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How to develop a social media strategy


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Easy to understand, step by step guide to developing a social media strategy

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How to develop a social media strategy

  1. 1. Developing a social media strategyGemma 1
  2. 2. HelloWritten by Gemma Went, the social media strategy series looks at eachstage of the process, giving the tools and tips that enable you to producea robust strategy for yourself.Gemma gives you a step-by-step guide, from getting buy-in at the startto ongoing management, in an easy to follow, straightforward style. Wellthat’s our thing you see: no fluff, no jargon and lots of common sense.We’ve referenced a few social media platforms and sites in this ebook.However, things progress very quickly in social media land, so if any ofthese are out of date by the time you read this, we’re sorry. If you have thetime, or inclination, do drop us an email to let us know. Copyright © Red Cube Marketing 2
  3. 3. Is it right for your business? Contents47 Getting buy in10 Goals and objectives13 Finding your audiences18 Developing tactics21 Measurement24 The content plan27 Defining your resources29 Guidelines and training31 Ongoing management32 Getting in touch 3
  4. 4. Social media has been big news for a while now. You can’t read a trade Is it right for you?mag, newspaper, business blog or anything else connected with businesswithout tripping over some evangelical social media bod ushering you ontothe social media train (and I do realise I’m one of them). Yes social media isone of the most effective communications tools we’ve had at our disposalfor a long time. Yes it’s a huge shift in how we engage with people. Andyes, it can deliver great results. However, it’s not necessarily right for everybusiness.There are a number of considerations to think about before you climb aboard.Here’s a checklist that will help you to understand a little more about what’sinvolved and whether it’s right for you.Is social media appropriate for your line ofbusiness?Are your customers, clients and the people you want to connect with usingsocial media? Are your competitors active in this space? Have you searchedto see if people are already having conversations about your business, yourindustry niche or even your brand? If the answer is yes, then it could be a veryuseful tool for you. There are some great free tools you can use to find whatconversations are happening now. Social Mention is a tool that searchesfor brand names or keywords mentioned across the web. Twitter searchis a nifty little tool that offers a variety of ways to search for brand namesor keywords on Twitter. Google Blog Search does as the name suggests,let’s you search across the blogosphere. And of course, don’t forget goodold Google Alerts, which allows you to set up alerts that are emailed toyou when a keyword is mentioned. These are just a few examples, there aremany more. 4
  5. 5. Do you have buy in from the boss? Is it right for you?So you’re clear social media can help your business. Does the board/theC suite/the boss feel the same? If not you could be heading for an uphillbattle. Social media can take a lot of time and resources, resources thatcan quickly be taken away if the boss doesn’t see the true value. Make lifeeasier for yourself by building a business case that will get full, ongoingsupport from the start. I’ll go into more detail on this later.Do you have the resources for it?Do you have someone that can dedicate ongoing time to social media?Are you able to restructure a member of staff’s job description to allow forit? Can you commit to this time and not take this person away from theirsocial media activities when it gets busy? Remember, you can’t open thedoor to social media and close it when workload increases. If the answeris yes to these, then you do. If not, you may want to think about who youcan use for this, either externally or internally.Do you have the time for it?Social media really is a marathon not a sprint, so don’t expect resultsovernight. Are you prepared to invest the time with little output at thebeginning? Are you prepared to put in the groundwork even when youwon’t see the return on your investment straight away? Do you have thepatience for it? If so, you’ll reap the rewards in the long run. 5
  6. 6. Is it a priority for you? Is it right for you?Do you have a quality, fully optimised website you can direct people tofrom your social media profiles or blog? Or is your website full of businessspeak that doesn’t engage your audience? Do you have other marketingor pr priorities to deal with first? Make sure your house is in order, it will beeasier to integrate social media with your other activities if you do.Do you know what your objectives are?Do you know, and understand, what you want to achieve with socialmedia? Are you clear what it can do for you and what it can’t? Haveyou tied this into your business plan? You need to be certain of yourgoals before you start, otherwise you’ll waste a lot of time and effort onsomething that isn’t targeted to your specific needs. 6
  7. 7. So you’ve done you’re research and decided that social media is right Getting buy-infor your business. The next step is convincing the Boss/C Suite/Boardthat the time and budget investment will help you to achieve the resultsthey want. This, my friends, is the tricky part. Your boss will have readcountless articles questioning the ROI of Social Media. It’s likely they’llhave assumed that it’s only for the youth or that it’s irrelevant to theirbusiness. Your job is to prove it’s worth and get full, ongoing support,resources and budget. Social media is more than just a ‘campaign’, it’s along term commitment that needs ongoing support and to get this kindof commitment you need a strong business case.Aligning the business case with yourbusinessFirst things first, get hold of the business plan and marketing strategy.Have a look at the objectives and work out which can be achieved by usingsocial media. Be realistic here, social media isn’t the answer to everything,so pick out those that are achievable. Then do your homework. Findexamples of other businesses (preferably within your sector) that haveachieved those objectives. Show how achievable it is, show how it can bemeasured, show an idea of realistic timescales.Who’s using it?Think about your stakeholders. These can be customers, clients,suppliers, partners, employees, journalists, peers, investors and anyoneelse your business needs to connects with. Segment these and then findwhere they are online. What social media platforms are they using? Isthere a large number using Facebook? Twitter? Linked In? a niche socialnetworking site? Can you find any stats showing usage? You need toprove that the people you need to connect with are using social media. Ifyou can find case studies that show results of how others have engagedwith these audiences, use them. 7
  8. 8. Competitive analysis Getting buy-inFind out which platforms your competitors are using. Do they have anysuccess stories or case studies? Do they appear to be reaping otherrewards through using social media (has their press coverage increased?has brand awareness grown? are they directly engaging with prospectsonline? are they speaking regularly at events?). If so, these are great waysof showing how social media can work. But, don’t be put off if you can’tfind many using social media. It could be that take-up in your industry isslow, which means you could be the first.Brand reputation managementFinally, and perhaps the piéce de résistance to those brands that areregularly talked about, find what’s being said about you online. Showwhat people truly think of your brand using the free tools such as SocialMention and Twitter Search. This really can make people sit up, takenotice and realise they need to be part of that conversation.aHow will you do it?So, we’ve proven that social media is a relevant activity for your businessand the board is, ahem, onboard. Now you need to make them understandwhat’s involved and how it will be managed. Take them through the nextsteps, who will do it and timings. These steps will consist of:ƒƒ Identifying goals and objectivesƒƒ Finding your audiencesƒƒ Developing tacticsƒƒ Metrics and measurementƒƒ The content planƒƒ Defining resourcesƒƒ Guidelines and trainingƒƒ Ongoing management and beyond 8
  9. 9. Then provide them with budget requirements – do you need to hire an Getting buy-inexternal consultant? Do you need external training? Do you need extrasalaries (or portions of salaries)? Also provide them with the timings. Berealistic with both of these, they need the cold hard facts not hype.If you think budget is going to be a sticking point, review your currentcommunciations activities. Work out what’s working and what’s not.Suggest replacing those activities that aren’t producing results with a socialmedia strategy and reassign the budget. Similarly, if finding extra resourceis an issue, review job descriptions and work out what responsibilities canbe replaced. 9
  10. 10. The next step is to identify your goals and objectives. I’ve seen these Goals and objectivestwo confused, so for the sake of clarification here’s my definition: Goalsare general, wider intentions whereas objectives are precise, measurablesteps that help you to achieve your goals.Identifying your objectives for social media is essential. If you haveno specific reasons for using it, you’ll spend a lot of time having veryenjoyable conversations, but these will achieve nothing. You’ll have noresults to show how it’s working for you and no justification for the timeand budget spent on it. Before long the powers that be will, naturally,question the investment and the activity. And nobody wants that.So start with your business plan and marketing strategy. What overallbusiness goals do you need to meet? Break these down and think aboutwhether social media can help you meet them. Be realistic and identifythose goals you can achieve. If you have a marketing strategy (and if not,why not?) go through those goals and objectives and pull out those thatsocial media can help you to achieve. The key here is to align your socialmedia objectives with your business goals to ensure you can achievewhat you need to. 10
