337 Tools and Resources to Improve Your Social Media Strategy for 2019.

Social media success begins with strategic planning. Too often we jump into social media without a broader strategy or simply keep doing what we’ve done in the past on the same social channels we opened years ago. Now is a great time to review current efforts. In Social Media Strategy and the article “Fix Your Social Media Strategy by Taking It Back to Basics” I suggest a five step process for developing a social media plan:

  1. Situation analysis (target market, social media audit, business objectives)
  2. Develop key insights and a big idea (create engaging content of value)
  3. Select social media channels (add and subtract for target and big idea)
  4. Integrate with other business functions and traditional marketing
  5. Link business objectives to social media metrics (then budget, schedule and run)

To create, execute, measure and optimize this social media plan you’ll tools and resources. This list of 337 tools and resources can help in each of these steps for Social Media Monitoring & Metrics (55), Online Data Collection & Analytics (61), Social Media Content Creation & Data Visualization (80), Social Content Scheduling & Automation (38), and Social Media & Digital Media Research (20).

To further your knowledge of social media I have also included a list of relevant social media Trade Associations, Awards, Conferences, sources for Social Media News & Insights (29), Social Media/Marketing Podcasts (18), and Social Media/Digital Marketing Training & Certifications (21).

Top List of Social Media Strategy Tools for 2019

Social Media Monitoring & Metrics

  1. Agora Pulse (social media management tool): www.agorapulse.com
  2. Agora Pulse Free Tools (Facebook barometer, Twitter report card, Facebook page contests): agorapulse.com/free-social-media-marketing-tools
  3. Audiense (Twitter analytics): audiense.com/twitter-analytics
  4. Brandwatch (social listening and analytics): brandwatch.com
  5. Brand24 (social media monitoring): brand24.com
  6. Buzzsumo (content analytics): buzzsumo.com
  7. Cision (social monitoring and analytics): cision.com/us/products/ps-social-software
  8. Clarabridge (customer experience management and analytics): www.clarabridge.com
  9. Crimson Hexagon (social media analytics): crimsonhexagon.com
  10. Critical Mention (media monitoring): www.criticalmention.com
  11. Google Alerts (monitoring): google.com/alerts
  12. Hootsuite (social dashboard, scheduling, reporting): hootsuite.com
  13. How Socialble (social media monitoring): howsociable.com
  14. HYP3R (location based social listening): hyp3r.com
  15. Iconosquare (analytics and management): iconosquare.com
  16. Klear (influencer marketing platform): klear.com
  17. Likealyzer (Facebook page analysis): likealyzer.com
  18. Lithium (social media management): lithium.com
  19. Meltwater (social media monitoring): meltwater.com/
  20. Meltwater Impact (free content report): impact.meltwater.com
  21. Mention (social media monitoring): mention.com/en/media-monitoring/social-media-monitoring-tools
  22. Netbase (social analytics): netbase.com
  23. Nielsen Social (social content ratings): www.nielsensocial.com
  24. NUVI (monitoring, analysis, reporting): www.nuvi.com
  25. Oktopost (B2B social media management): oktopost.com
  26. Oracle Social Cloud (listening, analytics, engagement): www.oracle.com/us/solutions/social
  27. Podium (customer messaging and review platform): podium.com
  28. Reputology (review monitoring and management): reputology.com
  29. ReviewTrackers (online review management): reviewtrackers.com
  30. Rival IQ (social media analytics): rivaliq.com
  31. Salesforce: Social Studio (listening, publishing, engagement): marketingcloud.com/products/social-media-marketing/social-studio
  32. Simply Measured (social analytics): simplymeasured.com
  33. Social Bakers (social media management): socialbakers.com
  34. Social Blade (social media statistics): socialblade.com
  35. Social Mention (real-time search and analysis): socialmention.com
  36. Social Searcher (real-time social search): social-searcher.com
  37. Socially Devoted Meter (analyze response rate): socialbakers.com/resources/socially-devoted
  38. Social Studio (enterprise social media management): salesforce.com/products/marketing-cloud/social-media-marketing
  39. Spredfast (enterprise social media management): spredfast.com
  40. Sprinklr (unified customer experience mangement): www.sprinklr.com
  41. Sprout Social (social media management): sproutsocial.com
  42. SumAll (social media automation): sumall.com
  43. SumoRank (analyze best Facebook page content): sumorank.com
  44. Sysomos (social media management, analytics): www.sysomos.com
  45. Talkwalker (social analytics and monitoring): talkwalker.com
  46. Talkwalker Social Analytics Search (track campaigns and hashtags): talkwalker.com/social-media-analytics-search
  47. Trackur (social monitoring and sentiment analysis): www.trackur.com
  48. TrueSocialMetrics (social media analytics): truesocialmetrics.com
  49. Twitonomy (Twitter analytics and monitoring): twitonomy.com
  50. Viralwoot (social scheduler and analytics): viralwoot.com
  51. Visible Measures (video monitoring and analytics): visiblemeasures.com
  52. Unruly (social video insight): unruly.co
  53. Yext Free Location Scan (location data analysis): yext.com/blog/2016/05/grow-business-free-location-scan-app
  54. Zoho Social (social media management): zoho.com/social
  55. Unmetric (social intelligence and analytics): unmetric.com

