Social Media Strategy – Step 2

In my previous post I outlined Step #1 of creating a social media strategy: The Assessment. This time around I will go into the process for implementing the plan.

Step #2: Implementation

The implementation portion of your social media strategy is all about focusing on the nitty-gritty details and day-to-day tasks.

Create a Content Calendar

It is extremely easy to lose focus and, to put it bluntly, blow off your social media marketing. Even great plans and intentions can turn into sheer failure when one or two weeks of inactivity turns into months of neglect.

Social media marketing is like a houseplant. It needs sun, water and a little talking to…on a regular, scheduled basis. Otherwise, the day comes when you walk into the room and notice all the leaves are on the floor.

Having a calendar keeps you and your team on track. It makes you accountable and serves as a guide. Think of it as not only an actionable calendar, but an editorial one as well. The more information and detail you include, the better you can measure effectiveness.

Here are a few things I suggest you incorporate into yours:

  • The theme or purpose of your content.
  • Who will create the content (i.e., blog author or, perhaps from a third-party site/provider).
  • How the content will be delivered (i.e., blog, video, photo, etc.)
  • When and where will it be shared.

Have a Promotion and Growth Plan

There are a ton of ways to promote your content and all that you are doing on your social media platforms. But all of them are useless unless you have a plan built in for growth.

Not everything you post is going to be instantly viral. I would even venture to say the things you value the most, such as real brand-building, informative content, may even appear to fall flat. That’s okay!

The goal in social media is to resonate with and build an audience. It is from there that you can engage. In other words, it’s better to have 10 friends, even if only two of them seem to pay attention to you when you tell them about your day, than two friends who aren’t listening.

Your growth plan, therefore, must take into account content that is viral, fun, silly and in most cases, seemingly pointless. Intermingled in all that nonsense, which people love, is the relevant, focused and informative material that will truly build your brand and generate sales.  But, I caution, too much serious stuff is toxic. Think of the friend analogy again. No one wants a friend who is a Debbie Downer and is serious all the time.

Here are a couple tips for implementing a growth and promotion plan:

  • Integrate social media on your website with plugins, links, buttons and icons.
  • Include these buttons and links in your company’s email strategy (including employee signature blocks) on your letterhead and business cards.
  • Have contests and promotions or offer rewards that drive people to your social platforms.
  • Create virality by posting photos of mundane things (your lunch, someone’s shoes and other silly things) or fun videos. Bonus points if you can merge fun and informative.
  • Showcase your expertise and build a reputation by offering webinars and training programs, interviewing experts and guest blogging. Don’t be offended if those things aren’t as viral as the video of your cat chasing a shadow on the wall.
  • Always include humor and lightheartedness in your social voice.
  • Never stop promoting your social networks.
  • Never give up.

Identify Sales Opportunities

I realize I have made it sound nearly impossible to put social media to good (business) use, but there couldn’t be anything further from the truth.

While the primary goal is always about making and building relationship, and creating a loyal following, the opportunity to sell most definitely exists.

Once you’ve built those solid, genuine relationships online, you’ll have people who are ready to eat from your hand. But, like any wild animal, they will only eat from your hand occasionally and when the offered snack is truly enticing.

Therefore, your implementation strategy should definitely include an action plan that allows you to capture and nurture leads.

Just make sure what you are offering as bait doesn’t come across as bait (too pushy) or is too frequent. And, monitor your followers. If they start to un-friend you or disengage it’s time for another kitty cat video.

Next time around I will talk more about Monitoring and Measuring.

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Social Media Strategy – Step 1

I recently implemented a social media strategy that saw the company’s Facebook “likes” swell but nearly 1000% and Twitter followers jump 3000% in just three months.

How did we do it?

We had a plan.

Achieving success with social media marketing isn’t difficult, but it will be an uphill and possibly futile battle without a pre-defined strategy.

Over the next few posts I will outline a basic three-step plan that can help you develop an effective, streamlined road map for social media success.

Step #1: Assessment

The first and most important place to begin is by truthfully accessing the situation. That means realistically taking into account where you are and where you want to be with social media. This isn’t the time to snow yourself or your management team. If you have been failing in the past, admit it. And keep the goals simple. Don’t shoot for the stars or you’ll become discouraged quickly.

You’ll also need to outline what you believe is your audience’s needs, wants and challenges. Re-examine your customer demographic data (hopefully you have that already). Run some surveys. Do some research.  You’ll want to know everything you can about your audience so you’ll be able to:

  1. Create content that resonates.
  2. Build trust through relevancy.
  3. Have a voice that your audience can relate to.
  4. Listen and respond to specific customers needs, feedback or complaints.
  5. Become a resource in your niche or industry.

You’ll also want to define the theme of your strategy. Are you looking to create awareness, generate sales or build brand loyalty?

It’s likely that you’ll want to do all three (or others), but it will only work if you set one goal and let the others nurture from the success of that singular theme. Consistency and simplicity are the name of the game here.

How will you measure your strategy’s success?

Another key component of the assessment is determining exactly how you will measure success. The simplest advice I can give here is: Listen.

Listen to what people are saying on Facebook, Twitter and on blogs all around the web. Use Google Alerts. It’s a perfect tool for people who are just starting out. It’s easy to set up and, best of all, it’s free.

Facebook also has some relatively helpful tools that allow you to see your “likes,” what is trending and your daily reach. I say they are ‘relatively’ helpful because the data can seem a bit arbitrary and speculative, and is only accessible for three month periods. Plus, I would not recommend getting too wrapped up in what the numbers say. Use the data to support the activity and comments you are seeing.

fb-likes

Put It All in Writing

Finally, you will want to finalize the plan by writing it down. This allows you to have policies and procedures in place as situations arise. For example, what if there is a negative comment posted to Twitter by a customer? The plan should tell you who deals with it and what the strategy is for diminishing the impact.

Other things you will want to include in your written strategy:

  • What is the goal?
  • Who is responsible for what?
  • Where is the content coming from?
  • Where are your focused goals for each platform (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)?
  • When are you engaging (days and times)?

Once you have your strategy in writing you are ready to get started.

Next time around I will explain the Implementation process, where you apply your establish strategy and focus on the day-to-day tasks.