At this point in my career, I've created literally hundreds of social media accounts, profile pages, business pages and more for companies, clients, individuals and friends.
In doing so, I've realized that in order to create a social presence that stands out from the crowd, you have to think through some important steps before you get started.
Some of this information will ultimately become your social media strategy, but all of it should align with your overall business marketing objectives.
Here's how to P.L.A.N. for social success:
P - Picture It.
Do you know how you're planning to communicate your brand or page visually? Images and multimedia are an important aspect of social media and can directly impact overall reach and engagement.
It's an important element to think through before a page is launched. Once you know what type of visual content you want to share, it's also recommended to create a library or backlog of content. By having several months worth of images ready to be published at the start of your page, you'll save time and create a brand page that's more likely to be visually cohesive.
Some people also find it helpful to have a documented set of brand guidelines to follow to ensure colors, font or styles stay consistent (Social Branding 101).
L - Link it or lead it somewhere.
Social media should link somewhere (drive traffic) or it should lead somewhere (cause users to take action).
Use this stage of the set-up process to plan where you want posts and pages to link, as well as ultimately what you want people to do as a result of following your page.
It's also a good time to think about how you'll track and measure this activity.
Will you use native insights to ensure social media is delivering? Will you use a third-party tracking tool? Who will be responsible for measurement and reporting?
Knowing what you want social media to do for you will also help you tackle the next element.
A - About us.
Who are you, and why are you on social media?
This is a tough question to answer, and a question that (many times) doesn't get answered at all. It's 2018, and most businesses know they need some sort of social media presence, but many can't tell you why.
Social media has to have a purpose in order for it to be effective, and this purpose should be communicated in every about section or bio space that's available.
Do you know why you want your brand to be on social media?
Be able to communicate that to potential followers. Let them know up front what they're opting in for if they choose to follow you.
N - is for Niche.
Where does your audience (or potential audience) hang out?
Instagram? Facebook? Twitter? Knowing where your fans live digitally will guide your publishing strategy and allow you to focus your creativity on that niche.
That allows you to develop content that's optimized for your audience and per channel.
You don't have to be everywhere, but anywhere you publish, you must think niche.
There is no certain order in which you must complete these steps, but answering these questions and solving for each item mentioned here will allow your social teams (or you, if you're a one-man band) to find success.
Need further insights? Follow @nfluencewhisper or @mareejones on Twitter.