The importance of a social media plan

Everyone always talks about social media plans, but who actually does them? I mean isn’t the whole point of social media to be current news and information – how can you plan ahead for a future you don’t know about? You know who does social media plans: organizations who are successful on social media. It’s not a fluke that some of your favorite brands on social media are successful – they plan ahead.

I recently made my first social media plan. It was a bit overwhelming at first trying to figure out where to start, but I knew that all great plans started with research, so that’s where I began. I wanted to develop a social media plan for our local United Way. They’re starting a new marketing campaign to reach Millennials, so I figured I could help them out by planning the social media aspect of it all. So I researched Millennials, which social media they are one, which social media is most popular, how nonprofit organizations are currently using social media, recommended tips for nonprofits on social media, and more. Then I went into an in-depth audit of United Way SEMS’s current social media. With these two primary groupings of information combined, I felt educated enough to begin to make plans for United Way SEMS to be successful in their social media efforts. I didn’t compose tweets or Facebook posts, but provided a general outline that will help guide their efforts over the next four months. You can check out the paper here.

If you haven’t done a social media plan before, here’s a basic outline that will help get you started.

  • Background Research
    • Why should you even be on social media?
    • How is social media being used by other companies in your field?
    • How does your target market interact with social media?
    • How have other companies been successful in reaching this target market in the past?
  • Social Media Audit
    • Describe the organization; What is their mission? How is their social media managed?
    • How are they currently using social media? Breakdown each platform individually
  • Social Media Action Plan: Goals/Objectives
    • What does the company want to achieve?
    • What is the overarching marketing goal, outside of social media?
    • What are SMART objectives for each platform?
  • Social Media Action Plan: Strategies/Tactics
    • What strategy will you use to achieve this goal and these objectives?
    • What tactics did your research provide that indicate how the company can be successful on social media?
  • Measurement/Evaluation
    • What tools will you use to measure the success of this campaign?
  • Summary
    • What’s the big take-away from it all?

This is just the general outline I used to create my social media plan. I’m sure there are a million more ways to do it, each with their own pros and cons. I hope you too will take the time to create a social media plan, so your business can reach its fullest potential on their social media.


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