Let us assume that you have already setup your own blog and have written a few quality content. What now? Readers won’t just stumble upon your blog unless you share it and market it in social media.
They say marketing your blog is just as important as writing quality content. And I agree.
No matter how nice your blog appears to be or how creatively written your articles are, if people can’t find you online then it’s worthless. So before you put any hard work to waste, here’s a beginner’s guide on how to create a social media marketing plan for your blog.
1) Be clear with what your BRAND stands for
What message do you want to convey to your readers? What are your goals for writing what you write? What do you want your readers to feel once they leave your site?
Answers to these questions will help you clearly identify what your BRAND stands for and what it wants to accomplish. Before you start any marketing campaign, make sure that your BRAND voice is clear in your mind. Otherwise, you’ll get confused and your readers will easily catch on.
Take this blog for instance. This blog aims to inspire its readers to strive for financial independence and to develop a sustainable travel lifestyle. These 2 things go hand in hand because in order to have a sustainable travel lifestyle, you must also have financial capabilities.
This is the message that I want to convey to my readers. Because through these goals, I am able to create the life that I want, which is far from the norm. I want to inspire my readers that dreams do come true but also, dreams mean work and dreams demand hustle.
When my readers are done reading an article, or browsing through my website, I want them to feel that they, too, can create the life that they want and that it’s never too late to chase their dreams. I want them to think, “if she can do it, I can too!”.
Related post: Creating the Life that I Want [A Case Study]
2) Identifying your TARGET Market
When identifying your target market, you have to be very specific. And you can only do this once you’ve determined what your BRAND stands for. Let me break this down for you taking this blog as an example:
Brand message: Financial Independence and Sustainable Travel Lifestyle
Age range: 22 – 35 years old (the millennials)
Location: Anywhere in the world
Solo or Duo or Multiple: Single and/or with a partner who’s just as adventurous as you.
Social status: None. Depends on your capability to create income-generating streams and handle money wisely
Characteristics (brand personality): Unconventional, non-conformists, well-informed, resilient, independent, self-sufficient, street smart, courageous, wanderers, adventurous, and freedom seekers
As you can see, I am targeting those who don’t find fulfillment in doing a 9-5 job. People who are looking for something bigger, and those courageous enough to seek and live their purpose in life. People who dare to be different by going out of their comfort zone, unafraid of uncertainties, and excited about everything Universe has in store for them.
Also, if any of my readers are not into sustainable travel but are aiming for financial independence, then this blog is also the right place for them. Financial independence is not something you learn in school and I wish I had been smarter with my finances when I was still young but it’s never too late. Financial freedom can be achieved based on your capability to create income-generating streams and handle money wisely.
I cannot include those already with family and kids because let’s face it, there’s too much at stake if they decide to drop everything and just travel the world. It is still possible but because I don’t have family and kids yet on my own, I won’t be able to relate much and be true to my writing.
Now that your brand message is clear and you’ve identified your target market, it’s now time to create a marketing plan and determine strategies that will turn this plan into action. To be able to do this, you must first identify your Marketing Objectives.
Marketing objectives are your goals. Goals that answer these questions:
- How many page views do you want your blog to reach on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis?
- Which social media platform do you want to focus on?
- How many subscribers, Facebook likes, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram followers do you want to acquire?
- How much are you willing to spend on ad budget?
Bear in mind that goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Agreed-upon, Realistic, Time-bound).
Once you’ve written down your goals, let’s now go to Market Analysis.
3) Market analysis
If you don’t know anything about the industry you’re going into, then you won’t have a clue on how to strategize and make your blog standout.
This blog, for instance, is focused on the millennials who want to be financially independent and travelers. There are already hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of travel bloggers out there as well as finance bloggers. So how will I compete? Simple. I will just look for pockets of growth and hit that spot to achieve my goals.
If you’ve read anything about the millennials, they are the ones who refuse to conform. These people want to lead a purpose-driven life, to make a difference, and to live the life that they want in their own terms.
The older generations often refer to them as being too entitled and I agree. But can you really blame them for going after what they want? For being too opinionated? They’re living in a digital age where so much information are made available to them. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they want to create the life that they want and they will continue to do so with conviction.
Bonus part, these millennials are the tech savvy and social media addicts of our generation. Implementing a well-thought-out and cohesive social media marketing plan will definitely help me achieve my marketing objectives.
We all have our stories to tell and it’s the WHY and the HOW you tell your story that matter when it comes to reaching and keeping your audience. Because at the end of the day, your writing style should be a tailor fit to your target audience and how you empathize with their needs and pain points are reflected in your writing.
