How To Create a Social Media Strategy For Beginners

Written by Jordan

Jordan is a digital marketing executive here at Lumos. You'll often find her writing about social media marketing, digital PR, and marketing training and development.

October 5, 2021

Social Media Strategy Template PDF

Get your hands on our free social media strategy template pdf by hitting the download button below. The template should be used as a guide to build, create and expand upon your social media marketing strategy.

How to create a social media strategy for beginners!

Are you in need of a social media strategy? In this article we are going to take a look at exactly how to create, plan and implement one. It can be difficult to get your head around the scale and complexity of a social media strategy, especially when starting out which is why it’s important to take time to learn the basics.

We have broken down this article into 6 different sections to help you get the grips with the basics and once you are ready to create your own strategy we have attatched a handy social media strategy template pdf for you to download and have a go yourself.

First off, what is a social media strategy?

A social media strategy is a report and a plan of everything you are hoping to achieve for your business, social media wise. The plan should include your end goal and the tactics you are going to use to complete said goals. A good social media strategy should also include your current social media accounts and the accounts you plan to open and the goals including both long term and short term for each individual social media platform. Another thing that a great social media strategy should include the roles and responsibilities within your team and outline your report tone. Some of the roles you may want to consider within your team include:

  • Editor
  • Strategist 
  • Community Manager 
  • Content Specialist
  • Copywriter
  • Creative 
  • Analyst

Depending on the size of your team you may have team members taking up several of these roles or if you are just starting out maybe all of them. It’s important to play to the strengths of your team so don’t get overly concerned if you don’t have a particular skill set in house. Focus on what strengths you do have and maximise their potential.

Step one: How to develop a social media strategy?

When you first onboard a client, it is always best to send them a questionnaire and ask them what it is exactly they are looking for and what they hope to achieve from their social media and what their social media goals are.

In terms of asking those initial questions you should consider some of the following:

What is your USP?

What message are you trying to communicate to your audience?

Who would you say are your main target audience?

These questions are all relevant to your client and can give you a better understanding of them and their brand.  This questionnaire is a great basis to begin your strategy on as it is important to know what your client wants before you start working together. You also want to ensure that you can achieve your client’s goals. A good way to ensure this is to set S.M.A.R.T goals.

Be Specific and clear with what you want your end goal to be. When being specific ask yourself and answer the five “W” questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why is this goal important?
  • Who is involved?
  • Where is it located?
  • Which resources or limits are involved?

Measurable, an important aspect of a strategy is to have measurable goals, the reason for this is so you can track your progress and stay motivated. Measuring your progress will help you to stay focused and ensure that you meet your deadlines.

Achievable, you need your goal to be realistic and achievable. Have a think about how you can accomplish your goal and how realistic is it based on factors such as financial or other restraints.

Relevant, you want to ensure that your goals are relevant to your strategy and what you are trying to achieve. Everyone needs support when trying to achieve their goals however it is important to have control over them.

Time-bound, every goal you set needs a deadline that you can work towards. This ensures that you prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over the more important tasks.

How to develop a social media strategy

Step two: How to do hashtag research and client research?

Once you have all the info that you need. You will then begin the research stage of your social media strategy. This includes hashtag and client research. Hashtag research is where you simply research what hashtags are popular and what hashtags people are interacting and engaging with. You should always use a mix of hashtags within your post dependent on their popularity.

There are particular hashtag research tools that you can use; the ones that we have used are called Hashtagify, Display Purposes and All Hashtag. We will link these below. When completing research, research your client’s niche and see what their competitors are posting and the posts they create and see how well they do, doing so will help you come up with ideas for your clients.

When it comes to client research, to keep yourself organised, put together a word document and write down all of the ideas you have for you client, basically a brain dump of ideas. Also categorise the hashtags you found into levels of popularity e.g. less than 10,000, 10,000-25,000, 25,000-50,000 etc. It also helps to ask the client if they have any events coming up or special days that they want to promote and draw attention to.

When it comes to research, check your clients Instagram insights and see what time their followers are most active and what times they spend the most on their social media accounts and then schedule posts for that time. For example, if it says 3pm is the time that their followers are mostly active then schedule the posts for that time.

Hashtag research

 

 

Step three- What content creation tools should I use?

Content creation is the next stage of the strategy. We know content creation is daunting, especially if you don’t have much content creation experience. However there are two things you can do here. One is if you have budget you can hire freelance content creators or graphic designers which will help you out greatly.

Canva

If you are just starting out and your budget doesn’t stretch that far, the second thing you can use is Canva. Canva is a great content creation tool.

Canva is great especially if you are new when it comes to content creation. We always use Canva! Canva is a simple content creation tool that gives you templates for any post you need and gives you ideas if you are struggling with creating posts. Canva is especially great if you are not experienced in Photoshop. You can use Canva to create anything from social media posts to presentations to leaflets, flyers, social media stories, the list goes on. If needs be you can also create a creative CV on here, they have templates for that!

Canva is a free tool but you can only get certain templates with it. You can get Canva Pro for a reasonable price (or free for a year if you are a student). We would highly recommend signing up for Canva Pro if your budget can reach this as there will be more variety of templates and gives you more options to create different posts for your clients social media feeds.

Adobe

Looking at the Adobe suite you start to enter into the more expensive territory and there is a fairly high skill ceiling when it comes to learning how to use these tools. That being said, tools such as illustrator and photoshop do offer a much higher level of customisation than the likes of Canva, the main drawback is the skill, experience and time required to use them properly. In addition to their steep learning curve the Adobe products also have a high price point and although they can now be paid as a monthly subscription you will find Canva to be a much cheaper alternative for starting out. 

