Helping You Succeed in the Digital Era
The SAPLING Approach to
Leveraging Social Media
Strategize
Assess
Plan
Lay a Founda...
Introduction
 This deck offers an ebook-type guide for individuals,
groups, and organizations to establish and manage a
s...
Everybody’s Doing It
Should You?
Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt3
Sound Familiar?
 Are you trying to decide whether to create a stronger
digital presence?
 Have you dabbled with social m...
The Reality
 What’s holding them back?
– Lack of understanding of social media and/or
its potential benefits
– Uncertaint...
Learn from the Mistakes of Others
 Common flaws in social media approaches include:
– Approaching usage tactically rather...
Helping You Get Started
 The SAPLING Approach provides a general guide for
establishing and managing a social media prese...
Strategize
Assess
Plan
Lay a FoundationImplement
Adjust ‘N’ Fine Tune
Grow
The SAPLING Approach
Copyright © 2014, Courtney...
Things to Keep in Mind
 Limitations
– The SAPLING approach can help you identify WHAT to do
but doesn’t directly address ...
Things to Keep in Mind
 The process should not be overly bureaucratic or time
consuming
– If you aim for perfection at an...
Proceed with “Mindful Flexibility”
 Be mindful
– Have a general sense of what you’re hoping to accomplish
– Let your obje...
Should You Go It Alone?
 It’s your mountain to climb, but having a Sherpa can help.
 If you can afford it, hiring an out...
The SAPLING Approach
Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt13
"Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brain...
What Do You Want?
 Identify (or clarify) your goals and objectives, irrespective of
tools and technology.
 Unpack vague ...
Unpack Vague Goals
Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt15
Individual
“I want a job”
Group
“We want to be
high performin...
Can Social Media Help You?
 Determine whether social media can help
you achieve your goals, not whether you
should levera...
Think Beyond Current Capabilities
Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt17
Individual
“I want a job”
Group
“We want to be...
The SAPLING Approach
Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt18
When you determine that social media
can help you …
Assess
Assess Current (& Potential) Practices
 Critically evaluate the current tools, technologies, and techniques you’re using ...
Things to Remember
 Social media should be viewed as “new tools for doing old
things” not “old wine in new bottles”
– New...
Sample Questions to Consider
Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt21
Individual
“I want a job”
Group
“We want to be high...
The SAPLING Approach
Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt22
When you decide to leverage social media …
Plan
Start Planning the Work
 Start by sketching out a social media strategy
 Though it may be tempting to think in terms of ...
Develop a High-Level Plan
 View the plan as a guideline rather than a detailed
blueprint
 You don’t have to figure out e...
Planning Considerations
 Depending on the complexity of your social media initiatives, you may need
a master plan with su...
Sample Planning Questions
Individual
“I want a job”
Group
“We want to be high performing”
Organization
“We want to increas...
It Ain’t Over…
 You will continue to revise and refine your plan(s) as
you expand your digital presence
 Be prepared to ...
The SAPLING Approach
Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt28
You can actually do this at any time …
And since social med...
Plant the Seeds of Your Digital Identity
 Establish accounts on any major public
social media platforms you may use in
th...
Listen and Learn
 Listen
– Follow individuals and organizations on LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs and
other platforms
– Watch h...
The SAPLING Approach
Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt31
One you’ve planned the work,
start working the plan…
Implem...
Getting Started
 If your resources are limited, an incremental approach
to implementation is fine
– Start with your “home...
Seed, Feed, and Weed
Seed: add fresh content on a regular
schedule to each platform
Feed: promote engagement on your
pla...
The SAPLING Approach
Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt34
This is where the fun (???) really begins…
Adjust ‘N’ Fine ...
Digital Engagement as Improv
 Though your actions will be guided by basic plans and rules,
your success will be determine...
You Gotta be Cruel and be Kind
 Be your own biggest critic
– Observe your own actions with a critical eye to identify wha...
Measuring Success
 Monitor and measure your progress and successes, both
quantitatively and qualitatively
– You can use v...
Is Anyone Listening?
 Listening is an important (but too often undervalued)
form of engagement
 Expect a 90/9/1 activity...
The SAPLING Approach
Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt39
Grow
Once you get your “cyber legs,” you can expand
your di...
Kick Things Up a Few Notches
 Increase the amount and/or frequency of content on existing platforms,
making sure you
– Fo...
Pruning is Necessary for Growth
 Pare back content and/or leave specific platforms that
haven’t proven valuable
 But don...
Closing the Loop by Starting Over
 In addition to ongoing
refinement efforts, you should
also revisit your entire social
...
