Social Media Strategy

Social Media Strategy in 8 Steps

Do you have your copy of Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype? Visit Amazon or Barnes & Noble to get your copy now!

Social Media Strategy 8 Steps
Jay Baer Blog PostOver the past four years at Convince & Convert, we’ve continued to refine our social media strategy process. Here’s one of the latest iterations, presented as a keynote speech to ESTO (Educational Seminar for Travel Organizations) last Fall. I’ve pasted the slides below, but also included a short summary of the 8 steps in our social media strategy process, as the slides are more visual than descriptive.

Social Media Strategy in 8 Steps (Summary)

One of the major theses we employ in our social media strategy process is this:

Companies should focus more on how to BE social, and less on how to DO social media. (tweet this)

With all the new tools and platforms constantly emerging, it’s very easy to get fall into the trap of thinking about social media through a tactical prism instead of a strategic one. The best social media strategic plans are tools-agnostic, and set forth objectives and metrics that supersede any particular social venue.

Step 1: Build an Ark

Nobody should “own” social media strategy in your organization. Social impacts all corners of the company, and should be more like air (everywhere) than like water (you have to go get it). Thus, the first step in the process is to create a cross-functional team to help conceive and operate the rest of the strategy.

Step 2: Listen and Compare

It’s an old social media strategy chestnut by now, but “listen” is still good advice that’s often ignored. The reality is that your customers (and competitors) will give you a good guide to where and how you should be active in social media, if you broaden your social listening beyond your brand name.

Step 3: What’s the Point?

Yes, you can use social media to help accomplish several business objectives. But the best social media strategies are those that focus (at least initially) on a more narrow rationale for social. What do you primarily want to use social for? Awareness? Sales? Loyalty and retention? Pick one.

Step 4: Select Success Metrics

How are you going to determine whether this is actually making a difference in your business? What key measures will you use to evaluate social media strategy effectiveness? How will you transcend (hopefully) likes and engagement? Will you measure ROI?

Step 5: Analyze Your Audiences

With whom will you be interacting in social media? What are the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your current or prospective customers? How does that impact what you can and should attempt in social media?

Step 6: What’s Your One Thing?

Passion is the fuel of social media. (tweet this)

It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you sell, your product features and benefits aren’t enough to create a passion-worthy stir. How will your organization appeal to the heart of your audience, rather than the head? Disney isn’t about movies, it’s about magic. Apple isn’t about technology, it’s about innovation. What are you about?

Step 7: How Will You Be Human?

Social media is about people, not logos. (tweet this)

The mechanics of social force companies to compete for attention versus your customers’ friends and family members. Thus, your company has to (at least to some degree) act like a person, not an entity. How will you do that?

Step 8: Create a Channel Plan

Only after you know why you’re active in social at all, and how you’ll measure social media strategy success should you turn your attention to the “how” of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the rest. This channel plan should be distinct, in that you have a specific, defensible reason for participating in each (I covered this more in-depth in my post on 3 Rock Solid Questions to Guide Your 2013 Social Media Success).


When we’re working on social media strategy for major companies, the plan and the deliverable is quite a bit more comprehensive than what you see above, but it’s based on this scaffolding and thought process. I hope you’ll find it useful in your own endeavors.


  • Mike Stenger

    Jay, this is why I love being subscribed to Convince And Convert. No nonsense, actionable content. You inspire me to do better.

    • jaybaer

      Thanks Mike. That’s a very nice comment. Appreciated!

    • Tommy Walker

      totally agree with this.

  • Nabeel Khan

    As always, clear and concise steps to understand and follow. Thanks Jay

  • Belinda Harris

    Great content as always Jay! I love sharing your information.

  • Houssem

    Awesome post as always Jay. I have a process that I go through with my clients. It’s composed of 7 steps: identifying goals, identifying the “ideal customer”, choosing the right tools and platforms, allocating budget and resources, social branding, designing and implementing a posting strategy, “tracking, reporting and assessing”. Let me know what you think?

  • Jim Hitch

    Jay. That’s the best visual I’ve seen to explain Awareness versus Advocacy. Well played.

    Slide 26, folks. It’s a little irreverent, but in a good way. And it nails the idea.

    Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the chuckle, Jay.

  • Ron Sparks

    weak metric vs strong metric is good. Thanks for taking the time to share this.

  • Sean Hecking

    Great post Jay. Lots of marketers forget step #5 -> Demographics & Customer Base. Many attempts just go for awareness at all costs without knowing the target customer. Also speaking the right language is key.

  • Mark Bryan Bucad

    It’s not about his worthy words that depicts the social media, it’s about influencing and inspiring people using his Heart. Bringing them as one to achieved goals and success. Thans. :)

  • Wendy Cooley

    Thanks for the great content Jay

    I enjoyed “Whats the point?” Focusing has been one of my weaknesses and although the “point” may change over time it is best to focus and not be all over.

  • Magento Expert

    Good Post !! Over 4,000 marketers have attended the Social Media Strategies now a days,If you want real business success, you need to develop a social media strategy to keep you honest and focused.

  • Brijesh Brij

    really nice content . thanks mate :)

  • Dexter Roona

    Great article out lining everything required into easy to do steps….. thanks for posting JAY!
    Great article and a great read
    regards Dexter

  • Dion Lovrecich

    Yo Jay, nice site mate. It’s bookmarked, keep the unique content coming :)

  • Digital Marketing Strategies

    Thanks Jay. This was indeed a valuable piece of information well craftedi.. Have hosted a blog on Digital marketing ( and am a regular blogger

    Just to share a “Social media fosters an environment in which viewers can click (identify and engage) with other viewers who then shape our thinking, behavior, emotions and actions.
    Authors Rom and Ori Brafman study the science of click in their book, Click: The Magic of Instant Connections.
    People come to social media to chat and share interesting stuff with friends. Social media strategies is well articulated & in a subtle way describes our approach & its nuances in adopting the steps with a tab on the ROI achieved. This information is worth sharing.

  • M Aamir

    you are right sir social media play the vital role and i want to learn this more. Thanks

  • Szinergia Digital

    Thanks for sharing. Loving these tips. Another thing to keep in mind is to have a risk strategy in place for how you’ll respond to feedback, negative and positive.

  • Stephen Hardy

    Great stuff Jay!

  • afsharm

    Very useful guide specially “Companies should focus more on how to BE social, and less on how to DO social media.”. Many thanks.

  • Web Outsourcing Gateway

    Thanks Jay, as a culture. A really insightful article here.
    The thing that most of business people forget about what social media mean is …being social. i love the way you said that social media is not about logo, it’s about people. Truly enough, people are just flashing their logos without listening and knowing what their customer needs.And it can be derived, that socilaizing is a two way process— they ask the information, you gave it (then the time came when they need information, they ask it from us again).

  • John Allen

    Hi Jay, Thanks for the awesome share. This is unique & informative post.

  • Marketing Sweet

    Thanks Jay Brilliant article ;-) A very informative read for all trying to understand social media marketing.

  • yogesh kumar

    Can anyone help me with how to SMM strategy for a start up E-comm. agency??

  • Nazneen Jahan

    Thanks Jay :)