Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan

Social Media Marketing PlanSocial media plays a critical part of any successful online marketing plan. Learning how to efficiently structure your social media plan can help you increase brand awareness while driving customer engagement. Below are some tips to help you get started on customizing your own plan of action.

Understand What Social Media Is

Often times, executives and business owners struggle to understand the value of social media and the positive effect it could have on their business as well as their bottom line.

Today, social media plays a more central role in online marketing strategies. “Social” can engage a business’ target audience, increase brand awareness and generate publicity. Social media marketing can also be used for brand building, reputation management, customer feedback, community building and customer conversions.

Social media, when done with intention, is about having meaningful conversations. By starting and maintaining a dialogue with your target audience, you can better serve them.

Know the Vision and Mission of the Business and Make It Come to Life

What is the business about that will other people would want to talk about? Beyond making money, what else are you here for? An ideal mission statement is clear and simple enough to keep alive. For example, Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. A guiding statement is kept alive by the owners referring to it and leading from it.

A clear mission statement will serve as a beacon and touchstone for all marketing efforts, and in particular, for designing your presence on the social platforms.

Know Your Goals and Milestones

The start of any successful social media marketing plan is outlining your goals, or the problem to be solved.
What do you want to achieve? Do you want to use social media for customer service? Are you trying to network with other companies? Do you want to use social media to help re-brand your business?

Taking the time to think through specific goals will help you lay the groundwork to social media marketing success.

Know Your Target Market and Define Avatars

Social media allows you to market directly to your target consumers on the same social channels that they use every day.  Do you know where your customers spend the most time online? Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest?

Take the time to develop avatars of several types of clients or prospects (3 to 10). A clear example used in politics is Soccer Moms vs Hockey Moms. An ideal avatar is defined so clearly that someone else could identity your customer at a party after talking to them a few minutes.

You also need to know who your negative-customer is as well. Who do you want to repel or send to the competition? Who are the people that complain easily and consume 80 percent of your time? If you can define avatars for these customers, you can design marketing that will NOT attract them to your business.

Post engaging, unique or other shareable items that your target demographic would find appealing, and don’t forget to engage with the people who comment on and like your posts!

Know Your Budget

A solid social media marketing strategy requires two things: time and money. Exactly how much of either depends on the size of your business as well as the size of the audience you are trying to reach. Consider the following:


Who will be maintaining your social accounts? Consider how much time will be required to invest in the ongoing management of the various social media accounts that you create. Will you have this much time, or would it be better if you hired an outside social media marketing expert?


Is your business big enough to hire a social media professional?

If you’ve determined that you don’t have the time to manage multiple social media accounts, consider hiring an expert. Outsourcing your social media marketing may save you both time and money as well as help you meet your social marketing goals.

Look at your budget and establish how much money you have to spend on marketing. How much can be invested in social media?

Know Your Social Networks

If your company is mainly a B2B firm, focus on LinkedIn, Google+, and Slideshare. B2C companies often focus on Facebook and Pinterest. Both sides of the business divide need to pay attention to Google+ and the Google Business Pages.

Determine a Frequency for Posting

How often should you post new content to social networks?
Posting too much to your social networks is almost as bad as not posting enough. In the beginning, it will take some trial and error to figure out how much is too much versus too little.

Use cues from your audience to see what sorts of content resonates (ex: people ‘liking’ or commenting on posts or re-sharing). Look for content posting patterns that may have led to unlikes or unfollows.

Consider the timing and who will see your posts

Most platforms offer analytics information that can help you determine when your followers are on-line and more likely to see your posts and updates. 50% of your exposure on Facebook, for example, happens in the 30 minutes after you share. If your viewers aren’t online at that time, they won’t see your updates.

Create a calendar

Putting together a content calendar is one of the best ways to organize your total social media marketing plan as well as keep track of what things you’ve tried. A content calendar can also serve as a sounding board, helping you come up with new ideas to better market the business.

There is no one way to write up a social media content calendar. However, some of the basic things you’ll want to include in your calendar are:

  • Months, noting special events, seasonal information, and holidays that matter in your business.
  • Blog Post Titles
  • Content Titles
  • Date and place where content was published
  • Social Sites, along with an indication of what type of content was posted to each social site

Get as detailed as you want with your calendar. For example, some companies will stratify their information even further to include line items such as: keywords, title tags, names of authors who wrote content, who content was last approved by, and other detailed information.