  11. 11. There is a wide range of objectives social media can help you with and I’ve Goals and objectiveslisted an example of these below. Obviously this list may not be right foryour business and you won’t know which objectives are right until you’veanalysed the business plan and/or marketing strategy, but it gives you agood idea of the types of things you can achieve by using social media.ƒƒ Building awarenessƒƒ Establishing thought leadershipƒƒ Launching new products or servicesƒƒ Increasing reach (either geographically or by sector)ƒƒ Generating leadsƒƒ Increasing salesƒƒ Research and insight (understanding how to improve your product or service)ƒƒ Saving costs (eg reducing recruitment costs)ƒƒ Building your communityƒƒ Creating word of mouth activityƒƒ Improving public relations activityƒƒ Driving traffic to a website or blogƒƒ Improving SEOƒƒ Improving customer/client relationsƒƒ Providing customer/client serviceƒƒ Competitive analysis 11
  12. 12. Now I wouldn’t suggest including all of these. You’ll be setting yourself up Goals and objectivesfor a fall if you do as there are far too many to manage. Instead pick out thekey objectives you can achieve and don’t forget to apply the SMART rule:all objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic andTimely. You’ll need to apply realistic timeframes to each one and identifythe metrics that will allow you to measure whether you’re achieving whatyou set out to. 12
  13. 13. Now you need to think about those target audiences (aka people) you need Finding your audiencesto connect with to help you to achieve what you need to. You probablythink you already know who these people are. It’s the same ones you’vebeen targeting for years right? Not necessarily. Spend time thinking aboutwho you need to connect and engage with and see past the obvious.Think about who’s interested in your product or service? Is there anythingunique that could appeal to a certain audience? Then think about the nextlevel, who those people might be associated with. Word of mouth is apowerful thing and it’s rife amongst social media folk, so connecting withthose that are connected to your target audiences can be worthwhile.Then think about who these people are, which industries they workin, what they like, what they read, what motivates them, age ranges,personality traits, where they hang out, technical know-how, how likelythey are to use social media. Really do your research and segment youraudiences. You may uncover some less obvious people that could begreat for you. Keep a record of this, a simple spreadsheet will do, and asyour experience of using social media grows, review and update, addingothers as necessary.Also identify your key influencers. These could be people that stand outwithin your communities, people that others listen to, people that createaction (tip: this doesn’t necessarily mean those people with thousandsof Twitter followers, true influence is far more than simply big numbers).They could be peers, journalists, thought leaders or other stakeholders. 13
  14. 14. People with game changing opinion and ideas. People who challenge the Finding your audiencesnorm. Or simply people that talk sense. The types of audiences you couldbe looking for include:ƒƒ Current clients or customersƒƒ Potential clients or customersƒƒ Associates of current/potential clients or customersƒƒ Journalists and editorsƒƒ Bloggersƒƒ Suppliersƒƒ Affiliate businessesƒƒ Thought leadersIf you don’t know where the people you want to connect with are, makethe most of the various free monitoring tools to track who is talking aboutthe keywords associated with your business: Google Analytics, SocialMention, Technorati, Addictomatic and Board Reader, to name a few,can help. This should highlight who has a voice in these subject areas.Once you’ve profiled the people you want to connect with, you need tofind them. This is an ongoing process and takes a little time to begin with,so set some time aside to research where these people are. This will giveyou a good idea of which social platforms you should have a presenceon, so keep your mind open to niche sites as well as the big guns. Theresearch mentioned above will already have given you a good idea ofwhere these people are, so record popular sitesfrom that. There are a bunch of tools you can useto help you find them on the main social networks. 14
