Digital Marketing, Social Media Strategy, Integrated Marketing and Media, Social Media Marketing

7 Critical Elements of Your Social Media Strategy

birkin super 7 on flickr photo sharing 300x162 7 Critical Elements of Your Social Media Strategy(Originally written for MarketingProfs Daily Fix)

It’s fantastic that interest in social media is so high, but I’m alarmed at the number of brands and agencies that are ready to jump into social media to take “advantage” of audience concentration in Facebook, Twitter, and other fast-growth outposts. What’s lacking in most social media programs is an actual strategy. If you don’t know precisely why you’re in social media, with whom you want to engage, and how you’re going to measure success, you’re not ready to start.

I use a 7-step Social Media Strategy Worksheet to create a framework that governs what the initiative aims to accomplish. (You can download free Social Media Strategy Worksheets here, and use them as much as you like, with attribution).

Step One: Describe the Business
Sounds basic, but if you can’t describe the precise value proposition of the brand in a sentence (without a bunch of mission statement crap-ola), you need to figure that out first.

Step Two: Business Goal
Trying to do too much in social media muddles your message and confuses your fans. You can focus on one goal for a while, and then change objectives later, but don’t try to tackle multiple goals simultaneously. There are only 3 realistic business goals for a social media effort. So pick one of these.

  • Brand Ethusiasm. Turning customers into fans, driving repeat purchases.
  • Sales. Using social media to create first-time customers or to introduce your brand.
  • Loyalty. Decreasing customer churn, improving customer service.
  • Step Three: Where Is the Audience Cyclically?
    Huge segments of your customers and prospects have wholly different relationships with your brand. Some have never heard of you. Others are raving fans. Which are you trying to reach in this program? You need to be specific here because what your target audience already knows about you dictates what you can credibly have a conversation about in social media. Pick no more than two of these:

  • Awareness. They’ve maybe heard of you, vaguely.
  • Interest. They’ve heard of you and maybe have visited a Web site. No purchases.
  • Action. They’ve made a single purchase.
  • Advocacy. They are fans of the brand. Frequent purchases, tell their friends, etc.
  • Step 4: How Does the Audience Use Social Media?
    Rolling out a social media program that features a customer photo contest is going to fail spectacularly if your audience isn’t prone to content creation. Using the Forrester Social Technographics Ladder, determine how your audience behaves within social media. You may have to guess on this one a bit, but better yet how about surveying your customers via email and ASKING THEM how they use social media? Pick one or two from among these: Creators, Critics, Collectors, Joiners, Spectators

    Step 5: The One Thing
    To be successful in social media, you need to distill your brand into the one thing that’s truly interesting, and in most cases it’s not product related. Figure out your one thing, and bring it to life in social media. Social media may be word of mouth on steroids (says Gary Vaynerchuk), but if you don’t give people something intriguing to talk about, they’ll never open their mouths.

    Step 6: How Will You Humanize the Brand
    Why do consumers love social media? Because it puts them on a more equal footing with brands that have been historically shrouded, impersonal and aloof. If your social media strategy doesn’t put a literal or figurative face on your brand in one or many ways, you’re missing the point.

    Step 7: How Will You Measure Success?
    Pick three metrics that matter to your company, and measure them consistently and well. Ideally, establish a baseline before your social media program starts. If your business goal is loyalty, you can measure true ROI by focusing on churn metrics. For brand enthusiasm, you can focus on repeat purchases. If you want to get more granular, there are dozens of potential success metrics like share of voice in social media, blog posts and tweets, comments, fans/friends in your social media outposts, etc. I’ll leave those details for another post or experts like KD Paine, but please pick only 3 success metrics. Nobody wants a 27-item results report or dashboard.

    Download Social Media Strategy Worksheet

    (photo by The Pug Father)

    • http://www.alticonsulting.com/ Allan Sabo

      Jason, Very good post.

      I’d like to suggest an additional step between #6 and #7.

      This NEW 7th step I would call: Create an Integrated Social Media Flow Chart.

      This step is important since it builds on the observations and data collected from the first 6 steps

      As you evaluate your findings from the steps 1-6 it then becomes important to develop a draft “Integrated Social Media Flowchart”. This flowchart consists of what social media tools / properties you intend to use along with how they may interact, integrate and leverage your interactions with one another.

      You see, there are so many great Social Media tools out there that this step of any sound strategy is necessary before moving into implementation.

      The key to keep in mind is “INTEGRATION” so when you interact with one social media property, you are also updating, leveraging or reusing that interaction on other social media formats / forums. Turning Social Media into less of a burden and into more of an “efficient power tool”.

      Keep in mind, Integration need not be absolute, you may choose to keep two social media forums separated if your audiences are drastically different – but at least in a flow chart, you know where it fits, and WHY you keep them separate.

      Then, with this flowchart in hand, it becomes easier to to move onto to step 8, “Measuring Success” since it not only helps to determine WHAT metrics to measure, but also WHERE you will measure them from.

