Social media has evolved into one of the most important marketing channels for businesses of all kinds. It’s also become a crowded marketplace, with millions of companies vying for attention on every platform. To stand out you need not only amazing content, but also a strong social media strategy. The prospect is daunting for many business owners, but you can make it easier by using a social media strategy template.
Our social media strategy template is built for small to medium-sized businesses that aren’t getting the results they want from their existing social media profiles. We’ll give you the key steps you need to:
- Gain a more comprehensive understanding of your audience
- Develop SMART objectives for your social media marketing
- Do an audit of your current social media efforts
- Define your social media brand voice
- Create a social media calendar tailored to your goals
- Develop content
- Measure your progress
- Adjust your strategy for future success
This social media strategy template is designed to help you create an overarching social media strategy for your business, but you can also use it to develop individual marketing campaigns.
How to use this social media strategy template
A comprehensive #SocialMedia strategy template: from audience research to social media audits
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To simplify this process, we’ve divided this social media strategy template into three sections: plan, action, and review.
A detailed plan with clear goals and parameters is the foundation of any successful marketing strategy and the core of this social media strategy template.
You can create your plan in the following steps:
Research your audience(s)
Create demographic profiles for your target audience and adjacent audiences (people outside your core audience who may also be interested in your products). To craft effective marketing messages, you need to understand who your primary audiences are: what they look like, where they hang out online, and who they’re already communicating with on social media.
Assuming you already have a social media presence, you can get this information directly from your followers. Take a look at their profiles. Are they predominantly men? Women? Organizations? Do they share any other easily identifiable features, like skin color or age? These fundamental traits are the basis for your demographics profiles.
Your initial demographics profiles should look something like this:
Location: North America
Once you’ve established these basics, you can dive deeper into your audience’s interests. Who are they following on social media? What do they share on their accounts? Do they mention their jobs on their profiles, and if so, what fields do they typically work in? What hobbies do they participate in? The more details you can fill in, the more you can tailor your marketing message to your customers’ needs.
Another way companies like to organize this research is by creating a customer persona. This is a fictional person based on a combination of general market data and data gathered from your existing audience. For example, you might use the demographics information above to create the following customer:
Location: North America
Social media analysis, polls, and surveys can then help you expand the profile to look something like this:
You can then develop the rest of your social media strategy based on what will appeal to your target audience. For example, if Susan was my primary audience, I might actively share articles on technological developments to catch her interest.
Develop Key Performance Indicators
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the measurements you’ll use to figure out how effective your current social media efforts are. For example, if your primary goal is to increase brand awareness, one of your KPIs might be the number of new Instagram followers you gain in a specific time period.
Here are some potential KPIs to focus on:
- Number of followers on specific social media accounts
- Number of clicks to your website from social media
- Number of subscribers who find your newsletter through social media
- Number of participants in contests or other types of campaign
- Overall engagement rate on social media posts
Do a social media audit
Take a long, hard look at your social media analytics. How well do your efforts stack up when measured against your KPIs? What kinds of posts have already been successful on your profiles? What posts have failed to attract any attention whatsoever?
Assess the profiles themselves as well. Are you using current imagery that is consistent across all social media channels? Do your bios have current information and links? Have you included relevant keywords or hashtags? Are any facts out of date or links broken?
You can use our five-step social media audit process to simplify this part of developing your social media strategy.
Define SMART objectives for your social media marketing
We could have made our own acronym for this social media strategy template, but why reinvent the wheel? The SMART framework focuses on creating goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. For example, a SMART social media marketing goal would be to gain 1,000 followers in three months.
Early on, your goals should focus on building brand visibility and gaining more followers. You’ll also want to set a timeframe for each goal. We find that three months is long enough to gain significant statistical data so you can pivot effectively, without becoming so long that it actively harms your business.
Keeping those details in mind, your first set of objectives might look something like this:
- Reach 1,000 followers on all social media accounts within three months
- Boost overall social media impressions by 50% in three months
When you reach 5,000-10,000 followers on a given social network, you’ll want to shift your focus to developing relationships with your existing audience so you can turn followers into customers. At this stage of your business, your objectives might look something like this:
- Boost overall engagement rate by 5% in three months
- Increase link clicks to our website by 10% in three months
- Get 300 social media followers to subscribe to our newsletter in three months
Define your social media brand voice
Your social media brand voice is the tone and style you use in your social media marketing. You probably already have some idea of what this is; for example, you probably know whether you want a humorous tone or a serious one.
Now that you’ve completed your social media audit, you can refine this further. Tailor your social media brand voice to suit your brand’s core values, your audience, and your marketing goals. Create a brand style guide to ensure that everything you publish on social media fits with your brand voice. This document will become even more useful as your business grows and you start hiring people to work on your social media.
Here’s an example of what your style guide might look like:
- Use a casual tone: Write posts in a conversational manner. Minimize industry-specific jargon to make content accessible to the average user.
- Avoid profanity: No profanity allowed, unless using a direct quote from another source.
- Keep imagery cheerful: Strive to use positive language, and reinforce that language with bright colors and positive imagery.
If you plan to use your style guide as a guide for employees who will help manage your social media accounts you may also want to include specific anti-discrimination policies.
Create a social media calendar
Sometimes referred to as an editorial calendar, a social media calendar dictates what content is shared on your social media profiles and when that content is shared. You can incorporate this into your larger marketing calendar, or keep it as a separate document.
Your social media calendar should also include time to share others’ content and engage with followers. This can be anywhere from a few minutes to one hour a day.
