Share your awesome content with this social media plan template.

Use This Free Social Media Plan Template To Become A Social Media Rock Star

Participating in social media can seem overwhelming. Follow this simple checklist—your very own social media plan template—to have the most success.

You’ve created a fantastic piece of content. Awesome. Now what?

Social media helps amplify any marketing campaign, so it’s time to get organized and have a plan—a template to follow time after time—to get the best results possible.

Your social media plan template will help you:

  1. Engage with your existing audience even better.
  2. Attract new people to your social profiles and business.
  3. Drive more traffic to your content (and your friends' stuff, too).
  4. Reach your marketing goals

Julie Neidlinger says it best:

"Serious content marketers will want a social media strategy template, something they can refer to and adjust as they forge ahead toward desired goals.”

1. Plan What You’ll Share

So let's start from the ground floor: As a content producer, it’s your job to know what your audience is looking for.

Get inspired: Look though your Facebook feed, friends are constantly sharing what they see as entertaining and can be a go-to source for fresh new content. Amazon lists is another good place for inspiration; it complies lists of about anything you want and real reviews rate so you have an accurate representation of what is trending.

Think of your social media as the best source of information in your niche and includes your own content and curated stuff: What should it contain to dominate any other information source?

You’ll want to focus on sharing content that your niche will rally support around. If your audience feels like the content reflects how they feel or they support your ideas they are more likely to share. So make sure you pick causes related to your niche.

2. Plan How You’ll Share Your Messages

The value you provide and the entertainment you offer can instantly make your content more shareable.

Ask yourself a couple questions to get started:

  1. What kind of content is shareable?
  2. What is going to give you the best chance of your content being shared?

By understanding why people share what they share, you have a nice advantage to connect your social messages to their needs:

Support A Cause

Is your message an idea that your audience can get behind and support? 84% of people share a post because it is a way to support a cause or an issue they care about.

For example, a cause that can be seen not only on TV, but over social media is campaigns to stop texting and driving. Campains such as these reach heart strings and are more likely to be shared.

Check out these examples of awesome integrated marketing campaigns, pushing social media plans to the max:

your social media plan should support causes

Appeal To Self-Fulfillment

69% of readers share a post that allows them to feel more involved in the world around them.

Build Relationships

It's no surprise that 78% of people share information based on staying involved with those around them. That is the whole premise around Facebook. Keeping people connected is a key way to ensure that your content will be shared.

We all seem to have that crazy aunt that only has a Facebook because they want to stay in touch with the family and see what everyone is up to. This is the idea behind relationships on social media. Some of my friends wouldn’t even have social media except it makes them feel more contented in their relationships.

People share content they think their friends will love—how can you be the brand that does it?

Help Them Define Themselves

68% of people share information that can give a better look at who they are as a person without being the one publishing it initially. This is why staying true to your niche is so important. If you have multiple topics to cover for different audiences, think about using different social accounts for each niche.

Entertain Your Audience

Could you entertain your audience? 49% of people share things on the basis of wanting to provide entertainment or potentially change the opinion of others.

Buzzfeed is a classic example of content being shared for entertainment. The whole point of the site is to post relevant quizzes, videos, and articles to amuse and entertain their audience.

social media plan includes entertaining content

While Buzzfeed's entire strategy revolves around publishing entertaining content, there is a possibility for your brand to use humor, storytelling, and media like videos to engage your audience with your social media plan.

To wrap this us, Jay Baer makes it clear: 94% of us loathe salesy, promotional content on social media. So avoid it. Your audience wants social media content that supports a cause, helps them, builds their own relationships, and is entertaining. How can you do that?

3. Make Time To Promote Your Content

social media plan promotion timing guide

For every hour you spend writing, dedicate at least 15 minutes for sharing your content. Remember, if no one sees your content, what's the point of publishing in the first place?

Tailor that number to what works for you: One hour of writing to 30 minutes of sharing, combined with other content distribution tactics, will help you get even more visibility for your content.

4. Optimize Your Messages For Each Social Network.

define the networks in your social media plan template

65% of people are visual learners, which means that all these people retain more information by looking at visual images or reading text.

Visuals: Text can easily be overlooked in the mass of content swimming thought the Internet. 80% of people remember what they see and do. Make sure your message has a visual (image, graphic, or video). Size the visual appropriately for each social network. Minimize the amount of text in the visual so it's legible even on mobile devices.

Visual content can make or break your success with many social networks, naturally including Instagram and Pinterest:

include visual content in your social media plan template

By just following a few simple guidelines, your social messages can come out looking so appealing your content will practically sell itself:

  • Use Twitter to share useful tips to help you audience do something better. It has a 440 x 220 pixel visual with a 70- to 100-character message.
  • Use Facebook to share entertaining content that engages your audience. It has a 1,200 x 630 pixel visual (or bonus points for a video) with a 100-character (or less) message.
  • Use LinkedIn to share businesses, industry news, or thought leadership content. It has a 646 x 220 pixel visual (or more bonus points for a video) with a short message that explains why your audience should engage with the content.
  • Use Google+ to share technical, how-to content. It has a 497 x 279 pixel visual (animated GIFs or videos are great, too) and is marked up with rich text (bold, italics, bullets, etc.).
  • Use Pinterest to share visual content. Your pins will be most successful if they are visually appealing, tall images that grab attention with detailed, actionable descriptions.
  • Use Instagram to share visual content. Create a consistent theme, focus on building a community with #hashtags, be relatable, use strong calls to action.

