In 2014, we created what we now call The Ultimate Social Media Roadmap (in 2014 it was called the 5 Cs of Social Media).

Why the name change? Because roadmaps are essential to get where you’re going.

So here’s how to get from content to conversation with our tried-and-true social media roadmap.


Social Media Is Constantly New (And We’re Getting Older)

There’s something new about social media every day.

  • New algorithm updates
  • Brand new social channels
  • Advanced filters
  • Modern layouts
  • Fresh data

I could go on and on.

If you’re older, like me, you need a process for applying foundational methods — kind of like applying makeup to put your prettiest face forward.

Women learn from our moms, BFFs, or makeup artists that we have to follow a step-by-step process to help our skin stay young, even as we continue to age.

I look at The Ultimate Social Media Roadmap as a similar step-by-step process.

In this post, we’ll lay out our exact social media roadmap and process for you.

Our Social Media Roadmap

Here is the step-by-step process we use to go from content — snackable bites of information posted on your social channels — to conversion.

  1. Content
  2. Community
  3. Conversation
  4. Collaboration
  5. Conversion

You may be able to get to one step without the other, but it’s doubtful. This roadmap works better as a cyclical map.


Start with content and work your way to the harder steps: conversation, collaboration, and conversion.

Here’s how to layer your social media roadmap like a superstar …

Start With Content

The first C in the lineup is content. Why? Because content is the backbone of any social media strategy.

These days, the first C can be troublesome due to content shock — which is a term to explain the “noise” of marketing messages, and how we only have a finite amount of time to consume more and more of these messages.

Good content is what your READERS deem it to be; so it helps if your content is:

Content should be one of the first things you address when planning your social media roadmap because your content is the hook that will draw in, and help grow your community.

Without helpful content, your online audiences will likely be nonexistent, small, or uninterested in your business.

Community Comes First

I know … I just said content is first. 🙂

And that’s true because you need something to attract your audience. But really, you must always put your community first.

Use these six tips when managing your social media roadmap and community:

  1. When choosing your social media platforms, go where the people are, not where you want to be.
  2. Pay close attention to content; remove what falls flat and create more of what works (we do this weekly!).
  3. Figure out the “Rules of Engagement” with your community. When will you post? How fast will you respond? What do you do with trolls? And so on …
  4. Think Conversation (not campaign) — our favorite!
  5. Uplift, elevate and celebrate your community members. And do it often.
  6. Don’t forget: Communities don’t build themselves! You’ll have to work hard at growing your community, too.

A Simple Hello Can Lead To A Million Things

The third C in our social media roadmap is conversation. And with a tagline stating, Think Conversation, Not Campaign™, you know this is part is our jam!

Not sure how to get the conversation started? Try some of the tips below.

  1. Ask questions related to what you do.
  2. Ask questions related to trending topics (generally, we stay away from hot button topics like religion or politics).
  3. Thank someone for commenting or sharing your content, and follow up with a conversation starter. Example: If someone comments that they enjoyed your post, say thanks and ask them which part they liked the most and why.
  4. Quiz or poll your audience — especially if it has to do with creating more content or making better products.
  5. Contribute (thoughtfully) to other conversations happening on your page(s) or online and centering around your industry.

Go Deeper

Then, once your community has warmed up to you, try to go a little deeper. Consider asking things like:

  • What’s your biggest question about [industry]? Our [industry] experts would love to answer them!
  • What is your biggest challenge with [what your company does]?
  • If you could re-invent something about our [industry/products/services], what would it be?

We also use Sprout Social to monitor keywords about our company and clients’ companies so we can ensure we’re always responding in real time to mentions.


The power conversation allows you to show you care, show you are listing, and most importantly, allows you to take your would-be consumer’s attitudes about your industry or company and put them to work for your brand.

Community Conversation = Collaboration

Collaboration is the 4th C, and if you’re doing good with community and conversation, this can be one of the easiest Cs on your social media roadmap.

Collaborating with your community is what social media is all about; it’s the social in social media.

However, you can’t simply start with this step … the roadmap is truly a step-by-step plan that builds on itself.

You start with content, build a loyal community, and start having lots of in-depth conversations. And through those conversations, you should start to see bigger areas of collaboration.

For instance, maybe you see a potential to create user-generated content for your brand.

Or maybe you take your most engaged community members and start an influencer campaign.

There are probably hundreds of ways you can collaborate with your community. Ask yourself: What do I want this community of loyal would-be customers to DO?

You probably want them to buy something, am I right? That leads me to the last C in the social media roadmap …

Content Community Conversation Collaboration = Conversion

Is the cycle making sense now?

Layered on top of one another, the 5 Cs are the ultimate social media roadmap to follow.

And when they’re used together properly, each C is working in tandem and you should feel like a star — just like the one in the middle of the map above!

Conversions would be hard if you started out with posts about buying your things. However, when you use conversion as the 5th step, and then cyclically, things should fall into place.

Convert social to sales

First and foremost, you absolutely must create a clear path to purchase. That may look like this:

  • Publishing a whisper word (like “awesome sauce”) on your Facebook Page that when stated in your brick-and-mortar store, gets a 10% discount. (Then all whisper word sales can be tied directly to Facebook ROI)
  • Using a special phone # on your Twitter handle for leads. (All leads calling that # who close can be tied to Twitter ROI)
  • Have email subscriptions on your content (and track all sign-up sources).

Your conversion options will be limited by specific social platforms, but there are creative ways to track your social media efforts to direct ROI.

Using Your Social Media Roadmap

We truly believe the 5 Cs make up the Ultimate Social Media Roadmap and have seen it work firsthand for ourselves and our clients.

Or course, there are many tactics that you can drill down into under each C — but keeping these five in mind will certainly help guide you in the right direction.

Are there any other Cs or cogs you think we’re missing on the roadmap? Let us know in the comments section below!