Online Data Collection & Analytics

  1. Alexa (website statistics and analysis): alexa.com
  2. Bottlenose (data analysis): bottlenose.com
  3. Chartbeat (content intelligence and analytics): chartbeat.com
  4. Comscore (cross-platform measurement): comscore.com
  5. Conversion Fly (online tracking): conversionfly.com
  6. Cyfe (all-in-one dashboard): www.cyfe.com
  7. Datarama (cross channel analytics/insights): datorama.com
  8. Delmondo (Snapchat analytics): delmondo.co/snapchat-analytics-software
  9. Drip (e-commerce marketing automation): drip.co
  10. Facebook Insights (Facebook analytics): facebook.com/help/search/?q=insights
  11. Facebook Page Cost Calculator (Facebook ad cost tool): shiftcomm.com/facebook-page-cost-calculator
  12. Foursquare Analytics: enterprise.foursquare.com/solutions/analytics
  13. Google Analytics (website analytics): www.google.com/analytics
  14. Google Analytics UTM Tracking URL Builder (online tracking): chrome.google.com/webstore
  15. Google Tag Manager (tracking): www.google.com/analytics/tag-manager
  16. Google Tools (online data analysis): www.thinkwithgoogle.com/tools
  17. Google Trends (real-time online search analysis): www.google.com/trends
  18. GRYTICS (Facebook Group analytics): grytics.com
  19. IBM Watson Analytics (data AI): ibm.com/analytics/watson-analytics
  20. Instagram Insights (Instagram analytics): blog.business.instagram.com/post/145212269021/new-business-tools
  21. iSpionage (online competitor research): ispionage.com
  22. Keyhole (real-time hashtag tracker): keyhole.co
  23. Keyword Tool (keyword research): keywordtool.io
  24. Kiss Metrics (behavioral analytics and engagement): www.kissmetrics.com
  25. Klout (social sharing and impact measurement): klout.com
  26. Kred (influence score and platform): kred.com
  27. Leadpages (landing page creator, opt-in tools): leadpages.net
  28. LinkedIn Analytics: linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/4499
  29. ManageFlitter (Twitter tools and analytics): manageflitter.co
  30. Moz Open Site Explorer (Inbound link tool): moz.com/researchtools/ose
  31. New Share Counts (Twitter share counts tool): newsharecounts.com
  32. Nexalogy (discover social conversations): nexalogy.com
  33. Omgili (discussion, news, blog search): omgili.com
  34. Origami Logic (data analysis/insights): origamilogic.com
  35. Pinterest Analytics: analytics.pinterest.com
  36. Quantcast (website audience measurement): quantcast.com
  37. RiteTag (trending hashtags): ritetag.com/hashtag-search
  38. Ruzzit (trending videos, stories, and images): ruzzit.com
  39. SearchMetrics (enterprise content marketing): searchmetrics.com
  40. SEMrush (online competitive intelligence): www.semrush.com
  41. Serpstat (SEO tool/platform): serpstat.com
  42. SharedCount (track URL shares and likes): www.sharedcount.com
  43. Shopping Insights (online shopping trends): shopping.thinkwithgoogle.com
  44. SimilarWeb (website stats and analytics comparison): similarweb.com
  45. Snaplytics (automated story publishing and analytics): snaplytics.io
  46. Social Searcher (social media search): social-searcher.com
  47. Soovle (search suggestions): soovle.co
  48. Tableau Your Data (data analysis/visualization): tableauyourdata.com
  49. TrendKite (PR analytics): trendkite.com
  50. Trendspottr (real-time viral content, influencers): trendspottr.com
  51. Tweetreach (Twitter analytics): tweetreach.com
  52. Twitter Advanced Search: twitter.com/search-advanced
  53. Twitter Analytics: analytics.twitter.com
  54. Ubersuggest (keyword suggestion tool): ubersuggest.io
  55. UVRX (social search): uvrx.com/social.html
  56. WordStream (keyword tool): wordstream.com/keywords
  57. Yoast (SEO tool): yoast.com
  58. YouGovProfiles (media planning, audience segmentation – UK): yougov.co.uk/profiler#
  59. YouTube Analytics: www.youtube.com/analytics
  60. YouTube Trending: www.youtube.com/feed/trending
  61. Visio Sparks (Social media counts checker): visiospark.com/shared-counter

