These days, every business needs to utilize the power of social media in order to compete successfully. The huge popularity of social sites has made them a superior way to connect with customers and to network with others in your field or industry.

There are lots of businesses and individuals who are struggling with how to incorporate Social Media and it can all turn into a big mess very quickly if it is not set up and maintained professionally and efficiently.

Whether you outsource your social media management or manage it in-house, in order to have the best success, planning your strategy carefully, and documenting it, is key.

Below are seven essential framework components for an effective social media marketing strategy.

Essential # 1 – Executive Summary

This may be the only document your CEO or a prospective investor may review so it should be written as a summary of all of the components of your plan.

Begin with a general overview of your intentions for the social media marketing strategy. You will want to create short sections that address the problem, the solution, the opportunity, competitive advantages, a handful of bullet points that describe how you will monetize social media, who the core members of the team are, the economics of social media marketing, and funding required and the milestones the organization hopes to achieve using the funds.

This may also include elements such as customer outreach, integration with your existing websites and blogs, distribution of digital content (if relevant), and development of customer loyalty through engagement.

Essential # 2 – Goals and Objectives

Next, consider what the primary goals and objectives of the strategy will be. This may depend on your area of business – for example, if you are an author, one objective may be to connect with your fans. In general, the three goals of any marketing strategy are to raise brand awareness, to engage customers and build a community, and to transform anonymous traffic into customers.


Essential # 3 – Target Audience

Your target audience is your current customers and potential customers, who should be described in detail in this section. One of the goals being to gain new customers, you may need to do some research to determine what the demographics are of your potential customer base.

Essential # 4 – Locations and Sites

Here, detail on which social networking channels you intend to develop a presence. While it is advisable to participate in all the major sites, you must consider the time required to keep up.

It is important to research and consider social sites that are indigenous to your and your target markets’ niche. As social media grows, there are more and more networks added almost monthly.

You will be reaching your target audience with your messages and posts in the places where they prefer.

Having a presence that is erratically updated, or used only for advertising purposes without engaging your followers, is worse than not having a presence at all.

Tip: It makes sense to at least secure your business name at the main sites, to keep others from taking it and to have it on hand when you are able to begin participating.

Essential # 5 – Controls

Once you fully understand how followers and fans interact with your brand on the social networks you choose, you should detail what areas of each of the networks you will monitor. Many of these social sites will act as a “second home” to your website and the reactions to content your business posts should be closely monitored.

You be able to identify evangelists for your business fairly quickly if you listen and engage in that order.

Essential # 6 – Tactics

This is where you will describe in more detail what type of content you will include at each site. In this section, go into some detail about how each site will be used, including how often it will be updated, what interactions will be had with followers – such as question-and-answer sessions, promotional specials, and contests – and what followers will and will not be permitted to do.

It may also be worthwhile to come up with some ground rules about how you will handle any adverse events or inappropriate postings that might arise.

Your content creation efforts, if done properly, will result in leads to your site. Here’s an idea of how the social media content you create will effect your lead generation:

Essential # 7 – Reporting, Measuring, and Analytics (ROI)

In order to determine the effectiveness of your social media marketing, you need to gather and analyze data during the 3 distinct stages you set it up in: 1) Launch, 2) Management and 3) Optimization. You will collect number of visitors and followers, success rates of different types of promotions, and the like.

Much of this data is easily available to you by looking at your profile’s statistics. Keeping track of metrics such as these, and evaluating regularly for trends and shifts, will enable to you to adjust your strategy as needed.

Social media is effectively a requirement for any business that wants to stay competitive. By compiling a wise plan and strategy from the outset, you give yourself the highest chances of running a successful social media marketing campaign.

It should be done in writing so that it can be referred to, but can be rewritten at any time as new needs develop. It should be measured by taking into consideration how much your customers are worth to your business as compared to how much it will take for you to run a social media marketing campaign.

Bonus Essential #8 – Social Media Marketing Plan Graphic

It’s always a good idea to create a visual aid for easy reference. Here’s an actual rendering for one of our clients’:

How will these essentials help you to keep your social media on track and what other essentials does your plan include?

Read more: