The WHO, WHAT, WHEN and HOW of Creating A Social Media Strategy

Creating a social media strategy has never been more important, winging it simply won’t do any more.  If you have a business it simply needs to utilise social media, there is no question about this any more.  Where do you start and who do you involve?  Which tactics do you concentrate on and which do you ignore?  Should you be on Facebook / Twitter / Google Plus or not?

One of the main points you should understand is that your strategy should be clear, and purposeful.  If you re going to chose a social channel to promote your business, don’t just do it because your competitor does it, or because you heard you should be doing it.  Each channel you chose takes time, effort and understanding to make sure you reap maximum benefit for your time.

8 Questions to ask when creating your social media strategy

social media strategy hierarchy
Social Media Strategic Hierarchy (source:

You also need to recognise that social doesn’t work in a silo, it needs to integrate with all parts of your business and digital strategy, treating social media as a silo will lead to missed opportunities and poor execution.  How does social media relate to your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, email marketing etc.

Finally you need to define the purpose of your Social Media Strategy, is it brand building, educational, useful, customer generating or all of the above?


Who are you trying to reach? – define your audience and make sure you pick social media channels that fit.  For example if you are looking to reach the under 18’s, Facebook may not be the best place for you to start looking these days, similarly if you are after a male target audience, research suggests that Pinterest may not be the best place to go searching them out.

Who will be your community manager? – Will it be you, will it be someone in the team, is there a training requirement, does that person have enough time in their working day?  Is there a recruitment need?  One of the most important questions here would also be, is the person you are going to put in charge good with people / customers in real life situations! I have met community managers in the past with awful people skills and it shone through in their CM style.


What Internal training? – immersing new employees into the social culture may be difficult, who is going to give that training to make sure you don’t skip a heartbeat when inducting new people.  Are you going to allow more than one person to be social on behalf of your company?

What content will you use? – You do not need to panic about content. Fact. You do however need to make sense of all of the potential content you have and make sure you make a comprehensive (suggested) monthly plan to ensure your social media has structure.  You will need to set aside time during your normal working schedule to have planning meetings to see what is working and what isn’t.

What will your tone of voice be? – There has been a lot of work done ono what tone of voice helps you be a great social media account to follow, however I like Twitter UK’s approach to it.  You can only pick two from the diagram below, once you have picked them you craft your tone of voice around that.

tone of voice by twitter


When should I post? – You need to have a mix of automation and live social interactions to get the most from your social media effort.  You can use services like Hootsuite (FREE) or Sprout Social, Wildfire, Meltwater Buzz (all of which I have extensively tested and am happy to advise on) and many others are available n the market.  These tools free up some of your time but you can’t become too reliant on them as people will interact less with your brand.


How does social fit into your sales funnel? From lead nurture to loyalty you will want to service all areas and everything in between.  Does your strategy cater for all of these aspects?  Is social media going to be used for customer service and brand  building like many large corporations, or will you take a more proactive stance and be the content creator for your industry helping people in their online purchase decisions, have you got the resource to be able to do this?

How will you handle customer service enquiries? Will you have dedicated customer service channels meaning monitoring more than one account across several platforms, or does it make more sense for you to filter all through one account, what experience does that give your customer? I have my personal opinions on this matter and will share in a future post.

How will you measure success? You can’t manage what you don’t measure.  This is the most vital part of any social media strategy, you must get your KPI’s correct to know how well you are performing in review sessions.  DO NOT measure success by volume – i.e. do not, think the amount of Twitter followers you have is a measure of success.  Measure things like response times to customer service enquiries, measure how many new reviews your business has on things like Trip Advisor and how positive or negative they are.  There are many things you can and should measure but do not go for audience size, or you will be fighting a losing battle from the word go.

How will you learn and adapt? Being good at social media today does not mean you will be good at social media tomorrow.  Beware of the one-trick pony! Platforms will change, popular content will change (think of the popularity of list blog posts, memes, quotes)  at one time or another these were the thing to be posting!, however depending on when you get round to reading this post you may have built up a suitable hatred for any one of these content types! Platforms will emerge and you need to be able to stay ahead of the curve, so do you employ a strategic agency, do you keep up to date with social bloggers?

Many decisions need to be made in making a comprehensive, cohesive and successful social media strategy, hopefully this list of questions will give you a good steer on which things need to be nailed down before you dive in with two feet.

I am happy to discuss any points you would like to make in the comments section below and look forward to your feedback.

By Steven Cole