How to Build an Effective Social Media Plan in 5 Steps

The number of global social media users continues to grow each year. By the start of 2019, there were 3.48 billion active social media users. Those using social media on mobile were 3.25 billion. 

The daily average time spent on social media platforms is 2 hours 22 minutes, according to GlobalWebIndex. They also found that the average social media user has a presence on eight social platforms.

Image Source: GlobalWebIndex

Your business could miss out on numerous opportunities if you are not on social media. However, you can only take advantage of this opportunity if you have a social media plan that works.

It’s not enough to simply create a social media account and start posting anything you like. You need to devise a strategy to reach your target audience on the right platforms. You also need the right content that your target audience will like. 

Why a Social Media Plan is Important to Your Business  

To succeed in business, you need to know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what you want to achieve. A social media plan gives you a 360-degree view of your social media marketing strategy

The following are some of the benefits of having a plan in place:

Build Your Online Presence

Your business needs an ever-growing social media presence. A social media plan helps you consistently post content to channels where your audience spends time. It also helps you post at the right times for maximum engagement.  

Furthermore, it can help you with your reputation management efforts. You can find out what your audience is saying by staying on top of your brand or product mentions. 

Using the right social media tools, you can check your brand’s reputation and then make a plan to improve it (if needed). A social media plan allows you to highlight your brand’s positives and de-emphasise any negative sentiments.

Improve Your  Social Media Marketing ROI

A social media plan will help you create content that your audience will see and enjoy reading. You save time and smoothen the process and workflows associated with content creation and distribution. A smoother and faster workflow leads to long-term cost savings and gets you a better ROI.

Target Your Audience Better 

Having a plan helps you identify and understand your audience better. It helps you understand how they interact with your brand on different platforms.

But how can you create a plan that helps you meet your social media objectives? Find out in the next section.

How to Build an Effective Social Media Plan in 5 Easy Steps:

Having a plan helps you handle your social media marketing efforts efficiently and meet your target audience’s needs on each platform. 

1. Set SMART Goals

Setting the right goals is the first step in creating a social media plan that works. Start by auditing your past efforts to determine what worked and what didn’t. Then, define your goals by making them SMART. They should be:

  • Specific: What do you want to accomplish? Why is it important? What resources will be involved?
  • Measurable: What metrics will determine if your efforts are successful or not?
  • Attainable:  How can you achieve these goals? Are they realistic?
  • Relevant: Is it the right time to try to achieve the goal? Does it align with your overall business strategy?
  • Time-Bound: What is the deadline? What can you accomplish within the given time? Is the timing realistic?

Defining this allows you to focus on metrics that matter and measure performance on the goals you set. Some common social media metrics include reach, conversions, and brand mentions.

2. Understand Your Audience

Start by creating buyer personas based on your target consumers’ demographics, interests, and online behaviour. Identify their pain points and how your product can solve them. You will also need to find out where they spend time on social platforms.

You can use social media analytics to find out who your current audience is on the platforms you currently use. These insights will help you find out their locations and how they interact with the brand. It will also help you target your audience better.

You can expand your research with social media listening tools. They can help you keep up with what your target audience is saying online and find relevant keywords in your industry. 

Use them to track mentions of your brand, product, competitors, and keywords on social channels. Doing this will help you understand your audience, their expectations, and how your brand can meet their needs.

3. Audit Your Social Media Profiles

If you already have accounts on different social media platforms, audit them to find out what they have helped you accomplish. For example, find out:

  • Which tactics are working for you and which aren’t?
  • Who is engaging with your brand on each channel?
  • Which platforms does your audience frequent?
  • How do your social efforts stack up to those of your competitors?
  • What social channels need more effort?
  • Are there any other social media channels that you haven’t tried yet?

To decide which channel is best for your type of audience, find out what channels they spend most of their time on. If you are new to social media, you can check out your competitors. Find out where they receive the most engagement on social media and where they have the largest followings.

