Does Your Social Media Plan Tell A Story?

A social media plan is a strategy document but also a selling document that usually takes the form of a written report and a presentation. One of the most effective forms of written and oral communication is story. Before a social media plan can help a brand sell, it has to be sold.

Below is an outline of the main parts of a social media strategy placed on a dramatic arc to ensure you are telling a compelling story to your client or boss. Take them on a journey of discovery of how your solution will help them overcome a problem or take advantage of an opportunity. Make their brand the hero against competitors to meet real business objectives.

Social Media Plan Outline Template Strategy Story and StorytellingAct 1 Introduction/Exposition: This is where you introduce the background of the brand, their history and mission. The client or your boss obviously knows this, but you are letting them know you know and making sure you are all starting from the same setting such as, “Open on a hundred year old company founded on the values of …”

Additional context comes in explaining the industry including latest trends and main competitors. Identifying the main competitor establishes the antagonist. Most businesses have someone they are trying to catch up to or keep from catching them.

Complete the exposition of the story by describing who the brand is trying to reach. A well-defined target audience is a key to success. Understanding the perspective and motivations of the target is important as most clients are not themselves in the target market.

Act 2 Rising Action/Conflict: This is where you spell out the conflict of the story. There is usually an inciting situation – the reason they need a new strategy. Often the incitement is something getting in the way of business objectives or something that can help the brand reach those objectives.

Clearly identifying the problem or opportunity ensures that you and the client are working towards the same end goal. Making this a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound objective ensures from the beginning that your plan will be able to be measured for success against what the client cares about most.

Reporting the results of a social media audit adds additional context but also adds complications. The results of the social audit often reveals unexpected insights that conflict with current beliefs and/or strategies. The truth of these complications can raise tensions and anxieties as anticipation builds for a solution.

Act 3 Climax/Turning Point: This is where the climax or turning point of the plan happens. The high point of the plan and your presentation should be the reveal of the big idea that is going to solve the problem or seize the opportunity against the competitor.

Don’t just reveal it – sell it. Explain how the idea is more than creative. Point out how it is also a strategic solution. Describe how the research insights from everything before this part of the plan led to the big idea as the solution. This is the turning point, because the solution has been revealed and everything after this is result of that solution.

Act 4 Falling Action/Results: This is where the results of the research and insights and the big idea play out in specific social media actions. Recommend how the brand’s social media presence should change. Which social media platforms are ideal for the big idea, message and target audience? Which social media platforms need to be left behind? How does paid social media play a role?

Also explain how the social media idea integrates with current marketing efforts and other forms of traditional marketing promotion such as advertising and public relations. Show the full potential of the solution by explaining how social media can integrate with other areas of the business such as operations, R&D, human resources, customer service or sales.

The last action of the big idea should be examples. Paint a picture of what the strategy will really look like. Show the client sample content posts in each of the selected social media channels. Prove the solution works with a multi-channel social media strategy.

Act 5 Resolution/Denouement: The conflict is resolved. The client can now see the victory over the competitor. The final resolution is given and any remaining tension of not knowing how to solve the problem is released with a tying up of loose ends.

The final outcome includes a content calendar that shows when, where and how the plan will take place across the various social media platforms. A sample social media content calendar can be a great start.

Complete the path to their goal by explaining how success will be measured. This can be demonstrated through a social media metrics table that clearly links social media specific platform metrics to the business objectives established in the beginning of the plan.

The last loose end is cost. Let them know a how much the solution will cost. A social media budget template can help estimate these costs. The solution is made clear as the story ends and you have told the story of their future success. What is the unique plot of your plan?

Employer Branding in Social Media [Infographic]

Why social media employer branding? Job seekers rank social and professional networks as the most useful job search resource compared to job boards, job ads, employee referrals, recruiting agencies, and recruiting events. Companies believe that social media marketing will be the most in demand human resource skill by 2020.

An employer brand is a brand’s reputation as a place to work and its employee value proposition. It is related to, but unique from the general brand reputation and customer value proposition. Think of the difference as “great place to work” versus “great place to buy.”

Employer branding is attracting, engaging and retaining talent. This is often done by human resource managers working with marketing and/or applying brand management concepts to recruitment and employee relations. Social media can be a powerful tool for employer branding with many benefits as evidenced in the statistics below.Employer Branding and Employee Engagement in Social Media Strategy for MarketingHow do you use social media for employer branding? First, understand your employee value proposition (EVP), the set of offerings you provide an employee. EVP is an employee-centered view of the unique set of values that differentiate your company from competitors. A good EVP helps attract and retain talent that is the best fit. Kristina Martic from the recruitment marketing firm TalentLyft explains that EVP includes:

  1. Compensation (salary, bonuses)
  2. Benefits (healthcare, vacation)
  3. Career (stability, development)
  4. Work environment (positive atmosphere, work-life balance)
  5. Company culture (team support, social responsibility)

By defining your EVP you should form an idea of who your ideal job candidate would be. This is more than a standard job description of required education, skills and years of experience. TalentLyft recommends creating a candidate persona combining demographic and psychographic segmentation the way you would in defining a target audience for marketing.

Next, discover where that ideal candidate is spending their time online, where they are looking for job information, and who they want to receive that information from. The average candidate uses 18 different resources to research a company before applying for a job and 79% are using social media in their job search. The top social networks for recruitment are LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. These social channels are good places for more formal posts (organic and paid) about specific positions, benefits and corporate values, but other factors are important.

A LinkedIn survey found that the number one obstacle candidates experience is not knowing what it’s like to work at an organization. For more of the behind the scenes or in the trenches view other social channels like Instagram or Snapchat could be powerful. Show don’t tell with images and videos of what the company culture and work environment are like.

Another LinkedIn survey found that candidates trust employees three times more than employers. It is important to include your employees in your employer branding social media. Consider employee takeovers and Instagram and Snapchat stories from live events. Or have employees guest write about their accomplishments on the corporate blog. Pew Research indicates that 77% of workers use social media while on the job. Why not leverage that time for the good of the employer brand?

Be sure to also use social media to communicate to your employees. Remember that it isn’t just candidates that are viewing your social posts. Employees are as well, especially when you start engaging them to communicate company culture. Job Vibe reports that employee turnover can be reduced by 28% by investing in an employer brand.

Another social channel consideration for both employer branding and employee relations is employer review sites. Survey’s indicate that 50% of job seekers read employer reviews on sites like Glassdoor before applying. And 69% are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand by responding to reviews, updating their profile, and sharing updates on the culture and work environment.

With employees sharing updates on brand social channels, writing corporate blogs and leaving reviews on employer review sites employer branding and employee engagement are intricately linked. Employee engagement is actively appreciating employees and their work to motivate more productive and active employees. This is important considering 89% of employees say performance recognition impacts their drive and determination.

Driven and determined employees are excited to be recognized for their work in social media and happy to share their enthusiasm for their work and company in social. This enthusiasm is observed by job candidates who become new employees and continue the cycle. Thus, good employer branding becomes good employee engagement.

Who is doing this well? The international IT company CISCO has a great employer branding and employee engagement program based on #WeAreCisco. Explore their Life At Cisco Blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat for inspiration. They have even been enter into the Shorty awards for employee generated content for for employer branding.

If you haven’t thought about the importance of employer branding, employee engagement and social media, now may a good time. It could be a nice edition to your overall social media strategy.