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Think About Developing A Social Media Plan

In my last post, I presented five social media principles to help marketers approach social media from the perspective of having conversations and interactions with their customers vs. pushing out messages in the traditional way. In this companion post, I’m focusing on planning social media programs and have 10 criteria for you to keep in mind. Twice as many tips, same number of words!

1. Brand-led

What social media activities are consistent with your brand positioning?  Rather than start with “We have to have a Facebook page—let’s get one,” the better approach is to start with your brand and then think of social media activities and platforms that will help enhance its positioning, purpose, desired attributes or personality.

2. Theme-led

If you can build your brand-led social media activities around a specific theme, this will help pull everything together and be more impactful.  For example, if your overall intention is to position your brand around empowerment, your theme could be specific to facilitating entrepreneurship.

3. Product fit

Can you find programs that take advantage of things your company is good at or known for? If you can, they will have more credibility, authenticity and impact.

4. Customer interests

It’s not all about you! To have a conversation and interaction with your customers, you need ideas that appeal to them. What do they like? What do they care about? Many brands are just not interesting enough in their own right to engage their customers. These brands can improve their conversation-worthiness by focusing on a purpose. Less about what they do, more about what they stand for.

5. Other marketing program fit

Do your social media programs take advantage of your other marketing programs? Social media programs that build on advertising or promotion activity or sponsorship events have a head start. Before creating an entirely new program, consider whether there are opportunities to build a social media element to marketing activities already planned or underway.

6. Social media fit

Do your programs take full advantage of social media? Each social media platform is great for some things, less suited for others. Once you have your idea, consider its adaptability to different environments. Not every program needs to on Facebook!

7. Impact

Will your brand be recognized for what it’s contributing? Is the program meaningful in terms of the number and quality of people it’s likely to reach? If you associate with activities that many other brands are already targeting, you may not stand out from the crowd. If you pick something too obscure, you won’t attract any interest.

8. Efficiency

What’s the benefit vs. the cost? What is the expected ROI of a program in terms of the return compared to the time, money and effort expended to get it off the ground? Cost should be easy to estimate. It may be more difficult to find appropriate metrics for the benefit side of the equation but if you are clear on your objectives, you should find reasonable approximations.

9. Risk assessment

How much risk are you incurring with the program (an especially important issue with programs that encourage consumer generated content)?  Obviously, the less the better.

10.  Long term vs. short term

Can the program evolve and continue onward in the social media space or is it a short term promotion? If the program will be around for some time, do you have the resources to support it (including people to tweet or maintain a Facebook page, for example)

Anything else to add to the list?

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