When going through your social media content calendar, be aware of where you are publishing information as well as what type of information you are publishing. For example, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook are predominantly visual, so images may get more engagement than written content. If you do post written content, be sure that it is connected to a relevant image.

Measure Success

In addition to having a social media marketing content calendar, you should also include a separate spreadsheet to formulate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs are formulas that help you measure success in your marketing efforts.
It’s not enough to join a social network and post information. You need to have a way to measure how this information is (or isn’t) reaching its intended audience.

Ideally, you should have KPIs that are quantitative as well as qualitative. While quantitative results are important, make an effort to look at qualitative results as well. These results will show you how people feel about your brand and the information you are posting.

Some social networks produce their own metrics, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Once you’ve established what your KPIs are, create a spreadsheet, and decide how often you’ll update it with metrics. Some companies may choose to update their KPI spreadsheet on a weekly basis, monthly basis or even quarterly.

Don’t forget to take advantage of Google Analytics to see which social sites are top referrers to your business. Google Analytics can be a wealth of information for any business to help you see what is or isn’t working with your social media marketing plan.

Have the flexibility to change the plan and update it based on events and feedback you gain.

We welcome your comments and response. What have you learned about having a Social Media plan? What have you learned by not having a Social Media plan?
by Martin Brossman and Karen Tiede
Learn more about our Social Media Management Training at:

Strategy for Social Media Marketing Management

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Word for the Day: Webcare

Rather than women or Internet-savvy youths, older men are the most likely demographic group to complain online.

“Webcare” is the translation of a Dutch word that means “using social media to do customer support.”

Graphic from Olga ter Voert from TNS NIPO showing where people post reviews, by motivation.

Graphic from Olga ter Voert from TNS NIPO showing where people post reviews, by motivation.

Click on the image to go to the original post.

The Social Media Prism

The Conversation Prism v. 3

The Conversation Prism gives you a whole view of the social media universe, categorized and also organized by how people use each network. V 3.0 introduces new groups and networks and also removes those networks no longer in play. Use the Conversation Prism to see what you’re missing!

Click on the image to go to the website where you can see more posters about social media.

Your competition works for … bees?

The Johannesburg Zoo has a tweeting Honey Badger.

Ferocious.  Relentless.  Extremely thick-skinned.

Perfect for the position of social media manager.

Honey Badgers eat bees, among other things I don’t want to eat.

The tweeting badger from the Johannesburg Zoo.

The tweeting badger from the Johannesburg Zoo.

Apparently, the badger is selective about whom he follows.

If you do social media management for a zoo or animal rescue group, think about how you can use the Honey Badger example in your organization

Aweber is Hiring a Social Media Manager

Social Media Manager (for Aweber, an email marketing company)

Note:  We included more text than usual from this position because it will be filled quickly and probably removed from the web. We know the company better than the other help-wanted ads we share with our students. One of the instructors is an Aweber customer.

The company is 100% invested in the social media market and understands, probably more than many older brick-and-mortar businesses, what this position both offers and requires.

It is a bit of a surprise that Aweber is advertising for this position, rather than promoting from within. However, they may already have an internal candidate for the position; sometimes ads are either fishing expeditions or EEOC-compliance exercises.

This position is MUCH larger than many freelance, part-time, or small-agency social media marketing managers usually encounter.  It requires much more of a corporate background, or at least a well-grounded (proven!) understanding of what it’s like to work in a multi-million dollar company. Students and graduates who have come to the Social Media Manager Certificate Program from Fortune 1000 backgrounds will understand how these cross-functional, communication, and liaison skills are critical in a larger business.

The Social Media Manager Position

The Social Media Manager will own the Social Media strategy, management and execution for Aweber’s social presence. The Manager will work closely with other internal departments (PR, Sales, Product, Creative, HR, Customer Solutions) to meet/exceed company Social Media objectives and goals. Success for this role is measured by the evolution of our impact in Social Media (from an acquisition, retention and customer service standpoint), and across other paid, owned and earned efforts.