  15. 15. How to find people on Twitter Finding your audiencesƒƒ is a favourite. It has a wide criteria range, including location (handy for local businesses). Also use this tool to find the key influencers in your industry and browse their follower/following lists. You could find some great people to connect with there.ƒƒ Twitterrel lets you find people talking about related topics.ƒƒ Twellow is the Twitter equivalent of the Yellow Pages. A directory sorted by occupation. Handy.ƒƒ Just Tweet It a directory sorted by interest.ƒƒ WeFollow is a directory that organises people by hashtags.ƒƒ Also pay attention to hashtags being used for events, you could find some great people there.There are a few search tools for Twitter and some of these double up onfeatures, so have a play around and see which suit your needs. 15
  16. 16. How to find people on Linked In Finding your audiencesThere aren’t so many tools to find people on Linked In as there are onTwitter, but there are a few options to search for the right people toconnect with.ƒƒ Search for the names of those people you’ve already identified by name using Linked In’s search box. Also make the most of the advanced search feature.ƒƒ You can also use this search box to search for keywords that will be included in profiles. Make the most of using OR or AND in these searches to include a few keywords (OR allows you to look for any one of those terms in the profile, AND allows you to look for a number of words).ƒƒ You can also search for people using their email addresses.ƒƒ Join groups that fit with your interests or industry. Once you’ve been accepted as a member, browse the member lists and find people with shared interests.ƒƒ Use the Questions and Answer function to start a conversation around your key subject area. You’ll find those people interested will respond to you, after which you can connect with them.You can’t simply choose to connect with people on Linked In as you canwith Twitter. They need to give their approval (which I’m a fan of), so ifthey’re connected to you through someone you’re connected to, requestto be introduced to them. 16
  17. 17. How to find people on Facebook Finding your audiencesAgain, it’s not as easy to find people as it is on Twitter, but try these tips:ƒƒ Use the find people tool by popping your email address in. It finds all those people in your address book that are using Facebook.ƒƒ Search for fan pages in your subject area and browse other fans there.ƒƒ Once you’ve connected with some key influencers, browse their friends and connect with people that way (aka piggy backing your friends friends).ƒƒ When using the search function, filter your results to drill down to the people you’re looking for.ƒƒ Use the search for workmates function to find people affiliated with companies.ƒƒ Keep an eye on the suggestions that pop up on your news stream.As I mentioned, this can take a little time, particularly when you first startusing social media, but it’s worth the time and effort. It’s not a ‘one time’job either, set a reminder to review your connections regularly to keep itfresh and to ensure you’re not missing anyone crucial to your business. 17
  18. 18. Please note, there’s been no Twitter profile or Facebook Page in site so far. Developing tacticsThis is important as these activities are tactics NOT strategies, somethingoften misunderstood.Your tactics will be based on the work done so far in the strategydevelopment. Take a look at your goals and objectives, get a good feel forthem and what they mean. Then have a look at the research you’ve doneon your audiences, think about where they are online, how they interact,what sort of things do they respond well to? do they like creative socialmedia campaigns (virals, competitions etc) or do they simply respondwell to conversation and advice? (tip: most DON’T respond well to overtselling). Spend a little time thinking about this and capture any creativeideas you have about what they like.If you did a competitive analysis while you were getting buy in, use thisresearch to understand how your competitors are using social media. Ifyou didn’t you’ll need to do this. Have a look at those doing a good job,those that look like they’re getting some good results (a decent sized,relevant community that interacts with and/or signs of influence – socreating action, having content shared, mentions etc). Obviously youdon’t want to copy what they’re doing, standing out is so much better,but it will give you a good idea of what’s working well.We’ll be covering resources in more detail later, but at this point havea think about what resources you have to work on this. Do you haveanybody that can dedicate their time to it? Are there a few people youcan use? Once you have a good idea of what resource is available, andhow much time they’ll have, keep this in mind so thatyou don’t develop resource hungry tactics you’ll beunable to action. 18
