Building a social media strategy: 9 key steps

Published by Marc
8 Mins


Define your objectives
Get to know your audience
Set up an internal structure
navel gazing
Search for competitors
Planning and preparing content
Organize your content in a publication calendar
Interact with your audience
Measure the activity, analyze its performance and adapt its strategy
Spread the love

Only a few years ago, social networks were not a crucial part of a business marketing strategy.

This is no longer the case, for B2C and B2B companies, social networks are a marketing opportunity not to be missed.

Getting known and standing out is becoming more and more complex on these platforms. With so many companies on social networks, you have to find ever more innovative ways to connect with your customers.

In 2018, 39% of Canadian companies have a presence on social networks...

Creating a marketing strategy on social networks is much more complex than what we see on the surface. To ensure that nothing escapes our attention, our web agency Walter has developed a precise methodology. Here's how to go about developing your social media strategy:

Importance of a social networking strategy

A well-executed social media strategy can significantly increase brand awareness, credibility, web traffic and eventually online sales.

Your consumers are present on social networks and use them as a reference source. Many of them consult either web reviews or a product's website before making a purchase. Much like asking a friend for advice before a purchase, your customers are on the web to learn more about your products. There is a huge business opportunity here.

In addition, by sharing links from your website, your social media efforts will tie in nicely with your SEO strategy through social signals.

Step by step to be a social networking superstar

Define your objectives

A social media strategy starts with defining the end.

What is your goal in creating a Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin page for your business? These goals should be a continuation of your overall marketing goals.

Furthermore, setting clear objectives will allow you to calculate your return on investment for your social networking efforts.

Your goal statement should always:

  • Be easily measurable
  • Include specific actions
  • Sign up for a time limit

Once you have chosen your goal, write it down! It will be much easier to keep it in mind when deploying the next steps.

Above all, make sure that this statement meets the 3 conditions stated above.


Low goal
Generate 5 sales through our Facebook page

Strong objective
Convert 5 sales in the next 30 days by posting content from our blog and achievement tab on Facebook 3 times a week, all with an advertising budget of $75.

Here, the goal is clear:
Convert 5 sales in the next 30 days on Facebook.
And so arethe actions to be executed:

  • Publish 3 times a week
  • Share content from our blog and our achievement page
  • Allocate $75 of advertising budget for the month's publications

Now, let's talk about the different types of goals on social networks.

The most common ones for a company are related to brand awareness and conversion.

When determining a goal to increase awareness of your company, consider goals that

  • Grow your audience
    E.g. Gain 75 followers on Instagram within 2 weeks by posting 1 day out of 2 and sharing with potential followers
  • Promote your brand image in a coherent and consistent way
    Ex. Reach 1000 Facebook users in 1 week
  • Share with your community
    Ex. Answer 10 comments on Twitter within 1 week about a service we offer.

If your goal is more focused on conversion and advertising, consider:

  • Increase the number of clicks to our website
    E.g. Make a story containing an effective call to action to our website link that will bring 10 visitors to our website in the 24 hours the story is posted.
  • Increase our conversion rate
    E.g. By offering an exclusive 10% discount to our Facebook page subscribers for 1 week, we want to convert 25% of our website visits into sales.
  • Increase the number of subscribers to our newsletter
    e.g. Create a Facebook ad that will be posted from July 1 to 31 with a budget of $100, containing a link to our free ebook in exchange for contact information

Define your objectives

Get to know your audience

Your organization may already have a clearly identified persona. If not, taking the time to address it can greatly help your marketing strategy.

If your company already has an established persona, use it when creating your social media strategy. It will save you time and ensure that your goals are aligned with those of your organization.

For an organization that has not already built its persona, create your own by imagining your ideal customer. A worksession will allow you to highlight the challenges this customer faces on a daily basis and how your company addresses them.

By detailing your persona, you'll know exactly who to target and where when you create your posts and ads.

Factors to consider when creating your persona:

  • Gender
    Ex: 81% of Pinterest users and 68% of Instagram users are women

    Instagram users are women

  • Age
    59% of 18-29 year olds are present on Instagram compared to 33% of 30-49 year olds
  • Personal interests
    75% of adults use Youtube to watch videos that remind them of another era, while young girls mostly watch makeup videos on Youtube.
  • Most used device (smart phone, computer, tablet...)
    80% of Twitter users consult the platform from their mobile.
  • Education level
    40 million students and recent college graduates are on Linkedin
  • Geography
    60% of Pinterest users are American.
  • Salary
    44% of Linkedin users earn more than US$75,000 per year.

Even go so far as to determine which companies

Even go as far as to determine which companies, in your field or not, might be of interest to your target customer. This is a criterion that some networks, like Facebook, can take into account when creating an audience for an ad. For example, a jewelry company could go to the pages of companies in fashion, design, lifestyle...

Set up an internal structure

To ensure that your strategy works well, it is necessary to properly structure your team that will work on your social networks.

Always important to have the right people in the right places.

