Social Media Marketing Strategy

Although it’s tempting to just follow our instincts and wing it, there’s tremendous value in developing a social media marketing strategy. After all, dumb luck and sweat only get you so far. Not only will planning ensure that an organization understand its markets and competitors, but it helps to ensure that organizations are aware of the changing marketplace environment. Planning a social media marketing strategy enables success to be defined. Creating a strategic plan is a key component of building a marketing plan. It will help prepare a realistic vision for the future of your business and in doing so can maximise your potential for growth.

Strategic planning, as defined by Tuten (2021), is the process of identifying objectives to accomplish, deciding how to accomplish those objectives with specific strategies and tactics, implementing the actions that make the plan come to life, and measuring how well the plan met the objectives (p. 110). This process is three-tiered, starting at the corporate level and descending to the business level and finally the functional areas of the organization, including marketing.

Marketing is where social media managers come in! A marketing plan is a “written, formalized plan that details the product, priving, distribution, and promotional strategies that will enable the brand in question to accomplish specific marketing objectives” (Tuten, 2021, p. 110).

More and more businesses are increasing their social media presence as part of their marketing strategy. Tuten (2021) cited a recent report that revealed 93% of all marketers claimed that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses (p. 112). However, it’s one thing to claim you use social media and another to say you have a strategy that incorporates social media. The most engaging brands using social media for marketing will ensure that all communications are consistent with the brand’s image.

Social media marketers use a term called social media marketing maturity to define brands who are both focused on high investment and progressive innovation. They plan systematically to ensure social media marketing activities are consistent with their marketing and marketing communications plans and are capable of meeting specific marketing objectives.

The phases of social media marketing maturity are trial, transition, and strategic. In the trial phase, organizations are pursuing social media tactics in an as-needed manner, with a focus on gaining experience in social media. The tactics aren’t well linked to the organization’s overall marketing plan and may be haphazardly executed. Organizations in the transition phase think more systematically about how to plan social media activities that support marketing objectives. When an organization enters the final, strategic phase, it utilizes a formal process to plan social media marketing activities with clear objectives and metrics. Social media are now integrated as a key component of the organization’s overall marketing plan.

Using strategic planning is vital in creating a successful social media campaign. Organizations that have moved into the strategic phase of social media maturity develop plans for social media to accomplish marketing objectives. The steps to building a successful campaign are:

  • Conduct a situation analysis and identify key opportunities
  • State objectives and allocate resources
  • Gather insight into and target one or more segments of social consumers
  • Select the social media mix (zones, channels, and vehicles)
  • Create an experience tragedy
  • Establish an activation plan using other promotional tools (if needed)
  • Execute and measure the campaign

The basic assumption is that the campaign can accomplish the desired marketing objectives. In this stage of planning, a well-stated, actionable objective should be specific, measurable, specify the desired change from a baseline, include a timeline, and be consistent and realistic. The image below, sourced from Stelzner’s 2019 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, shows the top objectives marketers pursue using social media.

Organizations should structure themselves to support social media marketing. Some brands assign the responsibility to a department, while others pull people with different kinds of expertise from across the organization to participate. They can structure themselves as organic, centralized, hub and spoke, dandelion, or holistic honeycomb. Each option represents a trade-off of control and responsiveness. Organizations can also use social media management systems.

In the organic structure, no one person owns social media. Instead, all employees represent the brand and work social media into their roles. The con here is that content can end up off message, since the company cannot control what employees say. In the centralized structure, the social media department functions at a senior level that reports to the CMO or CEO and is responsible for all the social media activations. The potential problem here is that all social media activity may not be adequately represented. In the hub and spoke (also called coordinated) structure, a team of people who are cross-functionally trained are ready to address various social media management. In the dandelion structure, it’s basically the same as the hub and spoke structure but with multiple layers. In the holistic structure, all employees are empowered to use social media, use social media, and do so according to the company’s strategy.

All of these structures involve some sort of an organizational social media policy. Policies may include several guidelines such as standards of conduct, disclosure requirements, and standards for posting intellectual property, financial information, and copyrighted information. Companies need policies to ensure that social media activity is consistent with the overall brand. Yes, this applies to the specific employees posting to the company social media, but it also applies to all of the employees posting to their personal social media.

There’s a good chance employees will mention their employers and maybe even vent about the organization. Managing that risk is a must for companies. Brands use formal documents to ensure that the company is protected in a legal sense and to encourage employees to participate in ways that are consistent with the brand’s overall strategy. I know, super boring, but organizations need to make several decisions and include those in an organizational social media policy.

To design a digital social media policy, organizations must decide on standards of conduct, disclosure requirements (think of influencers mentioning that their Instagram post is a paid endorsement), and standards for posting intellectual property, financial information, and copyrighted information.

Policy, organizational structure, strategic planning, social media marketing maturity, and a marketing plan are all part of social media marketing strategy. By creating a plan to build your brand and drive sales, you will help prepare a realistic vision for the future of the business and in doing so can maximise your potential for growth.

Everyone else is doing it, so why not hire me to create content for you? Email me with the link below.

Jordan Price

Price Media



Tuten, T. L. (2021). Social Media Marketing (4th ed.). London, England: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: