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How to Set up a Social Media Plan in 8 Simple Steps

Setting up a social media plan is one of the best ways to kickstart your strategy and give your engagement a boost!

But with multiple social channels, campaigns, and products to think about, setting aside time to plan out your social media can feel overwhelming.

We’ve put together this guide to help create a social media plan with minimal stress and maximum results. Just follow these 8 simple steps:

Create Social Media Plan Step #1: Choose the Right Platforms for You

When you’re choosing what social media platforms to use, you need to first think about your demographic. So the first question you should ask yourself is “what platforms are my target audiences most engaged on?”

A brand with a product targeted at a younger audience might want to skip Facebook and LinkedIn, and instead focus on platforms with a younger average user age, like Instagram and TikTok.

Instagram Business Account Insights

For example, TikTok has a predominantly younger audience of 14 to 25-year-olds, and the Gen Z population is loving the platform for it’s informal and fun videos.

While on Pinterest, half of all U.S. millennials use Pinterest every month, and of its global audience, 66% is female aged 25-54.

Later Pinterest-Desktop

Knowing who your audience is and where they’re spending the most time scrolling is really important if you want to successfully map out our social media plan.

This might take a little trial and error, but if you have a clear focus on your brand’s audience, and regularly check in with your current social audiences’ performance with analytics, you’ll quickly see where your audience is most engaged.

TIP: Already have an Instagram account? You can review your Instagram performance with Later Analytics! 

Later’s Instagram Analytics includes all the insights you know and love from the Instagram app, plus additional data for calculating your best times to post, engagement rate, click-through rate, and more.

Instagram Analytics: Later Analytics Audience

If you’re not active on social media for your brand yet — don’t worry! You can use your business plan to review who you’d like to target. Or take a look at your competitors’ activity on social, and industry benchmarks and reports.

Take a look at what you can do with Later’s new and improved Instagram Analytics, available now to Instagram business profiles on all paid plans:

 

Create Social Media Plan Step #2: Choose the Right Social Handles

Whether you’re creating a social media plan from scratch or reviving your existing strategy, it’s a good idea to review your social handles for your current or new platforms.

If possible, it’s great to have the same social media handles across all your platforms. If you can’t, just keep them as similar as possible.

For example, wellness brand Well+Good uses a variation of their brand name to make sure they are cohesive across all their platforms. Using the handle @iamwellandgood, the brand is easy to identify, while having a name that resonates with their brand message!

Well+Good-Example

Ideally, your handles will be short and easy to spell. That will help your audience remember them.

If your handle is more than one word, make sure they look ok without any spaces in between them. You can use periods or underscores to break your words if you’re struggling to find a handle that works.

For example, The Social Media CEO Instagram account uses a period to break up their handle name:

Instagram profile-example

Create Social Media Plan Step #3: Make Goals for Each Platform

Before you start posting and planning out content, it’s important to set some goals. This will make it a lot easier to track your progress and analyze what you’re doing right, and where there’s room for improvement.

To help you map our your ambitions, we’ve put together a handy guide on setting realistic and achievable social media goals for you to check out.

Be sure to write down goals for each of your social platforms, and keep them handy so you can refer back to them while posting content. We even suggest sharing your goals with your online community — it helps you be held accountable and shares your plans on social media with your followers.

From here, you want to make sure that everything you share is in line with achieving these goals. That will help your prioritize your workload, and make sure your sharing quality content that will help you reach your targets.

Want to learn how to set goals (and actually achieve them?) Check out Later’s free goal-setting workshop which will help you make those social goals a reality! 

 

Create Social Media Plan Step #4: Determine Tone and Style for Your Platforms

Even though you might have a different goal for each platform, you still want to establish a recognizable and memorable brand. So it’s important to maintain consistency across all platforms and have a cohesive tone and style.

Try to use the same tone of voice in every post you share, and keep your bios aligned on every platform.

TIP: One of the most recognizable things about your platform will be your bio image, so take some time to choose the perfect profile picture.