Chances are, your team members all have a lot on their plate already and won't be able to take on the extra responsibility of handling your social networks.

So don't hesitate to hire either an in-house community manager or even an outside agency.

Whichever way you decide to proceed, you will need to determine:

  • The person who will plan the content
  • The person who will create the content
  • The person who will create the publication calendar
  • The person who will have to approve the publications
  • The person who will publish the content
  • One person per department to address complaints and questions (customer services for service issues, product team for product issues...)

... To name just a few roles.

In addition, you must also determine the number of hours you want to spend on your social media marketing and the advertising budget you are willing to allocate.

navel gazing

You are already present on social networks? You will be able to perform a mini analysis of your current networks to understand your strengths and weaknesses and build on that.

Ask yourself such questions:

  • What type of content is your audience most receptive to? (Consider the number of likes and comments) Can you identify why?
  • What type of content generates the least engagement? Can you identify why?
  • On which networks are your publications most noticed?
  • On which network do you have the most followers?
  • Do your subscribers generally match your persona?
  • How does your social media presence compare to your competitors?
  • On which networks are you absent? Is your persona there?

Your social networks may be managed by several people within your organization. Before going any further with your strategy, take a census of the networks you already have, those to be created and their access.

Search for competitors

Search for competitors

Now, conduct a competitor analysis of your industry to determine how you can differentiate yourself.

Many companies rely solely on their own growth to measure their success on social networks. The number of likes on our page has increased by 20%? Wow! But how does this number compare to other companies in your industry?

All your performance indicators will not always be related to your competitors' pages. However, it is a good way to take the pulse of the market.

Simply start by identifying who they are. Your local competitors may not be your competitors on the web.

The easiest and most intuitive way to identify your competitors is to do a Google search. Search for the same keywords that a potential customer would search for your service or product.

Eliminate the giants like Amazon or Ebay to identify your real competitors. Consider companies of similar size to yours.

On which platforms are they present? The most common place to find a company's social links is at the bottom of the homepage.

Depending on your industry, the number of social networks on which your competitors are present may vary.

For each platform, complete these tables:

For each platform, fill in these tables

A very simple way to identify if a company is active is to answer these three questions:

  • When was the last time they were published?
  • Are there long periods of time between each publication?
  • Do they respond to comments?

The proportion of publications that contain promotional content can be difficult to determine, especially in a retail industry. To make it easier, consider a publication as promotional when there is a clear call to action (promotional code, contest...)

Promotional content:

Promotional content
There is an explicit mention of a product for sale and the publication contains a clear call to action

Non promotional:

Non promotional
No product mention and no call to action

Filling out the charts above is a simple and convenient way to see what platforms your competitors have in common, how they use them, what works and what doesn't, and the leaders on each network.

Planning and preparing content

Planning and creating content is the hardest step, but also the most important. Find your company's unique voice to tell a story that will hold your audience's attention. Then keep that mindset to be consistent in your visuals and messages.

It's important to address your audience in a way that makes them receptive.

The possible types of publications are endless... Photo, video, GIFs, texts, quotes, podcasts... Find out what type of content will interest your audience and especially what is accessible to produce for you.

According to Cisco, 79% of 2018 web traffic will come from video.

There is no doubt that a video clip captures much more attention than a text.

But it's better to have a thoughtful, catchy text than a low-quality video.

As for the tone to use, analyze how your subscribers interact with each other and how they interact with companies similar to yours. Choose a familiar or professional tone according to your research. Above all, don't hesitate to stand out by using a different tone.

Organize your content in a publication calendar

Now that you have a bank of interesting content, determine the best times to publish it.

The content your audience is receptive to on Monday morning is not the same as on Saturday morning.

Also, there are better times to publish depending on the day and the platform.

Organizing your content in a publication calendar will allow you to maximize the number of people who will see your activities.

Also, when the content is planned in advance, you won't miss any special events to cover.

Many content management software allow you to plan your calendar and visually understand what's coming up.

To post, most networks (except Instagram) let you schedule content in advance. This is a good way to publish at the right times. Otherwise, content management software like Sprout Social or HeyOrca publish according to your planned schedule.

Heyorca logo

Sprout logo

Interact with your audience

Once your content is published, always be on the lookout for customer feedback. Responding to all comments is a great way to build your brand's personality and especially to connect with your audience.

Like Wendy's, who responds in a very humorous way to their customers frequently even though they just sell burgers. Even interacting with one customer at a time gives them a lot of exposure and engagement:

Wendys Twitter

GoPro that re-publishes the craziest pictures taken with their camera by customers:


RedBull which sells energy drinks, but focuses on the concept of "energy" to create impactful content for their customers:


Measure the activity, analyze its performance and adapt its strategy

You've done it! You've put together a social media marketing strategy.

All that remains is to evaluate your performance.

What worked? What didn't work?

There is no magic formula to be successful on social networks. It's a matter of trial and error, time and effort... Which will pay off!