Shared content has more to do with your readers' relationship to their audience, than your relationship with your reader.

5. Optimize Your Social Sharing Frequency

Features that allow you to connect all your social media platforms are super helpful, but if you overwhelm your audience with your content on all their platforms, you risk losing them.

Stagger your social media plan schedule, and change your messages accordingly for each network. Here's an at-a-glance view of the schedule build right into CoSchedule to help you do this automatically:

  • Same day as publish: Plan a few more messages throughout the day for the right networks such as Twitter. The life of a tweet is only 18 minutes you can share more content on Twitter without overwhelming your audience in a single day.
  • Day after publish schedule a couple messages.
  • Week after publish give your content another subtle run with a few messages scattered throughout the next week across your different social media such as Facebook or Google+.
  • A month after publish make sure to schedule a reminder for yourself to check if the post was successful. If it was, set up another share queue.

The opportunities are endless. If a post is performing well, make sure to bring it back and share again for new audiences to see your content.

Just don’t over-do it and spam your fans, followers, and subscribers. Check out your social media analytics to understand when it's time to stop sharing certain pieces.

At CoSchedule, we found this scheduling method was so awesome that it gave us 3,150% more clickthroughs for our content! So we decided to build it right into CoSchedule for you to use, too.

Don't Be Too Selfish

Not only is it good to share your own content, also try to apply the 411 rule when sharing your content. For every self-serving tweet or post (possibly selling your products or services), retweet one relevant message (maybe a super helpful blog post you wrote) and four pieces of awesome content written by others.

The 411 creates a relationship with potential followers by opening up airwaves for conversation—and it keeps you in touch without being pushy.

Another rule you could follow for sharing well-rounded content is the 5:3:2 ratio. For every 10 posts you publish, 5 should be from others that are relevant to your audience. 3 posts should be from your own blog but not sales focused, and two should be personal, fun content that helps humanize your brand.

It’s good to mix up your publishing frequency to not only share your own content, but the best of the best out there to show you truly want to bring value to your audience.

6. Publishing More Posts Does Not Mean More Engagement

social media plan template quality

Social media is largely focused on the idea of quality not quantity. Posting just to post will only leave the impression to your audience that you got lazy.

Try to keep your promotional content to about 20% of your posts. Leaving the other 80% focused on your niche and what will keep your audience engaged and informed. This goes right back to the 411 rule, keep the conversation open but don’t be the pushy with content that only self promotes.

For example, you don’t turn on the TV thinking, “Man, I cannot wait to see yet another commercial for laundry detergent.” If the content is good enough, your audience will stay for the commercials, but if you overwhelm your audience with all promotional content, you are most likely going to lose your followers and even potential new customers.

7. Participate And Encourage Conversations

your social media plan template should encourage engagement

When someone reaches out to you on your social networks, chat with them. It’s called social media, so get social!

Use applications such as Disqus and Mention to monitor what is being said about your content. This helps you to stay on top of comments and interact with your audience.

Disqus helps you monitor blog comments easily and effectively

Tip: Set a time in the day to check these applications and respond. Sitting monitoring social media can take chunks of time, I’ve found it’s a lot easier to set aside a specific time of the day to interact with your followers.

What if someone complains about your product on social media, do you have a plan?

If customers are open enough to complain about you on social media, they will be just as willing to rave about you. Help them fix their problem by giving them rock star customer service.

If they have a problem big or small, the best thing you can do is listen to their concern. Whether you agree or not. It can only make your product better. Even responding by letting them know you understand their perspective when there is nothing you can do is often enough to remedy the situation.

Some of the most successful blogs credit their success to not their content but the loyalty of their followers. And loyal followers often follow those who are willing to interact with them and do whatever it takes to provide positive experiences.

Rachel Wisuri has some great advice on handling trolls:

Be an active member of the community by monitoring the conversations of your followers you can instantly step in if a problem does arise. Make guidelines; make it clear what you will and will not allow on your site.

This doesn’t mean that you are saying you are going to delete all negative comments. Helpful critiques are essential for brand improvement.

Just make it clear you will not allow bullying; you want you followers to have a safe community to comment. Be nice. It sounds simple, but just like your mom said, sometimes you have to turn the other cheek.

How Will You Use Your Social Media Plan Template?

Overall, social media is an amazing tool. It can double, triple, and easily quadruple your interactions and audience.

A great way to get started is with this social media plan template. It takes the information you just read about and gives you a tool to plan the perfect approach your yourself.

Implement right now:

  • For every hour you spend writing your content, spend fifteen minutes promoting it.
  • Post your content more than once; the day of, the day after, a week after post, and even a month, or more after post. Use CoSchedule to write and schedule your posts to do this super easily.
  • Keep promotional content to about 20% of your total messages.
  • Have a plan of action when readers reach out to you.

When you’re ready to plan all of your content, give CoSchedule a try—it’s your all-in-one marketing calendar.

Social Media Plan Template

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