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April 21, 2020

Free Social Media Marketing Templates for Excel

By Brian McHale

There are almost 3.5 billion active social media users in the world.

The digital sphere is the perfect place to reach more customers.

However, if you want to increase your sales, brand awareness, or achieve any of your goals, you’re going to need social media planning.

In this post, we’re going to show you how to manage your social media and create your social media strategy with simple templates for Excel.

 

The Benefits of Social Media Planning

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.

But chances are, you know very well where you want to go.

You have defined your goals, and you know what you want to achieve.

So how can social media planning help you?

 

Plan Your Steps

In order to achieve steady growth, you need a plan, and you need social media management processes.

Think of social media procedures as your road map.

You know exactly what you need to do to get from Point A to Point B.

This is incredibly important because it turns complex tasks into routine.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, you can simply follow tried and true steps that have brought you success in the past.

 

Social Media Planning Generates Sales

Often, companies make the mistake of having social media profiles just to have them.

They have no purpose, and rarely bring results.

But with a social media template, you can make sure your profiles generate sales, and increase brand awareness.

 

Social Media Planning Helps You Analyze and Monitor Your Results

If you’re just managing social media without a plan, you’ll keep postponing analyses.

After all, you’ve already got a lot of tasks on your plate.

But with a social media plan, you’re integrating analytics into your core processes.

It becomes just another step to take, and you can do it without a headache in sight.

This is yet another benefit of having social media planning processes; they take the work of planning all over again out of your social media equation.

All you have to do is follow the steps, and mark the task as “Done.”

Mobile phone social media

 

Bigger and Bolder Initiatives

Finally, social networks are absolute growth machines.

But if you’re still planning your social media activity with to-do lists and post-its, you won’t be able to execute meaningful campaigns.

Conversely, with our social media template for Excel, you can easily handle routine tasks and focus on meaningful campaigns that will stimulate explosive growth.

Ultimately, social media planning allows you to follow the direction that leads towards success.

 

What Should Your Social Media Plan Include?

We’ve outlined the most important social media planning categories in our social media Excel template:

  • Strategic goals
  • Target audience
  • Primary social channels
  • Competitive analysis
  • Content types
  • Success metrics

As you’ll see in our social media template, every category should have clearly defined start and due dates, as well as assignees.

This allows you to bring that good old project management structure into an otherwise chaotic process.

After you’ve defined the basics (such as target audience preferences, primary channels, and the type of content you plan on posting), it’s time to create your content strategy:

  • Social scheduling
  • Creative assets
  • Landing page assets

Our social media template for Excel sequences these activities so you can get to work immediately.

Instead of figuring it out yourself, you can simply follow the steps we’ve outlined, and fill in the blanks with information relevant to your strategy.

 

How to Create a Social Media Strategy with Our Free Social Media Template for Excel

Define Social Media Strategy Goals

As with all goals, it’s important for your social media goals to be SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

A great example of this would be: “Our social media goal is to increase brand awareness by attracting 1,000 new followers who are interested in our service by June.

SMART goals

Source: Clockify

Common social media goals are:

  • Increasing lead generation
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Generating sales
  • Maximizing the value of existing customers.

Your goals will ultimately define the rest of your strategy. They should be aligned with your company’s strategic goals.

For example, if your company wants to maximize the lifetime value of your customers, you’d make your social media focus on educating existing customers on the value of your products.

However, if you wanted to increase your lead generation, you’d focus on paid advertising and basic benefits for target audiences.

You can easily define your goals with our social media template for Excel.

This step is formulated as a task with a start and end date, so you can add it to your project management tool.

 

Research and/or Define Your Target Audience

Social media is one of the most important touch points between you and your audience.

That is why it’s incredibly important to define your audience early on.

While you may think you know what your audience likes, we recommend researching and testing that hypothesis.

All of your competitors are already using social media, so the only reliable way of standing out from them is to know your audience as well as you know your best friends.

You can choose your own adventure, depending on what you already know about your target audience:

  • Have you defined your target audience on a strategic level, and do you just need to define how they behave on social media?
  • Are you marketing for the first time?

If you’ve already conducted audience research, then you should focus on behavior specific to social media:

How does your target audience normally interact with brands?

Do they passively follow them, or engage with their content?

For example, Sprout Social’s 2017 Social Personality report has plenty of interesting insights to offer.

Target Audience

Source: Sprout Social

 

Knowing whether your audience likes funny content from brands, or they want meaningful insights can help you craft a powerful social media strategy.

Similarly, you should analyze different behavior on different platforms.

Sprout Social’s report shows that people primarily want to see brands’ personalities on Facebook and YouTube, but they don’t think that Pinterest and Snapchat are the best platforms for it.

Finally, understanding how your audience likes brands to engage can help you craft great content:

Consumer Sentiment


Source: Sprout Social

 

If you want to know what you can expect from your audience, there’s nothing like a little competitive analysis.

Competitive analysis earned a special place in our social media management template for Excel, and we’ll cover it in depth in the following steps of this guide.

Another factor to keep track of is your audience size.

Knowing where your audience likes to hang out will help you identify primary channels.

How to determine your audience size on different social networks:

  • Facebook Ads Manager – When you enter your target audience details, you’ll see how many potential customers use Facebook and Instagram
  • LinkedIn Navigator – Search by keywords, job titles, qualifications, and other factors important for B2B organizations
  • Twitter Advanced Search – Search by keywords, hashtags, locations, account mentions, and more.

You can also use advanced analytics features on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more about your audience and make sure you’re targeting the right people.

If you’re marketing for the first time, your process will look a little different.