Tracking your competitor’s social media efforts helps you learn from their strategies. Insights you get will help you fine-tune your own social media plan and outsmart them. Some of the tools you can use for this include the Google AdWords Keyword Planner and SEMrush.

It’s important to note that you don’t need to be present on all social channels. Do not create a social media account if you do not have enough time to invest in it. Also, the channels you pick should support your business objectives.

Once you’ve decided on the social channels to use, set up accounts and complete your profiles on the existing ones. Fill out your bio section on each profile, include attractive profile and cover photos, and include a link to your website.

4. Create a Social Media Content Plan

How many times should you post in a day? At what times should you post? What kind of content should you post on what channel? 

Understanding these basics can help you post the right content at the right time. Having a social media content plan also ensures that you maintain consistency across platforms. The following are some of the factors you should consider:

A Content Calendar

Have a content calendar to help you map out your social efforts on each platform and maintain consistency. The calendar should include a strategy for content creation and curation. It will help you map out the frequency of posting on each channel and the kind of content your audience likes.

The content calendar will help you visualise ideas and organise them in an easily executable manner. Have a list of content pieces that you want to publish, along with the dates when you want to post and the platforms.  

What to Post

Some of the content types you can post include blog post links, infographics, website pages, videos, customer testimonials, and photos. To keep your clients engaged, make sure your content is relevant and of high quality.

Also, have a mix of entertaining, funny, and informative content so that you can meet the needs of different kinds of audiences. Use different types of content formats and, once in a while, share curated content. You can get curated content from other relevant, high-quality online sources.

When to Post

You can use analytics and insights from the social media platforms you use to find out when your audience is online. You can check your follower history, see what time your audience is online, and the best times to get engagement. Consider utilizing Social Media Schedulers to optimize your posting schedule and maximize reach.

CoSchedule analysed 25 different studies and found the best times and day to post on different channels:

  • Facebook: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
  • Instagram: Friday
  • Twitter: All working days for B2B and weekends for B2C  
  • LinkedIn: Wednesday


Image Source: CoSchedule

These statistics do not mean you should not post on other days. Instead, you should post depending on when your audience is most active.

Maintain Brand Voice and Tone

Use a consistent brand tone and voice for each of your posts across various platforms. Consistency helps your audience to identify and recognize your brand.

Failure to maintain consistency may make your audience think that your posts are not relevant or that they are inauthentic. Even your promotional content should maintain the brand voice and tone

5. Have a Process in Place to Measure Performance

Knowing which metrics to measure helps you find out if your efforts are working. Some of the metrics you can measure include:


Reach helps you find out the number of people you have reached and how well your audience is receiving your content. To measure reach, check:

  • Total number of followers on each channel
  • How fast you are acquiring or losing followers on various channels
  • Whether interactions are increasing as much as your follower growth
  • Whether your website visitors have increased


The engagement metric helps you understand what your audience thinks of your brand. Find out if people have conversations about your brand or mention it. Do they actively engage with the content you post?

When measuring engagement, find out how many likes and shares you get on your posts and track audience growth.

Referrals and Conversions

Referrals refer to the traffic coming from backlinks from other relevant websites. Conversions are when someone purchases either from your site or social media accounts. These metrics help you determine if your social efforts have led to an increase in sales.

They are important for your sales and marketing goals. To measure them, you will need to set up tracking codes and then use website analytics programs to track the sources of your website traffic.


This social media plan can help you maximise your social media marketing efforts. Use it to understand your audience, find out which social platforms they frequent, and discover ways to keep them engaged with great content.

A great social media plan will require that you frequently fine-tune your efforts to maximise your social media marketing efforts. The more you work on your plan, the better you will understand what’s best for your business so that you can optimise your efforts and maximise ROI.


About the Author
With over 15 years in content marketing, Werner founded Influencer Marketing Hub in 2016. He successfully grew the platform to attract 5 million monthly visitors, making it a key site for brand marketers globally. His efforts led to the company's acquisition in 2020. Additionally, Werner's expertise has been recognized by major marketing and tech publications, including Forbes, TechCrunch, BBC and Wired.