      As a Social Media Strategist, I have seen many clients gravitate to the social media flow-charts that I create for them as their most valued deliverable. Implementation and execution of a social media campaign becomes much easier with an Integrated Social Media Flowchart document there to follow as a guide.

      Thanks again Jason,

      Allan Sabo
      Chief Success Advisor
      FastForward Marketing Braintrust
      :: The Marketing Advisory Board for Small Business ::
      http://www.ffphx.com/as
      http://www.twitter.com/mediamanx

    • http://www.alticonsulting.com Allan Sabo

      Jason, Very good post.

      I’d like to suggest an additional step between #6 and #7.

      This NEW 7th step I would call: Create an Integrated Social Media Flow Chart.

      This step is important since it builds on the observations and data collected from the first 6 steps

      As you evaluate your findings from the steps 1-6 it then becomes important to develop a draft “Integrated Social Media Flowchart”. This flowchart consists of what social media tools / properties you intend to use along with how they may interact, integrate and leverage your interactions with one another.

      You see, there are so many great Social Media tools out there that this step of any sound strategy is necessary before moving into implementation.

      The key to keep in mind is “INTEGRATION” so when you interact with one social media property, you are also updating, leveraging or reusing that interaction on other social media formats / forums. Turning Social Media into less of a burden and into more of an “efficient power tool”.

      Keep in mind, Integration need not be absolute, you may choose to keep two social media forums separated if your audiences are drastically different – but at least in a flow chart, you know where it fits, and WHY you keep them separate.

      Then, with this flowchart in hand, it becomes easier to to move onto to step 8, “Measuring Success” since it not only helps to determine WHAT metrics to measure, but also WHERE you will measure them from.

      As a Social Media Strategist, I have seen many clients gravitate to the social media flow-charts that I create for them as their most valued deliverable. Implementation and execution of a social media campaign becomes much easier with an Integrated Social Media Flowchart document there to follow as a guide.

      Thanks again Jason,

      Allan Sabo
      Chief Success Advisor
      FastForward Marketing Braintrust
      :: The Marketing Advisory Board for Small Business ::
      http://www.ffphx.com/as
      http://www.twitter.com/mediamanx

    • http://www.pabamedia.com/ Paul Baiguerra

      Great post Jason. I’ve seen plenty of people diving into SM because it’s there without giving any thought as to why they are doing it (apart from Facebook has heaps of people, Youtube has heaps of viewers etc).

      As an addendum for Step 6 there is also the massive opportunity SM gives brands/companies without huge budgets to gain exposure by adding value rather than trying to compete on media spend. To me this is one of the most exciting things about SM – it’s more of a media meritocracy.

      Paul Baiguerra’s last blog post..What is Social Media?

    • http://www.pabamedia.com Paul Baiguerra

      Great post Jason. I’ve seen plenty of people diving into SM because it’s there without giving any thought as to why they are doing it (apart from Facebook has heaps of people, Youtube has heaps of viewers etc).

      As an addendum for Step 6 there is also the massive opportunity SM gives brands/companies without huge budgets to gain exposure by adding value rather than trying to compete on media spend. To me this is one of the most exciting things about SM – it’s more of a media meritocracy.

      Paul Baiguerra’s last blog post..What is Social Media?

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    • http://problogservice.com/ Deeter

      A great reference for Step 5 is Ben Mack’s book “Think Two Products Ahead”. Distilling the brand into one succinct and interesting “thing” is tough for any company.

      It is also very difficult to get clients to see the value in tailoring a social media campaign around “one good thing”.

      Ben’s book provides very practical, actionable advice that a consultant could share with the client to help them understand why and how to do it.

      Deeter’s last blog post..Should You Pay For Traffic to Your Business Blog?

    • http://problogservice.com Deeter

      A great reference for Step 5 is Ben Mack’s book “Think Two Products Ahead”. Distilling the brand into one succinct and interesting “thing” is tough for any company.

      It is also very difficult to get clients to see the value in tailoring a social media campaign around “one good thing”.

      Ben’s book provides very practical, actionable advice that a consultant could share with the client to help them understand why and how to do it.

      Deeter’s last blog post..Should You Pay For Traffic to Your Business Blog?

    • http://www.nwmidia.com.br/ marketing digital

      Very nice article..

      Alex

    • http://www.nwmidia.com.br marketing digital

      Very nice article..

      Alex

    • http://www.bigtreetop.com/georgeveth George Veth

      I really like the elements of your post. Actually, I totally agree with the elements.

      In practice, however, I think that the middle sections may need to be iterative – not linear. I’d be interested in your thoughts on this point – what influences what!?

      I have a couple of other thoughts. 1) If time warrants, you may want to consider using the customer value propostion from Norton/Kaplan Strategy Map or an abbreviated version of the fac tors of differentiation from Blue Ocean Strategy to decribe the business, and 2) you may want to consider integrating the idea of “social objects” popularized by Hugh MacLeod instead of the “one thing most compelling about the brand”. I believe that there may be many social objects that could be used based on context. I’d be interested in your thoughts on these two considerations.

