This ebook was written back in late 2010 when I was stillemployed by another startup. It was meant to address theconcerns of B2B businesses foraying into Social Media.Unfortunately, it was never published.On the bright side, I now have full ownership of this ebook. I’veupdated on its writing style to add in a little humor but thecontent here (is still serious stuff) is the workflow of how I do socialmedia for my clients/employers.Internet social warrior,Elisha Tan (@elishatan) 2
AssessInvestigate DesignAdvocate Organize Narrate
Assess“Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” - Sun TzuBefore you embark on a social media strategy, do an assessment on the socialmedia participation levels of players in your industry and on the currentsentiments of your company. This are some of the questions that you need to answer at this stage: What are the social media channels adopted by your competitors? Are the channels owned by the companies or by their customers? What is their level of engagement like? Is it high, low or moderate? How often do they post an update? What kind of content do they put up? Who in their company manages the accounts? You’ll find a checklist of questions in the next page.
AssessTo help you with finding the answers to the questions, here are some free onlineservices that you can make use of. Addict-o-matic This tool condense your search results from various search engines into a neat interface. It includes the latest mentions from, social bookmarking, social networking sites, blogs and includes videos and pictures results. This tool is useful for real time search on what is being spoken about your company. SocialMention It searches for mentions across many popular and unpopular social media platforms while giving you the choice to streamline the platforms you want to search from. The good point of this service is that it has its own metrics of measurements like strength, sentiment, passion and reach. Want to know how of such tools? Ask me at email@example.com
DesignLike every business project, your social media efforts need to have a purpose.When you are setting goals, consider the following tips to help you setachievable goals. Be realistic Building a community takes time. Thus, always plan a realistic time frame for your social media efforts. This time frame will differ based on the type of tools and measurements, as well as how much time and content your company is able to put into the plan. Be specific Social media is broad, therefore you need to be as specific as you can on what you want to achieve (e.g. increased lead conversion rates, build awareness, maintain relationships, increase efficiency of resolving customer service issues, etc.). It is only when you have specific goals that you are able to choose the right metrics to evaluate your social media efforts. Being specific also means that you need to know what each social media channel is used for. Each social media tools has their own unique ‘personalities’. For example, LinkedIn is a professional site while Facebook is a casual informal site. Hence for each tool, a company needs to be able to present itself appropriately while maintaining consistency in its corporate image.
DesignAfter identifying your goals, you will need to consider what success looks like inyour campaign by identifying the right metrics to measure your social media. Acouple of metrics are listed below. Activity Metrics Customer Support and visibility • Unique visitors • Customer satisfaction • Network size • User ratings and reviews • Number of fans, followers • Number support tickets per customer • Comments per period • Time spent on site • Search engine rankings • Downloads • Web traffic referrals • Page views • Social sharing • How many times your content is shared • Duration of stay • Bounce rate • Visitors loyalty
DesignThere is no magic combination of tools that will ensure every company’ssuccess. Each company will have to decide which are the tools to adoptbase on the purpose of the social media efforts. Channels as social settings Each social media tools has their own unique ‘personalities’. For example, LinkedIn is a professional site while Facebook is a casual informal site. Hence for each tool, a company needs to be able to present itself appropriately while maintaining consistency in its corporate image. This is certainly not easy. Hence, your team needs to be able to understand the ‘personalities’ of each social media tool before embarking a campaign. Applications for each channels You will have to decide on the applications for each social media channel as well. Applications can help create a better experience on your social media channels and increase the ease of being a follower/fan of your channels
OrganizeSocial media is based on constant content updates and real-time responses. Thereare a couple of ways in which you can man your social media platforms. You caneither leverage on your current staffs, hire new staff who is trained in social mediaor outsource to an agency. Outsourcing to agencies Outsourcing leverages on the expertise of agencies, whom have done such campaigns many times. This will help to keep your company’s workload in check while undertaking social media. Pro: Agencies are efficient in what they do. Hence entrusting your social media efforts to them is the best bet that the technicalities of social media will not hinder your success. Con: Although part of your ‘team’, agencies do not work for your company. Hence their knowledge on your products or your internal workings are limited. Also, communication from the agency instead of from the company representative may be perceived as unauthentic and insincere, which are negative perceptions that you want to steer away from your social media efforts.
Organize Leveraging on current staff Your current staff may be social media users themselves who know how to use them effectively on a personal level. These people will be a good start to your social media efforts as they would then require lesser training to be effective at using these tools at the professional level. The figure on the right shows the department who is in charge of their company’s social media efforts.Pro: Employees have extensive knowledge about the internal workings of your company which are important source of content to be provided. Not only that, building a relationship with people within the company seems more authentic than building it with an agency.Con: Adding more responsibilities to current employees means that the current workload needs to be restructured internally.