Your social media calendar should look something like this:
- Facebook: Post every time a new article is published on the company blog. Share one interesting article/video/podcast from another source every weekday at 4PM EST.
- Twitter: Post minimum three times per weekday: two links to articles/videos/podcasts on other websites (at 8AM and 4PM EST) and one link to an old post on the blog. Take 15 minutes every day to retweet 2-3 relevant posts from other accounts, using the “Retweet with Comment” feature so your profile is attached to the tweets. Make additional posts when new blog articles are published.
- Instagram: Publish one photo every weekday at 4:30PM.
- Interaction: Spend 10-15 minutes of every weekday responding to comments on each platform.
This social media calendar ensures a consistent publishing schedule on three of the largest social media platforms without extending your resources too far. When you’re launching a product or service you’ll want to build your promotional campaign around your existing content schedule. This will make sure that even during launch you have a steady stream of content that isn’t self-promotional.
Once you’ve created a plan, it’s time to take action. There are only two steps in this section of the social media strategy template, but don’t be fooled: putting your social media strategy into action is one of the most time-consuming parts of the process. And you want to invest the time. You won’t be able to measure the success of your plan if you don’t execute it properly.
So, let’s get started!
You want to develop as much of your social media content in advance as possible. This makes it easy to schedule and publish regular posts on each social media profile. If you share social media duties with some of your employees this also gives everyone a pool of content to draw from.
Using the social media calendar example above as our guide, the first thing you’ll want to do is create an extensive list of content you want to share on Twitter and Facebook. Your list should include the title of each piece, the name of the people or organization who created it, and the link.
This can look something like this:
- Marketing Psychology: 10 Revealing Principles of Human Behaviour – via Hubspot – https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/psychology-marketers-revealing-principles-human-behavior
- Psychology and Marketing: What Influences Our Decisions – via Search Engine Journal – https://www.searchenginejournal.com/psychology-marketing-influences-decisions
- 6 Psychology Studies with Marketing Implications – via Powered By Search – https://www.poweredbysearch.com/blog/psychology-of-marketing/
Once you’ve got these links, you can share them in three main ways:
- With the title as the caption of your post
- Using a quote from the article as the caption of your post
- With your overall impression of the article as the caption of your post
You can create an additional list like this for old articles you want to feature on your social media profiles and schedule those manually as well, but we strongly recommend using a plugin like Revive Old Post to automate the sharing of older articles instead. This will greatly reduce your workload in the long run.
You’ll want to take a different approach to create content for Instagram because the platform is more visual and success relies on publishing high-quality original images. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and brainstorm all the things you could possibly photograph, draw, or otherwise legally obtain images of.
Each one of these categories potentially represents dozens of individual photo opportunities. For example, here’s what a brainstorm around the topic “your workspace” might look like:
- Computer on desk
- Calendar behind desk
- Reference bookshelf
- Filing cabinet
- Organization system inside filing cabinet
Once you’ve gathered all of these ideas, you’re ready to take some photos! You can take some of these pictures on the go, but we recommend taking photos in batches so you can schedule them in advance. This also gives you time to take the best photos possible and even do some light editing.
Schedule social media posts
Choose a social media scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Buffer and start plugging your posts into their system. Many entrepreneurs like to schedule a full week or even a month in advance. We’ve even known business owners who scheduled certain posts a full year in advance.
Most social media scheduling services offer a free tier, but this often comes with a limit on the number of posts you can schedule at once. If you want to go beyond this limit, you will need to sign up for one of their paid plans.
Make sure you track when you schedule each post. You don’t want to repeat posts too often, as this will irritate your followers and potentially even break the rules of certain social media platforms.
With the aid of this social media strategy template, you’ve developed a social media calendar, created a variety of content for your social media profiles, and scheduled your posts at least one week in advance. At this point, many small business owners would pat themselves on the back and call it a job well done. Smart marketers, on the other hand, know this is only the beginning. To ensure success you need to regularly review your social media analytics.
You can do this in two steps:
Measure your progress
After a month of implementing your new social media strategy, evaluate your progress by asking the following questions:
- Are you on track to meet your goals?
- How are posts performing in terms of the KPIs you identified?
- Are there any posts that stand out as immediate successes or failures?
- Do your new posting times work? Or are you still not getting any eyeballs on your content?
Take some notes and continue with the content you planned using this social media strategy template. When you reach the end of three months, do another social media audit and move on to the next step.
Adjust your strategy
The key to long-term marketing success is the ability to adapt: first to modify a social media strategy template to fit your specific needs, then to adapt your marketing campaigns based on the data you receive from your analytics. This is the step where you consider strategies like posting at different hours, posting more often, or targeting different hashtags. To learn more about how you can make the right adjustments, check out our guide to data-driven marketing campaigns.
The world of social media is always changing, but you will maintain steady growth through it all if you follow the basic principles of this social media strategy template. Here are the main steps again:
- Understand your audience: Build demographics profiles and customer personas based on market research and observations from your interactions with your audience.
- Choose your KPIs wisely: Focus on growth that translates into dollars earned, not vanity metrics.
- Create SMART goals: All of your social media goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
- Develop and schedule content in batches: This allows you to maintain a consistent publishing schedule without constantly worrying about creating new content.
Stop guessing and start growing with our social media strategy template
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And of course, remember that your social media strategy template is only the beginning. Social media success takes consistent work and dedication.
Have you ever used a template like this before? Did you find it useful? Let us know in the comments section below!
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