So, you want to jump into the social media space but are not totally sure how to go about it? Not a problem! This blog post will help you figure out the who, what, why, where and when of social activity so that you can create a sound approach to getting plugged into this dynamic experience. Like most projects with which I’m involved, we start by developing a sound strategy. This strategy is something you should put on paper so that everyone connected to the project will be able to understand the project, goals and ideas of the plan. Here are some questions you should strive to answer when building a social plan:
- What are you trying to accomplish? In other words, are you simply trying to jump in and listen to what is happening in the industry? Do you ultimately want to promote your business using social media? Is your goal to create a community or fan base for what you do? Are you trying to address customer service, keep up on your competition or is it all of the above? Be specific about your intentions and clearly lay out everything you want to get done.
- Who is your target audience? Be clear on who you want to communicate with. Is there a target age, sex, ethnicity, behavior, shared problem or lifestyle preference you are hoping to reach? If you want to find all of the people living in Boston that are having sleep problems, female, ages 35-54, Hispanic, gay, surfers, you can actually find them. Seriously, understand with whom you want to interface, research them and it will make a big difference in your approach.
- Who is going to own it? Determine from the beginning who is going to own the social media platform for your company. Make sure that this individual is well-educated on etiquette and is up to speed on the latest trends in the social space. Obviously, the more you try to do, the more time it is going to take, so commit the resources to GET ER’ DONE! If you don’t, have someone that you can encourage to do a little reading on the subject prior to starting. Try Chris Brogan’s book Trust Agents or visit the blog Mashable for great social media news and tips.
- Set up some metrics for success. There needs to be an established set of goals for your project if you have a business objective connected to your plan. Make sure that they are specific, measurable, timely and attainable.
- Be creative in your approach. …But don’t lose sight of what you are trying to accomplish (been there, done that). If you are trying to make something happen, you have to break through the clutter. Take this as an opportunity to go big or go home. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money, but you do have to do something that will connect to that established target audience. These people have over 3,500 media messages hitting them EVERY DAY! Will yours get through?
- Hire an agency. …If you have the money. I knew that I had a lot to learn, so I hired some people that know a LOT more about it than I do. My team at PURE is great and gives me some very good advice on how to navigate the space. Be careful not to hire a pretender or someone that claims to be an expert. The first thing PURE will tell you is that there are really NO experts in the social media space because it is so dynamic. It is incredibly difficult to know it all, as they say. Look at an agency’s past performance and make sure that it can prove its value with what it has already done. Saying it and doing it are two entirely different things!
That should get you started. Let me know if you have any questions or call PURE if you want; it is what they do! Whatever you do, DON’T sit on the sidelines and watch it all happen around you. I have had a blast learning about and participating in social media . It is not hard to get involved and the tool can be unbelievably valuable. Social media is not going away, so you better figure out how to participate!
What am I missing here? What are you thinking?
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the thinking of the company I work for, or anyone else with whom I am affiliated. Except my wife of course, who is good at telling me what not to say.