Marketing is a challenging game. It’s tough enough to plan a social media project for one company. If you’re an agency? Well, get ready to polish your juggling skills because you’ll be keeping lots of balls in the air.
Actually, social media project planning and management doesn’t have to be a juggling act. What you need is a solid strategy to plan and execute campaigns, plus software that helps with both planning and execution stages.
We’ve got your back on both fronts — try some of these tips to smooth out the social media planning process!
Understanding social media project planning in an agency setting
There’s a big difference between handling social media for your own brand versus working as part of an agency that handles social media campaigns for multiple brands. It’s a lot easier to work on your own brand because you’re immersed in it, which means you have intimate knowledge of your own branding, your target audiences, your company culture, and all the other nuances that you’ll need to establish an effective voice and online presence.
In an agency setting, social media project planning becomes paramount. Social media managers and their teams need to achieve that same level of immersion in the branding, target audiences, and other aspects of not just one but multiple clients.
This is where a platform like Teamwork.com can make a huge difference. Learn how Teamwork.com can help agencies manage multiple complex client projects easily while offering essentials like access for your clients, billable time tracking, and more.
Common types of social media projects
As an agency, there are many social media projects clients could ask of you. We’ve rounded up some of the most common types of projects below.
Since content is king on most social media platforms, this will likely be the most common ask you’ll see from clients. Whether creating text-based content, shareable images, or video content, you’ll work with teams of creatives like writers, artists, designers, videographers, voice actors, and more. Project planning skills and tools are crucial here so that you can assign out all the creative tasks so that the project proceeds from one phase to the next without bottlenecks.
Content scheduling is another aspect that agencies handle for their clients — and it’s another part of social media marketing that requires a high degree of planning. To do it well, you’ll need to conduct extensive social media research to learn the best days and times to post on specific platforms and for specific target audiences.
For example, research shows that the best times to post on Facebook are Mondays through Fridays at 3 a.m., while the best times for Instagram are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (though these times can differ depending on demographic factors). Either way, you’ll need to figure out the best times to post, then plan a posting schedule accordingly.
Increasing audience/follower count
Increasing numbers of followers often means drilling down on analytics to learn which types of posts attract the highest numbers of new followers. As a project manager, that means having a plan in place to stay on top of analytics. You’ll need to continuously watch social post performance, engagement, trending hashtags, and other key performance indicators (KPIs) across various social media channels to learn what is most effective for building engagement and bringing in new followers.
Boosting engagement is a core part of most marketing strategies, and that’s doubly true of social media marketing, where boosting engagement is often the biggest goal. It’s also another area where you’ll need to be meticulous about analytics. It’s one thing to discover that some posts are getting more likes, comments, and shares than others. You also need to be able to identify the reasons why engagement is high. Analytics will reveal the answer, and you can use that information to refine your current marketing campaign.
Whether you’re live streaming an event, starting the latest TikTok challenge, or hosting a contest for user-generated content, social media events take time and careful planning to carry them out well. It starts with setting a date for the event — and one that is well in advance of the event because long before it’s underway, you’ll need to promote it to make sure lots of people participate.
Social media project planning tips to guide agencies
Ready to start planning the best social media campaigns possible? Follow these tips to ramp up your social media and digital marketing game.
1) Research and understand your audience
It’s paramount to thoroughly research and understand your audience for each client since there will be differences in their target audiences. When you do this kind of research, consider the following questions:
Who are your customers?
Which social media platforms do they use?
Where do they work?
What do they care about?
Do they already know about this brand?
What types of social media posts do they want to see and engage with?
The answers to these questions, plus demographic information, will help you zero in on a brand voice and the types of content that will resonate with each audience.
As you gather this information, creating ideal customer profiles (ICPs) or buyer personas is smart. These look like a biography of an ideal customer or (or company for your B2B clients).
2) Establish communication routines and processes internally and externally
As with anything, good communication is essential. When you’re working on a marketing team, you need to have established routines and processes — not just for your team but also for your clients.
Teamwork.com helps you set up solid schedules and content calendars for your team so that you can stay on top of deadlines. Commenting tools allow you to check in on tasks and provide quick and easy status updates.
You can also use Teamwork.com to provide clients access so that they can see your workflow and stay in the loop. Click here to see how it can help you plan and communicate.
On the client side, you should schedule regular communications even if you give them access to your planning and task management software. Consider scheduling weekly or monthly meetings in which you can update clients on performance on each social network.
3) Automate key tasks in your project workflow
Every social media strategy will have lots of repetitive tasks that you can easily automate. This includes:
Content ideation sessions
Campaign planning sessions
Creating and updating a content calendar
Developing content to accompany posts
Assigning content development tasks to creatives
Scheduling posts for the right days and times each week
Regularly producing and checking analytics
This is another area where Teamwork.com can help. The platform not only allows you to create tasks, but also automatically create and schedule recurring tasks.
It’s pretty easy to do, too. Create automated tasks through templates or your own custom design. From there, you can set triggers so tasks recur at certain times — like weekly content ideation sessions. Other types of triggers automatically generate or assign tasks when the status changes or when someone leaves a comment, which means you can automatically reassign content from writers to designers and other creatives as it moves through the content development pipeline.