Our team includes smart people who appreciate talented goal seekers, continuous learning, experimentation and a lust for creating and implementing cutting edge solutions. We welcome those who share these passions to apply.

Qualifications for the Social Media Manager Position

  • Minimum of 3 years managing a social media presence in an agency/product/brand environment.
  • Bachelor’s Degree preferred.
  • Comfortable working in an informal, high-energy team environment.
  • Proven ability to effectively work cross-functionally across the company.
  • Excellent project management skills (i.e. Effectively owning something from concept through completion/launch).
  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of social media platforms, their respective strengths/weaknesses and how they can function successfully as a holistic solution.
  • Knowledge of the blogging/earned media ecosystem for messaging platforms
  • Effective articulation of ideas and complex concepts in written and verbal forms.
  • Ability to effortlessly /effectively build and maintain internal and external relationships.
  • Proven results as a team player and independent contributor.
  • Proven ability to serve as a discipline/practice lead that can influence other departments (specifically PR, Product, Sales, Creative, Tech, HR) effortlessly.
  • Have proven knowledge of other digital marketing channels (e.g. SEO, PPC, Display, Email, Affiliates) and their impact/influence on social efforts.

Responsibilities of the Social Media Manager

  • Develop and implement the external and internal social media strategy, coordinating with key stakeholders across the multiple departments to ensure its effectiveness.
  • Serve as the key liaison between our internal departments and external-facing social media content, driving key initiatives around customer service and our social media policies, protocols and workflow processes.
  • Manage social media campaigns and day-to-day responsibilities. Duties include proactively managing content calendar, community outreach efforts, facilitating the resolution of customer inquiries, developing paid/earned tests, developing our brand advocates & influencers, driving innovation, etc.
  • Manage and develop our presence on social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora and other similar community sites. Maintain our presence on relevant blogs, and develop relationships and innovative tests as needed.
  • Become an advocate of the company (both internally and externally) in social media spaces (including mobile, video, local), participating in webinars, trade shows and conferences as needed.
  • Develop and monitor relevant benchmarks around the impact of our social media programs. Create and analyze holistic reports for company stakeholders.
  • Own the identification and negotiation for additional, relevant tools necessary to be effective in the position.
  • Monitor trends in social media tools and innovations and report/present them internally.

Tom Kulzer on Mixergy

Tom Kulzer, Founder of Aweber

Tom Kulzer, Founder of Aweber

Andrew Warner of Mixergy interviewed Tom Kulzer, Founder of Aweber, on May 10, 2013.  It was not Andrew’s greatest interview, IMO, and Tom handled a few inappropriate questions gracefully.  If you are not a Mixergy Premium member, you can’t hear the interview anymore.  However, you can read the transcript.  Should you apply for the position, you would do well to included this interview in your preparation.

Help Wanted Ad Content

In this post, we are collecting a selection of extracts from help-wanted positions we find around the internet. The paragraphs collected in this post are offered to our students and graduates as a means of expanding their thinking about how they offer their services to their own target market.

(Note: we are not planning to keep these listings up-to-date.  Many of the positions will be pulled off the web once they are filled. The links may not work. The point of the post is to share the content.)

Child’s Play Communications

Child’s Play Communications, the award-winning specialists in public relations, social media word-of-mouth communications and online marketing targeting moms, seeks a full-time Social Media Manager to strategize and execute social media initiatives for multiple clients.
Responsibilities include:

  • Advising on social network strategy for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms
  • Developing and posting content for all of the above
  • Analyzing and reporting results using appropriate software
  • Client relations


  • A minimum of 3 years’ experience in a social media agency or public relations agency
  • Experience developing social network strategy and content for multiple accounts simultaneously
  • Ideally, extensive background developing social media strategy and content targeted toward moms/parents
  • Understanding of social media analytics programs
  • Experience advising brands on all of the above
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Ability to multi-task, meet deadlines and work independently in a fast-paced environment
  • Enthusiasm, professionalism and a passion for social media and public relations


Graduate Online / Social Media Manager – Entrepreneurial Start-up

Relevant paragraph:
You will lead and develop the implementation of the online strategy, utilising brand-building social channels including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and the company website, to enhance the generation of business for other members of the team. As much as you will need to have a clear strategy for how you will deliver the company vision online, you will also be equally at home creating all types of content either alone (such as blogs, tweets, competitions etc) or alongside other professionals such as videographers and designers. This work will include hands-on management of a complete tip-to-toe rebrand and website rebuild within your first few months.

