Creating a marketing plan via the Social Media Marketing Planning Cycle

The Social Media Marketing Planning Cycle is a strategic social media marketing approach for building an effective marketing plan on social media. The model can assist companies in creating structured marketing plans to promote their products and services on social media platforms.

What is the cycle all about?

The Social Media Marketing Planning Cycle is a continuous process. It includes eight steps: listening, setting goals, defining strategies, identifying the target audience, selecting tools and channels, implementing, monitoring, and tuning. (Zahay et al. 2022, 25.)

Image 1. Social media can be helpful for companies with limited resources. (geralt 2015)

The eight planning steps proceed as follows (Gurubay et al. 2020, 262; Nguyen 2023, 10–14):

  1. Listening means that the company relies on active listening to inspect social media’s impact on its products and branding.
  2. Setting clear goals should leverage the company’s strengths and opportunities while minimizing weaknesses and potential threats.
  3. The company can then develop a strategy aligned with its goals.
  4. Determining target audience enables the company to manage its marketing strategies effectively.
  5. The right tools and platforms support virtual marketing activities and allow connecting with consumers effectively.
  6. Implementing step requires realistic tactics to achieve desired outcomes.
  7. Monitoring comprises tracking, measuring, and evaluating the execution of the marketing strategy.
  8. Tuning, the final step, refines and enhances each element of the strategy and implementation to ensure maximum success for the plan.

Adopting the cycle

Nguyen (2023, 2, 35) conducted a thesis study applying the Social Media Marketing Planning Cycle to develop a social media marketing plan for an indie game, The Forgotten Guardians. To get started, she found out that one of the strengths of the game is the creative ideas of Facebook and Instagram. The weakness seems to be the lack of a target audience and a structured marketing plan.

The goal of the social media marketing plan was to increase the visibility and awareness of the game. The target audience for the game was defined as people aged 13–35, who prefer to play indie games. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube were selected as the main advertising platforms for the game. Short videos and images are the preferred content formats for promoting the game. (Nguyen 2023, 35–38.)

The versatility of social media offers many opportunities for businesses. However, for successful and cost-effective marketing, it is important to target, monitor and adapt marketing efforts as needed.


Uyen Nhi Nguyen will graduate from LAB University of Applied Sciences, Bachelor’s Degree Programme in International Business in summer 2023.

Sari Suominen works as a Senior Lecturer at LAB University of Applied Sciences in Lahti.


geralt. 2015. Altmann, G. Mobiili-smartphone-app-verkkoihin. Cited 3 Jun 2023. Available at

Gurubay, A., Nyoko, A. E. L. & Fanggidae, R. E. 2020. The Effect of Social Media Marketing to Purchasing Interest of Fenomena Rakat Clothing. Advances in Economics, Business and Management Research. Vol. 143, 260–266. Cited 4 Jun 2023. Available at

Nguyen, U.N. 2023. Social media marketing plan for an indie game. Bachelor’s thesis. LAB University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Business and Hospitality Management. Lahti. Cited 4 Jun 2023. Available at

Zahay, D., Roberts, M. L., Parker, J., Barker, D. I., & Barker, M. 2022. Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach. 3rd edition. Cengage Learning.