Building a social media marketing strategy can seem like a daunting task. There are so many factors to consider and, with social media marketing being such an essential way to reach audiences today, there is so much at stake.

The good news is that creating a solid social media strategy doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think. Bringing it back to basics will simplify the process. All you need is a few questions to guide you as you map out everything. Here are the 5 W’s to keep in mind when building a social media strategy:

1. Who is my target audience? Having a bullseye understanding of your audience is key in the success of your social media strategy and should be your starting point. Consider the demographics of your target market such as age, interests, behaviors and geographic location. For example, let’s say you are marketing a line of women’s facial skincare products. You’ll want to cater your strategy specifically towards women and in an age range that fits all potential consumers of this product. Next, consider customer interests or behaviors. In this case it may be beauty, skincare and women’s health. If it allows, you can choose interest and behavior groups on social media or ad management platforms to better define your targeting. Just be sure you’re strategic in what those may be. You can also use hashtags to tag these interests if you don’t have other targeting capabilities.

2. What type of content will provide value? The next step will be to define the types of content that best capture your audience’s attention and needs. This may require some experimentation and social performance monitoring for accuracy on how your audience best engages with your content. Also, for inspiration, look at your competitors and companies that have similar audiences to yours. What are they posting on social that’s meaningful to their followers? What falls flat? Remember that effective social media marketing is about your followers, not you. Plan your content accordingly. Be helpful, not promotional.

3. When should I post content? Identify cities, countries or regions where your target audience resides. Your customer data in CRM and web tracking stats can help you define the top geographic regions. This information will impact the times and days of the week for your posting, but it’s not the only factor to consider. The times for optimal posting will depend on your type of business, the platforms that best suit those audiences and when they are online. By doing some research, you can quickly find recommended days and times to post on each social media platform based on industry. Experimentation and social performance monitoring can help here too.

4. Where will this content be posted? Choosing the correct platforms to market your business is vital. It is counterproductive to your efforts if you are creating quality content and failing to penetrate the right audiences. While it is smart to have a presence on multiple social platforms, the “one size fits all” concept doesn’t apply perfectly here. Certain channels will render greater engagements or opportunities that you will want to stay on top of. By monitoring different engagement statistics such as page likes and follows, post likes, clicks and shares, you will see which platforms are performing the best in a given timeframe. Don’t be afraid to drop low-performing platforms in favor of those that reap real results for your brand.

5. Why is this content valuable? This is the overarching question that will continue to put the fuel in your social media marketing fire. Your content must be intentional and strategic to your marketing goals. Make note of any engagement data that stands out among the rest and decipher any trends or characteristics of the content that may have allowed it to spike in engagement. In doing so, you can tailor future content based on these trends, while leaving more room for unexplored ideas and spending less time on what you know doesn’t perform as well. You may also choose to survey your audiences to dig deeper into why certain content is valuable to them.

Happy Marketing!