Do I even need a social media strategy before I start posting?

The short answer is: yes, definitely. The long answer is: setting up a solid social media strategy, and sticking to it, will help you remain consistent. Consistency can help you measure your social media efforts better. Measuring what marketing moves you’re making means you can capitalize on what works, and leave behind what doesn’t.

Proper planning prevents problems, right? Flying by the seat of your pants might work sometimes, but it’s not always going to carry you through to the finish line. 

For that reason, we’ve created 8 super simple steps to help you get started with your social media marketing plan. Even crafting a basic social media strategy is better than having none at all, right? 

We’re positive that—by the time you’ve finished reading this social strategy guide—you’ll have all the info you need to make smart marketing moves.

Let’s get started!

Step #1: Define your stellar social media goals, first

Dreaming big helps you outline which direction to go in

8 Simple Steps to Creating a Killer Social Media Strategy

Like we mentioned in our guide on how to grow your social media audience, setting realistic goals before you start planning is absolutely necessary.

You may have grand ideas about exceeding all your sales goals with just 1, super-amazing viral Tweet, but that’s not quite realistic. However, you can and should use your dreams to fuel your marketing efforts!

The best course of action here is to do something very simple: open up Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or whip out your journal, and start brainstorming where you’d like your business to be. Try to keep this brainstorm to just one short paragraph. We can dig into the details in step number two later. 

Sound counter-intuitive? Not quite. By placing your biggest, loftiest, most challenging goal in front of you, you can then think about what it really takes to get there.

Here’s a simple social media strategy blurb example:

I want my business to reach thousands of people every single day, and I want to sell products directly on Instagram and Facebook. I want to use social media as a sales tool, but I also want to grow my audience to the point where referral sales on social make a big difference for my ROI.

Now that you’ve written out your ‘ideal’, let’s talk about how to make it real. 

In order to reach the example we just gave you, you’ll need to craft a social media strategy that plans several social media posts per week. 

This means you’ll need graphics, you’ll need to research trending hashtags, write social media copy, find something to schedule your posts with, and you’ll need to figure out how to convert your social profiles into lean, mean, sales machines.

That sounds like a lot of work for just a basic social media strategy, right? If that’s what you’re thinking; great! That means you’re thinking about how to make your goals actionable.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty!

Step #2: Turn your big social media strategy goals into action-items

Realistic, actionable goals can help you make successful social media marketing plans

The most important question you need to ask yourself, right now, is how you’re going to make that first small step to reach your Big Goals: making killer social media posts, and scheduling them.

If you need social media scheduling help, why not start your free trial of Storyblaster? We offer easy-to-use templates with content guidance, so that this first step of your plan becomes super simple! By using tools to facilitate your social strategy, you can turn your dream into reality!

To get your social media strategy goals aligned, try to frame your efforts around action items.

What can you achieve during your first week that will move your brand towards your Big Goals?

Is there a type of content that does well on Instagram, but not on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest?

What time of day should you post? Do you need blog articles, infographics, or branded videos?

What are the best hashtags to use for your posts?

Thinking about the type of content you’ll need to put out on social media can help inform what you need to create to get there.

If you’ve signed up for your free trial of Storyblaster, the ‘what to post’ questions that are probably swimming around in your brain can be set on autopilot. Our platform takes care of planning out your small, granular action items, allowing you to focus on your big ideas!

Step #3: Ask yourself the Big Questions so you can reach your Big Goals

Social Media Strategy is all about planning, doing, measuring, and reflecting

In order for your social media strategy to come together, and not just exist as a task list, make sure to think about and answer these questions: 

What is the goal of your recent social media efforts?

Where do I hope this will lead, based on my Big Goal?

How am I going to measure my results?

What results am I looking for? 

We can’t quite answer the first question for you, but we can definitely help you with the rest of them. First and foremost, you’ll want to actively be working towards something. The difference between a solid social media plan and an ineffective one is knowing how to frame your goals, and measure against them.

If your Big Goal is to increase the amount of followers your brand has on Twitter so you can get more reach for your products / services, you’ll need to cut through the digital noise, right? 

Posting often on Twitter, with the right content, on trending topics, and with a solid grasp of social media storytelling is the way to go. That’s how you’ll make your first few steps towards that Big Goal.

What if your Big Goal revolves around making Instagram an eCommerce powerhouse? You’re going to want to devote a lot of time to branded videos, and posting up images of your products / services. That’s how you’ll make moves to turn your Instagram account into a stellar sales machine.

Now that you’ve started reflecting on your work, it’s time to think about how to measure the effectiveness of your social media strategy. 

Step #4: Measuring your social media efforts can make or break your strategy

If you’re not being tactical about social media planning, it’s going to be hard to hit your mark

Knowing how you’ll measure your social media results can be a challenge. What with Facebook’s recent advertising changes, it might be hard to even know where to begin! 

But in order to have an effective, long-term social media plan in place, you need to understand your efforts from a tactical standpoint.

For more information on how to reach new heights on social, check out the platforms you’re on. Facebook has solid business analytics built into the platform, as do Twitter and Instagram. LinkedIn is out to pasture on these efforts, and Pinterest has a fairly helpful dashboard.

If your goal is to increase traffic to your website, you’re also going to want to check out Google Analytics, and make sure you can verify when traffic, or a sale, comes from social media.

Think about measuring your activities in terms of apples-to-apples. 

If your social media strategy mostly rests in making Instagram a shopping hub, and you’re seeing data that shows consumers LOVE your Motivational Posts and go on to check out your website, that’s what you want to keep doing.

