Four-step Approach to a Social Media Plan

POST is one of the most effective acronyms since the four P’s of marketing. It’s a four-step approach that helps marketers define a social media marketing plan for their business and/or clients.

The POST method is the heart and soul of the book, Groundswell, written by Forrestter Research analysts, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoffand. It is  highlighted in Josh Bernoff’s Groundswell blog post, The POST Method: A systematic approach to social strategy. The POST Method serves as a guide to help you determine the right strategy for the right audience.

Josh says, “Executives are going about social strategy backwards: picking technologies like blogs or communities first instead of focusing on what they want to accomplish.”

Your purpose should dictate strategy and the tactics used for reaching desired goals. A few common outcomes for your social media marketing efforts should include:

  • Gain insight into your target audience – You can use all the qualitative data you want, but some of the most interesting and helpful market research can be found within the social communities where your prospective clients interact, share information and make recommendations.
  • Link building for traffic and SEO – According to Marketing Sherpa, 80-90% of business to business transactions begin with a search on the web. Creating linkbait and promoting it to social media news and bookmarking sites can attract a slew of links from bloggers that read them. Creating value for the community is not the only rule, creating value and behaving according to formal and unwritten rules is what sustains social media sourced link building.
  • Build brand visibility and authority – You’ve heard it before,“Conversations are happening online about your agency’s brand, with or without you.” You might as well participate and do so in a way that pays close attention to the interests and needs of your prospective clients – providing them with information and interactions that further support your agency’s brand.


About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. Good points, all of them Michael. Especially liked the differentiation between qualitative insights into the target audience and those that can only be gleaned first hand.

    Shouldn’t we give credit where credit is due, to Josh Bernoff and the folks at Forrester in their report “Objectives: The Key To Creating A Social Strategy, Introducing the POST Method: People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology” and the recent blog post about the POST method ?

  2. John Moore says:

    This is really good stuff!

    A couple of other thoughts:

    Be conversational in your communcation
    Provide inside brand knowledge
    Refresh content often

  3. Very much appreciated John and thanks for the additional thoughts.

  4. Michael – I’m a new subscriber to your blog. Great post! I just ordered Groundswell and am now particularly anxious to read it. Thank you for reminding us all of the need for planning, strategy and objectives when it comes to social media. I run into too many clients who think creating a blog and signing up on Facebook and Twitter is social media. Keep the great ideas coming.

  5. Thank you Debbie.

  6. I simply love your stuff Michael.
    I think the major important point for anyone building a social media plan is to have a business model. A reason/purpose. Not the most numbers for sake of numbers, but value and transition to customers and service.

    You are making a difference!

  7. Thanks David I really appreciate the kind words.

  8. Thanks Roger.

  9. Craig Lindberg says:

    The best ideas are often the most simple and this is one of them.

  10. Thanks Craig!

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