ABOUT THE DENOVATI GROUP
The Denovati…
Pronunciation guide: day-no-VAH-tee
Deconstructing the term:
– DE = Digital Era
– NOV = short for novani, ...
The Denovati Group
Courtney Shelton Hunt, PhD
Courtney is the Founder and Principal of The Denovati Group and an
internati...
Denovati Digital Network
Click here to learn more and join us on one or more platforms
46
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

The SAPLING Approach to Leveraging Social Media

1,801 views
1,712 views

Published on

The SAPLING Approach provides a general guide for individuals, groups, and organizations to establish and manage a strong digital presence. SAPLING is an imperfect acronym, but a useful mnemonic for remembering the necessary steps to developing and executing a social media strategy.

Published in: Social Media, Business, Technology
0 Comments
2 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
1,801
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
528
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
18
Comments
0
Likes
2
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

The SAPLING Approach to Leveraging Social Media

  1. 1. Helping You Succeed in the Digital Era The SAPLING Approach to Leveraging Social Media Strategize Assess Plan Lay a FoundationImplement Adjust ‘N’ Fine Tune Grow
  2. 2. Introduction  This deck offers an ebook-type guide for individuals, groups, and organizations to establish and manage a strong digital presence  Although the focus is on social media, the ideas and suggestions can be applied to broader notions of digital engagement as well  Many Denovati SMART Resources delve into the details of some of these steps, as well as providing additional guidance; visit denovati.com to access them and learn more Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt2
  3. 3. Everybody’s Doing It Should You? Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt3
  4. 4. Sound Familiar?  Are you trying to decide whether to create a stronger digital presence?  Have you dabbled with social media but aren’t sure what to do next?  Have you experimented with different tools and technologies and find you’re disappointed by the results? Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt4 If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re not alone. In fact, you have lots of company!
  5. 5. The Reality  What’s holding them back? – Lack of understanding of social media and/or its potential benefits – Uncertainty where or how to begin – Concerns about risks – Resource challenges (esp. time) – Concerns about whether efforts will pay off Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt5  In spite of all the media attention and exhortations from social media enthusiasts, the vast majority of individuals and organizations have not leveraged the available tools and technologies in any significant way. This is especially true when it comes to managing their careers and/or running the groups and organizations of which they’re a part.
  6. 6. Learn from the Mistakes of Others  Common flaws in social media approaches include: – Approaching usage tactically rather than strategically – Confusing experimentation with implementation – Lack of discipline – Poor or no planning  These flaws are compounded by tendencies to underestimate: – The complexity of social media – Necessary time and resource commitments – The long-term commitment required for success Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt6 Remember: • Simple doesn’t mean easy • There is no “one size fits all” approach • There are no silver bullets
  7. 7. Helping You Get Started  The SAPLING Approach provides a general guide for establishing and managing a social media presence  It can be used – By individuals, groups, and organizations – Whether you’re just starting out or if you’ve already engaged and want to refine and improve your approach Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt7  SAPLING is an imperfect acronym, but a useful mnemonic for remembering the steps you’ll go through...
  8. 8. Strategize Assess Plan Lay a FoundationImplement Adjust ‘N’ Fine Tune Grow The SAPLING Approach Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt8
  9. 9. Things to Keep in Mind  Limitations – The SAPLING approach can help you identify WHAT to do but doesn’t directly address WHY or HOW – The suggestions are very high level – especially for organizations  Although the steps are presented chronologically, the process isn’t perfectly linear – You don’t have to complete each step fully before starting future steps – Future steps will often require revising decisions made in previous steps based on what you learn from experience and thinking at a deeper level Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt9
  10. 10. Things to Keep in Mind  The process should not be overly bureaucratic or time consuming – If you aim for perfection at any step, you’ll likely end up with analysis paralysis, which will delay your engagement and ultimately be counterproductive – You have to balance planning with action  Guiding principles – Working hard is a given; you must also work smart – Prepare for a marathon, not a sprint – Remember the 10/90 rule: for each $10 spent on technology, plan on (at least) $90 in people time – Listen first, then engage – Quality is more important than quantity Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt10
  11. 11. Proceed with “Mindful Flexibility”  Be mindful – Have a general sense of what you’re hoping to accomplish – Let your objective(s) serve as a guiding force for your decisions and actions – Think long term even when you act short term  Be flexible – Accept that you cannot perfectly pursue a “master plan” – Recognize that the environment within which you’re operating is constantly changing • Technology • Platforms • Best practices – Develop a high degree of tolerance for ambiguity and chaos – Be nimble Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt11
  12. 12. Should You Go It Alone?  It’s your mountain to climb, but having a Sherpa can help.  If you can afford it, hiring an outside consultant to work with you can be a worthwhile investment.  A qualified consultant, one who has both broad-based technological understanding and a strategic perspective, can – Ask questions and raise issues that insiders would not consider – Provide technical expertise (e.g., social media, communication, sales) that insiders lack – Help you identify/clarify your objectives and prioritize them – Enable you to make a determination as to social media’s potential value more efficiently and effectively – Be more objective about the value of your current activities – Share experiences and best practices based on work with other individuals and organizations – Help avoid anchoring effects, break stalemates and facilitate effective group process Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt12
