Six steps to a social media creative concept

Michael Zenhäusern

Consultant Social Media Marketing

Structured steps can also optimize creative processes. In this blog post, you learn how to define concrete goals, how to develop a social media creative strategy using the 6-3-5 brainstorming method, and what it takes to actually implement the social media concept.

Beautiful pictures that look like snapshots, and texts that sound spontaneous and imaginative: Posts on social media usually look very casual, but behind them there is often a sophisticated creative strategy. 

Anyone who now thinks of creativity as chaos is almost certainly wrong. It’s not disorganized brainstorming sessions behind many successful creative campaigns; it’s structured processes. These are used to gather ideas and turn them into a successful strategy. Creative work can therefore be planned. 

A uniform and structured process also has the advantage that the path to the concept is transparent and comprehensible and no work steps are forgotten. Another positive side effect is that it increases credibility with the stakeholders. 

We present six steps you can take to transform your creativity into a successful social media concept.


1. Define your goal

At the beginning of an effective campaign, you must define a goal. It serves as a guideline for the ideas that will emerge in the subsequent steps. To develop a goal definition, you can ask yourself different questions. For example:

  • What is the purpose of the campaign, and what is it intended to achieve?
  • What business problem should the campaign solve?
  • What action should the campaign motivate the target group to take?

Once you have answered these and any similar questions, formulate the goal in writing in one to two sentences at the most. The "SMART" formula can help here:

  • Specific: What exactly do I want to achieve?
  • Measurable: How can I quantify it?
  • Achievable: Is it achievable?
  • Relevant: Is it relevant?
  • Time-oriented: When do I want to achieve my goal?

The more concretely you formulate the goal, the easier it is to find concrete measures to achieve it. For example, it might look like this: "We want to generate 5 percent more product sales among women via social media by December 31, 2021."


2. Determine data

You've established your goal. Now it's time to create a data-based foundation on which you can build the next steps. Don't make any statements (e.g., "The best way to reach my target group is via channel X.") without being able to back them up with facts. Invest in serious and comprehensive research that generates relevant insights. That's what your creative concept will be based on. Here you will find suggestions for research: 

  • Find out on which channels you can reach your target group most effectively.
  • Research social media trends. 
  • Include information about the market in which the product or service operates. 

Summarize your findings and use them for the next steps.


3. Gather ideas using the 6-3-5 brainstorming method.

Now it's time to brainstorm ideas for the social media creative concept. Always keep in mind the goal of your social media campaign and how you will reach your target audience. In this way, you give direction to the thought processes.

The 6-3-5 brainstorming is a suitable structured creative method. Ideally, six people participate, but it can also be fewer. At the beginning, each person receives a sheet of paper. For five minutes, each person brainstorms individually and writes down three ideas. Afterward, the sheets are passed on within the group. Then they brainstorm again for five minutes and add three more ideas. With six participants, this process is repeated a total of five times. With fewer people, the number of repetitions is reduced accordingly. Ideally, 108 ideas emerge from this brainstorming process. 

Other options for structured brainstorming include mood boards or the Crazy 8 method. But no matter what you choose, the motto always applies: There are no wrong ideas! The participants are completely free in their thought process and can write down anything that occurs to them. They can and should also be inspired by existing ideas or improve them. 


4. Select the best three ideas

Once enough suggestions have been gathered, it's a matter of checking them and selecting the three best. For this, we recommend a cross-check with a creative specialist. Another decisive factor is whether an idea is aligned with the findings from step 2. This way, the best ones quickly crystallize out of the plethora of suggestions. The others fall away. Other important aspects:

  • Does the idea fit the brand and product?
  • Does the chosen social media channel match the campaign ideas?
  • Is the idea suitable for achieving the campaign goal?
  • Is the idea accessible and unique?
  • Does the idea reach the target audience?

Once you have selected your three favorites, come back together as a group and do a final check to see if all the specifications have been met. Here, too, a creative specialist can offer support.


5. Choose your favorite

After you have identified the three best ideas, this step is about choosing a favorite. When making this decision, consider which strategy can actually be implemented in terms of resources. Other criteria critical in selecting the final strategy:

  • Does the idea contribute to achieving the goal defined in step 1?
  • Is the final idea based on an important and exciting insight from step 2?
  • Is there enough time to implement and play out the campaign?
  • Are the financial resources available for this social media strategy?
  • Can the creative concept be implemented for multiple channels?


6. Making your work visible

Once a concept has been found that meets the requirements and can be implemented, the individual assets need to be designed. Make your concept visible by writing headlines, creating subjects, and creating formats. Involve a graphic designer for this final step.

You've done it. You created your social media concept in six easy-to-implement and structured steps.


After so much theory, here is a practical example: With Valuu, Webrepublic developed and implemented a social media creative concept based on the six steps. 

Visual with Slogan "Your idea, your home"

Visual with Slogan "Your idea, your home"

Valuu, the independent comparison and conclusion platform for mortgages and other financing solutions from PostFinance, approached Webrepublic with the clearly formulated wish to address more women through a campaign. After some research leading to a data-based foundation, Webrepublic suggested Pinterest as a suitable channel: Its user base is 65 percent female and 45 percent between the ages of 25 and 44, so it was a perfect match for its intended target audience.

The social media team then brainstormed to define how they would like to specifically address the target group. Numerous ideas were collected using the various creative methods (see point 3). The 6-3-5 brainstorming method in particular produced a large number of exciting ideas. A large-scale mood board was created that visualized the ideas and thoughts: seen on it were, above all, large, brightly furnished rooms that shone in terms of interior design.

From the brainstorming and the best three ideas, the slogan "Your idea, your home" was finally created. The idea for this was based on the realization that users on Pinterest are primarily looking for inspiration and can therefore identify well with the slogan. Based on the mood board, the next step was to look for images and videos that visually supported the slogan. It was important that the visual assets fit the Valuu brand, reflect the target group, and integrate seamlessly into the Pinterest world. 

The data-driven foundation was used in the campaign: The ads were played out in the Pinterest spaces of Interior Design, Home Decor, and Interior Design. The ads integrated perfectly into the creative Pinterest environment. Users searching for interior design inspiration on Pinterest, for example, were shown the campaign. In this way, Valuu achieved the set goal and gained more attention within the target group.