Where to start with social media strategy?

Social media strategy as part of your marketing plan…

Approaching social media strategy using the SOSTAC framework

SOSTAC® (one of my favourite marketing frameworks) was developed in the 90s by PR Smith, and is championed by digital marketing guru Dave Chaffey of Smart Insights.The framework can be used to help plan all aspects of digital marketing campaigns, but the below demonstrates the basics of how it can be applied to a social media proposal, marketing plan of a business case. 

SOSTAC® stands for:

  • Situation – where are we now?
  • Objectives – where do we want to be?
  • Strategy – how do we get there?
  • Tactics – how exactly do we get there?
  • Action – what is our plan?
  • Control – did we get there?

Using SOSTAC to create a marketing plan

The approach outlined can work across B2B and B2C.This is just a taster of the approach – more blogs will follow with more detail for each area.

Executive summary

  • Purpose of presentation/document
  • Objectives and strategy overview – statement and key objectives
  • Key strategic risks
  • Key financial information

Situation analysis – where we are now

Products and services

  • Product info
  • Services info
  • Benefits
  • Innovation
  • NPD

External analysis

  • Market place analysis
  • Competitor analysis:
    • Competitor landscape / positioning
    • Channel structure
    • Content strategies
    • Volumes (audience, mentions)

Internal Analysis

  • SWOT
  • Current channel audit
  • Data (social, website) analysis

Opportunity overview

Audience segments:

B2B & B2C listed out here

Quantification of audience

  • Targeting opportunities / volumes

Channel consumption

  • Validating of channels selection

Objectives – where we want to be

  • Business objectives
  • Marketing objectives
  • SMART goals, by channel, to support objectives
  • 1, 2, 3 year
  • Budget and AMC (allowable marketing cost i.e. we can spend £3 per customer)

Strategy – how we’ll achieve our objectives

  • Audience segmentation – marketing personas (done during foundation stage)
  • Proposition by audience
  • Online proposition
  • Customer journey flow
  • Creative strategy
  • Channel strategy (how it all fits together)
    • CRM strategy (database and email comms)
    • Social strategy
    • Content marketing strategy (Inc. SEO)
    • PR
    • Events

Tactics – what we’ll do to get there!

  • Channel set-up/updates based on strategy
  • Website updates based on strategy
  • First-year plan
  • 90-day plan
  • Editorial calendar creation
  • Events calendar creation
  • Paid media plan

Business impact  – what we’ll need to deliver on our strategy


  • Team members
  • Tools
  • Channel set up
  • Ongoing investment


  • Correct team structure to deliver
  • Ongoing team required to run channels
  • Recruitment
  • Training

Risks – what we need to look out for

Showing risks, probability, impact, and mitigation  

  • Reputational
  • Crisis management
  • Resource

 Control – Measuring success

Budget – the investment

Marketing and events budget by month

  • Split by channel
  • Media investment
  • Showing expected return by channel

Customer LTV (lifetime value)

Looking at costs of acquiring new customer, v’s retaining a customer and the investment in retention.


Allowable marketing cost per sale (B2B, B2C), budget and proposed sales


  • Channel measurement based on objectives
  • Reporting dashboard creation
  • Testing Strategy



Infographic courtesy of Smart Insights,  SOSTAC® marketing planning model

More info about PR Smith’s model can be found in (2011) The SOSTAC ®  Guide – to writing the perfect plan  by PR Smith (2011),  published by www.prsmith.org and available at Amazon.

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