Social Media Strategic Plan (Part 2)

My last post on implementing social media policies and procedures received a lot of support from the blogging community. Carl Weinschenk, of IT Business Edge, interviewed me on how companies can better roll out social media initiatives, incorporating policies to protect the company and the employee.

This week, we’ll build upon that and develop a social media strategy. That includes developing a strategic plan for implementing social media initiatives at the company. References to company also applies to government agencies, non-profits, group, or any type of organization.

Why develop a social media strategic plan?

Companies should develop a social media strategic plan for the same reason that they should develop a business plan. It is the guiding document for the company’s short and long-term approach toward using social media for its business needs, and to determine how social media can meet its customers needs. Stephanie Gulley, a blogger at heystephanie.com, recently posted a piece on assessing your customer’s readiness for social media.

Without a strategic plan, it becomes too easy to get caught up in the latest technology trend. Limited resources constrain the implementation of every social media tool that appears. While individuals may be able to follow the trends, companies should develop their brand and presence on viable platforms.

Garden Plans
Creative Commons License photo credit: apc33

What elements should be in the strategic plan?

A social media strategic plan is no different than any other strategic plan, whether it be an organizational strategic plan, IT strategic plan, etc. A simple Google search of strategic plan will return great results:

At a minimum, your company strategic plan should contain the following:

  • Company background – provides the reader with context and understanding of the company’s history, it’s mission and values, and organizational structure.
  • Methodology – a brief section should be reserved for describing the methodology the company took to develop the plan. Were stakeholders involved? Who managed the project? How were decisions made?
  • Purpose and Goal of Social Media – Similar to the company’s mission, vision, and values, the strategic plan should include a clear and concise set of goals and outcomes desired.
  • Prioritized list of social media initiatives – This section deserves its own post. Until then, the list of social media initiatives is simply a set of subprojects that the company wishes to roll out. For example, an initiative can be develop a presence on Facebook to connect with potential employees. From that list, the social media planning steering committee should prioritize and rank the list in order of importance. Prioritizing the list ensures that resources are dedicated to the highest value items.
  • Actionable implementation plan – Each initiative should have a high-level implementation plan, including a brief description what is the initiative, timeframe for rolling out, resources required, and dependencies.
  • Performance metrics – To ensure that the initiatives are providing value to the company and its customers, a set of measurable performance metrics should be developed, agreed-upon, and tracked. For example, a measurable metric can be number of recruitments referred by the Facebook page. A product company may wish to track traffic referred by Twitter leading to a sales conversion.
  • Roles and responsibilities – The stakeholders and project team should have their roles and responsibilities clearly defined to ensure that everyone knows their purpose in the project.

How to implement the strategic plan?

Next time, we’ll go into the nitty gritty of rolling out at social media campaign. In the mean time, please share your thoughts. If you have a copy of a social media strategic plan, please let me know so we can share to the readers.

Published by Daniel Hoang

Daniel Hoang is a visual leader, storyteller, and creative thinker. As an experienced management consultant, he believes in a big picture approach that includes strong project leadership, creative methods, change management, and strategic visioning. He uses a range of visual tools to communicate business challenges, solutions, and goals. His change strategy is to build "tribes" of supporters and evangelists to drive change in culture and organization. Daniel is an avid technologist and futurist and early adopter.

17 replies on “Social Media Strategic Plan (Part 2)”

  1. Starting a line per your comment on Chris Brogan's blog. 😉

    Appreciate the realistic, action-oriented performance metric example. Too often I've seen metrics like number of Twitter followers/Facebook friends passed off as metrics, when in reality these mean next to nothing if they don't provide results — the social media equivalent to impressions vs. CTR.

  2. Thanks Matt, gonna have to write back to create the illusion of even a bigger line. 🙂

    There are metrics, and then there are metrics. Ultimately, a business is looking for results that hit the bottom line. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors.

  3. What a timely post Daniel 🙂 Quite amazing that Google doesn't throw many quality results when you look-up for social-media execution project plans. Not many working plans/templates. The links that you've provided is the only reference.

    Not that it isn't different at a thought level from a typical development project plan but then that is where the similarity ends.

    I am actually looking for more elaboration on some of the points highlighted above !! Actually, I am quite keen to see what you address in the next post.

    — Daksh

  4. Daksh,

    Thanks for the comments. This is the second in a series of posts regarding a social media strategy and implementation plans. I envision the series eventually being wrapped up into a social media in a box kit, including templates, evaluation tools, etc.

    I haven't found too many working plans out there via Google. I plan on developing one from my array of templates and posting it here. Come back soon.

  5. Hi Daniel – Yes, social media policies and procedures was the first-post. Just a thought: may be you could numbers these post-titles as I, II and III(for the future one).

    Will be back 🙂

  6. Daniel, is there a sample plan I could use to jump-start our process?

    1. Marylee, I have yet to find a good plan available anywhere. I'm in the process, although it's a little slow due to other demands, of putting together a social media kit, including the strategic plan, operational plans, and user guide.

  7. Hey Daniel thanks for the post bester! I'm a fashion designer who have fallen in love with Social Media. I'm planning to pursuit my masters in the Social Network Not For Profit areas can you or anyone offer me any advice. I currently hold a BA in Design Marketing from Parsons The New School for Design.

    Thanks ♡:)

    1. You'll find a lot of interesting people online that have taken Social Media to market/enhance their work. Here are some people to look into:

      Natasha Wescoat: She's a contemporary artist that uses social media to sell her artwork.

      David Hoang: He's my brother and makes art based on social media (opposite of Natasha).

      In my opinion, social media is so new that you might not get too much out of the program. I would prefer to pursue a MA/MFA in another area and emphasize or focus your research on social media instead. For example, major in graphic design but with an emphasis on web 2.0 design techniques.

      Best of luck, let me know how it goes.

  8. Thank you for the advise i'm now following you, Natasha Wescoat and your brother David on twitter … all these creative peeps u made my week Daniel !. ♡

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