Social media strategy: your step-by-step guide

From free templates to paid ads, here’s everything you need to know about creating a fail-safe social media strategy.
social media and marketing flat lay


Table of Contents

When it comes to social media, there’s one thing that the most successful brands, agencies, and creators have in common: an over-arching strategy that underpins their online activity.

Why you need a social media strategy

All social platforms are becoming more and more competitive in an effort to keep active attention, vying to keep users engaged at all costs. Brand and creator content is an important component of driving this engagement.

As demonstrated in our case studies, having a cohesive strategy with well thought placement, authentic content, and bucketloads of creativity, can provide an edge over those who lack a game plan and are unprepared to meet audience expectations.

In this guide, we’ll break down what to include in your social strategy, the essential components you need to factor in, as well as share some of our favourite resources.


mooboard and laptop

What is a social media strategy? 

Essentially, a social media strategy is your go-to document for planning out your social footprint. It breaks down what you’ll do, how you’ll do it, the metrics you’ll monitor, and the goals you want to achieve across different channels. 

Creating a social media strategy may feel daunting. However, without one, you’ll be missing a golden opportunity to map out exactly what you want to achieve with your campaigns. Plus, you’ll fail to fully capitalise on the success of those campaigns. 

Spontaneous, in the moment posts are great. However, when you underpin your posting activity with a clearly defined strategy and engagement plan, it takes the guesswork out of knowing what and when to post, and the calls to action you want your audience to take.

It also means you can gain a better understanding of why certain posts perform better than others, and build on that knowledge to increase engagement as you get more and more sophisticated in your approach.

laptop and tablet birds eye perspective

How to write a social media strategy

There are different ways to start tackling this: some people like to get creative with flip charts, pens and sticky notes, while others prefer to use an online doc or spreadsheet. Ask yourself; what are you trying to achieve? Which channels will you focus on? Who will do the work? What requisites are needed and do you intend to use any tools to help you manage the work? 

Our best advice is to pick a question and just get started.

What’s important is getting all this information out of your head and down on paper. Doing this allows you to start refining your thoughts, to create a living, breathing strategy blueprint that will drive activity towards getting the results you want.

How to create a social media strategy 

If you ask 100 different businesses what’s in their social media strategy, you’ll probably get 100 different answers. It very much depends on the type of business they operate and the goals and ambitions they’ve set for themselves. There are many co-dependencies that need to be considered—e.g. availability of marketing resources, budget commitment for content generation, usage of agencies, the number of platforms where your business will maintain a presence—all of which will have an impact on your strategy.

Here are some of the core areas you should define as part of your strategy, and we’ve included some useful resources to help kickstart your process:

1.Add business goals

What business goals will your social media be supporting? Do you primarily want your posts to lead to more revenue, more visibility or more leads?

2.Platforms and target audiences

In this section of your social media strategy, decide which platforms you’ll be putting energy into. If you’re not too sure which platforms are best for your ideal audience, then using a handy channel guide—like the one below from WordStream, will help.

social media platform content table

3.Posting schedule

After deciding which platforms you’ll be focusing on, plan how often you want to post on social media, including days and times. It’s great to be ambitious, but don’t over commit yourself. Instead, give yourself a realistic goal to start with that’s manageable, as you can always increase your post volumes later. A social media calendar will also help with planning out your weeks and months ahead.

4.Social media content strategy – media types

Now you have your outline schedule, you can get down to the more granular details like deciding what type of content you’ll be creating in your posts. For a platform like TikTok, you may only have video as an option, but you can choose between talking head videos, carousel image videos or jumping on viral trends. For other platforms, you have various content types to experiment with; like videos, images, GIFs, and specific platform features such as polls, livestreams, interactive stickers and more.

5.Measuring performance through metrics

This section of your social media marketing strategy will outline the metrics you’ll track to measure if your content is performing well. Decide what you’d like to achieve in terms of metrics, i.e. is it engagement stats like comments, reposts, follower growth etc. you’re after? Or will you use content to drive targeted traffic back to your website, making conversion metrics more of a priority? Once your posts are live, monitor and track the performance of your content so you can see which formats perform the best.

6.Plan your campaigns

To keep focused throughout the year and align your social activities to upcoming events and launches, use your social media marketing strategy to plan out campaigns. For example, if you plan to launch a series of new products and promote these for awareness on social, how do you intend to achieve that? Will you run paid social ads? Organize a prize giveaway and promote this via organic branded content? Or will you weave in an influencer campaign and create a promotional purchase offer? We may be biased, but there’s never been a better time to plan your first (or next) influencer campaign.

Social media strategy template 

If you don’t have time to create your own strategy doc from scratch, then we’ve got you. Here’s a short list of some of the best strategy templates you can download and get started right away: 

  1. Hubspot
  2. Hootsuite 
  3. Growth Business Templates

Now that we’ve covered the foundational elements of your strategy and have a working template, let’s take a look at some of the other key things to consider.

What is an organic social media strategy?

If you’re just starting out, you may not have immediate access to budget you can put towards boosting campaign content to help grow your brand. In simple terms, organic social media relates to posts that have no associated paid-for promotion intended to boost reach and performance. 

