Are you ready for 2019? Do you have a plan in place for social media and digital marketing?

When you create your digital plan for the coming new year, it is important that do not miss any key areas of marketing or trends that you need to consider. This 15-point checklist to help you with that.

If you already have your plan / strategy in place, you can use this checklist to ensure that you have not missed any essential areas.

For those of you who have not yet started working on it, I have given a ‘Starting point‘ tip under each section to help you get started.

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A 15-Point Checklist for Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan / Strategy for 2019

1. Do you have a ‘Roadmap’ document?

Before you do anything, create a social media reference document. It is for the same reason that would have a map in your hand ‘before’ you start a journey (not after you get lost on the way). This document which will serve as a blue print or map for the entire year. I call this the ‘roadmap’.

It could be a simple spreadsheet or a word document that you can go back to at any time. You could use Google Docs – it is free, cloud-based, mobile-enabled and collaborative. You could also use a mind map if you are a visual person (like me).

This will be a work-in-progress live document that you will keep going back to. So choose an app/tool that you are comfortable working with on a regular basis.

Starting Point: Here is a list of items that could be part of your social media roadmap. Please feel free to add more, depending on the industry or the business you are in.

    • Overall organisational objective
    • Marketing / promotional goals
    • Target Audience / Personas
    • Competition information
    • Channels – Social media, advertising, email etc.
    • Budgets
    • Team details with responsibilities
    • Partnership/collaboration plan
    • Online assets details – website, mobile apps, etc.
    • UTM parameters for campaigns
    • Editorial and Social Media Calendar
    • Content Marketing Plan
    • Keywords
    • Hashtags
    • Research information

 2. Have you defined your audience?

Define your target market and online audience in detail. Know who you ideal audience is so that you can create content, campaigns and promotions that will address their needs, resonate with them and add value to them. Get to the details, like – what do they do, how do they behave/react, what do they think, how do they spend, demographics, psychographics etc.

Starting Point: The best way to do this is by creating personas. Here is a useful post by Buffer with step-by-step instructions on how to create marketing personas.

3. Have you picked your channels?

There are 100s of social media channels today and there are multiple ways to optimise your content for each of them.

If you are just starting your digital marketing and social media efforts, I highly recommend that you do not try to focus on multiple channels. Try focussing on one or two channels first and get some traction. You need not ignore the others, just give them a lower priority for now and repost your existing content without spending time customising or optimising your content for them.

As your influence grows you can consider creating expanding and optimising your content and efforts for multiple channels.

Starting Point: There are a few factors to consider while choosing the right social media channels for your business, here is a blog post to help you get started – How to choose the right social media channel.

4. Have you audited your online presence?

Conduct an audit and take stock of your online presence before you get into 2019. A few questions you could ask yourself

    • How strong and optimised is your existing online presence – web, mobile and social?
    • Is it producing the results you are after?
    • Is your website optimised for search, usability & lead generation?
    • Do you have a CRM built into your website?
    • Do you have landing pages for all your marketing campaigns?
    • What about your mobile presence (mobile site, mobile experience of your website users, mobile apps, etc.)?
    • How about your social media presence?
    • Are you visible and present in all the social media channels where your prospects are spending time?

Starting point: To get started with your website audio, review this list of all the marketing elements that your website should have in order to be effective in 2019.

5. Have you integrated your campaigns?

Plan to integrate your online and offline marketing campaigns. Without integration, there is a possibility of your marketing efforts/resources moving in various directions with unconnected goals, reducing overall impact.

For example, it is not a good idea to have your public relations team working one online campaign, while your social media team tries to focus on another.

Starting point: Organise a meeting of your entire team (internal and external) and take stock of all the planned marketing campaigns for 2019. Track the alignment of your online & offline campaign goals and make sure that they complement each other.

6. Do you have the right tools?

Using the right tools helps you save time and maximise your productivity. There are tools for every digital need including software, devices and mobile apps. And there are ebooks, online courses and podcasts that you can use to learn and equip yourself to accomplish your marketing objectives.

It takes a bit of a learning curve and time as you select the right ones that suit you, but time spent on this now, is time saved in future.

Starting point: To get started here is a blog post on various tools and resources that you could use.

7. Have you defined your budget?

Allocating your marketing budget early gives you the ability to start planning your 2019 ad-campaigns with various search engines and social media channels. Online advertising is evolving and becoming a more important part of the marketing mix producing great results.

For example, if you consider social ads, the figure below shows how ad revenues from social media channels have grown to a massive $41 billion in 2017. This consistent growth since 2014 indicates that brands are seeing great results using social ads.

Global advertising revenue growth(source)

Starting point: But how much of you total budget do you set apart for social media and digital marketing? To help you get started, here is a blog post on how to allocate a Digital Marketing budget.

8. Do you have a content creation plan?

What type of content are you planning to produce in 2019? Are you comfortable with written content or are you more comfortable with videos? Depending on the comfort level and capability of your team, you can choose the type of content that you will use to market and amplify your message.

Usually a mix of various types of content works best with one or two formats dominating your campaigns.

Starting point: Once you choose the type of content, based on your campaigns, prepare an editorial calendar. This will help you firm up your content marketing plan.

You could start with laying out broad goals and objectives for each month. Then, come up with a more detailed plan for the first quarter (Jan, Feb and March 2019). As you go along, depending on the progress and data from your analytical tools, you can make changes to the plans.

9. Do you have a mobile marketing plan?

Mobile usage by consumers dominated 2018 and is expected to dominate 2019 too. Trends and studies show that consumers will use mobile and voice driven search on their mobile as the primary means of consuming content in 2019.

It is not just about creating mobile-responsive webpages any more, focus on creating a mobile-optimised experience in every part of your online business – online assets, content and campaigns.

We see new apps and devices powered by AI, AR and VR technologies being launched each day. Every time you create content consider whether it is optimised for the ever-growing smart phone and smart speaker audience who wants to experience such immersive, intelligent technologies.

Starting point: To help you get started with your plans for Mobile Marketing, here is a blog post on Top 5 Mobile Marketing trends.

10. Do you have a video marketing plan?

Research shows that video converts better than any other medium, video makes people stay longer on your website and video will continue to dominate as the preferred form of content in 2019. So plan to include video (live and recorded) in your 2019 marketing campaigns.

Starting point: To help you get started, here is a beginners guide on creating Marketing videos.

11. Have a messenger marketing plan?

Messenger marketing is using the private messaging feature on social media (like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc) or a chat software on a website or a mobile app, to reach out to your audience with a message and serve them. This can be done in real-time (which has been around for a while) or by using automated tools called chatbots (which is the more recent and exciting new way of communication). Chatbot-driven messenger marketing is fast evolving as an efficient, effective and a powerful strategy for communication.

Starting point: You can get started by reading the 2018 State of Chatbots report from Jay Baer‘s blog. This will give you an idea of how chatbots are evolving and how you can build them into to your communication strategy. Here is a sample chart from the report on predicted use cases for chatbots.

12. Do you have a measurement plan?

Create a measurement plan based on the channels you have selected in point 3. Almost all social media channels have their own dedicated analytics software and they give an in-depth analysis of what works and what does not.

But I recommend that you have a aggregation tool like Google Analytics, which can collect all required information in one place if configured properly. This not only saves time when you are trying to analyse the impact of your campaigns, but also helps you compare channels and have a integrated overview.

For example, Facebook might give you details of how each post performed on their channel, but in Google analytics you can see how these posts impacted your call-to-action initiatives, lead magnets and landing pages.

Starting point: To help you get started here is a list of helpful posts on measuring your social media metrics.

13. Have you audited your search rankings? Do you have a SEO plan?

Optimising your online presence for search engines makes you visible to your customers when they look for your products or services online. SEO has evolved. Going into 2019, content-driven SEO is what any business should be focussing on.

Starting point: To help you get started in SEO, here is a beginner’s guide for SEO.

14. Have you established your partnerships?

What is your plan for collaboration and partnership in 2019? You can partner with influencers in your industry, thought leaders, companies offering complimentary services to your audience, vendors and even clients. Some of the collaborative activities that you could plan for 2019 are:

    • Webinars
    • FB LIVE Programs
    • Podcast interviews
    • Co-branded shared advertising campaigns
    • Cross promotions in social media channels
    • Guest posts in blogs
    • Offline events

Starting Point: If you do not have a partnership plan in place, you could start by creating a list of possible partners and send them an email asking them if they are open for collaborations in 2019. Based on their response, you could schedule the above mentioned activities in your calendar.

15. Do you have the right team in place?

To accomplish great things, you need the right team. Your 2019 Digital Marketing plan or strategy’s impact will depend on how strong your team is. Digital marketing is a function that warrants a coordinated work between multiple teams with various skills. For example, a social media campaign for a product launch might require the following teams to work together:

    • The business team (for strategy)
    • Advertising team
    • Content creation team
    • Content editing team
    • Media management team
    • Research team
    • Design team
    • Video team
    • IT programming team
    • SEO team

Starting point: There are couple of ways in which you can get access to a team with varied skill sets.

  1. Recruit and create your own in-house digital team with expertise in each of the above functions.
  2. Hire a consultant and a digital agency with a proven track record of working on marketing campaigns. This option will give you access to all the skill sets.

All the very best for the coming new year.

Leave your thoughts, questions and feedback in the comments section.

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