How to Build a Successful Social Media Marketing Plan

Do you wish you had a better plan for your social media marketing initiatives? Looking for tips to help you succeed? In this article, you’ll discover how to choose, pursue, and track your progress for four important social media marketing goals.

How to Identify the Right Goals for Your Business

What works for one business doesn’t necessarily work for others, even if you’re in similar industries. Before you define one or more goals, figure out where your business stands. First, audit your brand’s digital presence, including a social media audit. Then, analyze your marketing and sales funnels to determine where improvements could have a significant effect.

Should you build awareness, generate leads, nurture your community, or learn about your audience? Through the audit and analysis, you’ll discover which objective, if achieved, would benefit your company most at this point in time. When you can answer that, you’ve got yourself a goal.

Goal-setting matters because your ability to produce results from social media marketing is highly correlated with your ability to identify meaningful goals. This correlation makes sense: You can’t identify success or failure if you don’t know how much closer or farther away you are from reaching your goal.

The goal that you choose to pursue will determine what strategies you adopt and what performance metrics you should be tracking. After you have this overall goal, you can start identifying relevant metrics, devising strategies, and creating content. Decide what goals you want to achieve with your social media efforts.

Here are a few general tips for goal-setting in a social media marketing context:

Match your goals to your brand’s core values. Know what makes each social media platform unique and use it to your advantage. Make sure your campaigns are unique to differentiate your brand.

#1: Increase Brand Awareness

Social media is a great way to spread the word. Facebook alone has 1.94 billion monthly active users. Whether you’re selling skincare products or IT outsourcing services, your business would most likely benefit from a strong social media campaign that puts your brand’s content in front of the right people.

You’ll want to set a brand awareness goal if you’re launching a new brand or product, if you’ve lost a significant amount of market share, or if you’re trying to reach a new target market. For example, CVS created an ad to increase awareness of its new partnership with Target.

Brand Awareness Metrics to Watch

Measuring brand awareness can get a little problematic because you need a focus group to measure brand recall. However, a few specific figures will give you a pretty good idea of how strong your brand presence is:

Average reach per post, Website traffic from social media, Number of followers, Number of brand mentions, Engagement levels (likes, shares, comments, replies, etc.), Share of voice (brand coverage relative to your competitors)

For the most part, you’ll find these metrics via your corresponding social analytics tools (for instance, get Facebook metrics from Facebook Insights) or free tools like Google Analytics. More complex metrics like share of voice require specific tools like TrendKite or Brandwatch Analytics. How to Increase Brand Awareness.

After you identify the relevant metrics, it’s time to look at improving them. First, start posting content that excites your audience. Your brand is competing with a vast array of other brands for user attention so your content has to be uniquely valuable.

Aim to produce and share content that educates, informs, entertains, or inspires. Try to mix things up a little with a balance of the four types of content and keep overtly promotional posts to a minimum. Outdoor outfitter REI has a Force of Nature campaign that highlights women in the outdoors. The content relates to REI’s mission and aims to inspire, not directly sell.

#2: Drive Traffic/Leads

Website traffic and sales leads are the metrics associated with sales and revenue. By nature, social media platforms, with their labyrinth of hyperlinks and clickable media, make the process of growing sales and revenue pretty easy. However, driving traffic and leads requires a good understanding of what motivates users to click.

You could set a goal to drive traffic and leads if your sales are stagnant, if your website’s content isn’t getting much attention, or if you want to support your inbound marketing funnel. In this Facebook ad, JAM invites potential subscribers to learn more about their online courses for kids and sign up for a free trial.

When you’re aiming to increase traffic and leads, analytics should be your bread and butter. They’ll tell you exactly how well your social traffic and lead generation efforts are paying off. Here are the analytics you should be tracking:


Although traffic, leads, and conversions matter, you should also look at the actual revenue generated from your social media referrals. If your social conversions aren’t contributing as much revenue as your traditional conversions, your source might have an issue with traffic/lead quality.

In Social Media Examiner’s 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 78% of survey respondents said social media marketing helped them increase traffic. This response indicates that businesses would do well to take advantage of social referrals.

To drive traffic, make your main strategy creating awesome content for your target audience. The more specific and relevant your content is to your target audience, the better your conversion rates from social referrals will be. For example, this Host Analytics ad promotes a white paper on Microsoft Excel, a topic that appeals to the target audience of finance professionals.

#3: Build a Community

However you look at it, your social media page combined with your followers and influencers make up an online community. Your job is to cultivate that community, growing it into a valuable tool that represents the image and vision of your organization.

Building a social media community is a good goal if you want to improve customer service efficiency, increase brand engagement, build trust, or provide more value to your audience. To encourage discussion and add value, the Quirky Momma Facebook page asks questions and shares relevant links and videos.

Survey responses to “How did you come across our brand?” (if the response is social media). In a nutshell, building a strong social media community is all about fostering engagement. The more relevant engagement within your community, the more valuable it becomes to users. You should also keep a close eye on which topics and content types (videos, memes, quotes, etc.) perform best and use that information to shape your community-building in the future.

#4: Listen to Your Audience to Discover Their Interests

Social media presents brands with a massive opportunity to learn about their audience through social listening. The nature of social media means sharing information publicly, which is great for marketers doing research. By monitoring conversations, sentiments, and mentions, you can get a good idea of how your audience feels about a particular topic.

Social listening is a good social media goal when you want to promote a new product and there’s no existing market, or you want to focus on a specific niche. However, in reality, you should always use social listening. Constantly learning about your audience is something you just shouldn’t turn off.

Social listening helps you learn more about your target audience and what they’re saying about your brand. Some of these metrics are qualitative so they require more complex analysis to extract insights from the data. This analysis will probably require a larger time investment than your traditional data analysis processes, but remember that the ability to understand your audience is priceless.

Something as simple as looking up a particular hashtag and seeing the results can be considered social listening. But social listening can be a job in itself. To do social listening, keep track of conversations that mention your brand, and respond to as many interactions as possible to encourage brand-related conversations.

To streamline the work of social listening, use social listening tools like Mention or Hootsuite. Also, create brand notifications and keep them organised by the campaign.

After you complete a listening campaign, put the information you gather into a report. Make sure your social listening report is actionable. For instance, if you discover a sentiment issue, the next step would be to focus on social media PR. It’s easy to get caught up with social media reports so maintain a healthy balance between actual listening and reporting. Always prioritise actual listening and acting on insights.

Arby’s emphasis on social listening and social learning helped the Arby’s social team notice a large group of users who really liked their sauce. They’d tweet about wanting to bathe in it or hating when they forget to get sauce with their order. To take advantage of this trend, Arby’s launched #Saucepocalypse.


You need to properly define your social media goal before you know what strategies to adopt. A systematic process for goal-setting can also help you track the right metrics and know how successful your efforts are in achieving your specific goal.

Although you’re not restricted to one goal, the metrics are different for each goal, so you’ll have to cover more bases. If you’re just starting out with social media marketing, start with one or two goals at most.