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How to Create a Great Social Media Strategy Plan in 2022

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How to Create a Great Social Media Strategy Plan in 2022

Many businesses find creating a social media strategy overwhelming. There are so many networks available, and they’re constantly adding new features to learn and integrate into your plan.

If you don’t have a full-time team of social media experts at your disposal, it’s even harder. But the fact is that your success depends on having a sensible and straightforward strategy that fits your resources and goals.

By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to develop a social media strategy that will drive traffic and quell that overwhelming feeling you get whenever you open Instagram or Twitter.

Your social media strategy is your master plan for how you create, post, and engage with your social media content. It encompasses your social content guidelines, posting cadence, social media marketing campaigns, creative plans, and engagement strategy.

Many companies use social media to connect with their customers, provide support, advertise new products and features, and promote special offers.

Social media strategies differ depending on the brand’s voice and positioning, target audience demographics, and social media platform limitations. When you develop your business’ social media strategy, considering these factors will help your message reach the right audiences in the right format.

social media strategy example: tweet from t-mobile

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For example, T-Mobile’s social media team capitalized on the Mother’s Day holiday to promote their T-Mobile Tuesdays app. The tweet uses humor to gain users’ attention and includes a timely promotion to appeal to Twitter users who haven’t bought a gift for Mother’s Day.

social media strategy example: instagram post from hershey

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You can also use social media as part of a larger marketing campaign. For example, Hershey’s posted a short video on Instagram featuring Mindy Kaling, the spokesperson for their “Celebrate SHE” campaign.

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Why You Need a Social Media Strategy

The top three challenges that social media marketers face include reaching their audience, measuring ROI, and reaching business goals.

Crafting a social media strategy can help you tackle these challenges and more. Social media strategies also equip you to set goals and guardrails, track performance, and tweak your benchmarks over time. Without a starting point, you can’t measure what’s working and how to shift your activity to hit your goals.

Creating a strategy:

1. Helps you set goals and guardrails.

A social media strategy establishes clear expectations and goals for your business’ social media marketing efforts. Whether you aim to increase brand awareness, create buzz around a promotional event, or launch a rebranding campaign for your business, a social media strategy provides a blueprint that your team can follow to keep your marketing consistent, on task, and relevant to your target audience.

2. Allows you to track goal performance.

It’s not enough to simply have a goal for your business’ social media marketing; you also need to keep track of how you are progressing toward the goal. A social media strategy establishes key performance indicators that you can analyze to monitor your business’ progress toward its social media goals.

3. Helps you tweak your benchmarks over time.

Benchmarking your social media marketing strategy allows you to track social media metrics and analyze your business’ current social media performance compared to industry standards, your competitors’ performance, and your past performance.

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Evaluating your performance against benchmarks helps you determine elements of your social media marketing that need improvement to reach your marketing goals.

A social media strategy also helps you set expectations for broader team involvement and get everyone aligned on what they should and shouldn’t do on your social networks.

Let’s unpack how to start building a social media strategy from scratch.

1. Define your target audience.

If you haven’t already identified and documented your buyer personas, start by defining the key demographics of the audience you’re trying to reach, such as age, gender, occupation, income, hobbies and interests, etc.

Defining your target audience helps you create focused advertising that addresses your ideal consumer’s specific needs.

For instance, the below sponsored tweet by monday.com, a project management platform, highlights the platform’s flexibility and workflow customization feature. The tweet targets business owners and project managers who may feel limited by other project management software.

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social media strategy example: tweet from monday.com

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Consider your ideal consumer’s challenges and what problems they’re solving daily. Focus on no more than four types of people that represent the majority of your buyers. Don’t get hung up on the exceptions or outliers, or you’ll never get started!

2. Start blogging.

Fresh content is the linchpin of a successful social strategy, so commit to consistently creating new, quality content. Compile a list of common questions from prospects and commit to addressing these questions with at least one new blog post per week.

Combining your blogging and social media strategies can help your content reach a larger audience. For example, you can create a social media post that includes a tip for your followers and a link to a blog post that expands upon the post. The social media post will drive traffic to your blog, making it easy for readers to share the blog post with their followers and expand the blog’s reach.

social media strategy example: sellersfundingcorp tweet

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This tweet by SellersFunding highlights the main points discussed in the linked blog post. The tweet provides enough detail to pique the reader’s interest and convince them to read the full blog post.

