Six Steps for Setting Up Social Media Strategy

I went through a “101” call a couple weeks back and it brought back the reminder of that, while some of us do this social media stuff 24/7, most marketers and small businesses are still just getting started figuring out what to do with their Facebook profile/group/page,  YouTube channel/video, Twitter thingy. A lot of people I talk to are hesitant to even set up social media profiles because they’re sure there won’t be much time to learn about how to use them effectively — much less actually see a return on their invested time.

I made a few notes while listening to these concerns and questions and afterwards followed up with the group with six steps to getting started with social media. I wanted to share it here too, to help you start building your toolbox.

Six-Step Process for Organizing Social Media Goals & Strategies

  1. Set your objectives for using social media. There are no “wrong” goals, as long as they tie into your other business objectives. Some objectives may include driving sales, raising awareness, creating online buzz, connecting with your friends/fans/customers or using the channels as additional outlets for marketing.
  2. Determine the resources you can dedicate to social media. If you have a team, great. One person, great. One half of one-half of a person’s time, sure. Just make sure that you’re allocating the appropriate amount of resources that are in-line with your overall business objectives.
  3. Decide what social channels help you achieve the objectives you’ve set and align with the resources you have available. You don’t have to have a presence on every social media website to be successful. PGA TOUR player Stewart Cink only uses Twitter, but he does so really well and is the most popular golfer on Twitter. Each channel (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) is unique in how the users engage, who uses it and even where its more popular. Pick the channel or channels that will reach the people you want to reach, fit with the resources and content you can produce and the outcomes you want to achieve.  [Hint: the Groundswell Social Technographics Profile Tool is a great resource to help you identify who & what your audience is doing online.]
  4. Don’t reinvent the wheel just for your social media profiles. Use the content you’re already producing for your website & newsletters (can go into Facebook notes, videos, photo galleries, etc). Make your social channels another extension of your plans for marketing, communications & digital efforts.
  5. Use insights from Facebook (Page Insights) and YouTube (Insights), as well as third-party sites like www.tweetcounter.com and TwitAlyzer.com to track your growth and successes. Hootsuite.com and Bit.ly let you track clicks on links posted on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. Measure everything and use the data to back up your gut instincts about what goes well or not as good as expected.
  6. Try new things! and share your successes or hardships so we can create a better community to help each other.

What do you think? I welcome any comments, challenges or additional tips that will help others get more comfortable with starting out, or resetting their goals for using social media to connect.

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Get busy and learn!

I’m creating a new list of places to educate yourself about social media, social networking, digital marketing, PR 2.0 and whatever else you want to call it. This list is in the spirit of #followfriday on Twitter (which I’ve been tagged in but never reciprocated, sorry!) and in response to questions about where to find more about social media. This is by no means a comprehensive or final list — there is no easy way to rank the 900+ people I follow on Twitter and the (seemingly) 100+ blogs and emails I try to stay up with. (I’ve even avoided going back to Tweet Deck b/c I think it’ll take a day to organize all the people and keywords I’m following!)

I attempted this last year, in the form of my favorite PR blogs. In the [near] future, I hope to publish more specific lists for those of you interested in just social media, sports marketing, golf-industry, young professionals, corporate examples or something else. For now, though, here’s a list (mostly from the top-of-my-head) of where to start if you want to get busy and start learning.

Who to Follow on Twitter:

(tip- if you haven’t already, get to www.twitter.com and sign up. Follow these people and follow the people they are following and talking to. Follow whatever interests you, say hi to a few people along the way and make Twitter usable for you.)

What to read, whether on the site, in email or your RSS reader:

I’ve left off a ton of people who are probably just as deserving of a shoutout. Feel free to nominate more sources of wisdom and knowledge in the comments and I’ll update this list accordingly.

Don’t Kill Your Community Before It Starts

Earlier today, I participated in a webinar called “Community Killers”. It was presented by Miles Sims of Small World Labs. Miles gave some advice on what Small World Labs sees as choices that can lead to destroying, or at least hampering the success, of online communities.  Below are the four ‘community killers’ and some thoughts of mine, blended together.

1. Being too Tech-Centric
It gets easy when building a new online space to get caught up in all the cool things that can be done, especially on a white label solution. People get excited and start thinking ‘we need more features, right now!’ and ‘Our users [or CEO] will love this!’

Remember that features come and go, but the community needs a reason to stick around.

  • Begin with the end in mind – what is the purpose of building the community?
  • Start small and focused and build out your platform as the community grows
  • Add the bells and whistles as the community requests them – listen to what they want!

Without a complete strategy on how to add and manage content or who is in charge of creating content, the community site is in danger of becoming all flash, no substance. There is enough flash online. Give your community substance.

2. Lack of relevance to customers
Building an online community is not like building a baseball field. Do not go into this project  thinking ‘If we build it, they will come.‘ Simply put, the community space is not about the company. It is about the customer. Give them a reason to join the party and a chance to participate in shaping the brand.

3. Implementing Web 1.0 Strategies in a 2.0 Environment

Companies that don’t ‘get it’ will treat an online community like just another marketing campaign.  They don’t want to lose control, so they see no reason for the company, or its employees on the site, to be open, transparent or authentic. Those that don’t get it are thinking ‘push our message’ and not ‘what can the community tell us?’

Brands that get the strategies behind social media understand:

  • The difference between what people will view and what they’ll share.
  • If people are passionate about the community goals, they will be committed to making it grow
  • Ask the question ‘What does your community empower people to do?’

4. Poor Metrics
Everyone wants to base success on the the number of users signed up in a community. That isn’t the best way to measure the successfulness of a campaign. Use this rule of thumb: If it’s important to your business, measure it!