While there are obvious benefits to putting ad spend towards extending the reach of your content posts, there are still ways you can boost your reach organically. It’s also worth remembering that these posts can be a great way to learn what works for your audience to help shape future activity. 

Here are some things you can do to help boost your organic reach:

  • Hashtags – research the hashtags that your target audiences are using and start adding them to your posts.
  • Captions – with many social media platforms now becoming searchable, plan out your captions to include keywords, phrases and questions that your audiences are searching for.
  • Jump on viral trends – whether it’s music, video trends or topical issues, there’s a trend out there for everyone. Releasing viral trend content quickly can really help boost your organic reach.


What is a paid social media strategy? 

A paid social media strategy is when you put money behind social media content to amplify the reach and grow your brand faster. Knowing where to focus ad spend can be tricky as there are many options to choose from. If Instagram is your preferred platform, then this article will give you more information about the paid media options on offer.

Should paid ads be included in a social media strategy for small businesses?

Absolutely! The great thing about paid promotions on social is that you decide how much you spend. So even if you’re working with a really small budget, you still have options open to you to run paid advertising campaigns with a capped budget.

man on bed with laptop

Should LinkedIn still be the focus of a B2B social media strategy? 

Although all social media platforms are broadening their reach and expanding into new audience demographics, LinkedIn is still the most popular platform to connect with potential B2B customers. 

Although LinkedIn used to be seen as a very serious platform, full of reports and business-led conversations, more recently, LinkedIn has been evolving into a platform that also embraces more social content. B2B customers want to connect with potential providers and get to know the people behind the brand, so mixing up your LinkedIn content will help your business stand out. 

Building out a full strategy on LinkedIn will be an entirely new blog post, but for now, here are some things to factor into your LinkedIn social media strategy:

Linkedin strategy infographic

Are there any differences in a charity social media strategy?

For charities, the core elements we’ve covered in this article are all still relevant. With so many organisations trying to get their voices heard on noisy social media platforms, it’s even more vital that charities have a social media strategy in place. 

A clear strategy will help reach target audiences, whether they’re the intended recipients of funding, to attract donors, or build advocates and supporters. With funding for many charities being a constant challenge, having a solid social media strategy in place will help maximise the return on investment both in terms of time and ad spend.  

Social media strategy examples – what’s working?

There are some brands out there who are absolutely crushing it with their social media, and that’s all down to their strategies. Here’s a quick list of five to get your inspiration going. 

  1. GymShark – the originators and pioneers of creator-first social media. They also do a great job of differing their strategies for each channel.
  2. Duolingo – the big green bird on TikTok. Humorous, jumping on trends and not broadcasting business messages 24/7. 
  3. PaddyPower – reactive, full of personality and not afraid to go all out on omni-channel campaigns. Their YouTube is particularly entertaining. 
  4. Specsavers – a great example of keeping things relatively simple. They jump on news very well, particularly on Twitter, and do a great job of balancing community engagement with business promotions. 
  5. Adobe – the pros of educational content and working with creators to educate, inspire and entertain their followers.

If you’re a smaller business or just getting started with a social media strategy, you can also take inspiration from what some of the world’s leading brands are doing. Taking the time to get creative, plan, map out goals and develop campaigns is the best thing you can do to grow your online presence and get your social media working effectively for you.  

So there you have it. With your social media strategy in hand, what comes next?

Well, now it’s time to start implementing it. If you’ve decided you want to accelerate brand engagement and kick things off with an influencer campaign, then check out our platform. Vamp enables you to create, manage and report all your influencer marketing campaigns across the most popular social media platforms. We’re here to help.


1. How do I determine the optimal posting times for my specific audience on different social media platforms?

Determining the optimal posting times for your specific audience on different social media platforms involves analyzing your audience’s behavior and engagement patterns. You can use built-in analytics tools provided by platforms like Facebook Insights, Instagram Insights, and Twitter Analytics to track when your audience is most active. Additionally, third-party tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social can offer more detailed insights. Testing different times and days for posting and monitoring the results will help refine your schedule to maximize engagement.

2. What are some effective strategies for managing negative comments or backlash on social media?

Managing negative comments or backlash on social media requires a proactive and thoughtful approach. Start by setting clear guidelines for acceptable behavior on your page and communicate these to your audience. When faced with negative comments, respond promptly and professionally. Acknowledge the concern, apologize if necessary, and provide a solution or direct the conversation to a private channel for further resolution. Avoid deleting negative comments unless they violate your guidelines, as transparency is crucial. Regularly review and update your crisis management plan to handle potential social media crises effectively.

3. Can you provide examples of successful social media campaigns for small businesses with limited budgets?

For small businesses with limited budgets, successful social media campaigns often focus on creativity and authentic engagement. Examples include leveraging user-generated content, such as encouraging customers to share their experiences with your product using a specific hashtag. Collaborating with micro-influencers who have a dedicated and engaged following can also be cost-effective. Running contests or giveaways can boost engagement and increase visibility. Highlighting behind-the-scenes content or sharing the story behind your brand helps build a personal connection with your audience. These strategies can be implemented with minimal financial investment while still achieving impactful results.


Share this post

You might also like

Download the free Vamp guide and learn how your brand can succeed on the original influencer marketing platform, Instagram.

Download this free Vamp guide and learn how to succeed on the world’s most viral platform.