3. Create educational content.

Create downloadable content like ebooks, checklists, videos, and infographics that address your buyer’s pains. If your content is beneficial, people will likely share it on social media and extend your reach.

One example would be HubSpot’s social media trends report, which we offer for free:

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ebook social media strategy example: social media trends from hubspot

4. Focus on a few key social channels.

Most startups and small businesses don’t have the bandwidth to establish and sustain a quality social media presence on every single channel. It’s also overwhelming to learn the rules of engagement on multiple networks simultaneously.

Here’s a video by HubSpot Academy explaining the social channels where you can post content for your business.

Start small. Research key networks to learn where your target audience is spending time. For instance, if your ideal consumers are business professionals, it may be beneficial to post on LinkedIn rather than Instagram.

Focus your effort on building, nurturing, and sustaining a community on the social channels where your target audience spends most of their time before moving on to another channel.

5. Develop a recipe card to guide you.

Social media isn’t an exact science. It doesn’t work the same for every business or industry. To see results for your business, create a recipe card. A recipe card is a posting and engagement schedule that keeps your team on track and helps you post content consistently. HubSpot has a list of 13 social media tools and templates that you can use to plan your content and create a posting schedule.

Develop a reasonable recipe card, one you can stick to and get your team to follow. Set goals for your posting and engagement frequency, and hold yourself accountable for following your recipe.

6. Measure your results.

There are countless things to track on your social media channels. Start by looking at how much traffic your social accounts drive to your website or blog.

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Social media platforms offer tools to help businesses track analytics. For example, you can use Facebook’s Page Insights, Instagram’s Account Insights, and LinkedIn’s Visitor Analytics to see what people are responding to and look for trends related to particular topics or keywords that generate more interest than others. Once you get an idea of your average traffic and post performance, set goals for key metrics, and keep a scorecard to measure your progress.

Be sure to choose metrics that are easy to gather, because if it’s too time-consuming to track, you’ll fall off the wagon! Examples of simple metrics include net new fans and followers, number of interactions, and visits to your website from social.

7. Adjust your tactics.

Social media won’t start working overnight. Establishing a following, stabilizing your brand, and seeing the results of your efforts takes time. So experiment to find the right combination of channels, content, and messaging that works for your audience.

Keep track of changes in your post views, audience demographics, and post interactions, and make changes as needed.

Over time, you’ll be able to adjust your recipe card, content, and personas based on the information you’re gathering, which will help you fine-tune your strategy and generate more consistent results.

Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social media is a multipurpose business asset. It connects you with your audience and promotes your products, services, and brand. Both functions are equally important.

Building a social media strategy for marketing is different from the process we discussed above. How so? For example, your benchmarks and goals may be more specific to metrics you track for other marketing efforts.

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When using social media to market your business, ensure the experience on your social networks is positive and consistent. All imagery and content on your social media accounts should be consistent with those on your website, blog, and any other digital real estate.

Pay close attention to any questions or comments your audience posts, and be quick to address them, as that engagement could make or break a conversion or purchase.

Take a look at these examples of what to stop, start, and keep doing to help your business’ social media marketing succeed.

Lastly, align the content you post and how you post it with marketing campaigns you’re running on other channels (e.g., email or ads).

Social Media Content Strategy

Content is the crux of any social media strategy. Without content, you can’t engage with your audience, promote your products, or measure performance.

The fleeting nature of social media may lead you to believe that you don’t have to plan its content as much as you do for your emails or blogs. That’s not true. Social media content may not be as static as your landing pages or blog content, but it’s still equally important for engaging your audience and representing your brand as a whole.

For that reason, you should also have a social media content strategy. This should include:

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  • Posting guidelines and specs for each network on which you’re active (e.g., share GIFs on Twitter but avoid them on Facebook)
  • Determining the target audience nuances per network (e.g., the younger segment of your audience is more active on Instagram than on LinkedIn)
  • Repurposing plans for long-form content from your blog, podcast, e-books, etc.
  • Identifying who on your team is allowed to post, and who’s responsible for engaging followers
  • Naming the companies, publications, and individuals you’ll repost (and those who you won’t/can’t)

HubSpot’s Aja Frost offers more tips for creating a social media content strategy in this video.