Organize Hiring New Staff You may want to hire a new staff solely for social media. This will ensure that you have a skilled personnel in your team. Pro: This option allows you to have a skilled person manning your social media efforts while this person will also be aware of the internal workings of your company, hence will be able to communicate effectively and authentically using social media platforms. Con: Hiring itself can be a troublesome process.For small business:I recommend that small businesses use a mixture of current staff and outsourcing. The agencywill be able to provide a kick start to your social media strategy and also guide your existingstaff..For startups:Founders are great source of content. As you probably don’t have the budget to hire a bigagency, try going for a smaller one who needs your job to establish itself. Either that, bug asocial media marketer friend of yours for tips and know-hows. :D
NarrateTo ensure a stream of updates, editorial planning is important. It can be a weeklyor monthly schedule depending on your team. Here are some issues that youneed to consider. Developing a voice A company needs to be able to decide on a corporate voice based on its brand personality. This corporate voice then will be used in all social media channels adopted by the company. This voice will not affect much of the choice of social media channels as slight amendments to the voice is fine. It’s the same idea behind how a person can behave slightly different in a pub and a meeting but remains largely the person he is. Posting Schedule and Topics Background research needs to be done to understand what social media tools your customers are currently using, what kind of information will be of use to them, right down to the timings that most of your prospects go online. This will come in handy while you generate content, plan publishing schedule or plan the schedule of your team members to interact on the accounts for your social media tools.
Narrate Social Media Policy Another issue to consider is how much control are you going to have in the page. By this it means that the what are the things you will delete off your social media platforms and/or how you are going to respond to negative comments. There is no strict rule on what type of comments are allowed or not, it all depends on your brand image (conservative or friendly) and how trained are your staff in managing these comments. A good balance is vital to not translate that there is no freedom of speech in your platforms or that your platforms are too cluttered with spams. Training your staff in this aspect is very important, there are many crises that are aggravated due to the employee’s mismanagement in the initial negative comment. Automation versus Authenticity Automation can be done in the form of publishing content and replying to comments. However, there is a thin line to be draw between saving time and sacrificing authenticity through automation, even more so since social media engagement is about the business of authenticity. A good balance is to automate publishing schedule but to use a mixture of automation (such as a ‘thank you for joining’ or a ‘message received’ message) and real-time replies (when faced with a question or complain) when it comes to communicating with your audience.
Narrate Even though different tools have different personalities, you need to integrate them together to ensure coherence in your brand identity. Your content should also be broadcasted across multiple social media tools for maximum efficiency. This process can be made easy by online tools. Here are 2 free aggregation tools that we strongly recommend. Hootsuite This tool allows you to schedule updates to social sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Wordpress, Ping.fm, Myspace and Foursquare. Not only that, you can also connect it to to your RSS feed and send your blog updates to your social media streams. It also has a neat multi-column layout that allows you to Create and customize columns that can be dragged and dropped in any order while organizing your social streams into news, keywords, friends and more. Mobile updates are also supported for the use of Hootsuite from iPhone.• Tweetdeck Just like Hootsuite, this tool allows you to schedule updates except to Wordpress and Ping.fm. However, the Tweetdeck platform is available for desktop, iPhone and iPad and it works on Mac, PC or Linux system. Like other social media aggregators, Tweetdeck has a column-style format that silos your information that you can customize its colours and choose how you want the interface to look like. You can also set up notifications and filters or organize your Twitter lists, as well as seeing Twitter trends.
Advocate You need to tell people about your social media presence. Here are some suggestions that you can adopt. Leverage on existing technologies within social media platforms Linkedin groups ▪ Joining LinkedIn groups and introducing your company there can bring visibility to your social media channels or referrals. Youtube tags ▪ Youtube allows you to add up to 500 characters as tags. Tagging your video will help Youtube’s search engine to find your video.
Advocate Integrate social media channels with current marketing efforts. Website ▪ Include links and applications that inform visitors of your web site to your social media channels. For Facebook, do include an application that allows your visitors to ‘like’ your Facebook page without leaving your website. As for Twitter, such applications are not developed yet so only links can be used. Other forms of media ▪ Tell people about your social media channels verbally or in print. This method however requires you to acquire usernames that are simple and easy to remember. Caveat: this method os known to have poor conversion rates. ▪ Also make use of mobile applications to promote your social media channels
Advocate Purchase social media ads Twitter ▪ Twitter recently launched ‘Promoted accounts’ where brands can pay for it’s account to be suggested to users. Facebook ads ▪ Facebook allows you to advertise to your specific target market. There are two kinds of ads - self-served and sponsored. The former ads appear on pages and profiles while the latter ads appear on the home page. Sponsored is more expensive.