Social Media Content Creation & Data Visualization

  1. Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (create fast web pages): www.ampproject.org
  2. Adobe Kuler (color tool): color.adobe.com/create.color–wheel
  3. Animaker (animated video tool): animaker.com
  4. ANIMOTO (video creation tool): animoto.com
  5. Answer the Public (content ideas tool): answerthepublic.com
  6. BeLive (live streaming video software): belive.tv
  7. BIGVU (video creation tool): bigvu.tv
  8. Bot Builder (set up and manage conversations): https://recast.ai/bot-builder
  9. Botletter (create Messenger newsletters): botletter.com
  10. Brandr (social content creation): getbrandr.com
  11. Camtasia (screen recording/video editing): techsmith.com/video-editor
  12. Canva (design tool): www.canva.com
  13. Chartbuilder (create charts): quartz.github.io/Chartbuilder
  14. Chhirp (record audio for Twitter): cordproject.co/chhirp
  15. Compressor by Pitchengine (automated social post creation): c.tiny.pr
  16. Crello (design tool for social posts): crello.com
  17. Curalate (visual commerce platform): curalate.com
  18. Datawrapper (create charts and maps): datawrapper.de
  19. DesignEvo (create custom logo designs): designevo.com
  20. DesignWizard (online graphic design software): designwizard.com
  21. Easelly (infographic tool): www.easel.ly
  22. Ecam (live video production): ecamm.com
  23. Emotional Marketing Analyzer (headline improvement): aminstitute.com/headline
  24. Enhance (social image creation): hootsuite.com/products/mobile-apps
  25. Facebook Creative Hub (create Facebook ads): facebook.com/ads/creativehub
  26. Fastory (social story creation): fastory.io
  27. Free Stock Photo Sites (updated list of free social images): blog.Hootsuite.com
  28. Funnelytics (free digital marketing funnel mapping): funnelytics.io
  29. Gifs (gif maker): gifs.com
  30. Good Data (business intelligence tool): gooddata.com
  31. Google Data Studio (data visualization): datastudio.google.com
  32. Google Fonts: www.google.com/fonts
  33. Google Image: images.google.com
  34. Grammarly (proofreading and editing): grammarly.com
  35. Headline Analyzer (optimize headlines): coschedule.com/headline-analyzer
  36. Hemingway Editor (improve writing): hemingwayapp.com
  37. Infogram (create charts, maps, graphics): infogram.com
  38. Knowem (username and trademark database): knowem.com
  39. LibreStock (free stock image search): librestock.com
  40. Loomly (social media calendar and publishing): loomly.com
  41. Lumen5 (social video creation): lumen5.com
  42. ManyChat (bot builder for Facebook Messenger): manychat.com
  43. MetaShort (custom social links): metashort.co
  44. Microsoft Bot Framework (build and manage bots): dev.botframework.com
  45. Namechk (check usernames and URLs): namechk.com
  46. NodeXL (social analysis and visualization): nodexl.codeplex.com
  47. Opal (marketing collaboration platform): workwithopal.com
  48. Over (social image, type, graphic tool): madewithover.com
  49. Pexels (CC0 photos): pexels.com
  50. Phonto (add text to photos): phon.to
  51. PicPlayPost (multiple media story creation): www.mixcord.co/partners/picplaypost.html
  52. Pictaculous (color pallet generator): pictaculous.com
  53. PicMonkey (photo editing, design): picmonkey.com
  54. Piktochart (infographic maker): piktochart.com
  55. Pixlr (photo editing): pixlr.com
  56. Placeit (create mockups): placeit.net
  57. Content Idea Generator (title maker): portent.com/tools/title-maker
  58. Power BI (business intelligence): powerbi.microsoft.com
  59. Promo (video creation): slide.ly/promo
  60. Recite (visual quote creator): recite.com
  61. Relay (resize, remix designs across social): relaythat.com
  62. Ripl (animated video creation): ripl.com
  63. Rocketium (create Buzzfeed style videos): rocketium.com
  64. Screncast-O-Matic (screen recording): screencast-o-matic.com
  65. Smartmockups (create product/post screen shots): smartmockups.com
  66. Socialab (LinkedIn network visualization and analysis): socilab.com
  67. Spark (create graphics, web pages, stories): spark.adobe.com
  68. Stencil (social media image creation): getstencil.com
  69. Story Slicer (edit social video): storyslicer.us
  70. Streamlabs (video streaming software): streamelements.com
  71. Studio (add layers to photos): madewithstudio.com
  72. Tiny PNG (image compression): tinypng.com
  73. TwistedWave (audio editor): twistedwave.com
  74. Tweetroot (create Twitter word clouds): rubbledev.com/app/tweetroot-for-twitter
  75. Typito (video creation): typito.com/go
  76. Typorama (social graphic creation): apperto.com/typorama
  77. Unsplash (free license photos): unsplash.com
  78. Videolicious (automatic video creation): videolicious.com
  79. vMix (live streaming video production): vmix.com
  80. Word Swag (add text to photos): wordswag.co
  81. Zapier (integrate apps to automate tasks: zapier.com

