The Social Media Process Diagram & Explanation Mike McGrail/Social Penguin
1 – Objectives You need to establish what you want to gain from your Social Media strategy and activity. It is awareness? Is it sales leads or perhaps direct sales? Product research? User data? The list goes on and on but before you start any activity you should set clear objectives and gain buy-in from the business and it’s stakeholders for those. Remember that you have to be able to tell if your objectives have been met. Set clear metrics and devise a reporting structure.
2 – People (internally and your audience) Having a successful Social Media strategy relies heavily on having the right people involved. Those acting for your business need to be savvy to your objectives, Social Media best practice and how they should behave in the space. You must have a policy of engagement in the event of complaints or negativity via SM. How will you resolve issues? Publically at first then offline? What will be an acceptable resolution period? There will be nice people out there too, make sure you recognise them. You need to construct an overall Social Media Policy for your staff, even if they are not directly involved in your strategy they can indirectly be a voice for you and can do some serious damage if there are no guidelines. The other side of this is the sheer resource that will be required. The Social world happens in real time, and the quicker you can react and engage, the better. Listening to your audience has to be a constant exercise, what are they saying about you, your industry or your competitors? This takes time! You need the right people involved, those that are already active in the space tend to make the best candidates as they understand the community feel. Try not to put all of your eggs in one basket, what if your Soc Med star leaves or is sick? Spread the love but ensure everyone is focused and knows the tone of voice.
4- Content It is King right? Without good content, your Social Media activity could easily fall flat on its face. Work out what content you want to produce (what already exists?), who is going to create it and how you want it to be delivered. You need to start with a bang, things that people are going to find useful or exciting and most importantly, want to share with their Social Graphs. Remember that each outlet requires a different type of content, never take a ‘one size fits all’ approach. You need to be constantly engaging, so stagger it and don’t burn out! Once you are engaging then you should see a nice rise in the levels of UGC (User Generated Content) . Do not rest on your laurels though, keep feeding the audience.
5 – Timings So now you have your objectives, know where you are going to play and what content you are going to use. It is time to work out when to start, when are the key periods for your business and will they be boosted by a strong Social Media presence at those times? There may be times when you don’t have much to say, these are the times you need to really think about and ensure you have the content to maintain an engaging strategy. This is a huge area of your strategy and deserves time and insight from across the business in order to get it right. You will need time and resource, this is no free ride!
6 – Deliver Now the really exciting stuff can begin! If you are literally starting out in the Social Media space then it may seem lonely at first, but if you work hard and give the people something to shout about, they will come knocking, just be patient. If you are starting new campaigns and have already been playing in the space, ensure you learn from the last time and make the appropriate changes. Whatever stage you are at, take it slow and innovate!
7 – Measure Remember those metrics you set way back at the beginning? Time to start filling them up with the stats. You need to work out the reach, sentiment and passion of your activity. Are people talking about you? Is it good or bad? Any advocates out there? Enquiries? Data captured? I could go on all night… This is a massive part of Social Media and you will live and die by these factors, if you cannot show the worth of your work to the rest of the business, you will see doubts kicking in and your resource could all of a sudden dry up. There are a number of tools that you should use, some free ( socialmention and Google Alerts to name a couple) and some paid for (e.g. Brandwatch ) and make sure you are out there using and living in the spaces, you will learn a load!
8 – Learn What has been working? What has sucked? Have you dealt with negativity well? Are there outlets that have been very successful or vice versa? It is a constant learning process. A bit like life!
9- Adapt Take stock of your learning and insights and make the relevant changes. Simple right?!? Be sure not to take away something that has created strong engagement without warning your users, this could cause great upset! This is a crucial stage of the process. And there you are back at the start! If you ensure your objectives are meeting the needs of your business and your customers at all times, you will be well on the way to Social Media success. Keep up the hard work and remember to be truly engaging, creative and generous.