  19. 19. Next, take your objectives in turn and create tactics to help you achieve Developing tacticsthem, with all of the above research in mind. Here is an example:Objective: Build brand awarenessNow this is a very general objective, but a common one (which is why I’vepicked it). You could make this more specific if you like: build awareness ina certain region, for a specific service, in a certain sector. Better still attachsome numbers to it to help with measurement: Grow brand awarenessof xxxx service and increase web enquiries for that service by 10%. Themore specific the better.Your tactics for this could include:ƒƒ Launch a Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn profile (as appropriate) and connect with the target audiences (or people, as I prefer to call them).ƒƒ Launch a blog showcasing relevant knowledge for the region, service area, sector etcƒƒ Build a presence on niche networking sites relevant to your objectives (these would have already been identified when you researched where your audiences are online).ƒƒ Research and identify relevant blogs for guest blogging opportunities.ƒƒ Research and identify relevant blogs and engage in discussions.ƒƒ Create a hashtag around your specialist area and drive the conversation. This could also be a hashtag around a regular Twitter chat.ƒƒ Develop a competition or creative word of mouth campaign across relevant platforms to raise awareness of the brandThese are just a few examples, but you get the idea.For each objective there could be a range of tacticsthat will help you to meet them. You will also need toattach metrics to each to ensure you can measurethe effectiveness against what you’re trying toachieve, but we’ll cover that next. 19
  20. 20. Go through each objective you’ve already identified and list tactics. Then Developing tacticsrefine this list with your resources in mind (be realistic here, if not youcould be setting yourself an unachievable workload).Once you have your proposed list of tactics, think about who else in yourorganisation should have sight of this and bring them together to discussany possible issues. For example, the IT department may need to deal withrestrictions to social networking sites, the legal department may need tobe involved in the guidelines or policy, the customer services departmentmay need to use the social networking sites as a channel to deal withcustomer problems, the sales department may want to understand wherepossible leads are coming from. This helps to refine your strategy andensure it fits with the rest of the business. They could come up with a fewideas you haven’t thought of and, more importantly, any potential issuesthat need to be ironed out before you move on to the next stage. 20
  21. 21. Once you’ve developed the social media tactics, you need to set the Measurementmetrics to understand if those objectives are being met. Now this isn’t anexact science as much of this activity relies on word of mouth, which hasalways been hard to pin down. Digital activity has made it much easier toget a handle on metrics and understand how the tactics are working.Start by listing your objectives identified earlier on in the strategy. Foreach one, think about what success would look like. What would happenif things went to plan and you achieved what you set out to? Would yourblog subscribers/fans/followers increase? Would your sales increase?Would your website traffic increase? Would you get approached byjournalists more? The key here is to measure what is directly connected towhat you’re trying to achieve. Simply looking at followers or fans doesn’tcut it for all objectives, so pick what works for each.If your objective is to raise brand awareness then things like number offans, followers, subscribers, engagement, mentions, content shared cangive you an accurate indication of how much your brand awareness isgrowing over a period of time. However, if your objective is to generatebusiness leads or grow sales, these metrics mean diddly squat. Insteadyou’ll need to track traffic from your social media activities to your websiteand measure conversions, track where email or phone enquiries aregenerated from, record how many opportunities you identified throughsocial media are converted. What we want to know here is how muchfee income or sales has been generated by social media activity, so thinkabout how you can measure that. 21
  22. 22. It’s worth spending some time matching the right metrics to the right Measurementobjective. Think about the paths your customers or clients take to get tothe end goal, this could throw up some useful metrics for you to measurealong that path. A few examples are listed below, note not all of them aredigital. Don’t overlook the offline stuff, this is just as important.ƒƒ Twitter followers, RTs, mentions, listsƒƒ Facebook fans, likes, comments, shared contentƒƒ Linked In connections, responses to questions, comments within group discussions, recommendations etcƒƒ You Tube/Flickr etc views, comments, shared contentƒƒ Blog visits, subscriptions, comments, shared contentƒƒ Mentions, sentiment (and changes in sentiment)ƒƒ Emailer, newsletter sign upsƒƒ Links clicked (for example to an offer on your website that’s linked from your blog, social networking site, email signatures etc)ƒƒ Website traffic, particularly to specific actions (email sign up, offers, landing pages etc)ƒƒ Search traffic, both organic and paidƒƒ Website or blog page rank, inbound links etcƒƒ Approaches to guest blog or write articles in the trade pressƒƒ Approaches to speak at eventsƒƒ Increase in sales (either track where these came from if they’re converted through your ecommerce site or record manually where your sales were generated from. I have a spreadsheet that shows where each prospect and converted client was generated from. But you’re doing this already right?) 22
