Overcome Social Media Overwhelm + Boost Your Engagement

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So, you have a domain, a slick website, and a shiny new logo. You refined your profile picture, target audience, and developed a brand voice. You even have your unique social media handles (for every single platform, ever) and... it’s crickets all around. Now you're overwhelmed and stuck about where to go from here while struggling to identify that so-called target audience you identified on paper.

Like most things, winging your social media strategy not only makes things more difficult and time-consuming but scattered and a whole lot less fun.

Social media is about (*keyword*) the social aspect, and it’s hard to really connect or engage with your customers/clients when you haven’t afforded yourself the time or ability to really do so. Today we’re headed back to the drawing board, and you will soon see it’s not such a bad place to be.

First, it's best to get insight into your style, voice, audience profile, products/services, and of course, your why. From there, let's get down to business and talk about how to create a social media strategy manual.

What is a Social Media Strategy Manual?

The goal is that anyone on your team or within your organization could pick up your manual and have enough of an idea to understand the who, what, when, where, how, and why of your content marketing routine. Think of it as your digital roadmap to social media stardom. Totally kidding. We’re aiming for your individual measure of success here! This is a general framework of things to identify. You can always make adjustments based on what does or doesn’t apply to you.

Before we dive in, be sure to grab your free social media strategy manual template below so you can follow along.

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Free Social Strategy Workbook

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Creating the Social Media Strategy Manual

Branded Cover Page & Date

A branded cover page makes everything look more professional and feel more official. You’ll also want to be sure to include a date for when your manual was last updated. For example, this can simply be written as: “Last Updated: July 17, 2017”. A simple detail that’s often overlooked, this helps give you insight to when it was last created, by whom, and whether it could benefit from a refresh.

Organizational Goals

If a dream without a plan is just a wish, then a manual without goals is just busy work! Think about why social media matters to your bottom line. What about it carries meaning and significance in your business and to your marketing efforts? Get honest and get it all out in the open. A ton of followers or likes won’t necessarily fill your wallet or provide value to those you wish to serve. Whether you love or hate social, connect it to the broader why for your unique brand and use it with purpose.

Team Members

List the name, role, and any other necessary identifiers (part-time, contractor, specific skill, etc.) pertaining to this particular group of team members. If you’re a solopreneur who doesn’t outsource anything yet, identify the different hats you will wear. This will take care of some leg-work when your business grows and it becomes essential to hire help.

Target Audience

If you have completed an audience profile, you can copy it into this section. If not, you’ll want to provide a high-level summary of your target audience. Your target audience is key when creating content because it is your guide on what and how to write. A format like bullet points works great for quick reference and review.

Top 3 Strengths & Opportunities Pertaining to Social

This list will keep things in perspective, giving you confidence for what you’re doing well and reminding you what you’re trying to improve upon. We all have those days where comparison seems to speak louder than our creativity. Stay focused and stay encouraged with these motivators.

Your Digital Presence

This is where you’ll identify which social media platforms you’re going to focus on. There is no shame in not showing up on all of them. It makes no sense to stretch yourself thin when you could show up more powerfully fewer places. If you really just love Instagram and Facebook and are seeing success with them, stick with those two! If visuals are your thing, you might want to prioritize Pinterest or video channels like YouTube.

Tools & Software

Identify what tools, software, and additional programs you’ll implement to help you execute planning, posting, and analyzing content (i.e: Buffer, Planoly, etc.). If you're wondering why it's important to use these tools, it simply saves you energy, time, and mental space. Having tools to schedule and analyze your content is a huge time saver when planning content.

Content and Form Execution

This is the real meat of the manual. It’s time to identify the 3-5 general content categories you’ll be posting about consistently. For example, you might love #allthethings but that can also make it hard for your audience to follow. Drill it down to what really speaks the most to your brand and vow to stay within those realms. Daily breakfast snaps might work great for a food blogger, but if you’re a tech savvy designer? You might be better off with only an occasional coffee cup flat lay of your workspace!

Next, describe and outline the following:

  • platform(s)
  • tone (i.e: encouraging, educational; OR deep, emotional, etc.)
  • frequency (i.e: 4-5x week)
  • days & approximate times (i.e: M, W, F at 10am, Tu, Th at 5pm)
  • name of the team member responsible for executing

Budget

Yes, social media is free to create an account, but a lot more goes into it behind those little squares. You’ve got your staff/freelancers, software/tools/technology subscriptions, paid photography/stock photos, and/or any paid advertising. Determine what’s sustainable for you and whether something is a nice to have or need to have.

Pro Tip: Quality photography & design is a must!

Ongoing Performance Analysis

Lastly, here is where you can include a list of open-ended questions for future review. You don’t want to make them overly complicated to the point where it deters you from answering them. Make each question simple enough to quickly assess from month to month, for example: What’s working and in what sense? If desired, you can also leave a space to include audience/follower growth and other quantitative data.

So there you have it! The top criteria to include when creating your Social Media Strategy Manual. Sign up below to download your own workbook and get started (it's free!) Then keep this close to your workspace, and be sure to provide your team (if you have one) with access. This will serve as a general guideline and be something you can refer back to and keep revising. Social media is always moving and changing so it’s a work in progress!

CSS Cheat Sheet

Free Social Strategy Workbook

Grow your following + increase engagement!

Do you have a social media strategy or ‘manual’ of any kind? How is it similar or how does it differ from these suggestions? We want to hear your advice or questions in the comments, so drop us a note below!