Getting Started: Planning Your Social Media Strategy

Think about this process as developing your own Social Sphere of Influence. Take the aerial view of your business today and where you want it to go in the near future and in the long-term. What are your goals?

Not all elements may be appropriate for your business and you need not tackle every facet all at once. Even pros like Mari Smith, a renowned maven in Facebook, suggest that embracing manageable efforts in sequence might be best for many of us. Dani Babb on Fox Business suggested just getting started and that you may make mistakes along the way.

 The idea is to do some planning. You may want to outsource your online business management at the beginning when the setup is more labor intensive and while you learn. Gradually you can take it over as you are able to accommodate the requirements of time and resources in your organization. Or you may decide to continue with outside guidance as the Social Sphere expands. For example, I heard that Comcast has doubled their social media staff doing customer service from about 7 to 14-15 in the last year. Prepare for success.

Speaking of success, you might like to know about some real results before we get started. “The world’s most valuable brands. Who’s most engaged?,” a study prepared by Wetpaint and Altimeter, demonstrated that revenues increased by 18% by using social media (http://www.engagementdb.com).

So let’s get started. Make a list of what you want and need your Social Sphere of Influence to do for you. What does that list look like?

Consumer connection – Is that:

  • Retention
  • Finding new consumers
  • Education
  • Building relationships
  • Getting feedback from consumers
  • Increasing sales?

Other Initiatives:

  • Finding, talking to investors
  • Introducing new products, new services

What else do you need to do?

Some of the forms beyond your website that you can put in your Social Sphere might include:

  • Blogs
  • White papers, articles, newsletters
  • Social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and an ever-growing list of large and niche networks

Each choice offers different opportunities. Each offers the possibilities to have different as well as several voices. Formats can be intriguing. Twitter’s short format can be challenging. Each has its own place and may or may not fit with your plan. Any and all can be viral. So a good consumer experience has an excellent chance of being shared.

Take blogs, for instance. Blogs can look like a website with the look and feel, navigation and sections for Services, About, Contact et al. The difference should be the immediacy of news that’s regularly updated from once a month to once a week. This is the Podium point-of-view. Your voice. Representing your company’s voice.

But the blog can be opened up to receive comments from readers, consumers, and the entire Spheriverse. Now it becomes a two-way superhighway of discussion, feedback and response to that feedback. An ongoing conversation. This has the power to be exponentially expansive and rewarding – for both your business and your consumer.

 Articles, white papers, press releases, and newsletters are also a way to put out your voice, your opinions, and your announcements. But your website and all the parts of your Social Sphere will bring conversation back to you. It’s your job to plan the management of receiving and responding to those messages.

The social media each have their own channel of audience to offer. LinkedIn has professionals and folks looking to hire and be hired. There are groups to join to begin conversations. You can seek out and make important connections with people looking for answers. Consumers are everywhere in all the social spaces. Your approach to each will probably be a little different with each one. Certainly the confinement and environment of the formats and technologies of each will impact the messages that you design.

As time goes on, no doubt the Spheriverse will continue to expand at a rapid pace of cyber speed. Choices will increase. But the concept of the two-way dialogue remains constant. The challenge is in managing the communications most effectively. Enjoy and grow with the movement.