As community spaces mature, companies are seeing increasing customer loyalty, adoption of new products/services and cost savings. These are good things to measure, if they fall within your business objectives. When a business ties its goals directly to the metrics, they will have an accurate gague of success. Also, don’t forget to measure what the company invests into building, moderating and maintaining its online community.

Finally, when you do report on the number of users in a community, make sure to differentiate between actives and registered, lurkers and superusers. Not every user is counted equally!

Thanks to Miles and Small World Labs for providing some insight into what makes online communities fail and succeed. Now I pose the question to you, what other decisions lead to the road of online community failure? On the contrary, what are the best choices that can be made to help a community succeed?

Taking in all of Blog Orlando

It’s the end of the day at Blog Orlando (@blogorlando, as we’ve been typing all day) and I’m just now logging into my blog to post a “hey I’m here, it is great” update. Blog Orlando has been a totally different experience than I anticipated, but in very positive ways. No, I didn’t hit all the sessions I wanted to. No, I haven’t met all the people I was hoping to (yet). Yes, I’m tired and dreading the two-hour drive back to Jacksonville tnoight.

The sessions and session leaders have been terrific. So have the audiences, as participation is also key to a good unconference. The conversation channels on Twitter allowed us to keep a pulse on what other sessions were talking about too. To get a feel for what that’s like, try searching BlogOrlando on Twitter Search and reading the updates.

I plan to publish my notes as soon as my mind stops buzzing long enough to put some concise thoughts into them and make them share-worthy. I attended sessions on Shiny New Objects, Internal Training, Southwest Airlines Blog, Online Video, and the Orlando Scene, along with two awesome keynotes…so my thoughts on these are forthcoming. If you also have posted recaps relating to Blog Orlando or the sessions, get me the links so I can also repost them. We’ve re-ignited buzz today, let’s keep it going!

Surfin’ down to Blog Orlando

This weekend I”ll be attending Blog Orlando 3 at Rollins College. It’s a one day un-conference for the Central Florida community of new media avids to come together, share and learn new things. It’ll be my first Blog Orlando experience (I only moved to Florida five months ago) and I’m excited to see what its all about.

One of my big picture to-do items for the remainder of 2008 is to increase my contributions to my online communities. I’ve spent the last 12-16 months reading, studying and asking questions about social media, PR 2.0 and the like. My experiences so far have been life-changing, literally. Before I left Oregon, I started helping others learn more about the theories, tools and getting started in new media. Lately though, my focus on giving back has been more internally driven. Learning a new side of business, a new company culture and starting to make my footprints here have set me back in giving into my online communities as much as I would like. Hence, another reason why I’m excited to attend Blog Orlando.

I don’t get many weekends in Orlando, so I plan on taking full advantage. I figure the solo trip is an excuse to start my Couch Surfing adventures on the East Coast. The Orlando CS community isn’t as large as those on the left coast, but I get the impression it’s a hospitable one. I’m also hoping to check out Halloween Horror at Universal Studios one night, as I heard it is a can’t miss scare-fest. I recently purchased annual passes to Sea World and Universal that I might use on Sunday if I can round up a group to go with (no one likes to see Shamu alone!)

In short, I’m really looking forward to this weekend’s adventures. I follow many of the speakers at Blog Orlando on Twitter, including Sarah Perez, David Alston and Phil Gomes, and look forward to seeing them in person. Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@ltbeyer) to connect before/during Blog Orlando or to get updates from the sessions. I’ll also be posting news, recaps and notes here as I can.

Social Media 101, by Me

Below is the presentation I gave at the Oregon Capital PRSA Chapter meeting today. It is titled “Social Media 101: Adding New Media to Your PR Toolbox.” Feel free to email me if you would like the notes or a PDF version of the presentation. I posted my favorite PR blog links below, so make sure to take a look at those if you are looking for gurus to follow. This list is full of them!

Please let me know what you think or if you have any questions, in the comments. Let’s talk!

PS – If you love the template as much as I do, check out more from Presentation Helper (UK) here

My favorite PR blogs

My presentation at Oregon Capital PRSA today went great — especially considering I was still adding slides up to an hour before the presentation and practiced with my notes while driving up to Salem. (and you never would’ve known, would you?) I had lots of fun conversing with the PRSA group and creating discussion about social media and how to get started learning and applying it, professionally and personally.

I’m waiting on my presentation to be converted by SlideShare, so in the meantime I will post a set of links to my favorite PR and social media blogs. Start reading, commenting, subscribing and following these people and their thoughs. I think you’ll learn a ton from them, like I have. Please don’t forget to add my “Kool Aid” to your subscription list and blogroll too.

Engage in PR by Kyle Flaherty – engageinpr.com
The Bad Pitch Blog by Kevin Dugan & Richard Laermer – badpitch.blogspot.com
Strategic Public Relations by Kevin Dugan – http://prblog.typepad.com/strategic_public_relation/
Young PR by Paull Young – http://youngie.prblogs.org
Common Sense PR by Eric Eggertson – commonsensepr.com
WordWise by Dan Santow – http://wordwise.typepad.com/blog
Copyblogger by Brian Clark – copyblogger.com
PR 2.0 by Brian Solis – briansolis.com
Scatterbox by Stevin Silvers – stevensilvers.com
PR Squared by Todd Defren – pr-squared.com
my PRception by Christi Eubanks – http://christi2006.prblogs.org

Special recognition for blog that inspired the format for my new blog, which encompasses work & play & favorites & rants:
Come here. Let me tell you a few sangs by Kait Swanson – http://somesangs.wordpress.com

Talk to you soon —