  23. 23. ƒƒ Track relationships. What’s happening to the people you’re connecting Measurement with on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, the blog etc. Are you moving them to your CRM system? Are you tracking how often you’re connecting with them? Are you keeping an eye on how these relationships progress?ƒƒ Increase in footfall to your shop/restaurant/bar. Do you know how many people visit? Where did they come from? If you run campaigns with promotion codes this can give you some great data.ƒƒ And while on the subject of location based businesses, are you tracking Foursquare, Gowalla and other location based apps? Check ins, tips, how many people are making the most of your offers through these apps (if you’re running them of course) are all useful metrics.As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t an exact science. People can take avariety of routes to get to the end goal, but this will give you a goodindication of how things are working for you. Once you’ve set the metricsfor each objective, pop them on a simple spreadsheet and record whereyou are now so you have a benchmark. I track these monthly to allow meto understand how things are working, but you can do it more often if yourtactics are time critical.Once you’ve collected some decent data over a few months, you canstart to spot patterns and make assumptions about cause and effect. Thiscan help you to improve and refine your activities and help you get whatyou need out of them. It also means you can spot those activities thataren’t producing the results you need and stop them in favour of puttingmore effort into the stuff that is working. 23
  24. 24. A good content plan can supercharge activities and make sure you publish The content planrelevant content across the web. When considering content creation, neverforget the goals and objectives that should guide your thinking aroundsuitable topics. For example, if you need to raise awareness or becomea thought leader in a particular service area/industry/product type, thisshould become a key topic area for which you will need to create contentdemonstrating your expertise.Break your goals and objectives into a range of core topics then hold acreative brainstorm with your team, or you can do this alone. The aimis to develop a range of subject areas for each topic. Always keep youraudiences in mind when doing this, think about what they will genuinelybe interested in and don’t fall into the trap of writing for yourself or yourpeers.Once you’ve generated ideas for content topics, you can start thinkingabout the various channels you will use it on and how you will use it:ƒƒ Blog: develop an editorial calendar, assigning topics to blog posts and set deadlinesƒƒ Linked In: create conversation around key topics in the Group areas and add links to blog postsƒƒ Guest posts: approach other blogs and offer your content as a one off or as a regular contributorƒƒ Newsletter: not everyone will read your blog, so repurpose blog content hereƒƒ Twitter and Facebook: share blog posts and start discussions around your topicsƒƒ Ebooks: if you generate a lot of content on a particular topic, create an ebook that you can offer on the website or blog (just like we did with this) 24
  25. 25. Curating content across multiple digital channels ensures the best results. The content planBut do more than simply cut and paste, each channel should have atailored version to fit.To ensure your content plan is fresh, stay up to date with the latest buzzaround your topics by:ƒƒ Subscribing to relevant blogs through RSS Readers (Google Reader is still my favourite)ƒƒ Subscribe to newslettersƒƒ Set up Twitter searches around your topics or create a list of thought leaders to keep an eye onƒƒ Find where your audiences are hanging out in places like Linked In groups or forums and listen to what they’re interested inƒƒ Use Google AlertsBefore you start to write, agree the style and tone of voice you want to usethat either fits with your personality or your business. And if you have asearch engine optimisation strategy, become familiar with your keywordsand include them (naturally) in all content (and if you don’t have an SEOstrategy, you need one). 25
