How To Create a Social Media Strategic Communications Plan

By on July 11, 2011

Social media is all about communication, so creating a strategic communications plan to keep your sites functioning at their best, makes sense for your business. In old school marketing, your strategic communications plan included a thorough analysis of your target market, and how you planned to interact with them over a specific time period.

With social media, it all becomes a lot more involved, as each site has different ways to communicate with different target audiences. Let’s take a closer look at how you should come up with a solid, reliable and effective social media strategic communications plan.

A strategic communications plan is really made up 4 of sections:

#1 Researching, Defining, Finding and Tracking Your Audience

In order to create an effective communications strategy, you need to know who your audiences are, where they hang out, and how you can reach them. The only real way to do this is through lots and lots of research. Any strategy relies on great research, so make sure yours is diverse and accurate before you begin putting together your key audience research.

  • Who is your general audience?
  • What does your ideal audience member like to do, wear, eat, hang out, say, watch, play…
  • How does your audience change on different social media sites?
  • How do these different sites affect the way they interact with you?

When you put in enough research, you’ll be able to identify patterns on each platform, and slowly begin to formulate a more accurate plan for communications on each site. Once you’ve done this, you can move onto your objectives.

#2 Researching, Defining, Applying and Adjusting Your Objectives

Once you’ve nailed down who and where your key audiences are, its time for some strategy. This is not as easy as it sounds! Because every social media site functions based on its own set of rules, you’ll need to adjust your objectives to suit them.

  • What are your main objectives for your Facebook page?
  • What are your secondary objectives for your Facebook page?
  • What kind of strategy can you build based on these objectives?
  • How will you implement them?
  • What are the costs involved, and can you afford them?

Make sure that your communications strategy is realistic, and manageable. You’ll have to spread your resources around several social media pages. Target the ones that count the most, and rotate as necessary. These objectives should be segmented into short and long term goals. Carefully brainstorm ways to reach each target.

#3 Researching, Identifying, Measuring and Monitoring Your Plan

With all social media and strategic planning, you need to consistently monitor and measure your efforts. This begins by identifying the most suitable ways to do this. If you don’t track and analyze your progress, you’ll never know how to improve your overall communications strategy on that platform.

#4 Implementing Changes To Improve Your Original SMSC Plan

The final basic step is the implementation of changes, based on your research, what you’ve seen, done and collected via the tracking and measuring process. Take this in stages, and focus on one site at a time. All of this needs to be laid out along a workable time-line, with action steps and strategic evaluation processes.

That’s how you arrive at a social media strategic communications plan that works.

How did you put together your social media communication strategy? Did you use any specific software? We’d like to know, so leave your comment below!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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