Creating a social media plan offers you so much more than just a guide of what and when to post. It highlights everything your school will be posting, the goals attached to each item and who is responsible for what.
Plus, by attaching measurable goals to everything you can keep track of social media activity, and then feedback to the Senior Leadership Team. No longer will you keep getting the question, “what’s the point in social media?”
But, before you get stuck in, there are a few things you need to think about.
- Make sure you know what’s going on in the social media world, so keep up to date with all of the latest trends.
- You know who your competitor schools are, so do a bit of digging. What platforms are they active on? What and how often are they posting? What followings do they have? Who’s engaging with their content?
- What makes you different from your competitors? Know your school’s key USPs, this will help you massively when it comes to what content to post.
- Audit your content and think about what content can you repurpose. No, this isn’t cheating, repurposing past content is a great way of ensuring older blogs, videos etc. are still getting good traction.
Let’s get started…
#1 Audit what you’re currently doing
At Ambleglow, whenever a client comes to us wanting to kick their social media into high gear, we always recommend conducting an audit first.
This is a series of steps taken to assess and optimise your social media platforms and strategies. It helps you to improve what you’re doing in the future and makes sure you’re taking advantage of everything you can.
To help you out, we’ve created a really a handy template to help you conduct a marketing audit, or we can do the hard work for you, just book your free discovery call.
#2 Set some SMART goals
Your social media goals should always be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART) – I’m sure you’ve heard that a million times!
By creating SMART goals, you’ll always have data to back up what you’re doing. So, when the SLT asks you can tell them exactly what’s working and what’s not.
Here are a few examples of SMART goals you could set yourself:
- Increase engagement – measure likes, comments, shares and also mentions.
- Drive website traffic – measure referral and social media traffic (you can narrow this down in the Acquisition section of Google Analytics) and bounce rates.
- Generate new leads – create some hidden pages on your website, that can only be accessed by the links you use on social media, this way you can track it easily.
- Increase your brand awareness – measure your follow counts and post reach.
- Boost event awareness (such as Open Days) – measure how many responses you’re getting on events you’ve set up and the engagement you’re getting when sharing these events.
#3 Create your strategies
Once you’ve set some goals, the next step is to create a strategy to achieve each goal. Every goal you’ve listed should have its own strategy. Although, it’s more than likely that they’ll be some slight overlap.
#4 Which platform?
You need to make sure your goals are achievable, and not all of them will be achievable on every social media platform. When we spoke to Amy Pendlebury from Rossall School about their use of social media, she said:
“Facebook is still the most popular social media platform and is especially popular with Generation X and Baby Boomers. Instagram is better for us to engage with the younger audience (Gen Z and Millennials). LinkedIn is best to connect with former pupils, professionals and use for networking purposes. Twitter, I find, is a mix between the three.”
Take a look at our super handy social media cheat sheet to help you out when deciding which platforms are best for what.
TOP TIP: Get to know your audience. What works for one school may not work for another, so find out who’s engaging with you where and what they’re engaging with.
#5 Set Expectations
Setting expectations will help you hugely. You need to set expectations for yourself as well as within the team. Expectations I’d recommend you think about are:
- Post frequency
- Time and people needed
- People involved
One of the main expectations you need to set will be post frequency. Decide how many times a day/week you will post on each platform. A good standard is once per day on Facebook and Instagram, and whilst you don’t have to be as strict on Twitter, engagement drops off after about 10 tweets a day. That doesn’t mean to say you have to stop at one post a day on Facebook and Instagram, just use the brilliant story and live features instead.
#6 Content Distribution
Planning when and where you will share content is a major part of your social media plan.
Align your social media calendar with your school’s calendar, such as sports events, productions, Open Days and so on, as well as holidays like Easter, Pancake Day etc.
Determine which events you want to promote, to who and how often. From here, you can build the initial basis of your social media plan. Fill in the gaps with additional content that promotes your USPs and your school’s culture and community.
Don’t forget to make room for your ‘here and now’ content each week too. This sort of content works really well on Facebook and Instagram stories as well as on your main feeds.
#7 Time to analyse
The purpose of creating a plan is to give you a set of goals that can be measured and improved each month. Set aside sometime each month to take a look at the performance of your social media and to determine which parts of your plan are working, and which parts are not doing so well.
Creating a social media plan may seem like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be if you follow the 7 simple steps we’ve just outlined. By creating a solid social media plan, you’ll know what needs to be looked at, planned, posted and finally, reported on.
Plus, you can plan as far ahead as you want – meaning you could even save yourself some time.
To help you out we’ve also created a few downloadable resources for you including a really easy to use marketing audit template, a brilliant social media cheat sheet and some super handy Instagram templates.