How to Plan a Social Media Strategy in 12 Steps

To build a sustainable following on your organisation’s social media profiles, you need clear goals for every post. This is where having a laid-out social media strategy will help keep you on target.

A strategy helps to put your point across and gets leadership in your corner at the pitching stage. Having a solid plan also keeps you accountable and allows you to keep improving.

Getting your strategy right will save you time when it comes to pitching and implementing. So what needs including in this social media strategy? Helen Reynolds broke it down into 12 easy steps in our social media academy lesson — watch it for free!


1. Introduce With an Executive Summary

While it’s usually the last thing you write, it’s the first thing people will read, giving a high-level outline of the strategy. It’s also an excellent resource to look back on, as it will keep you focused and remind you what you’re on social media for. There’s nothing worse than posting aimlessly!


2. Link Back to the Broader Strategy

All your company strategies will influence each other, working together to achieve business goals. Look at other comms, marketing and customer service reports to see how they fit in with your social media strategy. Even after writing your strategy, go through these other reports regularly to help with content creation, inspiration and progress reporting.


3. Audit Your Current Social Media

Where is your organisation in the social media sphere right now? Carry out a full social media audit on your profiles to understand what’s working well and what needs improving. It can also help you set realistic goals and manage leadership expectations for building the organisation’s profiles.

We’ve made social media auditing easy with our free guide to completing a social media audit.

Audits help you justify to leadership why you’re creating your strategy in this way. Give yourself the best chance of buy-in by giving them as much information as possible.


4. Get SMART with Your Social Strategy

You need a way to check how your strategy is progressing and how close to achieving your goals you are. Setting 4-5 SMART objectives helps you to plan out what you want to accomplish while highlighting what to prioritise.

Setting SMART goals depends on what you want to achieve with social media; so we put together 11 social media metrics that you can use to develop your measurable goals and evaluate the success that matters to you.


5. Define Your Tone of Voice

Your tone of voice on social media will be different to copy on a leaflet or the company website. You should make it adaptable to different situations and encounters, but also relevant to the platform. Your tone of voice on social media is more than just how you say something. It represents your brand personality, so noting it down as part of your strategy is an important step.

Need more guidance? We’ve got a whole academy lesson dedicated to exploring your organisation’s tone of voice. Discover the tricks and exercises you can do to pin down your brand tone of voice.


6. Identify Your Audience

A vital part of your social media strategy is to understand the type of person you are trying to speak to. Segmenting your audience helps you to deliver highly relevant content to the right people.

If you’re unsure of who the ‘right people’ are, it may be worth revisiting your dusty old marketing textbook, particularly that chapter on personas! Get to know what your ideal audience wants to engage with to create the content that they’re looking for.


7. Decide on Which Social Media Channels

Each social media channel has its own opportunities and pitfalls along with different user demographics, so it’s essential to be familiar with your audience and goals. Outline each social media channel and what you will be using it for.

You shouldn’t try to be everywhere at once, so focus on where your audience is and deliver a good experience to them.


8. Be Creative with Your Content

You’ve probably had loads of great ideas for social media content; now is the time to add them into your strategy. Outline what type and style of content you’re going to create — this will also tie into your tone of voice. Include a link to your content plan, so readers can see examples of the type of content you’re going to post.

No content plan? No worries. Our academy covers everything you need to win at social media, including putting together a superstar content plan!


9. Engage Your Following

There’s no point posting out content if no one is going to listen to you. By understanding your audience, you should have an idea of their interests that you can craft content around. Just because you’re interested in what you’ve written doesn’t mean that your target audience will be!

We rounded up 21 social media experts to share their advice for an engaging strategy in our Strategy Insight Guide — download your free copy!


10. Plan Your Outreach

Social media is a two-way street; you’ve got to give engagement to get engagement. Going out there and starting a conversation with your target audience is the best way to bring traffic to your own channels, as they’re more likely to come and check you out.

If you want people to join your Facebook group or comment on your blogs, you should engage in some groups and blogs first. Create a plan for where you are going to seek these people out and how you are going to start these conversations.


11. Assign Tasks to Team Members

Part of what makes a social media team great is making the most of each individual’s skills. Analyse internal skills to decide who will take ownership of each task and why they are best suited to this job.

From this analysis, you can also identify knowledge gaps, weaknesses and team members who may need extra support in their role.


12. Make Your Case for Extra Resources

This final part outlines the resources you need for your successful social media strategy. You should have made a case for what you want to do throughout the strategy, allowing you to justify extra investment in software, equipment, or staff.


Writing everything into your strategy will save you time and confusion in the long run. You can also stay accountable and on-track to achieve your social media goals, driving the organisation forward.

Helen Reynolds goes into more detail about building an exceptional social media strategy in our social media academy.  Watch it for free!