So before we get to the last step of creating your “Social Media Strategy” I thought it would be a good idea to review the first three steps. By the way I wish I could take credit for this process but I need to give credit where credit is due. This is the strategy that is outlined in “The Social Media Bible”. Unfortunately I have not heard much from them lately, so be sure to check out their book. It is a great resource guide for building and implementing your Social Media Strategy.
So let’s review:
Step 1 – Decide on your Audience. Ask the question ” Who is your audience?”
Step 2 – Decide on your Objective. “What do you want your audience to do?”
Step 3 – Decide on your Strategy. “What will be different when you are done?” “What will success look like to you?”
So what is the fourth and final step? Well if you have been reading you know that it is usually the step most companies and people do first. They decide on the technology to use by creating a Facebook Business Page or they sign up for Twitter or join discussions on LinkedIn. All without knowing the first three steps. Audience, Objective and Strategy.
The fourth step to creating your Social Media Strategy is Technology. Which technology is best for you to implement your strategy? After discovering the first three steps you should have a pretty good idea of where to put your message. You use the technology or social media platform that your audience is participating in. Now you see why the first three steps are so important.
Deciding on the technology may be a little bit more complicated than you think. You have to do research here as well. You need to decide where your audience is. They may be on Facebook. They may be on LinkedIn. They may be on Twitter. Or they maybe on any of the 100’s of Social Media Sites that are out there and being created daily. Here are a couple of lists as a good starting point.
You may also need to create your own if you have an internal audience that consists of hundreds of employees and thousands of customers, or if you have the next “Big Idea”. IBM has their own internal Social Media Site and so do several other organizations. I personally am involved in creating sites for training organizations and a news organization. But this is a decision you have to decide on for yourself.
REMEMBER TO MAKE SURE THAT THE TECHNOLOGY IS BASED OFF OF THE FIRST THREE STEPS:
Sorry for the capital letters but I don’t want you to forget that point. What would be really sad would be if someone is reading this blog and signs up for one of the sites on the lists above before they did the first three steps. So you should tread lightly when deciding on the technology. It needs to be focused. Remember you need to maintain this strategy for quite some time to be successful. Do I have to mention the Tortoise and the Hare again?
Pitfalls at this point are as follows. The one thing that should be in your Strategy is your messaging. Social Media is not another venue for you to put your marketing message out. It is a place that you need to build trust before you can ask for business.
A few tips on messaging:
- After deciding what technology you are going to place your message on, spend some time being a voyeur.
- Read what other people are saying and talking about on the community and participate in that conversation and that conversation only.
- Spend a minimum of 12 weeks putting out information only. Don’t sell your wares. This information can be on how to pick an attorney, what goes into a business plan or anything else that directly relates to your business, but “Don’t sell your wares”
- Your objective is to build trust before you can start offering your services.When our grandparents were looking for a roofer or someone to fix their car they did not go online or look in the phone book or Google it. They asked the folks in their community who they trusted and they went with their recommendation.
To be successful in Social Media you need to build Trust!
So there you have it the Four Steps to creating a Social Media Strategy.
I hope this has helped some of you. My goal is to have people and businesses use Social Media effectively and correctly. Social Media is supposed to be Social. You need to join the conversation, not just talk at your audience but talk with.
I believe any Social Media Strategy should have at its core the ability:
To Add Value to Human Kind
It is your job to determine how your business fits into that goal. Be creative, remember Social Media is supposed to be FUN!