Social Content Scheduling & Automation

  1. Adobe Experience Manager (cross-channel content management): adobe.com/marketing-cloud/enterprise-content-management.html
  2. AdStage (paid marketing reporting and automation): www.adstage.io
  3. Alltop (news and information aggregator): alltop.com
  4. Bitly (link management platform): bitly.com
  5. Buffer (schedule and track social posts): bufferapp.com
  6. Contentgems (content discovery): contentgems.com
  7. ContentStudio (content discovery and management): contentstudio.io
  8. CoSchedule (cross-channel marketing calendar): coschedule.com
  9. dlvr.it (automated social posting): dlvr.it
  10. DrumUp (content curation tool): drumup.io
  11. Edgar (social media automation and scheduler): meetedgar.com
  12. Flipboard (content curation tool): flipboard.com
  13. Google Programmatic (automatic online ad buying): thinkwithgoogle.com/programmatic-guide
  14. Google Photos (free photo storage): google.com/photos
  15. IFTTT (cross-app task automation): ifttt.com
  16. Later (schedule Instagram posts): later.com
  17. List-O-Matic (list management): accessify.com/tools-and-wizards/developer-tools/list-o-matic
  18. MissingLett_r (automated social campaigns): missinglettr.com
  19. Nuzzel (newsfeed, curation): nuzzel.com
  20. OptinMonster (auto lead generation): optinmonster.com
  21. Outbrain (native ad platform): outbrain.com
  22. PixelMe (URL shortener and retargeting): pixelme.me
  23. Post Planner (content recommendations): www.postplanner.com
  24. Scoop It Content Director (content marketing automation): scoop.it
  25. Short Stack (create contests, giveaways, landing pages): www.shortstack.com
  26. Slack (team collaboration): slack.com
  27. SocialOomph (social discovery and automation): www.socialoomph.com
  28. Social Warefare (WordPress social sharing automation): warfareplugins.com
  29. Tailwind (Pinterest/Instagram discovery and scheduling): tailwindapp.com
  30. Thunderclap (synchronize crowd social): thunderclap.it
  31. Tint (social content aggregator): tintup.com
  32. Twittimer (schedule cross-platform social posts): twittimer.com
  33. TweetBot (Twitter client): tapbots.com/tweetbot
  34. TweetDeck (Twitter client): tweetdeck.en.softonic.com
  35. Uberflip (B2B content creation): uberflip.com
  36. Woodbox (create contests, giveaways, campaigns): woobox.com
  37. Zapier (automate workflows across apps): zapier.com
  38. Zendesk (social customer service system): www.zendesk.com