      We’ve tried a similar approach with smaller companies but they really struggle with the brand definition and differentiation aspects of the puzzle!

    • http://www.bigtreetop.com/georgeveth George Veth

      I really like the elements of your post. Actually, I totally agree with the elements.

      In practice, however, I think that the middle sections may need to be iterative – not linear. I’d be interested in your thoughts on this point – what influences what!?

      I have a couple of other thoughts. 1) If time warrants, you may want to consider using the customer value propostion from Norton/Kaplan Strategy Map or an abbreviated version of the fac tors of differentiation from Blue Ocean Strategy to decribe the business, and 2) you may want to consider integrating the idea of “social objects” popularized by Hugh MacLeod instead of the “one thing most compelling about the brand”. I believe that there may be many social objects that could be used based on context. I’d be interested in your thoughts on these two considerations.

      We’ve tried a similar approach with smaller companies but they really struggle with the brand definition and differentiation aspects of the puzzle!

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    • http://twitter.com/annaobrien/status/2585890717 Anna

      Link: 7 Critical Elements of Your Social Media Strategy (by @jaybaer, via @kyleplacy) http://tr.im/rTJn (via @awgentry)

    • Pingback: makethemfans (Lamar Johnson)

    • http://twitter.com/makethemfans/status/3131976462 Lamar Johnson

      RT @tweetmeme 7 Critical Elements of Your Social Media Strategy http://bit.ly/kFb4J

    • http://twitter.com/andyamsler/status/3869410741 Andy Amsler

      RT @tweetmeme 7 Critical Elements of Your Social Media Strategy http://bit.ly/kFb4J

    • http://twitter.com/tjabif/status/4763135449 ‘Tunji John Abif

      Reading: 7 Critical Elements of Your Social Media Strategy | Integrated Marketing and Media http://bit.ly/kFb4J RT @tweetmeme

    • http://twitter.com/panah/status/5959857278 panah

      7 Critical Elements of Your #SocialMedia #Strategy http://ow.ly/EoK8

    • http://twitter.com/VisionFuelMedia/statuses/6433440913 VisionFuelMedia (Vision Fuel M

      Twitter Comment


      7 Critical Elements of Your Social Media Strategy [link to post] a good review – Posted using Chat Catcher

    • http://twitter.com/VisionFuelMedia/statuses/6433440913 VisionFuelMedia (Vision Fuel Media)

      Twitter Comment


      7 Critical Elements of Your Social Media Strategy [link to post] a good review

      Posted using Chat Catcher

    • http://twitter.com/visionfuelmedia/status/6433440913 Vision Fuel Media

      7 Critical Elements of Your Social Media Strategy http://bit.ly/4KYwfp a good review

    • http://twitter.com/jonsherman121/status/6507275207 Jonathan Sherman

      Are these 7 Crucial Elements in Your Social Media Strategy http://ow.ly/KmxT

    • http://twitter.com/littlemissjacob/status/7177667677 Ariadna Jacob

      RT @jaybaer 7 Critical Elements of Your Social Media Strategy | Integrated Marketing & Media http://bit.ly/h0y7b #dostream

    • trafford

      Blue ocean strategy is your friend. I think it is better to create new market space or a blue ocean rather than competing in the existing market

    • http://blog.ayudame.fr Erwan Montfort

      Hi Jason.
      First of all, thanks for all those articles weeks after weeks. Very inspiring :)
      Would it be possible for you to reactivate the download of your “Social Media Strategy Worksheet” ? It would be great. Thanks in advance. Erwan

    • http://twitter.com/_ayudame/status/8669237795 Erwan

      RE: @jaybaer Hi Jason.
      First of all, thanks for all those articles weeks after weeks. Very inspiring :)
      Would it be po… http://disq.us/azhkk

    • http://twitter.com/godeck/status/8674277639 Hanny Godeck

      7 Critical Elements of Your Social Media Strategy | Integrated Marketing and Media | Social Media Consulting – .. http://bit.ly/ap5cIk

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Sorry for the confusion on that. You should be able to get it in the Free Social Media Tools section in the top navigation.

    • http://twitter.com/ainsliehunter/status/9515133738 Ainslie Hunter

      7 Critical Elements of Your Social Media Strategy http://tr.im/2rco great find, using it to write a proposal for a client

    • http://twitter.com/kommc/status/15938056227 kommc

      7 Critical Elements of Your Social Media Strategy http://ow.ly/1Xh6j #in

    • http://twitter.com/ambercleveland/status/20151560308 Amber Cleveland

      7 Critical Elements of your Social Media Strategy http://dld.bz/pCeU – an older post that still has great value from @jaybaer

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    • http://twitter.com/davergallant Dave Gallant

      These are great Jay..

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