Now that you’ve gathered your Big Goal, you’ve broken it into Actionable Goals, you’ve asked yourselves the Big Questions, and worked on understanding the Big Answers, what do you do now?

Step #5: For a pitch-perfect social media strategy, gather all your info

Keep yourself organized and focused

8 Simple Steps to Creating a Killer Social Media Strategy

The easiest way to derail your social media marketing plan is to never check your notes. Think about when you’re on a mission to snag some groceries after a busy day: if you don’t have a grocery list, you’re probably going to be wandering around various delicious food aisles, lost and adrift. Pretty soon you’ll step out of the grocery store and realize you forgot all the basic essentials you needed (but at least you got the fancy ice cream you’ve been pining for!). It happens to everybody, right?

The same thing can be said about social media marketing. It’s not as though you have to play everything perfectly ‘by the book’ so to speak, but you do need to make sure what you’re making is moving you forward, you need it, and it helps you reach your goal.

Keeping a nice series of documents handy, having a task-list, or even just a to-do journal can go a long way to helping you solidify your long-term social media strategy efforts.

Step #6: Tap into what the competition is doing

Mine their social media strategy efforts for awesome #inspo!

Friendly competition is the name of the game, and learning from others in your space can help you reframe your strategy when you’re stuck. Let’s say you’ve been going at an excellent click for a full month now. Wow, go you!

Honestly, please take a minute for yourself and celebrate. Social media marketing isn’t easy!

But now things have taken a turn for the worse. You find that your efforts are lagging, and you’re really just not sure which posts will get you where you need to be, and your splurge at the grocery store offers no comfort. You’re going over your Big Goal, you’re thinking about your Action Items, you’re contemplating your Big Questions, and you’ve Measured everything to the point where you’re having nightmares about spreadsheets…

Why not check out what your competition is doing? 

There’s no shame in looking over another brand’s Facebook page to get some much-needed inspiration, seeing what hashtags they use for Instagram, or how often they post.

Here’s the thing: there is no sure-fire social media strategy. There’s no one-size-fits-all marketing plan example. Every single brand and business is different, and plenty of go-getters have walked the road you’re traveling.

There’s no shame in checking out what wonderful things other brands have been doing on social. There’s absolutely no harm in doing some research to help you get your strategy back on track. 

If you need, for example, Instagram post ideas for your business, why not see what other people are doing, and what you can learn from them? Maybe that’s just what you need to keep your ship sailing!

Step #7: Think about your monthly social media strategy goals

Weekly is great, but Monthly is better

8 Simple Steps to Creating a Killer Social Media Strategy

At this point in the article, you should have a few nifty ideas about what to do with your brand’s social media plans going forward! Now’s the time to think about your monthly goals, so you’re able to compare month-to-month.

This is where reflecting on your Big Goals is super important; how do you know you’re moving forward in the best possible way if you don’t compare where you were, to where you are, and where you want to be?

It’s time to ask yourself some clarifying questions about what’s been working, and what hasn’t, where social media is concerned:

Did the frequency of posts help, or hurt?

What was a good time to post, and what content did the best?

What results was I looking for, and did I reach them?

And finally:

How can I optimize my efforts, next month?

Making a social media strategy, or coming up with a gigantic marketing plan can feel like it’s impossible. That’s why it’s important to start with the basics first.

Even trying out your efforts for a month, just to see your results and measure if your work is actionable, timely, and successful, can help prime you for more success in the future.

Now that you know what you did (and how you did) during your first month, it’s time to think about all the months that come after.

Step #8: Prepare your social media plan for the future

Where will your strategy take you in five months? Where will it take you in 1 year?

Reframe your Big Goal once you’ve picked up speed after your first social media sprint. It’s now time to look at the future, and plan as best you can for where you need to be.

Social media is all about experimentation. Here’s some tough-love truth from your friends at Storyblaster: even perfect plans don’t always perform perfectly. Your best efforts, measured, and made better, are what makes your social strategies work.

That’s how your brand succeeds with social media marketing.

For example, if you came in like a rocket during your first month, and found out that Instagram was your least performing platform, how do you make it your BEST performing platform, going forward?

Grab your notebook, open up your Google Doc / Word Doc, and get to writing. Reframe your social media strategy from where you thought it should’ve gone, to where it actually went.

Think long and hard about what you really did, what you meant to do, what really didn’t work, and what went amazingly well.

Then craft another social media sprint. Try for two months this time with your new ideas, and then measure your results, and then try for four more. 

Whatever ends up being the plan that feels most right to you, never forget that marketing is about goals, action items, experimentation, measuring, and reflecting on results. Social media is no different.

Social Media Strategy Can Be Complicated

But It Doesn’t Have To Be

8 Simple Steps to Creating a Killer Social Media Strategy

Your social media strategy is a guideline, and it will always be a guideline. Inevitably, you’ll find some amazingly insightful gems along the way that might blow your ideas out of the water. Maybe a trending topic will inspire an article for your blog that kicks your brand into the stratosphere!

Maybe you’ll go viral on a post you really didn’t think would go anywhere, but it did! Social media is full of surprises, and so your strategy should be flexible enough to account for the ever-changing landscape.

But that’s a really, really good thing! Because being keyed-in where your social media marketing efforts are concerned is truly how you rise above and get your brand seen.

We hope this guide was helpful for you. Admittedly, it’s probably not the simplest 8 steps to a solid social strategy that’s ever been written, but hopefully it is one of the most demystifying. 

We want your brand to succeed. When you’re armed with the right tools, the right guidance, and most importantly the right mindset, you can make the world your oyster.

Now go make your social media strategy a masterpiece!