Social Media Strategy Templates

Social media is overwhelming; I get it. Starting your strategy from scratch is even more overwhelming, so we developed 10 free social media templates to help.

social media strategy templates from hubspot

In the free download, you’ll receive:

  • Scheduling templates for every channel, since social media channels aren’t one-size-fits-all
  • A complete calendar of hashtag holidays, so you never forget to participate with new, fun content
  • Social auditing template to track your followers, engagement rates, and more
  • A social media content calendar to organize campaigns across every channel
  • A social reporting template to track your monthly social successes
  • A paid social template to help you manage and optimize your paid budget

Download our free social media template bundle to manage, optimize, and create more social content without sacrificing quality.

Time to Get Social

Do you still feel like social media is overwhelming? That’s okay. Although I’m not sure that feeling ever fully fades, you can diminish it by leveraging the tips in this guide and the free templates above. Remember: Tackle one social network at a time, prioritize your audience, and focus on the content that works. You’ll see results and traffic in no time.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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MARKETING

How To Create a Content Marketing Strategy for Your Personal Brand

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How To Create a Content Marketing Strategy for Your Personal Brand

Updated August 17, 2022

Anyone who didn’t win the billion-dollar Mega Millions jackpot this year needs to read this article.

With the talk about the Great Resignation (or Great Reshuffle), I bet you’ve pondered the future of your money-making work. Even if you’re completely satisfied with your current employment, it’s smart to plan for future promotions and pivots (especially unexpected ones).

And that requires doing something today that should feel very familiar: creating a content marketing strategy.

This time, though, you’ll create it for your personal brand.

Not sure you need to invest the time?

Consider these wise words from a CMWorld Twitter chat a couple of years ago that still ring true today:

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“Careers in marketing make personal branding even more important. If you can’t develop your own brand, people might not have the confidence that you can help them develop a company’s/product’s/agency’s brand,” Mike Myers tweeted.

The chat’s guest speaker, Anh Nguyen, agreed: “All the knowledge and experience gained for your personal brand can be scaled for content marketing for a client or an employer.”

The knowledge and experience you gain from marketing your #PersonalBrand can be scaled for employer or client #ContentMarketing, says @AnhTNguyen via @AnnGynn @CMIContent.

What is a personal brand?

Before you can craft your personal content marketing strategy, it’s important to understand what a personal brand is.

“Think of it as your reputation and calling card to the world,” Anh said in the Twitter chat. “Your personal brand helps you connect with prospective employers, clients, customers, collaborators, and so on.”

Gabriela Cardoza explained in the chat that a personal brand helps you:

  • Differentiate yourself
  • Build thought leadership
  • Grow trust and credibility
  • Build a network

You have a personal brand already. Every time you engage with people, you create perceptions of who you are in their minds.

When you craft a content marketing strategy for your personal brand, you’ll set yourself on a path toward shaping those perceptions to help you achieve your goals.

Craft a #ContentMarketing strategy for your personal brand and get on an intentional path to achieving your goals, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

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Use these seven steps to create a documented content marketing strategy for your own brand.

1. Craft a brand mission statement

All good content marketing strategies start with understanding the mission and goals. Thus, the first step in your personal content marketing strategy is to create a mission statement.

Here’s how Gabriela broke down the components of a personal brand mission statement:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • What you stand for
  • What your unique value is

I’ll add one more – What do you want to achieve with your brand?

Here’s a personal brand mission statement that might work for a content marketing writer:

I use my creativity and sense of business to help B2B brands engage with their audiences through compelling content. I work to ensure my content is equitable and inclusive. I want to grow my recognition as a go-to resource in the content marketing industry.

TIP: You can’t develop your personal brand without considering your employer’s brand because you’re tied together publicly. Tweak or supplement your personal mission statement accordingly.

You can’t develop your #PersonalBrand without considering your employer’s brand. You’re tied together publicly, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

2. Write an editorial mission statement

Put together your personal editorial mission statement, which connects to your brand mission.

