Building the strategy

First you need to understand what a strategy is, and isn’t it. A strategy should define the main aim of your social media presence and set the parameters for what it will deliver and how it will be delivered. It will be supported by a tactical plan that defines how the strategy will be delivered, including the channels, resource and budgets to achieve it.

Strategy statement

A short, concise summary of what the strategy is aiming to achieve, broken down into bullet points. Below is an example from a homewares retailer I worked with:

  • We will undertake a full social media audit, benchmarking current positions, implement key improvements identified and develop content plans and styles to deliver consistent communications ongoing.
  • We will increase engagement from existing customers and connections, and draw in new audiences – ultimately driving purchase through organic & paid activity.
  • We will test and learn about the community and the brand in a social space, in order to shape future growth of social media audiences and social driven purchase.

Context analysis

Set-out where you are in your social journey and where the business needs to be, and the reasons for this.

For example, are you a global organisation seeking to consolidate a fragmented approach to social media, or a startup looking to build a social presence from the ground up?

Goals & Objectives

Goals define your high-level aims and objectives use SMART criteria to ensure each goal has a measurable set of criteria against which to evaluate progress.

I still use SMART criteria for objectives because they encourage you to think about the practicality of achieving each goal, rather than focusing on things that sound good but might not be feasible.

S = Specific in terms of what needs to be achieved

M = Measurable so that progress can be tracked and evaluated

A = Achievable so that your team has a realistic chance of success

R = Relevant to your business so it’s aligned with overall business goals

T = Timeframe within which the objective must be satisfied

Below are examples of high-level goals for your social media plan:

  1. Complete social media audit and implement actions arising from it
  2. Create and maintain a social media content calendar
  3. Begin regular social media activity, in line with strategy and calendar
  4. Create and work within a measurement framework
  5. Demonstrate the impact and ROI of social media to the wider business.

An example of a smart objective for goal #5 is:

We want to increase our followers on Twitter (Specific) to drive more organic social traffic to the website (Achievable/Relevant). We want to gain 1,000 new followers (Measurable) from our marketing by 31st January (Time based).

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