What’s the importance of this? When you can identify what you can and cannot do as well as the opportunities and threats in your industry, then creating strategies will be seamless.
- Strengths (What can I do? What can I offer? What could be my unique selling point for readers to visit my blog?)
- Weaknesses (What are my limitations?)
- Opportunities (What are my target audience looking for? What do they need? Is the industry continuously growing?)
- Threats (How saturated is the market? How tough is the competition?)
As you can see, the strengths and weaknesses are both internal, while the opportunities and threats are external factors. Strengths and weakness should be easy to identify, but with the opportunities and threats, you will have to do a lot of research.
Match up your strengths with the opportunities and look for pockets of growth while taking into consideration the threats and your weaknesses.
Once you are done with the Market and SWOT analysis, it’s now time to build your brand.
Even if you’re not selling a product, your blog is still a BRAND on its own. And with brand management, the Marketing 4Ps will come into play.
4) Marketing 4Ps
The product is your brand. Everything you have written, courses and eBooks that you will offer to your readers are all part of your brand. We’ve already covered this when we discussed about brand message and identifying your target market. That being said, how you build your brand should be based on your message and how it will attract your target market.
You must consider the aesthetics – colors, fonts, layouts, and images that you will use as well as the tone and writing style – do you want the tone to be formal or personal? fun or serious?
Keep in mind that with brand building, you have to be consistent and everything should be cohesive.
Reading your blog doesn’t cost anything but time and time is the most valuable asset that anyone has. You cannot buy back time so make sure that what you are offering your readers are worth their time.
Because we are now living in digital age, your blog’s reach and visibility are limitless. The entire world is your audience. As long as you can manage to get your blog found online, its growth could be exponential. Focus on writing quality content for your target audience and soon enough, you will receive comments and emails from anywhere in the world.
Best way to promote? Through social media networks of course! And these statistics will show you why:
Just imagine the number of people you will reach by advertising in Facebook with its more than 1B users, or Instagram’s 600M users, and a lot more. The possibilities are endless!
5) Marketing Strategies
We’ve covered what brand message is, how to identify target market, importance of market analysis and putting 4Ps in place. Now, we can start determining marketing strategies to implement. How do we begin? Through these steps:
- Choose which social media network to focus on
There are a lot of social media platforms where you can market your blog but I suggest that you focus on 2-3 platforms so as not to spread your energy and resources too thinly. Managing your social media networks can take so much of your time so just choose 2-3 and focus all your attention there.
Facebook is a number 1 choice because of its 1 billion users but apart from it, what other platform can you use?
Choosing which platform depends highly on where your target audience are. If you are targeting business professionals, then LinkedIn is your best bet. If your target audience are moms, travelers, and foodies, then Instagram and Pinterest will work best for you.
Study which platforms your audience frequent and start from there.
- Create a monthly content calendar for each platform
A monthly calendar is important because it will give you a bigger picture of how your marketing campaigns are coming together. When creating a content calendar, take note of the best and worst day to post, the standard graphic dimensions, and kind of ad that will engage your audience in your chosen platforms.
Also, it is important to share content from other relevant sources to give variety to your audience. Avoid too much self-promotion and your goal should always be to inform, educate and inspire.
- Determine how much ad budget will be spent for each network
Before you go on a spending spree with your ad budget, utilize first other avenues that you can take advantage without paying for anything. Avenues such as Facebook groups and forums, Google plus communities, LinkedIn groups, Pinterest group boards, etc. Joining these forums can also help drive traffic to your website.
But if you have to spend, I suggest you do so with control. When you want to get more Facebook page likes, try testing your ads first at $10 at a time and make necessary adjustments along the way. If the paid ad is engaging a lot of your audience, then increase your budget and the number of days it will run for. If the ad is not showing results, stop the ad and try creating another post.
- Monitor analytics and traffic to your website
What gets managed, gets measured. And what gets measured, gets done.
It is a MUST to review how effective (or ineffective) your campaigns are and which social media network contributes highly on driving traffic to your website. By doing so will help you see how close (or far) you are from achieving your marketing goals.
With marketing, almost always, it’s a hit and miss. Understanding your audience’s behavior is key as well as being strategic with your social media marketing.
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About the author: She’s currently working as a social media specialist for a Startup company in the US. She has a post-graduate business degree and she spent more than a decade as Brand and Marketing Manager in the corporate world and created dozens of marketing plans during that time.