Later on Pinterest, TikTok, and Instagram

Sometimes you’ll need to tailor your content for each specific platform, but don’t make it so wildly different that it changes the vibe of your message.

It’s also a great idea to try to let your brand’s voice come across through your design. Choose core colors and fonts that you can incorporate into all your content, across every platform.

One stand out element of your social media plan is your aesthetic, which usually starts on Instagram and builds across your other platforms.

Whether it’s a bright and bold aesthetic with punchy colors and text, or a more muted “no-filter filter” look with the help of apps like VSCO and Lightroom presets, your aesthetic can help you stand out from the crowd.

Take a look at Later customer, Artifact Uprising. Their warm-toned aesthetic transcends across all their social media platforms — whether it’s an Instagram post, YouTube video or Pinterest Pin, it’s easy to see all their images follow the same editing style.

Artifact Uprising Example

Once you have your social media tone and style locked in, you might want to create a dedicated document that outlines everything from your chosen logos, to font pairings and color palettes for your brand.

This document can then be shared with the whole team, or any external contractors like designers or videographers you may hire down the line. Setting up this step now will really pay off in the future!

Take our free Instagram course to find everything you need to know about crafting an aesthetic that’ll increase your engagement and make your content pop! 

Create Social Media Plan Step #5: Create a Content Calendar

A successful social media content calendar can help you stay on track with all your platforms, meet your marketing goals, and skyrocket your audience growth!

So it’s worth spending some time figuring out the best way to map out your content calendar.

Some businesses and social media managers like to use a simple spreadsheet to plan out their calendar for the week or month ahead. Or tools like Trello or Asana can help if your business already uses those platforms to plan and assign tasks.

Of course, you can also use Later to plan and schedule your social media content across Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter!

And with Later’s Calendar Notes feature, you can reserve slots in your content planner for a specific theme — even if you don’t have a full post ready to schedule yet. This will help you to focus on what’s coming up, and what content you still need to collect!

It’s perfect for giving your whole team access to important social dates coming up in the calendar like a Mother’s Day campaign or an upcoming product announcement.

Your life will be a lot easier if you plan all the content you’re going to post ahead of time!

Plan, schedule, and auto publish your social media content with Later for FREE! 

 

Create Social Media Plan Step #6: Start to Create Content

This is where it gets fun!

Let your creative side run wild and begin making content that you can share on your social platforms. Here are some things you might want to keep in mind while doing so:

Photo Quality

While platforms like Instagram and TikTok work well for off-the-cuff and spontaneous content, you still want to make sure that there’s some level of quality to everything that you post.

You don’t need to invest in any high-tech equipment, especially if you’re starting out — some of the best content is the relatable, accessible content that doesn’t feel too overproduced. Like Everlane’s weekly Instagram Stories series, Transparency Tuesday:

Transparency Tuesday Everlane Instagram Stories]

That being said, you still want to maintain a certain standard for your photos. Here’s some insider info about taking your own, high-quality social media photos on your phone – without the need for fancy equipment or editing software.

Photo Editing

There are so many amazing apps out there for photo editing. Whether you want to edit the lighting on a product shot, or add some simple graphic design to an image, there’s an app that will make your life a million times easier.

VSCO, Lightroom, Snapseed, and A Color Story are just some of the Later team’s favorites, but you can find our definitive list of photo editing apps for mobile here! 

Video

Video is a powerful medium, especially on Instagram where IGTV videos can get up to 4 times more real estate on the Explore page! 

But there’s no need to hire a professional, some of the best videos are shot on a phone and edited with an app!

Thankfully, there are also plenty of apps that’ll help you create eye-catching videos, even if you’ve never edited one in your life.

Influencers

Adding Influencer marketing into your overall strategy for Instagram can help to increase your brand awareness, grow your follower base, and drive major sales!

And the best news is that any brand can collaborate with Instagram influencers — whether it’s through Instagram takeovers or sponsored videos on YouTube, there’s tons of ways to get creative without breaking the bank.

We’ve put together a guide to influencer marketing for small businesses, with a free template kit you can download to get you started! 