  13. 13. The SAPLING Approach Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt13 "Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage, but simply because they have never organized their energies around a goal" – Elbert Hubbard “Begin with the end in mind” – Stephen Covey Strategize
  14. 14. What Do You Want?  Identify (or clarify) your goals and objectives, irrespective of tools and technology.  Unpack vague ideas like “I want a job,” “I want my group to be high performing,” or “I want to increase revenues” to identify in more specific terms what those ideas mean in the context of your unique situation  Make sure your goals are SMART and prioritized – Specific – Meaningful – Achievable (but challenging) – Rewarding – Trackable Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt14
  15. 15. Unpack Vague Goals Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt15 Individual “I want a job” Group “We want to be high performing” Organization “We want to increase revenues” Targeted industry Ideal companies Ideal position Previous work experience Relevant knowledge and skills Purpose Size Composition Physical location(s) Mission Core values Key stakeholders Industry Competitive environment Considering factors like the following will help you define your goals in more specific terms
  16. 16. Can Social Media Help You?  Determine whether social media can help you achieve your goals, not whether you should leverage it.  To make this determination, you need to be knowledgeable about social media. You should have a high-level understanding of the tools and platforms available (beyond LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook!).  Don’t limit your determination based on current capabilities. The pursuit of your goals using social media may require you to increase your skills – and increasing your skills may be a competitive differentiator. Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt16 It’s ultimately a question of “when” not “if” You may conclude that you can achieve your goals without leveraging social media (yet). Deciding “not now” or “not yet” should not be viewed as permanent, however. Plan to revisit the issue to determine when engaging with social media will be in your best interests.
  17. 17. Think Beyond Current Capabilities Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt17 Individual “I want a job” Group “We want to be high performing” Organization “We want to increase revenues” Technological expectations of prospective employers Skill levels of incumbents and other applicants for positions you want How other individuals are leveraging social media as part of their career management efforts What members of your professional peer group are doing Technological expectations of key stakeholders How peer groups are leveraging social tools as part of their communications and project management efforts How related associations are using social media Technological sophistication and expectations of clients and prospects How other companies in your industry are leveraging social tools as part of their business development efforts How related associations are using social media What competitors are doing with social media Determining whether social media can help you achieve your goals requires thinking about factors such as… Even (and especially) if others aren’t leveraging social media, it can be a competitive differentiator…
  18. 18. The SAPLING Approach Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt18 When you determine that social media can help you … Assess
  19. 19. Assess Current (& Potential) Practices  Critically evaluate the current tools, technologies, and techniques you’re using to pursue your goals – What’s working well? – What’s not? – How effectively are your current approaches helping you meet your goals?  Compare current methods with new methods that leverage social media – Identify the expected utilities of various alternatives (i.e., the potential returns relative to their required investment) – Rank alternatives based on their expected utilities and your prioritized goals – Be prepared to make the necessary trade-offs to pursue the options with the highest expected utilities  Be tough during this process – Push yourself outside your comfort zone – This is an opportunity to develop and implement more effective methods – Don’t cheat yourself by perpetuating current practices because you’re reluctant to change Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt19
  20. 20. Things to Remember  Social media should be viewed as “new tools for doing old things” not “old wine in new bottles” – New technologies don’t fundamentally change what you are trying to achieve – They DO, however, offer potentially better ways to pursue those objectives  Social media initiatives should be integrated with your other initiatives and programs. Rather than simply layering social media on top of current activities, think about how you can weave them into the overall fabric of your other goal-directed activities to increase the synergy among them and maximize potential results. Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt20 not
  21. 21. Sample Questions to Consider Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt21 Individual “I want a job” Group “We want to be high performing” Organization “We want to increase revenues” What is my current digital presence? How do I communicate with prospective employers today? How do I leverage my professional network? How do I communicate my professional brand? How effective are my current efforts? Can leveraging social media improve my chances of meeting my goals? If so, how? What should I stop doing? What should I start doing? What should I change? How do we communicate within the group today – both digitally and otherwise? What are common frustrations with our current approaches? What do we like best about our current approaches? Can leveraging social media improve our chances of meeting our goals? If so, how? What should we stop doing? What should we start doing? What should we change? How do we communicate with clients and prospects today – both digitally and otherwise? What are common frustrations with our current approaches? What do we like best about our current approaches? Can we measure the effectiveness of our current approaches? If so, what is their ROI? Can leveraging social media improve our chances of meeting our goals? If so, how? What’s the potential ROI of leveraging new technologies? What should we stop doing? What should we start doing? What should we change?
