Using a better planning process for your social media program can ensure an integrated strategy that generates the results you are looking for.
If you’re like most cardiovascular marketers I know, you’ve gotten much more involved in social media in the past year.
You have a Facebook page. You’re experimenting with Twitter. You may be networking with Linked In.
How’s it working for you?
Is it taking more time than you thought it would?
Are you questioning the ROI?
Do you wonder if it’s really well integrated with the rest of your marketing strategy?
Business consultant Sharlyn Lauby says you should follow these five steps to make your social media efforts more strategic:
1. Determine Your Objective
“Figure out why you’re really getting on the social media bandwagon and what you want to accomplish with it. This step is absolutely necessary if you plan to measure ROI or develop your own internal metrics tracking.”
When General Motors put together their social media strategy, they had some specific objectives they wanted to accomplish. Christopher Barger, director of global social media at General Motors, outlined the following:
A. Become more responsive to people/consumer audiences.
B. Incorporate audience/consumer feedback into the organization more quickly and effectively than has happened traditionally.
C. Make the brand a little more “human” to the outside world, and show people the smarts, personality and passion of the people behind the logo.
D. Increase awareness of the strength of the current product lineup, and provide perspective/accurate information about the company.
2. Find an Internal Evangelist
Many people within your organization may have an interest in social media. Frankly, some employees may want to participate in social media because they think it will be “fun.”
While it’s great to consult with various stakeholders for input, the bottom line is that someone has to own your social media implementation if you have any hope for producing accountable outcomes.
3. Consider Your Employees
Understanding your employees’ level of interest in and understanding of social media is key. While many employees may understand how to use social media sites from a technical standpoint, it’s important to offer training on your organization’s specific approach.
4. Check Your Tech
While most social media doesn’t need a huge technology investment, you should still take a look at the technology capabilities of your company and make sure the system can support the strategy.
“Before any social media components are engaged, there needs to be an understanding across the organization of the following:
- Who will have access to the sites?
- Are there any firewalls that would prevent access?
- What are the rules about time spent and content posted on the sites?”
5. Listen First
Look at best practices, and don’t be afraid to emulate others. Be willing to try things and realize that even if they fail, you will usually learn something that can strengthen future strategies.
Following these steps can ensure that your social media strategy truly generates results.