Captions

It’s all well and good to have stellar content, but you need to be sure you’re pairing it with the right captions.

A great caption will stop a scroller in their tracks, and the more time someone spends on your post, the better it’ll perform in the algorithm.

One key trend for 2020 is having long-form, micro-blog style captions that really jump into the details of our post.

State of Instagram Influencer Marketing Report: Caption Length

According to research by Fohr, the average caption length has more than doubled since 2016.

And by 2020, our feeds will be filled with an average caption length of 405 characters — which averages out to be 65-70 words!

View this post on Instagram

Can we ever truly be ORIGINAL? Something I struggle with is the idea that there is such a thing as an original idea. I find it hard to believe that anyone’s art is not influenced by those who they admire or look up to. We have to start somewhere to develop a skill and part of that process is mimicking the great artists who have come before us. When I first learned to sing… I sang Whitney Houston and Joni Mitchell… my fashion sense and style have been influenced by icons like Cher and Stevie Nicks. Part of finding out who you are is trying on identities and voices and landing somewhere in between… we become a great compilation of our idols. Our art is inspired by many and owned by none. We cannot take IDEAS with us when we go… so we recycle them for future generations. We tell stories over and over again and evolve together. That’s why I’m not sure I believe any idea is truly original. Except for maybe The Post-it Note. Romy and Michelle invented that. // The more possessive we are, the more we perpetuate the idea that there isn’t room for all of us to step into our power. If we are so afraid of stepping on each other’s toes or “stealing” each other’s ideas… we won’t find the courage it takes to create. We won’t find the courage to step into our unique voices. We can start by cheering each other on and being transparent about our influences: we can start by championing each other instead of critiquing and judging each other. // If this is something you think your audience would benefit from reading, please share it!!! Thanks for making this community a better place. Love and air hugs, Quigs

A post shared by Quigley Goode (@officiallyquigley) on

So now’s the time to get typing! Here’s everything you need to know about crafting the perfect caption. 

Create Social Media Plan Step #7: Schedule Your Posts

Scheduling your posts is a no brainer. It helps you build a cohesive aesthetic, it allows you to post at an optimal time, and it can increase your productivity.

Plus, by scheduling your social posts and stories in advance, you can win back more time in your schedule, so you can invest in engaging with your community, or planning your next campaign strategy!

With Later’s planning and scheduling tools, you can prep a whole week’s worth of posts and stories in one go — rather than having to come up with a new content plan every single day.

instagram engagement: captions

And the best news is, Later is free! Sign up now and start improving your Instagram strategy today!

Later’s Best Time To Post feature can even analyze your last month’s worth of posts, and calculate your 7 top posting times on Instagram. This will help you maximize your engagement and be sure that none of your content is slipping through the cracks of the algorithm.

increase engagement on instagram: best time to post

Create Social Media Plan Step #8: Track and Analyze Your Content

Every successful social media marketer should sit down at least once a month and take a deep dive into their channels’ performance.

From Facebook to Pinterest, every platform has its own built-in analytics tool, so it’s important to track your engagement and followers, while referring back to the goals you set when you started.

Or you can use Later Analytics to keep track of the performance of everything you post with Later!

later analytics

It can be helpful to keep track of it all by creating a monthly social media report. Use it to monitor your growth and figure out any areas that need improvement. Whether it’s just for you, or you share it with your team or clients, it will help you track important figures.

Remember that social media is dynamic — you might need to keep tweaking your profiles, your messaging, or your aesthetic!

And don’t forget to run a social media audit every couple of months to make sure that everything’s aligning with your goals and serving your audience well.

Hopefully, this step-by-step social media plan has helped you feel a little more comfortable with creating your own social channels and confident in putting great content that represents your brands out into the social world!

Want to be a social media master? Later makes it so easy to plan and analyze your content across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

 

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Written By

Jemima Skelley

Jemima Skelley is a lifestyle and travel writer with a love for all things internet and social media. You can usually find her sipping on an iced coffee or a wine, depending on the time of the day.

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