The main things you should know are:

  • Demographics (Age, gender, income, education)
  • Psychographics (Personality, values, attitudes, interests, lifestyle)

For example, if you know that your customers have fun-loving personalities, you can create fun content.

But if they expect you to be formal, then you shouldn’t stray too far from expectations.

It’s important to understand your customers’ values, as well. 63% of consumers are more likely to purchase products from brands that share their own values.

If you understand your customers’ behavior, you’ll also know where they look for information.

Ultimately, you should have enough information about your audience to be able to create buyer personas.

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your target audience, based on your market research. Buyer personas help you visualize your audience as if it were a single person. This allows you to personalize your content at scale.

If you use our social media template for Excel, you can simply add the most important characteristics of your buyer persona to the “Target audience” tab.

Then, reference it when creating new posts.

 

Identify Your Most Important Social Channels

While you may feel pressured to establish a presence on every social network, don’t do it.

Managing social media takes time, and so does engaging your audience members.

You don’t want to spread yourself too thin.

Choose 1-2 social networks that your audience members use the most.

Your audience research will help you identify those channels.

After that, it’s a matter of prioritization.

Choose those channels that have the highest engagement rates.

For example, social media like Snapchat and TikTok can be pretty passive for brands.

People are more likely to engage in discussions on Facebook and Twitter.

If you already use social media, review your data.

If some profiles aren’t performing because your audience isn’t very interested in that social network, eliminate them.

Finally, pay attention to every social network’s unique culture.

Twitter is great for starting discussions.

Facebook users mainly use Facebook Groups these days, so it may be better to start a valuable group than a page.

Instagram users love engaging with brands, and TikTok-ers want to be entertained

If you want to excel at social media, you should know how every network “breathes.”

A lot of brands cross-post content, but it’s best to create native content for each platform.

You can also utilize every platform’s unique features.

For example, Facebook and Instagram live are spreading like wildfire these days.

This way, you’ll maximize your results and provide value across all your social channels.

 

Perform Competitive Analysis

The key to succeeding on social media is differentiation. Your social media plan has to include an analysis of your competitors’ social media presence:

  • Channel relevance (Are your competitors using the right channels to engage with your shared audience?)
  • Positioning (How do your competitors describe themselves on social media?)
  • Metrics (How many followers do your competitors have? What are their engagement rates?)
  • Content (What kind of posts do your competitors create? What are your competitors’ most and least engaging posts? What characteristics do they share? How do customers respond to them?)
  • Language (Which phrases do your competitors use? What is their tone like?)
  • Hashtags
  • Advertising.

In addition to analyzing your competitors’ activity, you should also analyze your audience’s activity.

This will give you a great benchmark for your content, and quite a few ideas.

 

Determine Your Content Mix

Whatever you do, avoid posting promotional content only.

Every post will promote your company. However, too much sales driven content can result in audience disengagement.

It’s much better to indirectly promote your company through a balanced content mix that consists of:

  • Original content
  • Curated content
  • Conversion-focused content (e.g. sales announcements, testimonials)
  • Thought leadership content (e.g. advice, opinions, comments)

You don’t have to create every piece of content yourself.

You can use curated content from sources that are not your competitors, or invite your followers to share their content with you.

The types of content you’ll post depend on your audience.

But after creating your buyer persona, researching the market and your competitors, you’ll know what you need to post.

Then, simply plug it into our free social media planning Excel template, and you’ll always know what works!

 

Define Success Metrics

The main benefit of social media planning with templates is that you can monitor every aspect of your performance.

However, you need to use success metrics.

After all, if you can see it, you can improve it.

Some companies like using social-only metrics such as: followers, likes, engagement rates.

We recommend using metrics that show you how your social media performance contributes to your strategic marketing goals:

  • Click-throughs
  • Social referral traffic that results in sales
  • Session length

And so on.

So not only should you monitor the number of likes and click-throughs, but you should also monitor how social media visitors behave once they land on your website.

 

Develop Your Social Media Content, Creative Assets, and Landing Pages

Our free social media strategy template for Excel also has plenty of room to plan out your content in advance.

Whenever you need to create a post, make sure the request contains details:

  • Channels
  • Visual assets (e.g. image, gif, video)
  • Copy
  • Link
  • Publish date and time
  • Hashtags (if applicable)
  • Mentions (if applicable)
  • Campaign (if applicable)

If you structure your publishing process like this, you’ll be able to check if the post is aligned with your marketing strategy, and avoid filler content.

Social Media Content

 

Social Scheduling

The key to success with social media is consistency.

You should create a clear schedule and stick to it.

Make sure you jot it down in our social media Excel template so you don’t forget.

Again, the main benefit of creating social media management processes is automation.

If you have an established workflow, you can post and manage social media on auto-pilot.

You can organize your social media posts by channel, or date and time.

For example, if your primary channel is Facebook, you could have a separate schedule for it.

If you’re covering multiple networks, then it’s better to have a day-by-day schedule.

Make sure you don’t overdo it. Understand every social network’s posting tolerance.

If you post 5 times a day on Instagram, your (potential) customers will be inundated with your content.

But if you post 5 times a day on Twitter, that’s completely normal.

You can also use apps like Buffer to schedule your posts.

 

What’s Next?

After you’ve created your social media plan with our free Excel template, all you have to do is get to work.

Make sure you continuously review your goals and social media standards.

Be consistent, and analyze your progress.

It can take some time to generate traction through social media, but once you reach 1,000 followers, it’s time to start evaluating your success.

After that, it’s time to optimize.

Let’s get social!

Download your free social media planning template for Excel

Free Excel Social Media Marketing Template

Download your free Excel Social Media Marketing Template.

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