Social Media Strategy in 7 Steps

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Are you ready to add some “Why” to your “How”? Tired of chasing shiny objects, and setting up Twitter and Facebook accounts with clear direction, or social media metrics?

Then this is the blog post for you.

I presented today at Social Media AZ, a new conference for Arizonans interested in, and practicing social media. Unbelievable turnout (more than 260) for a first-time event, and tremendous kudos to Fred Von Graf, who organized it practically solo.

This presentation: “Why Before How: The Keys to Developing a Social Media Strategy in 7 Steps” also formed the basis for my recent MarketingProfs Webinar.

The 7 Steps to Creating a Social Media Strategy

Before you begin, commit to worrying about social media tools last, not first. Why? Because tools will change. They always do. There was a time when Netscape seemed invincible. Yahoo, too. Myspace also. If you fall in love with tools, you’ll constantly be changing directions, with no real plan to guide your way.

1. What’s Your Pitch?
The elevator pitch is dead. Can you describe what your company does in 120 characters or less?

2. What’s the Point?
What type of program is this? Awareness, Sales, or Loyalty? Pick one.

3. What’s Your Relationship with Your Audience?
What does your audience know about you today?

  • Nothing
  • Aware of you, but never acted
  • Acted once
  • Repeat actions/enthusiasts
  • Advocates

Pick up to two of these segments to focus upon, but make sure they are adjacent on this scale. It’s too confusing to have a social media strategy that targets advocates AND people that have never heard of you. That would be two strategies, not one.

4. How Does Your Audience Use Social Media?
Using the Forrester Social Technographics Ladder, understand how your target audience (as defined by gender, age, and geography) uses social media. If your audience skews older, you may not want to engage in a lot of “make a video” contests, since that segment indexes low on the “Creator” scale.

You can play with the Social Technographics Ladder data right here:

5. What’s Your One Thing?
What’s the soul of your brand. What’s the one thing that defines you – and it’s not features and benefits. Volvo = Safety. Apple = Innovation. Disney = Magic. What’s on the other side of your = sign?

Note: This is not easy to figure out. You may need to engage in some brand anthropology, and have an agency help you find your one thing.

6. How Will You Be Human?
Social media is about people, not logos. How will you let down your guard? If you’re a small company, congratulations, this should be pretty easy. If you’re a big company, how can you act small again?

7. How Will You Measure Success?
Lots of ways to measure social media success, so make sure you determine your social media metrics BEFORE you get started. I recommend picking three social media metrics to track. Appropriate metrics differ based on what your objective is for the program. See the slide deck for more details on social media metrics. Also, see amazing stuff from Olivier Blanchard, and a killer Webinar from Beth Harte.

Now, you can worry about tools, and outposts, and social media tactics.

To help you figure all this out, you might want to download my free social media strategy worksheet. It will help you define objectives, your audience, how you will be human and your social media metrics.

Social Media Strategy Worksheet from Jay Baer at Convince and Convert

As a social media consultant, I specialize in helping companies create and implement social media strategy. Social media strategy consulting details here.



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