Interested in checking out Teamwork.com’s automations? Watch a demo here, or give us a try for free!
4) Lean on social listening to guide your social media strategy
Social listening is a valuable social media tool to keep in your collection. It means keeping a close eye on the conversations surrounding your brand and those happening in the industry in general. It’s less about counting up mentions, likes, and comments and more about listening to what people are talking about.
Let’s say that your team has been posting images on Instagram. If you were simply monitoring engagement, you’d count up the positive and negative comments your images receive — and you’d likely refine your campaign to produce more of the kinds of posts that produce the most positive comments.
If you’re using social listening, you’re not just counting up all these comments but also analyzing them for sentiment. Let’s say that among the last 100 comments your posts have received, 75 of them remarked on how funny the images were, and another 25 lauded images for being adorable. That’s an indicator that your audience engages more with funny posts.
5) Be transparent about the project timeline with clients
Transparency leads to better relationships and fewer misunderstandings, so it’s important to be transparent about project timelines with your clients.
The simplest way is to use project planning software that allows you to give client or stakeholder permissions. This allows them to log in anytime, see what you allow them to see, and check up on progress.
Failing that, create a routine communication schedule — say, weekly Zoom calls or webinars to show off progress or weekly email briefings that keep them in the loop.
6) Tailor your content for each platform
One of the most crucial things to understand about social platforms is that each one features different subsets of people. For example, you’ll find very different audiences between Facebook and LinkedIn, and people who browse YouTube shorts are different from those who frequent TikTok’s For You Page.
Get to know who is on each platform — then tailor your content to suit each platform. That means choosing the right types of content (text or images versus video) and customizing it to suit recommended sizes and lengths. It also means customizing content to suit your target audiences and preferences on each platform. For example, your Instagram audience may prefer video marketing posts, as opposed to static posts.
7) Anticipate roadblocks as you plan
Wouldn’t it be nice if plans always went off exactly as designed? Unfortunately for most of us, roadblocks are likely to happen despite your best efforts to prevent them.
No worries, though. Go into social media projects anticipating roadblocks, and you’ll do just fine. This means always having a backup plan for the three big drivers behind your campaigns: team members, time, and money.
Let’s say the worst happens, and one of your team members needs time away from work to recover from an illness. You could spread the work among the rest of the team and slow the project down. Or if you’ve prepared in advance, you’ll hopefully have a freelancer you can contract to help fill in on a temporary basis.
Where time and money are concerned, it’s best to build in extra of both. Give yourself buffer time as you plot out project deadlines, and try to cap your max spending somewhere below the maximum budget so that there are extra funds in reserve if you need them.
8) Utilize social media analytics to guide your projects
The most successful campaigns are data-driven campaigns. Rely on social media analytics to guide your campaigns and continuously make improvements. Here are some of the top key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure on social media:
Impressions: This is the number of times your post was visible in feeds and timelines, and it’s a good indicator of your post’s reach.
Audience growth rate: This measures the rate you’re gaining followers. Track it to spot declines or learn the drivers behind sudden influxes.
Likes and shares: Both are important interactions that help you gauge engagement levels.
Comments: They can be both positive or negative. While they’re an indicator of engagement, you can also learn a lot about your campaign based on what the comments are saying.
These are a few of the basics. There are dozens, if not hundreds more KPIs that you can track. Choose a few that will give you actionable insights, and adjust your campaigns based on what they tell you.
Social media platform analytics
Most social platforms natively offer certain analytics. Here are some examples:
LinkedIn analytics will show you visitors, updates, followers, competitors, leads, and employee advocacy, among other things.
Instagram analytics provides total followers, accounts reached, accounts engaged, interactions, and the number of plays on Reels.
Facebook analytics offers quite a lot — unique users, post impressions, messages received, plus lots of demographic information.
Twitter analytics offer everything from tweet, retweet, and video activity to tools for marketers that allow you to track campaign metrics and conversions.
If you’re using these platforms or using social media report templates to track your brand's performance across social channels, their analytics will prove to be veritable gold mines of information that you can use to refine campaigns on each platform.
9) Remain flexible in fulfilling client needs
Ah, flexibility — it’s a great quality for a marketing agency to have, and it’s also one that can get you into trouble, too. It’s sort of a push-pull relationship in that you will keep clients happy and loyal when you can offer them some flexibility. At the same time, you don’t want to let flexibility turn into scope creep.
So how do you strike a balance? Basically, if it’s a request that you can honor without disrupting your team too much or running over budget, then it’s probably wise to do so. For example, if a client asks whether you can move deadlines up by a week to account for an early product launch, you’ll win some points if you can do so.
Likewise, not every piece of content produced will be perfect, or exactly what the client envisioned. Be flexible and adaptable, which in this case means being prepared to revise or change your approach to content to bring it in line with your strategy and the client’s vision.
And what if the client asks you to double your content output? Well, that veers into scope creep territory — and that’s when it’s okay to ask for more time and more money to complete the project.
Alleviate your project planning headaches with Teamwork.com
Social media project planning is a complicated process — and Teamwork.com can help you make it simple. Use it for task management, tracking your KPIs, keeping clients in the loop, and more. Give it a try for free here!