Affinity

Affinity is a relatively new competitor to the more expensive Adobe tools and has been gaining increasing popularity in recent years. Both Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo have more or less the exact features you’d expect from photoshop but at a fraction of the price and for a single one off payment. These tools are fantastic for any Canva user that is looking to take their design skills to the next level and up the professionalism of the content they are producing. 

Affinity also has a thriving online community full of designers that are willing to share their knowledge and experience using the tools to help new users get to grips with it. This experience is often shared in the form of community groups, forums and even online tutorials on platforms such as YouTube. Similar to photoshop, the learning curve with the Affinity tools is high but with such a supportive community and a vast range of online resources, you can teach yourself how to use the tools fairly effectively. 

What content creation tools should I use?

Step four- What social media scheduling tools should I use?

Scheduling!! There are a number of scheduling tools that you can use to schedule your clients posts. The tool we would use the most is Buffer which is a very easy tool to use. The only thing about Buffer is that you cannot schedule Instagram carousels, reels or stories. However Buffer does send you a notification and a reminder to post them but they will not post automatically. However Buffer is an easy tool to use and you can host multiple accounts on there.

Another tool that we have used is HeyOrca. This tool allows you to create and schedule posts right from the app and allow you to keep track of all of your client’s posts and accounts. Again another great and easy tool to use. It is also great if you have a team of people working with you as it allows you to check their work and comment on what they need to change and fix up. It gives you the option to reject the post (awaiting corrections) or approve the post, then it will automatically post to the clients page at the time it is scheduled for.

Word of advice…it is probably best to try and plan, create and schedule social media posts 2 weeks in advance just so you don’t miss any uploads and risk upsetting your client as they are the ones paying you, you want to be able to prioritise their needs.

What social media scheduling tools should I use?

Step five- What is a social media report?

A social media report is just explaining to your client through a presentation, your progress running their social media accounts. As your clients aren’t social media experts (one of the reasons they would have hired you) you need to break it down in a easy way for them to understand.

Once a month it is a good idea to go through each clients social media page and insights and put together a social media report so you and your clients can see what is and isn’t working well for their accounts and also gives you a chance to try out new ideas. A social media report entails:

  • You begin with comparing the number of followers from the current month and previous month.

 

  • Secondly, you have a look at what posts are performing the best and discuss why you think them posts have performed the best and what it is your audience engage with the most within the report.

 

  • You then include within the report your audience demographics e.g. what percentage of males and females are following your page. Also what countries your audience are mainly based in. If it is a clients Instagram page, you are running, you can find this all out on Instagram insights.

 

  • Lastly, you then do a mini report within the report and state what is and isn’t working well on the social accounts, what can you do to improve what isn’t going well and any new ideas that you can explore for the social media accounts.

 

Should you adjust your strategy?

 Step six- Should you adjust your strategy?

 

The answer is YES! The chances are your first social media strategy might not be quite right but it will work for now and until you find your feet with social media marketing. Over time you will eventually get more comfortable with social media marketing and you will be able to adjust your social media strategy accordingly as to what works for you. As well as this once you start to implement your strategy, you may find that your plan might not work as well as you thought which will then cause for an adjustment plan.

This is everything a good social media strategy entails. No strategy will work forever. A good social media strategy constantly calls for change. One reason for this is because the world of social media is constantly changing and evolving, new strategies are always up and coming and new social media apps are always being introduced throughout the year which is exciting but you want to remain on top of what social media apps are current.

We hope this helps you and helps onboarding clients that bit easier. To find out more about social media strategies, social media marketing and all things digital marketing visit our website for our other digital marketing blog posts.

Tools mentioned

In this final section we will give a brief overview of the tools we have mentioned throughout this article to help you gain a better understanding of each of them. We highly recommend you try and test multiple tools to find the ones that work best for you. If you have any questions about finding the right tool or you would like to get our opinion on something then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. 

 Hashtag tools

Hashtagify#Christmas: Popularity, Trend, Related Hashtags | Hashtagify

Display purposesBest Hashtag Generator for Instagram & Tiktok (displaypurposes.com)

All hashtagAll Hashtag – Home | Top Hashtags for instagram, twitter & more | Hashtags Generator, Top Hashtags, Create Hashtags (all-hashtag.com)

All of these hashtag tools basically do the same thing, however some of them only give you limited searches. A hashtag research tool allows you to look up related words to your post to see what related hashtags other users are using and so you can see how popular they are.

 

 

Scheduling tools

BufferBuffer: All-you-need social media toolkit for small businesses

Buffer allows you to schedule Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn posts. Buffer will automatically post single Instagram posts but it will just see you a notification reminder for stories, reels and carousel posts.

HeyOrcaCollaborative Social Media Calendar Tool for Agencies | HeyOrca

HeyOrca is a great tool to use if you have a team of people working for you. It allows you to keep all of your clients on the one page allows you to schedule Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn posts for all of your clients which is amazing. It also has features where your editors can check your content creators work and approve it, so the posts are good to go.

Content Creation tools

CanvaHome – Canva

Canva is a great and easy tool to use, especially if you are a beginner. It provides a variety of templates for everything such as social media posts, stories, CVs, presentations, cover letters etc.

 

Social Media Strategy Template PDF

Get your hands on our free social media strategy template pdf by hitting the download button below. The template should be used as a guide to build, create and expand upon your social media marketing strategy.

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