Let’s be clear: marketing is not like a set of rules in science.
Doing something doesn’t always lead to a specific result. So, be careful with people who promise ideas that will “definitely work” or start by saying, “I did it this way, and it worked for me, so trust me.” Nope, don’t just trust them.
In the next paragraphs, you’ll find some things you should do before making a plan for social media. It’s easy for someone to say, “Post three times a week” or “Stories are great, let’s do that!” But these are just standard actions with no guaranteed value. Often, they’re just quick responses to the urge to be present, communicate, or say something. Yes, but what?
A strategy for social media communication needs three important things: calm thinking, time for planning, and curiosity when putting plans into action.
(Many times, people miss all three of these things, we know. But what can you do?)
Step 1: Definition Of Objectives
t’s be clear: without clear and specific goals, talking about a social media strategy is pointless.
For a strategy to be real, the end goal has to be clear and easy to see. Even better: it should be something you can measure. If not, how will we know if our strategy is working? How will we know if we’re going in the right direction?
Often, companies that want to use social media think it’s all about selling more (and selling more easily). That makes sense; their main goal is to sell their service or product. But here’s the thing: “social media wasn’t made for selling.” If your strategy is only about talking about your products, sharing new deals, and always promoting your stuff, it won’t work well.
But that doesn’t mean we should ignore a customer who wants to “increase sales” right away. The key to setting goals is listening to the customer, talking with them, and figuring out the real objectives together. Both for the company in general and for social communication in particular.
For example, at WebQCoder, we always start by working with the client to design the strategy together. It might seem like it slows things down at first, but it makes the later stages faster and more secure. We’ve talked about this before when we discussed Design Thinking, and we’ll have more on co-design soon.
Another helpful tool at this stage is the SWOT analysis. It’s a simple table where we look at the brand’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. By discussing these with the customer, we can come up with small or big communication goals.
At this point, it’s not just about setting goals; it’s about agreeing on which ones are the most important. And most importantly, the final results need approval from the customer.
Step 2: What Do The Others Do?
Unless you’re about to share something groundbreaking (like Galileo Galilei, though we’re skeptical), chances are someone else is already doing what you’re planning. Someone is talking about the same product or something similar. Someone has a strategy for talking about a customer like yours. So, try to find it and… understand it.
We’re not just talking about competitors. Identifying them is important, but we’re talking more broadly about checking out the messages, posts, and communication of the whole industry you’re getting into. Ask yourself: who is already talking about what we want to say and doing it well?
Through careful analysis, and always working with the customer, you might notice what’s working and what’s not. Now, copy it—make the message or idea your own. Keep a brand you like as a reference, a guide for when you’re planning the strategy.
Here are some questions to help: Which posts do I like? Why? What makes them relatable? Could this also work for my client’s goals? Does this post solve a problem or talk about an important issue for the industry? What could be improved in this post, and how can I make a better one?
Step 3: Definition Of The Target And Channels
“I want to talk to everyone, everywhere.”
Sure, that sounds ambitious, but it’s a bit like wanting a time machine to see dinosaurs—cool idea, but is it really doable?
Clients often have big ambitions (which is great!), but the risk in social media is creating messages that lack character. These messages get lost quickly in the sea of posts on social networks, and even the few who see them might get bored.
So, another crucial part of making a social strategy is figuring out who you want to talk to and where. These two things usually go together. We’re not just saying Facebook is for older folks and TikTok is for the young. It’s more about figuring out where your target audience hangs out. Ask yourself: where and how can we find them on different platforms?
Like with goals, it’s good to have a range of possible target audiences and then prioritize them. This way, you can satisfy the client’s desire to reach everyone but also give some focus to your work.
Now, what about the channels? Don’t exclude any right away, but start with as few as possible. Begin small, do it well, and be consistent. Consistency is key, especially at the beginning. Whether it’s a long text on LinkedIn, a reel on Instagram, or a video on TikTok, algorithms appreciate consistency.
And don’t forget to look for a niche and check out the latest trends. For instance, YouTube is like a search engine for some before making a purchase. Some big brands on Instagram don’t use the feed much and prefer stories and collaborations. And hey, Google My Business is still a thing—why not use it?
Step 4: The Strategy
Now, it’s time to make the real social media strategy for the company.
Here’s the perspective: when creating a strategy that works, don’t think like the company, think like its ideal customer. This might sound simple, but many posts out there make this “initial mistake.”
Remember, don’t just talk about the product like you’re doing teleshopping. If you must, try to mix it up with different moments, let’s call them “awareness.” People don’t just buy a product; they buy a story. So, share stories—experiences, interesting facts, values. Make the “voice of the customer on social media” reliable, fresh, original, and welcoming. It doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a gradual process, post by post. Again, consistency is key.
Use any format, experiment, and try things out. Videos are popular, but it might not be the right fit for you and your customer.
Organize your communication into categories: company history, industry news, case studies, user experiences, products. Dedicate a space to each theme each month. Choose a consistent visual style to be easily recognized over time. People might not visit a company’s profile or feed much, but a consistent look helps with recognition.
There are more advanced communication levels you can add to this basic strategy, like Influencer marketing, Content creator, UGC, podcasts, company blogs, video shoots, product photo shoots, back-links in marketing activities, and more. These can be part of a broader inbound marketing approach.
Step 5: Sponsored Campaigns
Assumption: The client has money to run sponsored campaigns. What now? No need to panic; it happens.
Jokes aside, in this situation, it’s a good idea to have two separate plans for social communication. One is the “organic” plan that doesn’t focus much on the product but is full of insights, industry analyses, or showcasing the company’s most important features. The other is a real “sponsored” plan with its own strategy and specific goals. This plan might involve sponsoring events with discounts or loyalty programs, promoting posts about new products to make them popular quickly. Again, getting new customers is “easier” (with lots of quotation marks) through sponsored campaigns.
Even visually, the two plans, organic and sponsored, could look very different. It’s like having two sides that coexist and can talk about completely different things on the same day.
As we’ve mentioned quite a few times, there aren’t strict rules for making a social media strategy. However, the three ingredients we suggested at the beginning can be the key to doing it right. Listen to the customer, agree on goals, adapt to their needs while also suggesting new ideas, stay curious, try new things, don’t blindly follow clichés, be consistent in posting and analyzing. All of these things put together… don’t guarantee success. Again, it’s not a science. But we’re pretty sure that combining these elements should help you create a social media strategy that works. And if you still have questions, feel free to ask us anything!