3 Steps to a Powerful & Easy Social Media Plan
If you’re just getting started with coming up with a social media marketing strategy, you’re probably overwhelmed and not sure where to start or how to create a plan for you or your business. I’ve got you covered – we’ll go over everything in this post, and I’ll give you resources and templates with a step-by-step framework to follow. You’ll have a laid out social media marketing plan at the end!
Knowing where to start is difficult.
Which platforms do you focus on?
How many times do you post?
How do you even come up with a social media marketing strategy that actually builds your business??
And how do you do it all without driving yourself crazy?
If you are starting from scratch, I have three easy steps that will help you build out your strategy from start to finish with this post!
Blogging and growing an online business means suddenly having an overloaded to-do list that can be overwhelming. Add kids, family, school, homework, full time jobs, chores, errands, etc – you start to wonder how people even become full-time bloggers in the first place?
Like, how do they even have time to cook a full dinner for the family AND write 3 blog posts that week, AND social media posts for 4 platforms while staying sane and have time to refill their cup every week?
The trick is to be smart about how you set up your workflow.
If you’ve been to my blog before, I often preach about creating systems and workflows to get your business running smoothly and with clarity (YES it’s possible!) as well as successfully growing and scaling it to a point where you can step away.
It’s your job to fire yourself as quickly as possible – and by that, I mean to build a business so you’re working ON it: seeing the big picture, rather than IN it: editing posts, writing captions, and trying to brainstorm hashtags for days.
To get rid of the social media struggle of trying to manage multiple platforms – I’ve devised a way to utilize your current content, a swipe file, and templates to create a system that WORKS. And it will take hours off your plate every day, every week, and every month.
Using this method, you won’t be glued to social media platforms.
You won’t be forever trying to come up with ideas to post or captions to write.
You also won’t be spending hours in Canva trying to design the perfect pin or Instagram post.
And best of all, you can have time to actually sit back and enjoy your hard work!
It’s all about working smarter, not harder.
And in this post I’ll show you how!
Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. This goes to help support and run The Success Mountain website and keep the free information flowing!
1 | Make a few quick decisions for your social media plan
The first thing you’ll have to do is decide on a social media plan – but I promise, it’s easy! We’re just going to come up with one platform to start with, and based on that platform will help us determine how we need to structure our plan.
Decide on ONE platform to focus on
You’ve heard that you have to be on all platforms to really start growing and increasing your reach – but that’s just a recipe for overwhelm if you start out that way.
Instead, we’re going to take one platform over at a time.
As the Chinese proverb says – if you chase two rabbits, both will escape. So just focus on one platform until you master it. Once you find that it’s easier to handle, you can move onto another platform.
Most posts about creating a social media marketing strategy talk about “go where your audience is”. Which, is true, but what does that really even mean?
Well – it depends on your niche.
One way to find out where your audience is, is to use BuzzSumo to search for your competitors websites, and see which platform has the most shares.
My two recommended platforms to start with are between Pinterest and Facebook just because that’s where I’m currently focused.
If you are better at Twitter, though, use Twitter.
If you’re better at Instagram, try Insta.
If you aren’t getting the results you want within, say, 1-2 months, switch to another platform. Don’t completely stop on that one, just switch the majority of your focus to another one.
Test, test, test – that’s what all of social media is about!
The biggest players right now:
- Pinterest – good for almost all bloggers unless you are in a very niche category. This is where most bloggers say they get the majority of their traffic, other than SEO traffic from Google. Every single blog post I write has several pins that I pin onto Pinterest. This is my platform of choice at the moment.
- Twitter – Good for quick whips, small, tiny messages. You have to be good at fitting small messages and entertaining quips to get someone to click on your profile.
- Instagram – Great for portraying a ‘story’ about your brand using beautiful images. I think the growth of your account on this platform will go up quickly, but I often hear that it doesn’t translate to real customers that go to your website. Since this platform is all about images, you will have to plan for branded photoshoots, and you should be utilizing IGTV (Instagram TV), which means live video.
- Facebook – Facebook is another great platform. Since almost everyone who is on the internet is on Facebook, this platform involves almost anyone who could be your audience. If your audience isn’t on Pinterest, this is the next platform I recommend trying. You can find groups to participate in, create your own group, etc. With Facebook, the key is to network – a lot.
- Youtube – I think this is where our online world is headed. Second to GOOGLE ITSELF, Youtube is the next biggest search engine. I know, I know – it’s video, it’s hard, it’s scary – but I honestly think video is the future. It’s not being utilized nearly as much at the moment, so get on it while it’s hot!