Social Media & Digital Media Research

  1. Adobe Digital Index (research on digital marketing): cmo.com/adobe-digital-index.html
  2. Affinio (audience interest analysis): www.affin.io
  3. Facebook IQ (consumer and ad insights): facebook.com/iq
  4. Forrester (social media research findings): www.forrester.com/Social-Media
  5. Gallup (social media research reports): www.gallup.com
  6. Global Web Index (consumer survey data insights): www.globalwebindex.net
  7. IBM Watson Analytics for Social Media (holistic view of consumers, market, competitors from millions of online sources): ibm.com/marketplace/cloud/social-media-data-analysis/us/en-us
  8. Interbrand Best Brands (global ranking of brands): interbrand.com
  9. IRI Worldwide (predictive analytics and big data AI) iriworldwide.com
  10. Kantar Media SRDS (insights for media planners and buyers): srds.com
  11. Millward Brown BrandZ Reports (global brand equity ranking): millwardbrown.com/brandz
  12. Nielsen Social Media Reports (social media research reports): www.nielsensocial.com
  13. Pew Research Center (US social research reports): www.pewinternet.org
  14. Roper Center (public opinion research): www.ropercenter.uconn.edu
  15. Simmons (consumer survey research): simmonssurvey.com
  16. Social Explorer (easy access to US demographic data): www.socialexplorer.com
  17. Social Media Collective (social media research reporting): socialmediacollective.org
  18. Statista (research statistics portal): www.statista.com
  19. Think With Google (online consumer research insights): thinkwithgoogle.com
  20. YouGov BrandIndex (brand perception ranking): brandindex.com

Trade Associations, Awards, Conferences

  1. Brand Innovators (marketer conference): brand-innovators.com/events
  2. Content Marketing World (content marketing conference): www.contentmarketingworld.com
  3. INBOUND (content marketing conference): www.inbound.com
  4. INTEGRATE (IMC conference): imc.wvu.edu/integrate
  5. Online Media Marketing Awards (online marketing awards): www.mediapost.com/ommaawards
  6. Social Media Marketing World (social media conference): www.socialmediaexaminer.com/smmworld
  7. Social Media Strategies Summit (social media conference): socialmediastrategiessummit.com
  8. Social Media Week (social media conference): socialmediaweek.org
  9. Summit (customer experience conference): summit.adobe.com/na
  10. SXSW (new media/technology conference): sxsw.com
  11. SXSWedu (conference and competition): sxswedu.com
  12. The Webby Awards (Internet awards): www.webbyawards.com
  13. The Shorty Awards (social media awards): shortyawards.com
  14. The Mashies (digital awards): mashable.com/mashies
  15. Word of Mouth Marketing Association: womma.org