Advocate Social media etiquette Social media etiquette is based solely on respect. This means to respect your customers in replies to their comments be it nasty or not. It also means respect to your competitors by not gate-crashing their social media sites with self-promoting comments. Remember, social media is about the voice of the consumers, so let them voice out for you in relations to competition. Post-purchase affirmation The period between when a purchasing decision is made to when the deal is signed and officially “closed” is critical. Use social media to reaffirm their choice is the right one. This can be done by providing customer support when they ask questions on your social media sites. Identifying needs Many of your existing customers aren’t going to tell you explicitly when they need an additional product or service from you. So you’re going to have to monitor their social media interactions to spot the cues. Be especially attentive to the complaints of existing customers—you may stop them from being poached by a competitor. By incorporating social media into lead nurturing, marketers can better understand and interact with prospects and customers, and increase the relevancy of their marketing campaigns.
Investigate After you have put in time and effort in building up your social media presence, you need to be able to track whether you social media efforts have been successful or not. Here are some recommendation of free listening tools. Alerts Google Alerts Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. You need to fill a form to choose the type of media, how often do you want to receive the alerts, up to how many results per email and the email to be delivered to. Google Alerts allows you to set up keyword searches for the name of your company or competitors, for example, and receive updates in your email inbox or through an RSS feed. Site Monitoring Google Analytics This is a tool that you have to install in your website. It track website performance thus helping you to find out how you are doing on your website. From it’s comprehensive reports, you can understand the demographics of your users, time they spent on site, where did they come from, page views, user loyalty, what is the top content on your site and allow you to set goals. It is also compatible with Google Adsense and Google Adwords. You can choose to have your results shown for by day, week month and year. You may email the results or export the report into PDF or XML files. Trend Analysis Google Trends This tool shows portray how often a particular search term or terms is entered relative to the total search volume across regions and cities of the world, and in various languages. You can compare the volume of searches between two or more terms and the main news explaining spikes in activity. Results can be exported as a CSV file.
Investigate For a much more in-depth measurement, you need to engage in a related service provider. Here are some recommendation of paid tools for in-depth analysis. Scout Labs Scoutlabs has a great clean interface and overall excellent features for volume trending, sentiment- tracking, learning about key quotes (based on sentiment), and managing workflow for response management. Unlimited results helps protect you from increased monthly cost due to unexpected spikes in volume. Moreover, you can display the findings with your logo on it, creating a more professional look. It also provides good customer support via email or phone and also delivers the report to your email inbox. Not only that, it also helps you to communicate more effectively with your customers with their sentiment engine that assesses the tone of your content. Prices start from USD249 per month but a 14 day free trial is available. Radian6 Radian6 provides a one-stop shop to all the data you need for tracking and to hone your expertise as web analytical skills. Integrated workflow, alerts, sentiment, monitoring across blogs, forums, news, Twitter, and more is what this social media monitoring tool has to offer. Radian6 tracks mentions across over 100 million social media sites and sources and returns the results for exploration, understanding and action. It lets you view relevant conversations happening around your brand and products in real time. We aggregate those conversations across various sources of platforms and put them into visuals that make analysis and measurement meaningful and actionable. Radian6 also provides a desktop application helps your company listen, engage, and coordinate your outreach across teams. Prices start from USD600 per month, however, demos are available.
Investigate Once knowing what works and what don’t, you have to adjust your content to suit your audience in terms of what is being delivered and how it is delivered. Repurposing your content You may have realized that certain mediums of channels are more ‘digestible’ than other by your audience. It is thus important to be able to repurpose your content in different type of mediums for consumption. Some examples of repurposing include: Breaking up a position paper or a white paper into a series of blog posts to be read. Make your content into the bunch of informative audio podcasts that your audience can listen to during their daily commutes. Breaking up a conference where you videotaped several speeches by your companys subject matter experts can become a series of online videos. Publish a Powerpoint presented at an industry event as an online slideshow. The industry data that your team regularly tracks can becomes a stream of Facebook status updates that your market can subscribe to and remain informed of industry developments while working remotely. The case study PDFs that youve published can become a "best practices series" delivered through a set of special Webinars. Having your CEO delivering an overview of the annual report via a video uploaded on Youtube.
The model of a social media communications strategy is acyclical one. As social media platforms constantly innovate,advertising and engaging customers via these tools will gothrough changes as well. Thus, it is veryimportant a company constantlyreinvent its strategy to meetthe ever-changing industry.After measuring your efforts,evaluate them against that ofyour competitors and makeamendments to your goals and plans accordingly.
A psychology and social media practitioner, Elisha Tan devotes hertime to study the applications of social media and its impact on thesocial, economy and business arenas. As a hobby, Elisha maintainsa blog where she pens down her thoughts and experiences onentrepreneurship and social media.You may drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her@elishatan or link up with her professionally on LinkedIn. 23