How to create a documented social media strategy

By Kathleen Aoki

Even small businesses need a documented social media strategy to ensure marketing success. Here's a simple guide to help you kick-start a strategy.

What if there was something simple and straightforward you could do to significantly improve your marketing efforts? Well it turns out there is: documenting your social media strategy. Studies show that businesses that document their social media strategies are more effective and confident in achieving their goals, not to mention able to justify their marketing spend to management.

It makes sense when you consider that marketers who take the time and effort to document their strategies are also likely to have a much better understanding of their target market and how to reach them. Your document also ensures that you do not fall into the trap that many social media marketers make, which is to start with tactics instead of goals, which can lead to less-than-effective campaigns.

Yet in spite of the benefits, the majority of businesses today do not document their strategies. If you're one of them, here are some tips on how to get started.

Start with your goals

As with all marketing initiatives, your document should be structured around your goals. A good way to start is by asking some important questions:

  • What is our social media budget?
  • What is the time frame for the campaign?
  • What are we trying to achieve with our campaign, e.g. a 50 per cent increase in fan base, a 20 per cent increase in sales, or both?
  • Which channels will work best for our business?
  • What are the specific goals for each channel?
  • By what methods will we achieve these goals?
  • By what measures will success (or failure) be gauged?
  • What is our brand story and how will we communicate it?

Putting together your document

Once you have clearly identified your goals, you're ready to start charting your document on paper. Below is an example of which elements might be included in a typical document:

  • Executive summary.
  • Goals and success criteria.
  • Overall plan of attack, broken down into phases.
    • Phase 1 tasks and goals.
    • Phase 2 tasks and goals.
    • Phase 3 tasks and goals.
  • Tools and processes:
    • Social media management tools, e.g. Sprout Social, Google Analytics, etc.
    • Metrics and analytics for measuring performance and ROI (daily, weekly, monthly).
    • Ongoing content development strategy.
    • Schedule for posting, tweeting, etc.
    • Delegation of tasks.

Remember, the above is just a guideline, as there's really no right or wrong way to document. The important thing is to have a functional document that works for the unique needs of your business - one that clearly maps out specific tactics in accordance with predefined goals. Your document should also be seen as being dynamic and flexible, to be updated as your strategy changes and develops.

While having a solid road map in place is not a 100 per cent guarantee of success, having a road map will definitely make success a lot more likely. So consider documenting your social media strategy as part of your overall marketing plan for success in the year ahead.


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