  26. 26. Content creation is an ongoing process and it’s easy to run out of steam. The content planSo if you lose inspiration along the way, try a few of these ideas:ƒƒ Make the most of other media: share a slideshare presentation, a great video you uncover, infographics and other interesting gems you findƒƒ Add your own presentations to slideshare and shareƒƒ Develop regular features, such as monthly or weekly roundups and reviews etcƒƒ Publish interviews with interesting and relevant peopleƒƒ Invite guest bloggers to add a fresh perspective to your contentƒƒ Invite customers or clients to ask questions, either on the blog, Facebook, Twitter or Linked In and answer them on your blogƒƒ If you attend an industry event, write a post event reviewƒƒ Create ‘how to’ listsFinally, you need to ensure your content makes people ‘want’ to read it.Here are a few tips:ƒƒ Create attention grabbing headlinesƒƒ Keep it relevant, ‘on topic’ and make sure all content passes the ‘so what’ testƒƒ Make it conversational rather than broadcast (ask questions, invite comments)ƒƒ Don’t agonise over spelling and grammar, tone of voice is far more importantƒƒ Keep it short and punchy, people consume a great deal of content online and have less time for longer piecesƒƒ Embrace controversy, people love a good debate 26
  27. 27. Once you’ve decided which activities to add to the mix, you’ll need the Defining your resourcesstaff to resource it. And it’s not automatically the job of the intern orgraduate because they ‘get it’, unless they’ve had the right training andwill have ongoing management to ensure they’re fully equipped to do agood job for you, of course.Commit resource to itSocial media is an ongoing activity that needs commitment, so be sureto give it what it deserves from the start. Break down the activities intospecifics and estimate how much time each will take. The initial setup cantake a fair amount of time, so don’t overlook this. You’ll need things likeTwitter background design, avatar design, good bio profiles etc. Thesedon’t take up a great deal of time, but if you don’t have the right resourcein house, you’ll need to outsource it to ensure your online presence is onbrand.Think about the ongoing work. How many social networking sites will yoube using? Are you launching a blog? If so, how often have you decided topublish posts? Have you developed a content plan that includes thingslike guest blogging? If so, how often will you write and publish these?Who’s best placed to work on it?Think about who is best placed work on this for you. Do you alreadyhave marketing/pr/sales/customer service/hr teams? If so, each of themwill need a foot in the social media camp. Don’t be fooled into thinkingthis is just a job for the comms team, social media crosses over mostdepartments. In fact once you’ve got a good handle on how it works foryour business, you may well see the benefit of making it an employeewide activity and get everyone in on the act. Copyright © Red Cube Marketing 27
  28. 28. If you have a few teams, think about which should work on this and get Defining your resourcesthese teams together to discuss it. You may find a few volunteers keento get onboard from the start, which is half the battle. Those that won’tbe actively engaged in your social media activity will still need to know ofyour plans as it could affect what they’re doing offline. Remember, yourcustomers or clients don’t see you as being either offline or online. Theyjust see your brand, so make sure your teams fully understand the planand can help you integrate all activity.If your business is an SME with limited resource, this still applies to you.Who do you have in your team that can work on this? Again, talk to themabout your social media strategy and see if natural social stars volunteer.If not, it may well fall to the person that handles your communicationsactivities for now.Fitting it all inIf your staff are already overworked, you may be wondering how on earthto fit this new activity in. The simplest way of handling this is to reviewcurrent workload and review the results. For example, if you’re alreadymeasuring your marketing activity you will be able to work out whichactivities are performing well and which aren’t. Remove those tasks thataren’t delivering and replace them with your new social media activity.It may mean juggling a few things and rearranging a few job descriptions,but doing it this ways shows your commitment to the activity and willallow your staff the time to work on it and do well. Copyright © Red Cube Marketing 28
  29. 29. The right guidelines and training will allow your team to do a good job. Guidelines and trainingNow, don’t think this needs to be a big nasty rule book. Your goal here isto provide the tools and knowledge they need to be able to achieve yoursocial media strategy.GuidelinesYour guidelines should cover:ƒƒ Your objectives. Be clear why you’re using social and how it will be measured so the team understand what they need to achieve and what their KPI’s will be. The training can cover the full strategy, but I find it useful to add the objectives in the guidelines as a reminder.ƒƒ Who the social media team is. As social impacts many areas of the business, this should also include those behind the scenes as well as those on the frontline, like IT, Legal, HR etc.