A Social Media Strategy Template for Small Businesses and Non-Profits

A lot of the clients I have worked with over the years have needed help with social media strategy. Invariably they come to me with a request such as “I need to learn Twitter” or “I need to be better at Facebook” or “I need to get 10,000 reblogs on Tumblr!!”

They could be the character in the following cartoon, in other words:

A cartoon depicting a joke that could be about using a bad social media strategy template. A person is saying "Tweet" and another saying "This is my riend Woody. You'll have to forgive him, he doesn't get out much."

Image source: http://bit.ly/1CW1d1v

What I give them is a social media strategy template that I’ve designed to help them get out of this mindset.

What People Get Wrong About Social Media Strategy

Like the character in the above cartoon, many people think about the medium before they think about the message, when it comes to social media. With all due respect to Marshall MacLuhan, while the medium is important, without a clear, consistent message, you might as well be an awkward person at a social gathering who doesn’t understand how to mingle.

I define a social media strategy as a plan for an authentic, focused, and consistent social media presence that is maintained through a series of weekly tasks, and that includes triggers for when tasks are to be performed.

The first stage of developing a social media strategy, then, is to think strategically by considering your overall message.

Initial Questions to Ask Yourself

In order to break clients out of this cart-before-the-horse mentality, I start every initial meeting about social media strategy with the following questions:

  • Who do you want to connect with as part of your business plan?
  • Why do you want to connect with those people?
  • Who are your clients/customers?
  • Where are your clients/customers?
  • How long have you been on social media?
  • Why did you choose [a specific social media platform] over others?

The goal of these questions is to figure out why they’ve made the choices they’ve made and what media are best for them, given the message they are developing.

Core Components of Social Media Strategy

At the same time, there are commonalities to social media that everyone should know. These commonalities include:

  • Authenticity: even if you’re posting on behalf of someone else, you need to be authentic, meaning real, honest, and true to your word.
  • Focus: you need to develop an identity that is shaped around sharing a particular type of information.
  • Consistency: you need to deliver content in a timely, regular manner.
  • Task-based: social media is task-based, meaning it is about performing lots of small, simple operations like posting something, responding to a direction message, or following new people.
  • Triggers: it needs to be clear what the triggers will be for when you need to perform which tasks.

Here’s my entire social media strategy template in a Google Doc for ease of use: http://bit.ly/1M3Yd3U