CMI’s Jodi Harris writes that a great content mission statement details three elements (I’ll go into more depth on each later):

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  • Core audience – who you aim to help (serve) with your audience
  • What you’ll deliver – the kind of information you provide
  • Outcome or benefit – the things your audience can do (or will know) because of your content

A content mission statement answers the why, who, and what of your #content, says @joderama via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing #PersonalBrand Click To Tweet

You don’t need an elaborate statement. Just give a brief overview in a sentence or two.

With your personal brand and editorial mission statements complete, you now have the required footing to develop a content marketing strategy.

3. Detail your brand’s content marketing goals

Your personal content marketing can help you achieve your professional goals (to get a raise, a new job, more clients, etc.), but those aren’t your content marketing goals.

Content marketing involves creating and distributing content to attract and retain your audience and, ultimately, drive profitable action.

Here are some personal content marketing goals to consider:

  • Build brand awareness: Get your name out there.
  • Earn brand trust: Help people see you as a valuable, reputable resource.
  • Deepen brand loyalty: Connect with people on a deeper level (e.g., get them to sign up for your newsletter or share your content).
  • Attract strategic partners: Get people to want to help you (e.g., guest blogging and conference speaking).

Once you define your content marketing goals, you can zero in on the right audience.

4. Detail your target audience

You know what you want, but what does your audience want?

First, describe who your audience members are. What industries do they work in? What roles or titles do they have?

Then detail their interests and behaviors. What do they want to know? What are their pain points? Where do they live (online or geographically)?

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Let’s say you’re a content marketing specialist for a financial services company. Your goal is to build awareness of your name and skills. Your audience members are managers and directors of content marketing, communications, and marketing in the finance industry. They want to know more about how to get buy-in and budget support from their firm’s leaders. They check LinkedIn every few days but never use Facebook.

5. Identify your content sweet spot

Think of a Venn diagram. In one circle are your content marketing interests. In the other circle are your audience’s interests and needs. Where the two circles overlap is your content sweet spot.

These are the primary topics that your personal content marketing should cover.

You can also determine preferred content formats and distribution vehicles. For example, if your audience prefers podcasts over videos and you’re looking to build a subscriber database, you would want to create a podcast rather than start a YouTube channel. Or, if your audience usually attends an industry conference, you could submit a proposal to speak at the event. If your goal is brand awareness, you could offer guest blogs on sites your audience visits.

6. Build your content calendar

Now that you have identified your topics, formats, and distribution platforms, it’s time to build an editorial calendar. But remember, you’re just one person – and you probably already have a day job. This is not the time to be ambitious.

I recommend creating a minimum viable calendar – the least you know you can create and publish regularly. If that’s just one blog post a month or a quarterly LinkedIn profile review, that’s fine. If you attempt to do too much and fail to hit on every cylinder, you’re more likely to give up entirely. By setting realistic expectations, you’re more likely to keep going.

Create an editorial calendar for your personal #ContentMarketing. But don’t attempt to do too much, or you’ll give up, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. #PersonalBrand Click To Tweet

7. Set measurable goals

Now that you have documented your purpose, audience, content formats, and frequency, you should add numbers and dates to the personal content marketing goals established in Step 3.

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For example, if your content marketing goal is to earn brand trust, your metric might be to gain 50 subscribers to your newsletter in the next three months.

It’s important to connect measurable goals to all your tactics – it’s key to understanding how well your content works.

TIP: You might struggle to come up with realistic numeric goals in the beginning. Don’t let that prevent you from setting them. If you find your numbers were unrealistic in your review, change them. That’s one of the perks of developing your brand – no clients or bosses to complain about the shift.

Connect measurable goals to all your tactics so you’ll know if your #Content is working, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Make yourself accountable

The hardest part of your personal content marketing strategy may be that you’re doing it alone. Without a boss or client expecting your content, it’s easier to push off the work.

Set deadlines for every step in the content production and distribution process. Mark them on your calendar. If you get overloaded and know you won’t meet one, move it out, but don’t remove it from the calendar, or you’ll never get it done.

Want to add one more layer to your accountability? Get an accountability partner. Share your production calendar with that person. Treat this partner as you would a client or boss – let them know when the step is done or tell them about the revised date for completion. (You can do this simply by using the calendar’s notification system.) Even better, become the accountability partner for them too.

Let’s get started. On what date will you complete your personal brand content marketing strategy? Note it in the comments, and I’ll reach out that day to see if you’re done.

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Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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