Social Media Manager

If you would like to join our team as social media manager, get in touch: email address provided on the associated website.


  •  Facebook communication (posts, engaging with users and fans, etc)
  •  Planning and coordination of social media activities (editorial calender)
  •  Other Social Media activities (Blog, Twitter, etc)
  •  Communication with marketing and content team
  •  Creating, proofreading and translating texts as needed (for website, presentations, marketing material)

Fluent in German and English

  •   Startup enthusiast, interest in ecommerce and social media
  •   <snip>
  •  Experience in social media management a plus


Social Media Manager

Wanted: A forward thinking social media expert, experienced in working with editors & journalists to produce compelling content.

  •   Define and implement content driven social strategies under the guidance of the TRUE team
  •   Liaise with leading editors, journalists, photographers and video teams to execute campaigns
  •   Monitor, interpret and report relevant social data in conjunction with key business objectives
  •   Be proactive delivering industry insight within Content Marketing, Social Media and Digital innovation
  •   Have experience in content planning and copywriting
  •   Research and create relevant posts, articles
  •   Manage in-house and client campaigns
  •   Work with external partners to meet agreed targets
  •   Work with the design team to create appropriate digital assets
  •   Develop and maintain relationships with clients, online press and bloggers
  •   Identify and promote industry trends to the teams in London and New York
  •   Attend relevant industry events as a representative of TRUE
  •   Be comfortable in reporting and presenting to management and clients
  •   Experience supporting commercial teams with pitch and sales material such as Keynote and Power Point
  •   Be extremely self-motivated to make a difference in a rapidly expanding business


New Uses of Social Media

This is a growing “collection” post, where we post information about businesses and organizations using social media in new ways.

Australian Elections

HootSuite, makers of the market-leading social media management system, has built a custom Australian Election Tracker to share real-time social media updates about the 2013 Australian federal election. The live display will highlight the social element of this hard-fought campaign in one place right up until the next prime minister is announced.
We saw the original story here:

Here’s a screen shot of the Australian Election Tracker:

Screen shot of the Australian Election Tracker built by Hootsuite to help voters follow the election commentary in social media.

Screen shot of the Australian Election Tracker built by Hootsuite to help voters follow the election commentary in social media.

Charities Using Images in Social Media (or not)

Charities are failing to exploit the potential of images and video in social media, according to a survey carried out by PR and social media agency Aberfield Communications.
This article is a tiny bit suspect because it was written by a business wanting to make money helping charities do social media. At the same time, the article presents a reasonably balanced perspective of how charities can increase the impact of their message with carefully planned images and video.
If you will be working for a non-profit organization, it’s worth reading to help understand the different points of view.

Job outlook for social media managers

To be a social media manager, you need to be able to evaluate a company’s position, learn enough about the company to develop an initial online strategy, and then proceed with doing all the steps to prepare a dynamic plan for a quality online presence with  ongoing content and relationship development. While the manager may have to handle everything from choosing the account names to loading and editing photos, the more challenging aspect is the overall decision making about the program, how to manage it, how to evaluate performance, how to handle the challenges, where to take it as it evolves.

Social Media related jobs continue to grow. More people need to be trained in social media for business to fill the jobs that are posted, and the many that have yet to be created.

Where do you find social media jobs? You can find them formally posted on on online job board sites like

Here are a few links:’s Social Media Strategist positions.

Simply Hired’s social media marketing jobs.

There are also less formal job sites like Craigslist. Look for  “social media” in Raleigh Jobs on

And, contract job sites, like and Here’s a link: social media marketing jobs on

There are hundreds of other opportunities that haven’t been posted anywhere. If you get out and talk with small business owners, they’ll tell you about their challenges. If you want to build your own business doing contract social media management work, these business owners may become your clients.