Social Media News & Insights

  1. Amy Porterfield (online marketing expert): amyporterfield.com
  2. Australia ACCC (social media regulation – Australia): accc.gov.au/business/advertising-promoting-your-business/social-media
  3. Chris Brogan (online marketing expert): chrisbrogan.com/blog
  4. Christopher S. Penn(online marketing expert): christopherspenn.com
  5. Jeff Bullas (online marketing expert): jeffbullas.com
  6. Canadian Competition Bureau Guides (social media regulation – Canada): www.competitionbureau.gc.ca
  7. Content Marketing Institute (content marketing experts): contentmarketinginstitute.com/blog
  8. Convince & Convert (social media experts): www.convinceandconvert.com
  9. FTC Disclosures (social media regulation – U.S.): www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking
  10. Gartner Digital Marketing (digital marketing experts): blogs.gartner.com/digital-marketing
  11. Grow (social media expert – Mark Schaefer: www.businessesgrow.com
  12. Hubspot’s Inbound Hub (content marketing experts): blog.hubspot.com
  13. ICPEN Guidance (social media regulation – international): icpen.org/initiatives
  14. Marketing Profs (digital marketing experts): www.marketingprofs.com
  15. Mashable Social Media (digital marketing news): mashable.com/social-media
  16. RazorSocial (social media experts): www.razorsocial.com/blog
  17. Scott Monty (digital marketing expert): scottmonty.com
  18. Social Media Examiner (social media experts): www.socialmediaexaminer.com
  19. Social Media Explorer (social media news): www.socialmediaexplorer.com
  20. Social Media Lab (weekly social media experiments): agorapulse.com/social-media-lab
  21. Social Media Marketing Magazine (social media news): www.smmmagazine.com
  22. Social Media Today (social media news): socialmediatoday.com
  23. Social Mouths (social media experts): socialmouths.com/blog
  24. Social Media Law Bulletin (social media law insights): www.socialmedialawbulletin.com
  25. The Digital Garage (online learning): digitalgarage.withgoogle.com
  26. UK CMA Guidance (social media regulation – UK): gov.uk/government/publications/online-reviews-and-endorsements-advice-for-businesses
  27. YouTube Video Creators (YouTube video expert): www.youtube.com/videocreators
  28. WOMMA Code of Ethics (social media ethical guidelines): womma.org/ethics
  29. WOMMA Free Resources (social media regulation guidelines): womma.org/free-womm-resources

Social Media/Marketing Podcasts

  1. Amy Porterfield: amyporterfield.com/category/podcast
  2. Behind the Numbers: An eMarketer Podcast: emarketer.com/Article/Behind-Numbers-eMarketer-Podcast
  3. Buffer Podcast: buffer.com/podcast
  4. Content Inc.: contentmarketinginstitute.com/content-inc-podcast
  5. The Content Experience: convinceandconvert.com/podcasts/shows/content-experience-show
  6. Experience This!: convinceandconvert.com/podcasts/shows/experience-this
  7. Influence Pros: convinceandconvert.com/podcasts/shows/influence-pros-podcast
  8. Marketing Marvels: convinceandconvert.com/podcasts/shows/marketing-marvels-podcast
  9. Marketing Smarts Podcast: www.marketingprofs.com/podcasts
  10. Social Media Examiner: www.socialmediaexaminer.com/tag/podcast
  11. Social Media Lab by Angora Pulse: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/social-media-lab/
  12. Social Pros Podcast: convinceandconvert.com/podcasts/shows/social-pros-podcast
  13. The Art of Paid Traffic Podcast: rickmulready.com/category/aoptpodcast
  14. The Business of Story: convinceandconvert.com/podcasts/shows/business-of-story-podcast
  15. The Full Monty: scottmonty.com/p/podcast.html
  16. The Marketing Book Podcast: www.artillerymarketing.com/marketing-book-podcast
  17. The Marketing Companion: businessesgrow.com/podcast-the-marketing-companion-2
  18. This Old Marketing: contentmarketinginstitute.com/pnr-with-this-old-marketing-podcast

Social Media/Digital Marketing Training & Certification

  1. Adobe Software (Certifications): training.adobe.com/training/courses
  2. Academy of Influencer Marketing (courses): education.traackr.com
  3. Bing/Yahoo! Ads (Certification): advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/resources/training
  4. Blogging University (WordPress): dailypost.wordpress.com/blogging-university
  5. Cision (Certification & Accreditation): cision.com/us/resources/university-program
  6. Code Academy (free coding classes in HTML, CSS, JAVA, Sass, Python, etc.): codecademy.com
  7. Constant Contact Social Media 101: blogs.constantcontact.com/social-media-quickstarter
  8. Conversion Marketing (Certification): Leadpages: convertedu.com/courses
  9. Facebook Blueprint (Certification): facebook.com/blueprint
  10. Google Partners (Adwords Certification): support.google.com/partners
  11. Google Analytics Academy (Certification): analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com
  12. Hootsuite Academy (Certification): hootsuite.com/education
  13. HubSpot Academy (Certification): academy.hubspot.com
  14. Lynda (Learn Software from Adobe Creative Cloud to Google Analytics): www.lynda.com
  15. Meltwater (Certification): Coming Soon … www.meltwater.com
  16. Microsoft Dynamics 365 (Certification): microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365
  17. Professional Certified Marketer – Digital Marketing (Certification): ama.org/events-training/Certification/Pages/digital-marketing-certification.aspx
  18. Salesforce Trailhead (Badges and Certification): trailhead.salesforce.com Or academic-alliance.salesforce.com/business-specialist
  19. Snapchat Explore (Certification): forbusiness.snapchat.com/blog/introducing-explore/
  20. The Trade Desk Trading Academy (Certification): thetradedesk.com/products/thetradingacademy
  21. Twitter Flight School (Badge): twitterflightschool.com

