The Beginners Guide To Social Media Marketing Strategy Development

Where do you begin with social media?

If the first thing that comes to your mind is:

“Start a Facebook page, of course!”

Then I’m afraid to say you’re doing it wrong.

Where you start with social media has a lot to do with how successful it ends up being for your business.

Unfortunately, lots of businesses are starting in the wrong place.

Starting a Facebook page, for example, is called a social media tactic. Defining tactics is actually the fifth step in developing a social media strategy.

If that’s where you’re starting, you’re not alone. A study by eMarketer found that 80% of social media marketers begin at that stage.

In this post I want to help you learn from their mistakes and teach you about how to get started with developing a social media strategy the right way.

Don’t Jump In Right Away

Think about how many things in business that you wouldn’t do without a bit of planning first.

You wouldn’t run a promotion without crunching the numbers. You wouldn’t pay for advertising without thinking about where to put it and who’s going to see it.

So why would you think about jumping into social media without any kind of planning?

“Because it’s free” is not a valid answer.

Building your reputation wasn’t free, but you could lose it in a second if you do or say the wrong thing on social media.

When your reputation is on the line on a public forum, don’t you think that warrants a bit of planning?

Of course it does. The amount of money you could potentially lose with a poor social media strategy is far greater than the cost of using it. So lets talk about how to get started the right way.

Where To Start With A Social Media Strategy

Take a look at this chart put together by Angie Schottmuller:

social media strategy starting point

See how much planning must take place before you get to the stage where you start thinking about tactics?

The social media strategy funnel breaks down like this:

  • Clearly define your business mission and goals that you will align your social strategy around.
  • Each individual department must have defined goals that are in line with the overall mission and goals of the entire business.
  • Define customer insights of your target market.
  • Of the goals you have defined, determine which ones can be reached through social media marketing.
  • Determine which tactics will be used to reach those goals (which social networks to use, to what extent etc.)
  • Measure the success of your strategy and revise.

Social Media Is About Business And Relationships

Integrating social media into your overall business goals is paramount. But it’s also important to keep in mind that social media marketing is a customer-centric engagement strategy.

Don’t lose sight of building genuine relationships with customers because you were too focused on business objectives. Always maintain a balance between the two.

For Further Reading

If you would like to continue reading about the topic of social media strategy development there are plenty of great resources throughout this blog that are worth checking out.

“Who should be in charge of our social media?” is a question that gets asked a lot. When it comes to developing your social media strategy it’s highly recommended that you work with a social media consultant. When it comes to actually doing the work, if you don’t have someone on your team you could dedicate to engaging with your social networks you could always consider outsourcing your social media management.

“How much should I spend on social media?” is a question that doesn’t get asked as often as it should. Just because social networks are free to use doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared to set aside money in your marketing budget for social media. Here’s a few things to consider when making an investment in social media.

“When is the best time to post on social media?” is something every client wants to know when we get to the tactics stage of developing their social media strategy. Here’s a great infographic with statistically the best time to post on every major social network.

“What kinds of things should I post on social media?” is the next thing every client wants to know after they know the best times to post. There is no single best answer to this one because every audience is different, but here are some best practices to start with. Here are some detailed tips for the type of content to post to build a targeted Twitter following. You don’t always have to post your own content either, an extremely effective tactic is curating content.

Have Your Say

What’s your greatest challenge when it comes to social media strategy development? Is there anything I haven’t covered that you would like me to discuss or go into more detail about? Make sure to let me know in the comments section!

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  1. says

    Matt, good to see a move away from the Facebook page as the start point. Drives me mad.

    What concerns me though, is that your funnel is still encouraging tactical thinking. It may just be language. Business is about abstract strategy, spreadsheets, numbers and measurement. No business strategy can be realised without translating it into appropriate human behaviour. This requires brand strategy. This should replace the business goals layer. Then; departmental goals, social media goals, tactics and measurement are aligned to the business positioning.

  2. says

    That is an awesome post. You have really layed out your points in great detail. Very easy to follow with good content. We should take get hold of this post, read and impliment the points outlined.

  3. says

    Hi Matt, Love your posts! :) I’m dealing with a dilemma and I wonder if you can help. I’m a trainer in business skills – want to be more active and present on facebook – but the question is: Do I work on my company’s Facebook Page (my customers are B2B and they are the ones hiring me) or on my Public figure profile ( My participants usually refer me or look for me by my name)? Doing both would split the audience.

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