Developing a Social Media Strategy Document

Social media is becoming a mainstream advertising channel and many businesses are still trying to flesh out how to develop a sound strategy.  I am going to provide you with an outline on how to develop your own social media strategy document.  After all, it isn’t really a strategy until it is written out on paper!

  1. Target Audience – Define your target audience.  Who are they and what are they like?
  2. Primary Objective – Define your primary social media objective.  What is your main purpose for being involved in social media?
  3. Secondary Objectives – Define any secondary social media objectives.  What other goals do you wish to accomplish?
  4. Key Performance Indicators – Identify any Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for each objective.  It is important that your KPI’s are in complete alignment with your objectives!  How will we know if we have been successful with this objective?
  5. Creative Campaign – Develop a creative campaign for each objective.  Since each objective is unique and has its own metrics, it is important that you also have a campaign that is custom tailored to that objective.  How will we go about meeting our objective?
    1. Content Guidelines – This is a separate document that lays out the what and when of your content.
      1. Type What type of content will you produce? This could be articles, audio, video, etc.
      2. MessageWhat are you trying to communicate to your audience? This is perhaps the most important decision of the campaign.  Be sure that you really understand your target audience and how they operate first!
      3. Voice What is the overall style that we will use to communicate? For example, if you are trying to reach out to students, you will want to have a laid back and easy to read style.  The more specific you are, the better.
      4. FrequencyHow often will you produce content? This can go beyond just a simple weekly or monthly schedule and could include a very detailed content release strategy.
    2. Operational Plan – Your content guidelines cover the what and when, but the operation plan covers the how.
      1. TimelineHow long will the campaign last?  When will the elements of the campaign be re-evaluated? Establishing a clear start and end time for the campaign will force you to evaluate its effectiveness within a reasonable time frame.
      2. ProducingWho will produce content?  How will they get ideas? For example, you could have users generate creative content, an industry expert with lots to contribute, or a professional writer who has a list of resources they can pull from.
      3. PostingWho is actually responsible for the public release of content? You could limit this to a few leaders in the company, or allow any employee to post content.   If you are allowing users to post content, this is usually the person who moderates that content.
      4. SharingWho can share content? Beyond posting content, who in your organization is authorized to find helpful or fun content from across the web and share it with your network(s)?
      5. RespondingWho can respond to comments and how should they do so? It is very important to detail not only who can respond to comments, but how they should do it.  This is the stage where you write out your policy regarding responding to negative comments.
    3. Platform Recommendations – This document details out where you will be participating in the social web.
      1. ResearchWhat social media tools did you consider?  What information is there to support our use of one tool over another? This step is all about due diligence.  Don’t just select your social media tools on a hunch.  If you can’t find any good research, you may just have to do your own…
      2. ReasoningBased on the data, what conclusions could be made? There is a big difference between raw data and useful information.  Make sure you analyze the data and make some reasonable and relevant conclusions.
      3. RecommendationsBased on the analysis, what tools are recommended? Your goal isn’t to select just one tool, but to make sure that the tool(s) that you choose are going to be effective at meeting your goals and reaching / communicating with your target audience.
    4. Marketing Plan – All the previous steps are useless if you haven’t built a network.  The goal of the marketing plan is to promote and build your network.

It would be great if I could get everyone’s input on the above outline.   Let me know if you have anything to add!

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