Does Your Social Media Plan Tell A Story?

A social media plan is a strategy document but also a selling document that usually takes the form of a written report and a presentation. One of the most effective forms of written and oral communication is story. Before a social media plan can help a brand sell, it has to be sold.

Below is an outline of the main parts of a social media strategy placed on a dramatic arc to ensure you are telling a compelling story to your client or boss. Take them on a journey of discovery of how your solution will help them overcome a problem or take advantage of an opportunity. Make their brand the hero against competitors to meet real business objectives.

Social Media Plan Outline Template Strategy Story and StorytellingAct 1 Introduction/Exposition: This is where you introduce the background of the brand, their history and mission. The client or your boss obviously knows this, but you are letting them know you know and making sure you are all starting from the same setting such as, “Open on a hundred year old company founded on the values of …”

Additional context comes in explaining the industry including latest trends and main competitors. Identifying the main competitor establishes the antagonist. Most businesses have someone they are trying to catch up to or keep from catching them.

Complete the exposition of the story by describing who the brand is trying to reach. A well-defined target audience is a key to success. Understanding the perspective and motivations of the target is important as most clients are not themselves in the target market.

Act 2 Rising Action/Conflict: This is where you spell out the conflict of the story. There is usually an inciting situation – the reason they need a new strategy. Often the incitement is something getting in the way of business objectives or something that can help the brand reach those objectives.

Clearly identifying the problem or opportunity ensures that you and the client are working towards the same end goal. Making this a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound objective ensures from the beginning that your plan will be able to be measured for success against what the client cares about most.

Reporting the results of a social media audit adds additional context but also adds complications. The results of the social audit often reveals unexpected insights that conflict with current beliefs and/or strategies. The truth of these complications can raise tensions and anxieties as anticipation builds for a solution.

Act 3 Climax/Turning Point: This is where the climax or turning point of the plan happens. The high point of the plan and your presentation should be the reveal of the big idea that is going to solve the problem or seize the opportunity against the competitor.

Don’t just reveal it – sell it. Explain how the idea is more than creative. Point out how it is also a strategic solution. Describe how the research insights from everything before this part of the plan led to the big idea as the solution. This is the turning point, because the solution has been revealed and everything after this is result of that solution.

Act 4 Falling Action/Results: This is where the results of the research and insights and the big idea play out in specific social media actions. Recommend how the brand’s social media presence should change. Which social media platforms are ideal for the big idea, message and target audience? Which social media platforms need to be left behind? How does paid social media play a role?

Also explain how the social media idea integrates with current marketing efforts and other forms of traditional marketing promotion such as advertising and public relations. Show the full potential of the solution by explaining how social media can integrate with other areas of the business such as operations, R&D, human resources, customer service or sales.

The last action of the big idea should be examples. Paint a picture of what the strategy will really look like. Show the client sample content posts in each of the selected social media channels. Prove the solution works with a multi-channel social media strategy.

Act 5 Resolution/Denouement: The conflict is resolved. The client can now see the victory over the competitor. The final resolution is given and any remaining tension of not knowing how to solve the problem is released with a tying up of loose ends.

The final outcome includes a content calendar that shows when, where and how the plan will take place across the various social media platforms. A sample social media content calendar can be a great start.

Complete the path to their goal by explaining how success will be measured. This can be demonstrated through a social media metrics table that clearly links social media specific platform metrics to the business objectives established in the beginning of the plan.

The last loose end is cost. Let them know a how much the solution will cost. A social media budget template can help estimate these costs. The solution is made clear as the story ends and you have told the story of their future success. What is the unique plot of your plan?