Do a deep dive into each social media platform
After deciding what platform you want to use, you’ll want to do a deep dive into researching the platform. I spent a good 2-3 weeks researching Pinterest, and getting to learn everything I could.
Here’s some of the best resources to start your research:
- Social Media Examiner – This website is really helpful for keeping up with the most up to date information on multiple platforms. They have such good tips!
- 500 Social Media Marketing Tips: this book was given to me as a gift, and even though it might be slightly outdated, there are some golden gems in there to jumpstart your success on each platform.
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World: This is the best book to read examples for every single platform. It was incredibly helpful for me to see good and bad examples of what to do and what not to do. If you only read ONE thing, this is it!
- Simple Pin Podcast and Blog – Kate Ahl, the owner of Simple Pin Media, helps online business owners strategize and grow their Pinterest account. She has a podcast, which is packed full of useful tidbits in every episode!
Craft your social media plan
So now that you’ve armed yourself with some research, we can figure out what you want to tackle in terms of posting schedules, and content.
How often should you post?
In a perfect world, you’d post like 10 times a day on each platform, because each platform has a very fast expiring viewing period for each post (except Pinterest, where you can find pins that are years old mixed with brand new posts).
Each new post gets pushed further and further down. If you get good traction and engagement, the platform (like Facebook and Instagram) will show it to more people. Otherwise, it will be lost in the black hole of social media.
The goal is to test, test, and test some more to find those that gain traction. Then, do more of that.
- Facebook – 10 times/day is about the goal
- Pinterest – 10-30 times/day (it’s best to use an automated system for this)
- Twitter – 10 times/day
Just hearing 10 posts per day is probably enough to make you uncomfortable. How do you get this all done?
It’s completely understandable. This is why we are starting with one platform only!
How to post on social media every day without going insane?
The secret is to use software, and to batch your posts! We’ll talk about creating your posts quickly later, but for now, get familiar with the software’s available.
Yes, you will have to pay for most of these.
Can you get away with using software for free for a while? Sure! A lot of them have free trials that you can use to test it out. But be mindful of the auto-renewal.
Do you have to use software to post on social media? Absolutely not!
You can do this manually. I once heard of a lady who would set a timer on her phone to pin something on Pinterest every 30 minutes. It’s doable, but maybe not very fun.
Here’s a list of software I currently know of to automate your social media posting, and their current pricing for their entry plans:
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest
Free up to 30 scheduled posts
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
Pinterest and Instagram
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram
Pro – $15/mo for 100 scheduled posts (That’s enough for 3 months 1x/day, or 5x a day for 20 days)
Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram (coming soon)
Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram
$24+/month for commercial use (businesses)
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn
Solo plan: $12/mo
You’ll want to look into the features of each software before you sign up. Most offer trials, and some are fantastic for other things. For example, Coschedule is supposedly amazing. I’ve heard great things about it – but I haven’t spent the money on it yet.
So the secret to posting on social media daily without going insane is to utilize the software. And batching, which we will talk about later.
But for now, I recommend writing a monthly reminder in your calendar to sit down and create each post.
Next, let’s talk about what kind of posts to write!
Using a swipe file for social media content
Now that you’ve decided on a platform, and hopefully a schedule, we have to come up with ideas to post.
I recommend using a swipe file to come up with the best ideas you see around the internet (steal like an artist)! Save any that strike your fancy, and write down anything you think of.
Immediately, start collecting ideas that you see that you love, and what you know your audience would love. Start to tell your brand story, sneaking in little tidbits here and there. Also, any posts you see doing well on a competitors account – save those, too, just remember NOT TO COPY.
There’s different types of content formats you can use for your social strategy:
- Inspirational photos – quotes, facts, images, personal stories
- Infographics – something in your niche that people need to know
- Asking questions – what do you want to know about your readers? Fill in the blanks, asking for advice, “caption this” photos or polls
- Entertaining content – holidays, memes, contests, jokes, predictions
- Educational content – case studies, FAQ’s, blog posts, videos
Quotes, images, ideas, types of posts, etc – write it all down somewhere like your notes in your phone, or a Trello board.
My automated Trello editorial calendar is perfect for this! You can use this for things like creating categories of posts (helpful, educational, questions, tips, behind-the-scenes, etc), put in all of your ideas, and as you create the post, a checklist automatically appears to make sure you aren’t missing any steps.
This means when you sit down to craft out your social media content for the month, you have ideas and templates to draw from!
2 | Repurpose your content for social media marketing
One of the most overwhelming parts of social media is figuring out what to post. Despite having a swipe file and different categories and content formats to fall back on, you’re still stuck each month trying to figure out what the heck to post.