Although a whole generation of people has been raised on computers, mobile devices and Facebook, this younger generation does not always have the business savvy or know-how to manage a business’ social media and Internet marketing presence from definition to hand-off. It’s not something one is born with, and businesses vary too much industry to industry to be readily handled simply by someone who has “been on Facebook since 2004.”

No semester-long training can substitute for ongoing practice and live experience, a thorough training by people who have current experience, is an excellent way to start.

What kinds of social media manager or management or marketing training is available near RTP (Research Triangle Park) in the Triangle?

One source is Martin Brossman & Associates. Martin Brossman has been teaching social media and online marketing for small business all around North Carolina. Martin and Anora McGaha taught a Social Media Management Certificate Program at Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro in the Spring of 2013.

In 2012, Anora McGaha and Martin Brossman developed a specific online training for becoming a Social Media Manager Training Program – covering all aspects of defining a social media program for a business or non-profit and creating and managing it. That specific training had as prerequisites the basics of setting up social media accounts, posting, blogging, basic Google Analytics and photo handling, to name just some of the basics.

The Social Media Manager training program is an advanced training in social media management – even though participants are learning the fundamentals of Social Media Management. So much basic knowledge of social media sites and the Internet is needed before adding on the Social Media Management phases. Then they developed a broader program, the Social Media Management Certificate Program which starts at the beginning and takes you through Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced levels before moving through the Social Media Manager Training.

Although a 14 week course, the pace is fast and requires a lot of independent learning through watching videos and experimenting. Students are required to develop their own project in social media management to demonstrate application of the concepts and practices taught in the course. Find out more by emailing


Martin Brossman and Anora McGaha, Co-trainers and co-authors of the book Social Media for Business – Available on Amazon

Video of Anora McGaha and Martin Brossman talking about their book:  

Cost of Social Media Training

What Does Social Media Training Cost?

Social media work is available at all levels from interns, assistants, coordinators, analysts, specialists, managers or directors; both in office and virtually. But how many people have the training and experience to fill the positions? If you don’t have experience, getting training will give you a head start; and the better training programs require you to apply the learning live to gain experience.

What does social media training cost? You have many choices today for Social Media (SM) training. Prices vary from under $40,000 to a couple of hundred dollars, and of course, what they offer varies too, from a Master’s degree to a certificate. Here are some examples.

Master’s degrees in Social Media Related Fields from graduate schools:

Bachelor’s degrees in Social Media or related disciplines of digital marketing or Internet marketing:

Special or Certificate Programs in Social Media at Universities:

Commercial or Non-Academic Social Media Training Programs:

Community College Social Media Training:

Community college education is often restricted to residents in the local area, and so, while more affordable than other education, is not accessible to just anyone.

Higher prices do not necessarily guarantee better training or better preparedness for employment and higher income. Though certainly, we all know that a Master’s Degree program gives us a qualification and status that you can’t get with a non-degree program. These different programs have different purposes.

What Are Your Goals for Social Media Training?

In order to evaluate what program serves your needs, within your budget, part of it is understanding what your own goals are.

  • Are you looking for the skills to be able to do hourly work through or or, part time and virtually?
  • Are you looking to work for an agency, as a social media assistant or specialist?
  • Or do you want to manage one or more organizations’ online marketing strategy, plan and campaigns?

The bigger the organization you want to work for, the more depth of study and experience you’ll need. Strategies and implementation for Fortune 500 companies are on a wholly different scale than for small businesses of under 50 or under 20 employees.

Ultimately, the more hands-on experience you have the more informed and savvy you’ll become, and the more value you’ll offer as a contractor or employee.

Anora McGaha collaborates with Martin Brossman & Associates for social media manager training that builds skills, concepts and methods for developing and managing social media programs for micro and small businesses. Martin Brossman and Anora collaborated to develop a Social Media Manager Training program.

See the 14 week in-person Social Media Management Certificate Program at Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro. It includes  Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Social Media for Business Concepts and Applications; and our 14 Module Social Media Manager Training developed from close to 6 person/years of hands-on social media management work.

Note. None of these programs are endorsed. They are simply listed as results from current online research. Fees are approximate only, as of June 2012. Contact the organization offering training for exact fees.