Creating a social media strategy can be a daunting task, but if you put in the time and take it step-by-step, you can end up with an extremely comprehensive guide.

When I joined the Search Engine Journal Team in January as their Social Media Manager, I was tasked with putting together a social media strategy. By using it as a roadmap, we were able to grow the fanbase on individual social networks more quickly than before in addition to a 170% increase in website traffic from social networks.

With so many “best practice” articles out there, it can be difficult to assess what works best for you, your company, or your client. The best social media strategy must consider the context of industry, goals, and audience.


Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Set realistic goals
It can be tempting to dream big, but if aiming high isn’t realistically attainable, you’re only setting yourselves up for disappointment. We looked at how our numbers were formally trending to assess deriving goals for future months. And we only set goals for up to three months in the future, so that we could look at the progress and adjust the goals accordingly.

2. To each, his own
I often get asked, “what is the most important thing to measure on social media?” This can honestly vary on a case-by-case basis. At SEJ, we are trying to build up credibility and exposure in the marketplace, so impressions, number of fans, etc., are valuable metrics for us. But, if you’re an eCommerce brand, the amount of revenue derived from social is going to be of higher importance than the fans, since, if the fans aren’t converting to dollars, your social media efforts may not be being utilized to their fullest potential. The bottom line is to always assess what’s best for you based on your company; your industry; your bottom line.

3. Consider which channels are best for your brand
At SEJ, We spent a lot more time focusing on Twitter and Facebook rather than Pinterest and Instagram, for example, since we’re more of a B2B company and don’t have as much visual collateral to share. If you’re a fashion or food-related company, for example, this could very likely be the opposite.

4. Things are ALWAYS changing
Facebook’s algorithm has changed at least once since the Facebook chapter was penned back in January. A new Facebook page layout debuted a few months later. That doesn’t mean a complete revision is necessary, but rather, to be mindful, open, and flexible about changes and what they mean. Of course, staying on top of these changes is critical to being able to plan corresponding changes to strategy.

5. Learn as you go
A lot of little specifics that I employed when writing the strategy as well as in my day-to-day management are tidbits I learned from being the trenches for a few years. For example, one tactic I still employ regularly for my own Twitter account and for clients’ is to look at my/their own new followers. Often, those following me or a client are people I’d want to follow as well, so the “following” list is a great pool of candidates to find quality leads to follow. That said, and there’s varying opinions on this, I’m not a fan of automatically following everyone back. This results in a polluted feed of often-irrelevant tweets. Look at each follower, their Twitter habits (i.e. are they a 100% automated account? Are they constantly being self-promotional? Do they mainly tweet about a completely off-color topic? If so, they may not be worth following).

What other details were top of mind when developing your social media strategy?