You can dive into social media marketing headfirst and see what happens. Or, you can take the time to research, plan, execute, and evaluate your approach. The Social Media Marketing Plan is for people taking the latter approach. (You can download the form at

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[Credit: © 2012 Watermelon Mountain web Marketing;]
Credit: © 2012 Watermelon Mountain web Marketing;

Plan your work; work your plan.

Depending on its complexity and availability of support, think in terms of a timeline of 3 to 12 months to allow time to complete the following steps. Estimate spending half your time in the planning phase, one-quarter in execution, and one-quarter in evaluation and modification:

  1. Market research and online observation

  2. Draft marketing goals, objectives, and plan

  3. In-house preparation

    • Hiring, outsourcing, or selecting in-house staff

    • Training

    • Team-building

    • Writing social media policy document

  4. Preparatory development tasks

    • Design

    • Content

    • Measurement plan and metric implementation

    • Social media tool selection and dashboard development

    • Set up your social media activity calendar

    • Programming and content modifications to existing website(s) as needed

  5. Create accounts and pilot social media program

  6. Evaluate pilot program, debug, and modify as needed

  7. Launch and promote your social media campaign one service at a time

  8. Measure and modify social media in a process of constant feedback and reiteration

Don’t be afraid to build a pilot program — or several — into your plan to see what works.