We are in an exciting time where information flows freely and we can connect with anyone around the world. The Information Age has borne the ability for us to sell and market to anyone at any time. Social Media became the new buzzword among marketers and for a time it seemed as though there was unlimited potential.
Many people say, “Look, we are doing social media! Now watch all the customers come in!” Sadly, there is no miracle cure – you still need a plan. Social Media should complement your existing efforts and as with any business process, should be quantifiable.
- Determine How Social Media Aligns With Business Objectives: Which of the following activities are your PRIMARY focus through social media? How does each social platform meet these needs and perform these functions:
- Create more LEADS
- Generate sales
- Search engine rankings
- Build brand awareness
- Reposition the company’s brand
- Strengthen relationships with current customers, prospective, or perhaps their influencers
- Understand the buyers and their motives better
- Reach a new demographic
- Customer service
- Driving web site traffic
- Identify new product offerings
- Increase traffic to events
- Define a Target Audience: Who are you trying to get on your pages? What do they like/dislike? Why would they come to your page?
- Decide How You Will Solve Their Problems: Find out what your audience wants to know about. What are the burning questions they are asking? Later, you can do some research within the fans to keep this list current. Right now, just dive into the ones that are top of mind.
- Develop the Schedule/Plan for Content: You don’t necessarily need to post every day, but you need to ensure that quality content takes precedence. You should determine the schedule of what gets posted, when, and by whom. Check out this social media calendar in Google Docs to lay out your content by date and topic. Who will post to Facebook? Who will blog? About what? When? How will the message be communicated? What happens when you receive negative feedback? Response strategy/rules of engagement? Have a look at my post on online marketing content for ideas.
- Enlist Other Staff Members to Help With Content. You should recommend a few key staff to be a part of this process. Then you can just get them to email you on a weekly basis their ideas. I wouldn’t suggest that you just mass email everyone on staff and ask for help. Think about and ask around who:
- Has thorough knowledge of your customers, your industry, your products, and your company
- Personifies your company culture
- Integrate all of the Existing Channels: You may have Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Newsletters, etc. All of these should be in the plan and you should promote content across all channels
- Monitor, Evaluate, and Refine the Plan: Through your meetings, you should have tangible results to discuss with wins and challenges. Then you can determine how to move forward.
7.1 What is the Measurement of Success? It is all well and good to say you are using social media, but what will define if you are successful or not? X more leads? X more likes/fans? X amount of responses to conversations? Go back to step 1 and review what the overall goals of your social media campaigns will be. Then report on how you are achieving those targets. You need to create “S.M.A.R.T. goals.”
- Specific – Being specific in your goal setting ensures that you will have a much better chance of being successful. You can’t just say, “We need to be more active on social media,” but instead, “Bill and Ted will post twice daily on Facebook.”
- Measurable – You must establish the criteria you will measure against. What results will you track and how will you know if you have reached a target. “How many?”
- Attainable – A great excerpt from the link above: “When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals. You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.”
- Realistic – “To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work.” Don’t make the goals so high that they are un-reachable, but not so low as to be un-motivational. “A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force.” What have you done previously? Set some goals!
- Timely – What are the timeframes you will measure with? Are you trying to achieve X fans by DATE? Including a timeline is usually the most important part of goal setting.
So get specific and treat Social Media as an extension of your ACTUAL business – not just a fad. Do the work. Review my post on the five business fundamentals for a quick review.
Here are some other good sites to check out and the last one has some ideas…
- Good examples of social media campaigns: http://blog.thoughtpick.com/2009/06/10-social-media-campaigns-that-rock-learn-how-to-do-the-same.html
- Characteristics of effective campaigns – http://socialmediatoday.com/SMC/203359
- Forbes: Best ever Social Media Campaigns. I like this one because it really speaks to the effectiveness of viral campaigns. The two I like personally are the “Target” campaign where they get users to decide on which charities they will donate their $3M to, based on the proportionate responses. We could do something like that as well. Also, the “Vitamin Water” campaign had the fans develop the new flavour of water and win $5000 if theirs was chosen. What if YOU did a campaign where YOUR users decided on the products or services to develop in the future? They could do their own market research, and provide all of the information you need to develop it. The winning plan could receive free products, services, cross-promotion, etc!