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10 Step Social Media Assessment


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Published in: Business

10 Step Social Media Assessment

  1. 1. 10 Step Social Media Assessment a reality check… © 2010 Jeffrey Ader I
  2. 2. ONE What is the benefit for our organization? TWO Who is the target user and what is their benefit? THREE Can we manage it? FOUR What are the implications of an unsuccessful campaign? FIVE How does the campaign fit into our bigger picture? SIX Where should we be and what tools exist to support our efforts? SEVEN What specifically do we want target users to do? EIGHT What are our success metrics? NINE What additional data can we gather? TEN How frequently should we analyze the data and revisit the initial strategy?
  3. 3. WHAT IS THE BENEFIT FOR OUR ORGANIZATION? The answer here should never be “because everyone is doing it.” We were taught as kids that ability does not constitute action. It is important to stay on top of the latest technologies that continue to play a greater role in the philanthropic world, though jumping into social media without any clear strategy is a waste of your organization’s time and resources. This benefit should be simple, straight forward and NOT vaguely worded like a mission statement (i.e., should not be “increase online awareness”). In using LinkedIn groups and subgroups as an alumni database/ resource, the benefit could be that it’s free, people are already on it and people actually make an effort to keep it updated. Others may be more marketing/communications focused, such as using Twitter to disseminate news about your organization much quicker than with an email newsletter that takes weeks to put together. If your organization has trouble answering this fundamental question, your time may be better spent on other marketing efforts.
  4. 4. WHO IS THE TARGET USER AND WHAT IS THEIR BENEFIT? While the popularity of social networks has skyrocketed over the past few years, there may still be a large population of your supporters that is not active in these online spaces. Clearly define a target group (e.g., 18-25 year old volunteers or supporters in the Metro Atlanta area) and never assume that your efforts will reach your entire supporter or volunteer network. Answering the second part is often the hardest part for many organizations. Throw out your ego and be honest with yourself when thinking about what your target user’s benefit is. Just because a target user supports your cause or mission does not necessarily mean they will want to become a fan of your organization on Facebook or actively participate in your blog discussions let alone donate through a social network. That being said, do not think too narrowly with the word “benefit,” as it could include everything from tangible benefits like coupons and prizes to something as basic as added convenience in receiving news about your organization.
  5. 5. CAN WE MANAGE IT? This question is often passed over and can easily derail a social media campaign even if a great strategy is in place. Simply put, managing a social media campaign usually requires more work than most organizations expect. Is there someone in your organization that has both the time and the knowledge to properly set up and manage a social media campaign? Setting up the campaign is only half the battle, as most require constant monitoring, management and new content generation.
  6. 6. WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF AN UNSUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN? Any marketing campaign can fail for a number of different reasons. It’s important to understand not just how your campaign could fail, but also the repercussions of an unsuccessful campaign. These repercussions could be anything from simply annoying your supporters to damaging your organization’s brand and even preventing further online marketing efforts. The user generated content (e.g., Wikipedia, YouTube, commenting, voting, etc.) that makes social media, well, social, can be a huge obstacle in achieving your desired marketing results. Opening up the doors for supporters (and potentially individuals who oppose your cause) to speak on your behalf and or vote in contests comes with a price. Your organization better be prepared to accept the outcome and rarely is it your best-case scenario.
  7. 7. HOW DOES THE CAMPAIGN FIT INTO OUR BIGGER PICTURE? Before you get ready to launch any campaign, it is essential to step back and think through how everything fits into your organization’s bigger picture (marketing, fundraising, operations, etc.). Will the campaign take the attention away from an annual fundraiser currently underway? Will our supporters feel overwhelmed by our communication efforts? Will our staff have extra bandwidth to manage the campaign or is there an opportunity to bring on an intern/volunteer to help out? All these questions and many more will help ensure that the timing is right and the messaging supports higher level strategies of your organization.
  8. 8. WHERE SHOULD WE BE AND WHAT TOOLS EXIST TO SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS? Once you have decided that a social media campaign makes sense for your organization, it’s time to think through the specific social media spaces for your plan (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)? All of these spaces have different user groups, require a different level of effort and offer a wide variety of features. As a result, it is important to never assume that strategies and tactics can be effectively transferred across different social media spaces (i.e. a campaign that is successful on Facebook may be a complete disaster on MySpace). Many organizations also fail to take advantage of various tools and technologies that make managing social media campaigns significantly easier, and in some cases, effortless. Examples of these include TweetDeck, a desktop application for managing communications across multiple social sites and Twitterfeed, a service for automatically feeding your blog posts (and really any RSS feed) directly to your Twitter account.
  9. 9. WHAT SPECIFICALLY DO WE WANT USERS TO DO? Unfortunately “being aware” is not a call to action. Do you want users to RSVP for your event on Facebook? Subscribe to your email newsletter? Update their contact information? Whatever your desired action is, it should very obvious to the user. Thus, if your desired action is for users to forward the email on to a friend, then you better include some sort of messaging along the lines of “be sure to forward this email on to a friend” as you should make it as easy as possible for a user to complete your desired action.
  10. 10. WHAT ARE OUR SUCCESS METRICS? While a desired action might be rather high level, your success metrics should be very specific and quantifiable. If your desired action is for users to become a fan of your Facebook page and participate in discussions, your success metrics might look something like “X number of new fans per week” and or “X number of fan comments per week.” Until you have decided upon concrete success metrics, you will never really be in a good position to report whether or not your campaign is working. These metrics will also let you benchmark your campaign’s success and give you a better idea when to focus your efforts elsewhere.
  11. 11. WHAT ADDITIONAL DATA CAN WE GATHER? It is important to gather additional data beyond your success metrics to paint a holistic picture of what is actually happening with your online campaign. Numbers and metrics are certainly important, though can often be misleading with little or no context. Having 10,000 subscribers to your email newsletter may seem like a major success for an organization, though if users are not clicking through to your site to read more or to make online donations, than that number much less meaningful. In this case, it would be helpful to actively monitor the inbound clicks from your email newsletter. A lot of this data can be found through online services such as Google Analytics (or through your email marketing services), though some data collecting may require offline tactics such as having event attendees indicate how they found out about the event when they sign in.
  12. 12. HOW FREQUENTLY SHOULD WE ANALYZE THE DATA AND REVISIT THE INITIAL STRATEGY? Unfortunately your job is not quite done after launch your campaign despite all the work that went into the planning and execution. There is a tendency for organizations to take on a “set it and forget it” mentality with social media campaigns, though this is a particularly bad idea given how unpredictable their outcomes can be. A meeting or calendar reminder should be set for an appropriate time after the campaign launches to analyze the data and revisit the initial strategy. It may seem like textbook advice for any marketing campaign, but a disciplined approach to monitoring and optimizing your campaign is key for learning how best to reach your target audience.