An outline is a broad look at a strategy or plan.
You won’t find that many, especially small and medium sized brands, with a social media outline.
But it can be a great process to go through so that your team is all on the same page. It can be great for you to go through creating it just for your own understanding of your social program.
A main purpose of a social media strategy outline is for answering questions. If it’s you or another person on your team performing social media tasks the outline is there to answer questions.
An example of a question might be, “How should I respond to follower’s tweet?”
Or, “When should I post today?”
Or, “Where can I get content to share today?”
The outline can save you time. It can save your team time. It will provide direction that will make more a more efficient and effective social media strategy.
Here is how you can create your outline.
Step 0. A Shared Document
The simple way to create an outline is just a basic word processing document. Google Drive and a Google Doc can work well. You can share it with the people on your team that should have access.
And you can update it when necessary and everyone will always be looking at the latest version.
Step 1. Social Media Goals
The first section to add to your outline is a goals section.
Everything you do in business has goals. Usually the ultimate goal is to increase sales. And social media can do that directly. You might have people going direction from social media channels to sales pages and buying things.
But that can be tricky. Not every person on social media is ready to buy something. So a good strategy is to provide answers to questions they have and to provide them with information they find interesting.
That is the definition of “valuable content”.
And over time you can build a following and authority in your industry by providing that type of content.
And that is most often the goal for a business with social media:
Build an audience of target customers and become an authority in the industry.
It would be good to add specifics like a follower count, number of engagement metrics (shares, etc.). But add requirements for the followers. You want your team to work within restrictions. So they know they need to get the right kind of followers and not just any follower.
Step 2. Target Customer
Next you want to define your target customer. The first step kind of leads into this step. It’s a question your team will have or that you might have as you get into your social media efforts.
It’s really important to know who your target customer is because it makes the tasks of social media easier. When you’re adding updates or responding it’s easier to think of what to share or how to share it when you know the person you want to appeal to.
You can set the target customer as it stands now. If you’re an established business it’ll be easier, but it’s not set in stone. As you grow and mature with the company you’ll learn more details about who your ideal customer is and you’ll want to keep the definition updated on the outline.
Step 3. Best Social Media Sites
If you try to be active on all the social media sites or even a handful you’ll struggle.
Even large companies struggle to have the staff to maintain several social media sites.
The better approach is to focus on the social site (or maybe 2 or 3) that offer the most opportunity for your business.
The big ones will still likely offer the most opportunity, but there are subtle differences. For example, LinkedIn might offer more opportunity for B2Bs where Facebook might offer the most opportunity for B2Cs.
Look at your competition. See where they are spending the most effort. See what their follower counts and engagement is like on each of the channels.
See where maybe you’ve had the most success so far with your efforts and determine the best channel for you and focus there.
Then put a priority list on your social media strategy outline complete with reasons why.
The priority list may change over time, but when you have the info on the outline it’ll be easy to reference.
Step 4. Best Type Of Posts/Updates
Now you’ll include the type of posts that work well. You can again gather this from experience you have or you can look at competitors or other brands that have done well with your target audience on your social site and see what content works well for them.
List out the best types of content to share. This will really help whoever is in charge of posting content. They can better formulate ideas of their own if they have a good starting point.
You can include examples here and you can keep it updated. Maybe add a reminder on your calendar to update this section every quarter with things that have worked for you and things that are working for others.
And add a line that it’s okay to experiment with new types of content. Maybe 10% of the time the person updating your profile can improvise and test something new.
Also include sources of the updates. Maybe forums, industry news websites, your own blog, etc. This will help the person in charge of finding the content if they’re stuck (and that will happen from time to time).
Step 5. Posting Schedule
Now you can add the posting schedule. Again, check out to see when and how often the best in your industry are posting. It’s good to see what is working and follow that lead while adding in a bit of your own strategy.
If the successful ones in your industry are posting every day then you’ll want to start there. Or maybe they’re posting ten times a day. Then that’s your goal.
Step 6. Analytics/Reporting
Finally, you want to add a section for how you’ll track the success of your efforts. Add in the key measuring sticks or metrics that you want to use to guide the success of the program.
It might be followers and engagement. It might be direct sales that come from social media to your site and to your sales pages.
But usually followers and engagement correlate pretty well with the success of your online marketing efforts and your business.
But be sure to add in parameters like we discussed earlier. You don’t want just any followers. You want the right kind of followers.
An outline for your social media strategy or program is a simple, but great item to have on hand. It’s a good process to go through even just for your own benefit of fine tuning what you want to do with social media. And having the outline on hand and tweaking it every few months will make it easier for the person(s) working on implementing the strategy. It will save time and make the entire effort more effective and that’s what will help your business grow.