Easy as 1, 2, 3 (Always Have a Plan)
When creating my social media accounts, I didn’t really put much thought into. However, as time went on, I’ve come to realize that if you have a plan or a strategy for your social media posts, that it is easier to keep it clean and productive. Having a social media schedule is an important key to running a social media account. But before you make a schedule, you should analyze your accounts and follow steps to help you stay on track with the image you want to convey.
Step 1: Set goals and create marketing objectives.
Without goals, you don’t have a way to know if you are being successful with marketing your brand. Your goals should target your broader marketing strategy and your objectives will focus in and be more specific to help you reach your goals. But how do we set goals? When setting goals, you must always keep your audience in mind. Include your audience demographics in your plan so that you know the best goals to make and what kind of people you are trying to reach.
When setting a goal, I have always been taught to make S.M.A.R.T. Goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. For example, a goal that I set myself for this semester, my last semester of college, is to have all of my graduate school applications completed before I graduate in April, including the schools that have rolling admissions. That goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant for me, and has a specific time when I need to achieve it.
Goals are not meant to be long-term. Now you can have long-term goals, but it is good to have short-term goals as well. It is good to set goals for three months, six months, and twelve months because that gives you time to achieve each of the goals. This is a good strategy to make goals for your social media networks.
To help you achieve the goals you have set, now you must set objectives to help those goals become attainable. An objective is set to help you know how you are going to achieve that goal in detail. For my personal goal in my life this semester, I set objectives to help me stay focused on my goal.
One of my objectives is to complete my applications monthly in order by deadline. For the applications that are rolling deadlines, I will complete those last before I graduate from college in April.
When setting that objective, I knew in my mind that my goal will is attainable. This is the same for making a social media plan. Lets say your goal is to increase followers by 100 in the next 3 months. After taking into account what your audience is and what your audience wants to see, you can set objectives on what to post weekly or daily to drive more people to your accounts and get them to push that follow button. How much will you need to change your account or improve your accounts? That leads us to the next step.
Step 2: Conduct a social media audit.
After making your goals you should analyze your accounts and make sure that they are meeting the objectives you have for each account and if they aren’t, you should make notes on how to make those changes. There is an easy to use chart for this way of analyzing all of your social media accounts.
When creating your social media audit, list all of your social media accounts and provide the links to each of them. Then give the purpose of each account. What is it for? Is it a personal account? Is it open for the public to see? Is it for your personal use or is it for branding? These are important questions to ask yourself when creating your social media audit. Another important question to ask yourself is, are your accounts appropriate for an employer to see?
If they are not appropriate for employers, you have two options. You can either put your account on private or you can make the change to create a better environment on your social media accounts that makes it more employer friendly.
Then, once you have decided what the purpose of each account is, ask yourself if the account is meeting that purpose. If it is, then great, if not, you then need to decide how you are going to change your account and redirect it to meet that purpose. Put those changes that you need to make in the change section of the spreadsheet. Now you know what you need to change!
Step 3: Make the change!
Now you need to re-invent your social media accounts. By doing this, you will be increasing your credibility, creating a better environment for people who might be visiting your accounts, and making your accounts more appropriate for your brand.
When I did my social media audit, I learned that most of my social media accounts were not appropriate for employers. With knowing that, I put my personal accounts on private and created new accounts that would be more professional and more appropriate for the public and for employers.
After making a new Instagram account to keep more professional, I began with just posting some pictures so that it would look like I actually use my account. Then, I created a schedule for that account so that I can keep up with it and relate it to what I am working on professionally each week.
As a part of making the change, look to other accounts for inspiration on how to best run your account and market the brand that is you. Looking to others for inspiration is a huge part of this step because while looking at other accounts, you cans what works and what doesn’t work and you can see what you like and what you don’t like. Then it is kind of just trial and error to see what works best for you. The good thing about a social media account is that you can always delete something from the face of your account. Keep in mind though that everything you post stays on the internet, but that is a lesson for another time.
Try this easy set of steps for your social media plan and comment how it works. Or if you have something that works better for you, leave a comment and share your thoughts.