Eight steps to creating an effective social media marketing plan

Creating an online marketing strategy is key when making the decision to include social media to your marketing plan. You need a plan that will help you asses the viability while knowing the steps that you will need to take as well as aiding you in staying focused on your goals.
Your marketing plan can also help you save money and time by ensuring that you follow a systematic approach to your marketing campaign. Incase you are not careful, social networking alone can consume a big chunk of your time if you lose focus of the overall picture of what you are trying to achieve.
Here are eight basic steps to creating an effective social media marketing plan
i. Assessment
Find out what is available in your niche market, what your competitors are doing and determine if your potential customers are indeed using these social media platforms. With answers to your assessment, you can go ahead and set your goals.
ii. Purpose
You need to outline the main reason why you are using social media and identify the various social media platforms that you can use for your campaign.
iii. Goals
Come up with at least three specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound (SMART) goals. With your goals set, come up with an action plan that will help you reach your goals.
iv. Content
Determine the kind of content that you intend on publishing, whether they are blog posts, tweets, facebook page updates or YouTube videos. Your content plan should include the topics of your content as well as the frequency and channel through which it will be published.
v. Keywords
You need to determine the kind of keywords that your customers are using when searching your products online. Keyword research is an important aspect of your content development too. Find the right keywords and add them to your content.
vi. Optimization
Find out all the available platforms and link them up together to help you save time. For instance, consider linking your blog to facebook and twitter so that all blog posts published automatically feeds updates to other networks. Have a flowchart which will help you understand what automatically goes to which network in order to avoid double posting.
vii. Monitoring
Track your results as much as you can. Keep a record of your contacts, facebook friends, page likes and Google results for your names, business and keywords. Check your results monthly to see if there is any changes. Read your web analytics and adjusts your keywords and tactics to fit with what is working well for your business. With social media marketing, you may want to set goals related to your brand identity and levels of engagement.
viii. Schedule
Commit time to scheduling all the aspects of your marketing and work at it to remain on top of things while sticking to your plan. Always stay focused and use your time wisely.
Following these steps will help you come up with an effective social media marketing plan that will help you save time and money while generating a good return on your investment.