Your social media strategy plan: Where do you START?

By Mark Schaefer

When I work with businesses, there is often an enthusiastic attitude about moving on to the social web but confusion about how to actually get started. Today’s post provides a step-by-step overview on how to move ahead. Headline links at the beginning of each section will take you to more detailed posts if you want to learn more about each specific step!

And by the way, your social media initiative doesn’t start with a Facebook page. It must start with …

1. Marketing strategy

Here is a trick to see if you truly have a marketing strategy. Can you finish this sentence: “Only we …”

To do that, you need to know your true differentiators, your customer’s un-met and under-served needs, and the competitive landscape. If you can answer that question, your marketing strategy more or less reveals itself, including the role of the social web in the marketing mix.

2. Assess the company culture

To create realistic expectations, you better look at the role of IT, legal, HR and company leadership in this journey. Are they ready to be publishers? Are they ready to engage with the public?

3. Social media lead team

4. Social media policy

5. Identify sources of rich content

For most businesses, this means a blog, a podcast, a video series, or perhaps a combination. If you are a visually-oriented business like fashion or travel, Pinterest or Instagram might be options too, but generally to really create powerful content benefits, most businesses turn to a blog, podcast, or video. What might work best in your company culture?

6. Considering social media measurement

This usually sparks a good discussion that leads to a commitment on what you are actually trying to achieve. Then, it is up to you to find indicators in your data that demonstrate progress toward those goals.

And please, consider the tangible and important qualitative measurements of progress, which may create more business benefits in the long run than something you can stick on a spreadsheet.

7. Develop a social media network strategy

Building your network must be strategic, purposeful, and continuous. As you discover WHERE your customers and prospects are, it will help you identify your …

8. Information eco-system

Choosing the right platforms is a very important decision because most companies don’t have the resources to be everywhere and do it well.

While it may seem natural to immediately migrate to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, don’t overlook other sites and even industry-specific platforms if you are in a market where competitors have a well-established social media presence. Newer options like Pinterest are delivering real business value and even old-school platforms like chat rooms are still very popular and effective places for content that might be off the radar screen.

Well, that should get you started! What do you think? What did I miss?

Mark Schaefer is the chief blogger for {grow}, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant. The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

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Originally published at on April 3, 2018.

Keynote speaker, strategy consultant, Rutgers University marketing faculty and author of 9 books including KNOWN, Marketing Rebellion, and Cumulative Advantage.