Social Media Strategy, a step by step plan

Social Media Strategy - Toolshero

Social Media Strategy: this article explains the social media strategy in a practical way. You will read about the ins and outs of a good social media marketing strategy, as well benefits and a step-by-step plan for creating one. Enjoy reading!

What is a social media strategy?

The most important aspect for successfully setting up a social media strategy is having a good strategy. The basics for developing an effective strategy are explained in this article.

In this article you will also find a basic guide to start developing an effective social media strategy. The most important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are also discussed, with which the effectiveness and success of the marketing campaign can be measured.

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Social media marketing is not effective when posts are posted just for the sake of posting. There must be clarity about objectives, target groups, methods and techniques.

Social media is an indispensable tool for marketers. However, many companies find it difficult to fully exploit its potential.

A social media marketing strategy has many similarities to a social media marketing plan. A strategy is about where a company is going. A plan is how they get there.

One of the easiest ways to start thinking about social media marketing strategy is to use the 5Ws.

  1. Why should the company have a social media presence?
  2. What is the target audience of the company?
  3. What will the company share on social media?
  4. Where will the company share on social media?
  5. When does the company share what on social media?

Benefits of a successful social media strategy

The effective use of social media for marketing purposes helps companies to:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Build a community
  • Sell products and services
  • Measure brand sentiment
  • Provide additional customer service online
  • Advertise products and services to groups

Step-by-step plan for developing a social media marketing strategy

Let’s start by forming the overall social media marketing strategy. Go through the step-by-step plan below and use the tools and methods that are offered.

Step 1: Set goals that align with overall business objectives

The first step in developing an effective social media marketing strategy is setting goals. Without clear goals, there is also no way to measure success and ROI.

The goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

An example of a SMART goal is: “Facebook is being used for customer support and the average response time should be reduced to less than 2 hours by the end of this calendar year.”

KPIs are included in the fourth step of this step-by-step plan, but it is important to think about this beforehand. When choosing objectives, the measurability of the statistics should be taken into account.

Basic metrics like follower count and likes are easy to measure, but don’t say much. Instead, focus on metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and engagement.

Step 2: Learn about the target audience and ways to reach them

Understanding and knowing the target audience is crucial for any business with a social media strategy. After all, the content that is shared must match the audience. There are a number of ways to get to know the audience.

First, it is important to analyze which content appeals to which group the most. Qualified leads, leads that match the ideal target audience, are relatively easier to convert into customers than customers who have little in common with the brand or the content.

Start working with questionnaires, interviews, reports and statistics to gain a better understanding of the customer base. Develop some personas that represent the ideal audience. A persona is a detailed description of specific people, including wants and needs. Personas help to get to know the average visitor. This makes it possible to adapt social media campaigns to the average follower.

It can aslo be a part of HR Marketing.

HR Marketing is an umbrella term for all activities an organization undergoes to attract, motivate, and retain the best talents. These activities include employer branding on social media, marketing the training programs, recruitment marketing, and a lot more. They are designed to create an interest in candidates who are actively and passively looking for a job.

Like all other forms of marketing, HR Marketing also has to follow three rules to maximize its potential. First, the activities mentioned above have to be segmented appropriately.

Secondly, you don’t want your marketing efforts to be pushy. They need to be effortless, yet at the same time, have a certain oomph factor in attracting candidates.

Lastly, your efforts have to be consistent. For example, let’s assume you are running an employer branding campaign on social media. While the purpose is to acquire leads to fill a current job position, chances are you might not be reaching out to the right candidates in one go.

Step 3: Analyze the competitors

There is a reasonable chance that any company’s competitors are already active on social media. That means there are lessons to be learned from what they do.

A competitive analysis enables companies to understand who the competitors actually are and what they are good and less good at. It gives a clear picture of what is expected in the industry and this in turn helps to set clear objectives for the social media campaign.

Competitor analysis also helps to discover opportunities. Perhaps there is a competitor that is dominant on Facebook, but puts little effort into other channels like Instagram. It is then worth considering to focus on channels where the competitor does not have a strong presence and where there is therefore insufficient support for the public.