Enter: a content funnel!
Creating a content funnel
A content funnel is something I kind of figured out on my own. Well, I did see some other bloggers explain repurposing content, but I found a way to do it for myself that works really well – and I wanted to share it with you.
Basically, I take the most important piece of content for my business (blog posts, or videos) and I use pieces of that content to trickle down to social media.
First, decide what your core piece of content is going to be. Again, mine is blog posts currently.
Then, what other pieces of content do you make for your business? If you plan on doing Youtube videos, or Facebook lives, or IGTV episodes, just images, Twitter quips, etc – those will be included.
That’s the funnel. Just utilize the same blog post into:
- Videos (use the same outline)
- Podcasts or audio pieces
- An email course
- An email opt-in or lead magnet
- An email newsletter
- Anything you need for your business!
Just the relief of taking that load off really helps! No need to recreate the wheel! You’re already spending a ton of time creating that first piece of content, no need to drive yourself crazy. Plus, your social media posts will be more consistent towards what you’re currently promoting and talking about.
Match up your content formats (what type of content it is – educational, behind-the-scenes, etc) with your content funnels (directly above) to make sure you’re giving a wide variety to your audience.
Then spend just a few minutes on each piece of content writing out what you want to promote for the month.
What do you want to post about?
What caption do you want it to have?
What hashtags do you want to use?
3 | The cheat sheets – my favorite tricks for my social media strategy
Batch your content creation
First, for those who haven’t heard of batching – what is batching?
It’s where you do each step in the process, but for all of your posts at one time.
For example, I wrote 9 blog posts in week one of January, for the entire month. Each day that week, I have a step. Write outlines, titles, etc.
I write all the titles for all the posts at one time.
Then, I move onto writing all of the outlines.
Then, I move onto creating all of the images, etc.
For social media posts, you will write out your calendar first.
Then you’ll look through your swipe file and decide what pieces you want to share.
Then you will look at your core pieces in your content funnel and pull out pieces from there to share.
Then, write out your captions and hashtags.
Then you will do all of the images.
And finally, you will schedule them all at once. Voila!
I know it sounds like a lot – but it goes by really fast once you get really focused.
Imagine trying to do one at a time – the horror! It would take daaaays.
So, why you need to batch your content?
It saves you SO. Much. Time. Here’s a great podcast by Jennifer Kutcher who talks about batching in depth.
When to batch your content?
Darling, as soon as possible! I would start with your content funnel, and then once a month when your social media reminder goes off! Do it all at once, schedule it, and -snap-snap- it’s done for the entire month!
Using social media templates
So now that you’ve learned batching is great and plan on starting it – I think it’s vital to introduce you to using templates.
Templates + batching = a completely winning strategy for making social media easy and fast.
And we all need more of that in our businesses!
The best part about templates is that you can have them ready to go and you don’t have to worry about designing your templates every time you sit down to create your social media strategy for the month.
You can create the templates yourself, but if you’re not a fan of doing the designs, you can simply purchase them and copy them in Canva.
Yes, you can use them in Canva!!
You don’t have to have Photoshop skills for these bad boys.
My favorite place to get templates is CreativeMarket:
Powered by Creative Market
Powered by Creative Market
Powered by Creative Market
This template bundle comes with templates for all three platforms: Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Powered by Creative Market
With templates such as these, your posts are already branded, they’re designed, you know they look good, and once you do this for a few months, you can see what pieces of content perform best, introduce new designs and A/B test your social media content easier and more consistently.
What a peach, eh? I love them!
Creating an easy and content-full social media strategy designed to engage your audience
Coming up with a social media marketing plan that’s simple, easy, and doesn’t take up time every single day is hard to do.
Luckily, I’ve found a method that works really well for me and I was able to share it in this post with you!
Instead of feeling burnt out, frustrated, and overwhelmed with the amount of things a blogger has to do to build their audience, you can feel assured, have clarity, and a big sigh of relief knowing that everything is scheduled and ready to go for you already.
No more sitting in bed at 11 pm realizing you haven’t put anything up on Instagram for the day – or forgetting to repin on Pinterest in the middle of dinner with the in-laws.
We talked about how to come up with the right social media plan for your business, how to re-purpose your content in the most time-cost effective way, and why templates and batching are the most amazing aspect of my online business!
By creating a simplified and – most importantly – easy social media plan with these techniques, you can focus on actually GROWING your blog, instead of swimming upstream trying to stay afloat with everything on your to-do list.
Throw that list out, utilize these strategies instead and you’ll be coming back to thank me – I promise!
Want to save this for later? Pin it to your favorite Pinterest board!