You can take the stress out of your social media marketing process by organizing it into written plan that is consistently implemented. That organized and written plan can then be refined as you grow with it.
The key to an effective social media marketing plan is following specific rules that are organized into a process. Following that allows you and your team to capably respond to unforeseen challenges and opportunities, thereby avoiding social media overwhelm.
Organization is not an activity, but rather the design and implementation of proven practices that are Built-in – a planned structure that gives everyone confidence for the accomplishment of practical objectives that sustain the growth of the organization.
Social Marketing is a Process
While earning my college degree in the sciences I learned an important lesson about managing change. Put systems in place to control what is controllable, so that you can better respond to what you cannot control, which for social media could be changes in the networks, or simply the actions of other people.
As you know, the various social media networks do seem to change like the weather. So, instead of stressing about the inevitable changes to LinkedIn, YouTube, or Facebook, expect and plan for them by getting and keeping everything else organized to run like a well-oiled machine.
Your social media marketing process should include, but not be limited to the following best practices.
1. Actions you will take daily, weekly, and monthly. This is simply building a schedule to which your business is prepared to commit, such as a weekly newsletter, daily Facebook page updates, checking your blog or Twitter for comments, Facebook for birthdays, and so on.
2. Specific topics that your content marketing will address. This will keep you on topic and more aware of balancing the type of content you create and share across multiple channels. Limit this to as few as one, and preferably no more than seven topics.
3. Keywords and hashtags that you will use. Having a handy list of hashtags and keywords that relate to your topics will streamline your work.
4. Tools that you rely on. There are thousands of social media tools and many of them work quite well. Choose and limit your use to just a few, but do your homework to learn about newer and better ones as they come along.
5. Allocating time for research and education. All of us have to do research to learn. So, make a list of blogs and other resources to subscribe to, while also attending educational events online, or in person where you can make new connections.
6. Making lists of like-minded friends and colleagues that can help you. Try to organize your friends into categories of expertise. A quick email to a colleague can save hours of research.
7. Methods for batching your work to build in flexibility. Some of the more prolific marketers do all of their content creation in one focused period every week, rather than pushing it all to a deadline.
8. Allocating time for making progress with what you have been putting off. You can dramatically reduce your stress by committing to periodically fixing or updating one channel you have been ignoring. For many of us this is Pinterest, and for others it is your blog.
9. Write down your process steps. That alone will give you more confidence.
Refine Your Process
At this point you have practices that got you here. Applying even a few new practices on a regular basis will serve to refine your process into a valued resource. You’ll also discover it helps with recruiting good people who will recognize your business has a process in place to help them succeed.
The process of social media marketing comes down to understanding not just what to do, but also why. After years of working with thousands of small businesses as a social media coach and trainer I discovered the primary source of poor implementation, and often giving up altogether, could be reduced to simply not understanding why.
You absolutely have to believe your work will produce results, and that comes from knowing both why and how it works. This is the primary reason I wrote the book Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business.
Do yourself a favor and get the Introduction and 1st Chapter for free by clicking here. Reading just those 30 or so pages will teach you more than most small business will ever know about social marketing. Then take a look at the Table of Contents and you’ll get a sense of how the rest of the book builds on that essential foundation.
Everything in business is a process. What should be exciting is knowing that refining your social media marketing process will make your work easier, better, more readily managed as a team, or outsourced to skilled professionals.
Organize your social media marketing process; and have a plan for implementing it well.
Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)