Continue to find out what kind of content is being shared at the competitor and find out what other people are saying about it.

Step 4: Draw up accurate KPIs

An effective social media strategy is based on numbers. Whatever is being sold, the social media strategy must be data-driven. That means focusing on metrics that matter. Rather than focusing on vanity metrics like likes and views, organizations face the challenge of digging into metrics and data sets that align with organizational goals.

Some examples of important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for measuring the effectiveness of social media strategies are explained below.


Reach refers to the reach of the message or post. Message reach provides insight into the number of unique users who have seen the message. This KPI answers the question: to what extent does my content reach the users?


The engagement KPI is the total number of interactions divided by the number of views. This gives an indication of how well the organization is visible to the public and their willingness to interact.


Clicks refers to the number of clicks on the content of media messages. Tracking clicks per campaign is important to understand what people like and click on. This also shows what drives people to buy things.


Sentiment measures the impact of posts, hashtags, etc. It’s always good to dig deeper and find out how people are talking and thinking about the brand or organization.

Step 5: Create and share strong content

At this point, you should have a good idea of what to publish based on objectives and brand identity. You also have confidence in the channels through which you launch the campaign.

The importance of sticking to themes should be considered. Many companies publish content that feels like it came from them: the consumer knows what to expect when it comes to content and look & feel.

There are several methods for this: from filters and captions, to content layouts and creative additions. These aspects help companies focus on a meaningful and valuable content strategy.

Step 6: Identify what works and what doesn’t

Users will need to have a good idea of their social media strategy from this step. The strategy is adjusted throughout the year as the market environment changes rapidly.

Without analyzing the different campaigns, it is difficult to know how effective one campaign is compared to the other.

Managing social media campaigns involves trial and error. By closely monitoring the KPIs behind the campaigns, small adjustments can be made in the strategy instead of large, time-consuming changes.

Reports on campaigns and statistics should be shared with colleagues and analysts. Valuable lessons can be drawn from this.

Social media content strategy

Content marketing is at the heart of any social media strategy. Without content, no post or message can be posted. It is important that the chosen content appeals to the audience. Without relevant content, products will not be promoted effectively and no conversion will take place.

The volatile nature of social media sometimes means that not much effort is put into managing and scheduling the content of posts. However, this is a missed opportunity. The content of social media posts may not be as static as a website landing page, but it is equally important when it comes to engaging the audience and promoting a brand or product.

For these reasons, having and executing a social media content strategy is very important. A content strategy should contain the following elements.

  • Destination plans for content across channels
  • Nuances and differences in target groups
  • Guidelines and specifications by post for all channels
  • Someone responsible for posting and engaging followers

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Now it’s your turn

What do you think? Do you recognize the explanation about the social media strategy? Have you ever worked on the social media strategy yourself? What do you think a marketer should seriously consider while preparing and executing various marketing campaigns online? Do you have any tips or comments?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  1. Dutta, S. (2010). What’s your personal social media strategy? Harvard business review, 88(11), 127-30.
  2. Wilson, J., Guinan, P. J., & Parise, S. (2011). What’s your social media strategy?.
  3. Bottles, K., & Sherlock, T. (2011). Who should manage your social media strategy. Physician executive, 37(2), 68-72.
  4. Ang, L. (2011). Is SCRM really a good social media strategy? Journal of Database Marketing & Customer Strategy Management, 18(3), 149-153.

How to cite this article:
Janse, B. (2021). Social Media Strategy. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero:

Original publication date: 10/26/2021 | Last update: 02/23/2024

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Ben Janse
Article by:

Ben Janse

Ben Janse is a young professional working at ToolsHero as Content Manager. He is also an International Business student at Rotterdam Business School where he focusses on analyzing and developing management models. Thanks to his theoretical and practical knowledge, he knows how to distinguish main- and side issues and to make the essence of each article clearly visible.


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