  22. 22. The SAPLING Approach Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt22 When you decide to leverage social media … Plan
  23. 23. Start Planning the Work  Start by sketching out a social media strategy  Though it may be tempting to think in terms of tactics (e.g., blogging or tweeting), a collection of tactics does not constitute a strategy  Specify your social media goals using the SMART criteria  Be sure your social media strategy dovetails with your other strategic initiatives and high-priority projects Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt23
  24. 24. Develop a High-Level Plan  View the plan as a guideline rather than a detailed blueprint  You don’t have to figure out every nitty-gritty detail at the outset, but you should establish things like – Implementation priorities – Required resources – Roles and responsibilities – Basic operating guidelines – Monitoring tools – Key success metrics Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt24
  25. 25. Planning Considerations  Depending on the complexity of your social media initiatives, you may need a master plan with subordinate plans for things like – Training – Implementation – Communication  Though you’ll want the plan to match your unique operating characteristics, you may also need to address systemic issues that could inhibit social media success, such as – Resistance to change – Skill deficits  Create a social media system that has a clearly-defined “home base” and “satellite channels.” Determine how – You will use each channel in the system – Information will flow among them Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt25
  26. 26. Sample Planning Questions Individual “I want a job” Group “We want to be high performing” Organization “We want to increase revenues” What platforms and technologies do I want to use – and why? What are my priorities for leveraging them? What’s my learning plan? What’s my implementation timeframe? What are my rules of engagement? How will I build digital maintenance into my schedule? What platforms and technologies do we want to use – and why? What are our priorities for leveraging them? What’s our implementation timeframe? What will our governance structure be? Who will be our Social Media Manager(s)? What are our rules of engagement? What training do we need to provide – and to whom? How will we handle digital maintenance? What platforms and technologies do we want to use – and why? What are our priorities for leveraging them? What will our social media system look like? What’s our implementation timeframe? What will our governance structure be? Who will be our Social Media Manager(s)? Who will be responsible for content creation and dissemination? What are our rules of engagement? How will we revise our policies and procedures to incorporate social technologies? What training do we need to provide – and to whom? How do we measure the success of our efforts? How will we handle digital maintenance? Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt26
  27. 27. It Ain’t Over…  You will continue to revise and refine your plan(s) as you expand your digital presence  Be prepared to codify lessons learned into more specific – Communication plans, programs, schedules – Governance structures – Guidelines and policies – Resource requirements – Roles and responsibilities – Training programs Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt27
  28. 28. The SAPLING Approach Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt28 You can actually do this at any time … And since social media implementation is generally a question of WHEN not IF, you should get started as soon as possible Lay a Foundation
  29. 29. Plant the Seeds of Your Digital Identity  Establish accounts on any major public social media platforms you may use in the future – Populate them with basic information – Hang the “coming soon” sign  Acquire necessary domain names and redirect them to your main web presence Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt29 L also stands for “Listen” & “Learn”…
  30. 30. Listen and Learn  Listen – Follow individuals and organizations on LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs and other platforms – Watch how they engage to identify best (and worst) practices and determine your own approach – Set up Google and other alerts on your own name/brand and those of other individuals/organizations you’re interested in  Learn – In addition to learning from the digital activities of others, learn about the evolving impact of new technologies by reading about social media trends, both in general and in the context of your industry/field – Train folks to use new technologies effectively and abide by established guidelines Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt30
  31. 31. The SAPLING Approach Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt31 One you’ve planned the work, start working the plan… Implement
  32. 32. Getting Started  If your resources are limited, an incremental approach to implementation is fine – Start with your “home base” – Expand to other platforms based on your established priorities  Announce your digital presence to engage stakeholders, but limit fanfare until you’re better established Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt32
  33. 33. Seed, Feed, and Weed Seed: add fresh content on a regular schedule to each platform Feed: promote engagement on your platforms and engage on other platforms to drive traffic back to your home base Weed: monitor your platforms regularly and delete inappropriate content quickly Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt33
  34. 34. The SAPLING Approach Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt34 This is where the fun (???) really begins… Adjust ‘N’ Fine Tune
