In this world of sophiscated and complex technology and information people need to be acquainted and familiarise themselves with social media. Business, social and political spheres have been made easier by the effective use of social media.
Where exactly do you start?
Here are some ideas on the main topics you need to cover in creating a robust, yet realistic social media plan that will garner executive buy-in and a clear and simple path to success.
1. Create a big scenario of big opportunity of Social Media
Begin your social media plan with some striking statistics and thrilling quotes about the huge shift away from traditional publishing towards social media. If you wrote this plan five years ago, you would have leaned on the old media with quotes like this:
“Consumers are flocking to blogs, social-networking sites and virtual worlds. And they are leaving a lot of marketers behind.” – The Wall Street Journal
But now you can tell the big opportunity of social media by just relying on social media’s accomplishments.
Include internet tools like: 4 of the top 7 highest-traffic websites (Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Blogger) are social media websites. Don’t forget to mention the statistic like Facebook which has now seven hundred and seventy-three million + subscribers etc.
2. Define what Social Media is
Because social media is such a sophiscated phenomenon for many, you need to put concise parameters on what it is. However, don’t begin your plan with the definition of social media because it’s not as striking as the first section about the big opportunity. Get their attention first, and then you can go deep like the below statement.
“Social media is user-generated content on the internet. It’s created with inexpensive if not free technology, is easy to update and manage, and can reach a multitude audience or millions. It can be mere words in a blog, but also user-generated videos, photos, and audio. It can be interactive with crude comments from visitors. And as user-generated content, it does away with controls associated with traditional media – and most of all, it removes the need for big media.”
3. List Tangible and attainable Business Goals
If you don’t already have a social media plan, it’s very possible that your top management fears that Social Media is only a plaything. You have to show them you mean business. Tell them how you will use social media activities to:
• Build awareness
• Strengthen relationships with clients, prospects, and influencers
• Understand better your buyers and suppliers
• Improve customer service
• Identify new product ideas
• Increase web site traffic
• Improve search engine rankings
• Generate leads
• Generate sales
You don’t have to promise to do all these things. And make sure your goals will match top management’s goals. But whichever goals you choose, make them achievable, and include a measurement plan. Ask for a grace period (at least several months) for learning and experimentation until you have to start proving tangible results.
4. Plan a timeline of Steps
You can’t just push a button and have a full-fledged social media marketing program running full-swing. But don’t have to keep the management waiting for a long way, either. Break it to them how your idea is going to work, which may include:
• Time to define goals, objectives, and strategy
• Time to get trained on Social Media
• Time to determine team, either internally, choosing a Social Media consultant, or both
• Setting up accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube
• Finding your existing community of clients, prospects, and influencers on the main social media sites listed above, on niche social media sites, and on established industry blogger sites (if you determine your clients are not yet on Social Media, you may not have a plan!)
• Time to set up your own blog
• The sequence of social media sites you will concentrate your efforts
• Time needed for listening to each online community
• Time to create content, such as a blog (which is on-going), videos, and more
• Time to learn time-saving tools such as RSS feeds, Hoot suite, Bitly, and more
• Dates of pre-scheduled progress reports
• Write this timeline of steps on paper, not in stone. This is a working plan that you use every week, and change as you learn what works and what doesn’t.
5. Set Realistic Anticipations
Because social media revolves around so many free tools, and because it has become the darling of marketing practitioners everywhere, expectations run high. So you also need to help your team understand there’s no guarantee that everything will be a smooth sailing. Point out the following points:
• Social media is not a panacea: if your company or product they are not up to standard, social media is not going to make those things disappear.
• While many of the tools are free, it can take a substantial investment in time and consistent effort to build up a loyal following on the main social media sites
• Social media is not just another advertising channel – old-school product messages will go down in flames.
• There is a substantial learning curve of the technology, language, and culture of the various Social Media sites
• Social media is always evolving, so successful methods can stop working
• Success may require effort from a team, not just one person
6. Ask for Resources
Getting this plan accomplished will require resources. Don’t be shy, ask for help, be it training, people’s time, or budget to pay for consultants, website hosting fees, a video camera, or useful web applications you later determine you need. Because social media requires near constant attention, tell them you need a laptop with broadband access, and a smart phone with an unlimited web access plan, too.