team then has to either find other photos to use or create a graphic in its place which are nowhere near as effective as original photos or videos. The marketing team then blames the sales team for not getting them the photos or videos they needed to do their job effectively so that they could drive more results to the sales team. This then creates conflict and yet again, the social media marketing is nowhere near as effective as it should be.
In other words, if one part is missed or one person drops the ball on their responsibilities, then everyone suffers.
THE BIG PICTURE
When you're looking at marketing for your company, and specifically social media marketing, you've got to look at all three aspects of this process. You've got to create a plan ahead of time that is manageable, strategic, and trackable. ALL PARTIES need to communicate what is going on, good, bad, or anywhere in between. And finally, everyone has to do their part to make it work. If you can complete these steps, you have a chance at having a strong social media marketing plan for your company.
If you aren't able to execute on all three of these steps yourself, then hire people to do it for you who will make sure it gets done right!