  35. 35. Digital Engagement as Improv  Though your actions will be guided by basic plans and rules, your success will be determined more by your ability to – Critically evaluate the effectiveness of your own efforts – Monitor and recognize the implications of the words and actions of others – Develop the ability to respond quickly and effectively to opportunities and problems when they present themselves  Public networks and/or tools created by others will change (usually for the better, but not always) – It often happens with virtually no notice, and you don’t get a vote – Be prepared to adjust to those changes quickly Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt35
  36. 36. You Gotta be Cruel and be Kind  Be your own biggest critic – Observe your own actions with a critical eye to identify what works and what doesn’t – Attention to details matters, and healthy doses of perfectionism can pay off  But be gentle too – EVERYONE makes mistakes in cyberspace, especially rookies – Embrace your mistakes as opportunities for growth  Learn to – Forge ahead in the face of embarrassment and adversity – Accept criticism and apologize when necessary – Develop a thick skin Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt36
  37. 37. Measuring Success  Monitor and measure your progress and successes, both quantitatively and qualitatively – You can use various analytic and monitoring tools to identify traffic flows and other activity – But don’t rely exclusively on numbers – they only tell part of the story – Human judgment matters – be sure you are able to read between the digital lines  Know the difference between general, long-term engagement and short-term campaigns – You can assess the success of short-term efforts more directly, using quantitative measures – Assessing longer-term branding and marketing efforts will rely on more indirect and qualitative measures Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt37
  38. 38. Is Anyone Listening?  Listening is an important (but too often undervalued) form of engagement  Expect a 90/9/1 activity ratio – out of 100 members: – 1 will be a strong contributor and conversation starter – 9 will like and comment actively – 90 will not join the conversation (but that doesn’t mean they’re not engaged)  To assess engagement, you’ll want to seek feedback from participants via comments, surveys, and other tools  Always be prepared to respond to the feedback you receive Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt38
  39. 39. The SAPLING Approach Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt39 Grow Once you get your “cyber legs,” you can expand your digital presence and increase your digital engagement
  40. 40. Kick Things Up a Few Notches  Increase the amount and/or frequency of content on existing platforms, making sure you – Follow the norms of the platform – Can easily maintain the increased level of engagement  Expand your digital presence by – Adding new platforms – Integrate them into your existing social media system  Grow your membership and participation in each platform – Expand high-priority platforms strategically – Let lower-priority platforms grow organically  Identify and leverage key influencers and passionate participants to help you achieve your growth objectives  Announce your digital presence more broadly, and promote each new platform as you expand Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt40
  41. 41. Pruning is Necessary for Growth  Pare back content and/or leave specific platforms that haven’t proven valuable  But don’t leave any digital ghost towns behind – Tidy up any site/account you are going to stop maintaining and say good-bye, but don’t abandon it altogether – It may prove viable – and valuable – again one day Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt41 Temporarily Closed Please visit our website
  42. 42. Closing the Loop by Starting Over  In addition to ongoing refinement efforts, you should also revisit your entire social media strategy/plan periodically – Your goals and priorities will change, as will circumstances and technologies – You’ll want to reevaluate and revise your social media engagement to reflect those changes  It’s a continuous – and hopefully virtuous – cycle… Copyright © 2014, Courtney Shelton Hunt42
  43. 43. ABOUT THE DENOVATI GROUP
  44. 44. The Denovati… Pronunciation guide: day-no-VAH-tee Deconstructing the term: – DE = Digital Era – NOV = short for novani, Latin for colonists, immigrants, new residents – ATI = those who seek knowledge and/or are in the know The Denovati are Digital Era explorers, pathfinders and pioneers who seek to understand and effectively leverage social and digital technologies 44
  45. 45. The Denovati Group Courtney Shelton Hunt, PhD Courtney is the Founder and Principal of The Denovati Group and an international consultant, speaker, teacher, and writer. Her background in business development, communications, human capital management, information technology, and academia, combined with her business acumen, enables her to provide a unique holistic perspective and strategic leadership to organizations. The Denovati Group enhances the success of individuals and organizations in the Digital Era through an alliance that provides thought leadership and guidance, research, consulting and training services, and a professional community that fosters the sharing of information and best practices. These objectives are accomplished primarily through: • SMART Resources (including the SMART Blog) • Denovati Solutions • SMART Courses 45 Visit denovati.com to learn more about who we are, what we do, and what we offer 45
  46. 46. Denovati Digital Network Click here to learn more and join us on one or more platforms 46

×