ƒƒ Which social activity you’ve defined in the plan, how it will be used and how much time is acceptable to spend on it.ƒƒ Who owns the profiles, if your team is Tweeting from their own accounts, for example, do they own those accounts or does the company? Be clear with this from the start as things could get tricky if they leave.ƒƒ Have a plan for what happens to profiles once people leave.ƒƒ What content should be shared through social media. Be descriptive here as this is important. Make it clear what content is confidential and what isn’t. Also be clear what language is acceptable. If you have brand/messaging guidelines it would be a good idea to share these so that the team fully understand your positioning.ƒƒ If the members of your social team have different roles, be clear what they are and what’s expected of them.ƒƒ What to do if things go wrong. List ALL possible risk scenarios and how they should be handled to make it clear (and of course make sure you have the process in place to deal with these if they happen).Make the guidelines concise, easy to read and accessible. 29
  30. 30. Training Guidelines and trainingOnce the guidelines are done, you’re ready to train the team. If you feelconfident doing this yourself great, if not get someone in to help you.The training is key as it gives your team the knowledge they need andempowers them to use social media confidently. The training shouldcover:ƒƒ The social media strategy. Make sure everyone involved understands your objectives, how they will be measured, who your target audiences are, what content you will be sharing and everything else in-between. You’re after understanding and full buy-in here so ensure it’s easy to grasp and free of jargon. Also include how the team will be reviewed and how often.ƒƒ Your guidelines. Again, you want full understanding and buy in from the team.ƒƒ If their experience of social media is limited, help them by including an introduction to ensure they understand what it is and how it works.ƒƒ Training on each activity and how it will be run. Include everything here, from profile set up and bio writing to how to use each tool in your plan. Make sure you include all the tips and tricks to make it easier to manage and if you’ve chosen tools like Cotweet, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck etc, include a full explanation on these.ƒƒ Spend a little time on the content as this is often a sticking point. Show them how to find the right content to share, how to produce content, even how to write if need be.ƒƒ How they should engage through the various channels and deal with things like negative blog comments.ƒƒ Who is there to help them if they get stuck. This is important, your team should feel fully supported should things go wrong. You could provide ongoing coaching if that’s a requirement.If you feel it’s necessary, arrange a few sessions over a period of time togive them the chance to feedback and discuss their findings. 30
  31. 31. Finally, you need to think about who will ultimately be responsible for the Ongoing managementactivity and how will they keep an eye on progress to ensure objectivesare met? The same person will need to ensure the correct measurementis taken and analysed to ensure you’re achieving what you set out to. Ifind monthly reviews of the strategic objectives against actual activity canhelp you alongside regular monitoring of your measurement system. Thisallows you to see what’s working and what isn’t, allowing you to tweakactivity to ensure optimum performance.It’s also worth keeping your finger on the pulse of technologicaldevelopments. New tools are being introduced all the time and existingones updated even more so, which can make your current ways of doingthings out of date before you can say Twitter API, so it’s worth keepingabreast of how things progress to ensure you make the most of them.Your team should be able to help you with this as they’ll be at the frontline.Keep your monitoring system up to date. You may need to listen out fornew keywords or brands as things progress, so keep your eye on this.And never forget to listen to your community and learn from them, they’rea valuable asset to your business.Once you get to grips with your social media activity, be open toopportunities that come your way. Yes the strategy will help you to achievewhat you set out to and keep you aligned with the overall business plan,but some unplanned doors often open through social media, so be opento what can come your way, you could be surprised.Finally, once you and your team are comfortable with your social mediaactivity, don’t be afraid to be creative with it. Come up with creativecampaigns that can raise awareness and engage further with yourcommunity. Have fun with it, there are so many possibilitieswithin the various platforms, so see what you can come upwith. 31
  32. 32. We hope this has helped you to understand how to make social media work for you. If youneed further help with social media, marketing or pr, get in touch.You can connect with Gemma in a variety of 32