Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Social Media Process: Step 5

As I have shared throughout these five steps, social media is an involved and engaged process. We need to present at every step, and that includes after the inital time investment is complete. This is where the final step in my Social Media Process comes into playManage and Monitor.

By now we are participating in our social media platform(s). We should be actively managing our content, followers, and interactions. Making sure questions and comments are being responded to appropriately, value-added content is being generated, and we are staying fresh are all crucial to proper management.

The monitoring aspect should be opening a dialogue within our organization. What is working? What is not working? How can we be better? Reviewing our Plan from Step 2, what tactics do we need to adjust? Are we meeting our goals and updating them for the next 30, 60, 90 days?

This Manage and Monitor step is an ongoing process and must continue. In fact, the whole 5-Step Social Media Process must constantly continue to incorporate new technologies and trends.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Next week I'm going start a series of posts on the big picture of social media and venues you may not have heard about.

Connect with me at www.lbspeaksonline.com or www.facebook.com/lbspeaksonline.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Social Media Process: Step 4

Step 4 in my Social Media Process is to Engage and Interact.

Having completed Step 1, Step 2, and Step 2 (Side Note), we are now comfortable and familiar with who constitutes our audience. This is important because it is allows us to tailor our messages and themes to the demographics of that audience. Topics we discuss with a group of male tweens/teens is often significantly different from topics discussed with middle-aged females.

According to our schedule of consistency (Step 2), we want to start actively using our account. Maybe we have formed a committee to set the theme for our week's interaction, we are working on a particular campaign, or we have an altogether different strategy. However we are going to handle postings, here are a few important reminders:
  • Social media is not about us. It is about our followers. It is about giving them an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with organizations, like us, that have products and/or services they love.
  • Give people a reason to connect. Followers connect because there is a benefit. Maybe followers are privvy to special information and discounts, they get to review products, participate in contests with prizes, whatever the reason - give a reason.
  • DO NOT information dump. Distributing information is an invaluable aspect, but it should not be the sole focus of our interaction. Pose thought-provoking questions, observations, acknowledgements of clients/patrons/members, and musings.
  • ALWAYS respond. If a follower posts a question or comment on our social media platform, they should expect a response within two to four hours MAXIMUM. Now, if we post information about an upcoming event and one of our followers comments, "I'll be there!" we can take the opportunity to interact and comment back, "it will be great to see you," or we can let the opportunity pass. However, it is absolutely positively beyond necessary to respond immediately if one of our followers comments, "what time does the event start?" Not responding could mean that follower doesn't show up and our efforts have been wasted.
  • Tailor messages. We need to tailor our message to the demographics of our audience AND to the social media platform. For instance, if we are on Twitter and Facebook, we would not share the same exact message on both platforms. Why? Because we can use hashtags and mentions in Twitter, but they would look impersonal and out of place in Facebook.
  • Share stories. Sharing stories makes us more personable and real. It makes our followers feel more connected to us and it opens the door for them to share and participate.
  • Be fun. We shouldn't be all business all the time. Occasionally, post something about what is going on in our office. Maybe we are enjoying cake for Sandy's birthday or we're having a taco lunch buffet to celebrate reaching an internal goal.
  • Include pictures and graphics. Give our audience that additional dose of personalism and connection.
  • Consistency is key. Stay on track and post according to our schedule. Two to four times a week keeps us relevant and interesting, without inundating our followers.
Graphic Copyright (c) 2006 - 2010 Tenaya Group, LLC. Article by Brian Phipps. 

 People are often worried about quantity - how many followers do I have? Why don't I have more? I need more! We should be worried about the quality of our followers. I would rather have 100 followers who are thoroughly engaged and care about my services than 1,000 followers who just receive my postings. Strong content along with engagement and interaction attracts more followers.

Connect with me at www.lbspeaksonline.com or at www.facebook.com/lbspeaksonline.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Social Media Process: Step 3

We've come to Step 3 in my Social Media Process. By now, we should have completed the Where Are You in Social Media worksheet from Step 1, addressed the numerous issues mentioned in Step 2, and have taken into account the different demographics and purposes of each social media platform from Step 2 (Side Note).

Step 3, we actually get to Create Our Presence. It seems like a significant way into the process before we are able to do this, but hopefully we understand why after reading through the previous steps. We are already leaps and bounds ahead of others because, according to a study done by Valeria Maltoni of Conversation Agent, 86% of All People Don't Know the Plan Comes First. Since we have invested the time in planning up front, we won't need to backtrack and start over like so many before us.

On to creating our presence. Depending on the time and resources we have allotted, we may want to start with creating just one presence, the one most dominantly reflected in our Where Are You in Social Media worksheet from Step 1. This allows us to create and tweak our social media routine before adding another platform.

When creating our account, if possible, it is important we have a centralized e-mail address or login credentials. This allows ease of separation between employee personal and work accounts.

Once the account is created, we must be diligent in making sure it is a consistent reflection of our organization.
  • Make the logo and color scheme recognizable to our audience(s). 
  • Use our logo, tagline, etc. to incorporate branding.
  • Complete all information. For example, Facebook has an 'Info' tab. We need to have our address, hours, phone number, web site, and, if appropriate, our disclaimer posted.
  • Ensure settings are where we want them to be so we are allowing the engagement and interactivity to meet the goals in our plan.
Once we have created our presence, ask a select group of people to connect with us and test features like posting text and photos, deleting posts, monitoring activity, etc. This is our opportunity to experiment before we get to full on engagement.

What organization features your favorite social media presence?

Connect with me at www.lbspeaksonline.com or at www.facebook.com/lbspeaksonline.  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Social Media Process: Step 2 (Side Note)

After my last post, I received several private e-mails asking about demographics for popular sites. Here is a little information that may help.

In February, Royal Pingdom published a highly informative article, "Study: Ages of Social Network Users." The graphic below, along with other valuable information, accompanied the article.

Age distribution on social network sites

However, we know how rapidly social media and its demographics change. The amazing Tammy Camp published "Crafting Content To Social Media Demographics" just a few weeks ago in October. Excellent information accompanied her graphic below as well.

I applaud those of you who were question the demographics. Knowing our audience as well as their demographics gives us great precision in creating valuable and engaging content. If the information we provide isn't relevant, than neither are we.

Completing the Where Are You in Social Media worksheet from Step 1, addressing issues mentioned in Step 2, and taking into account the different demographics and purposes of each social media platform, will prepare you to move on to Step 3 with me next week.

Connect with me at www.lbspeaksonline.com or at www.facebook.com/lbspeaksonline.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Social Media Process: Step 2

In my last post, I shared that the first step in my fabulously festive "Laurie Boettcher Speaks Social Media Process" is to Listen and provided a link to a worksheet that can help tally those results.

The next step in my process is to Plan. That sounds simple enough, but what is it that we plan? Let's stop and ask ourselves, our group, our committee, our organization, or whoever is involved:
  • Why do we want to get involved in social media?
  • What do we hope to achieve?
  • What platforms are the best fit for me/us?
  • Who is going to be involved in our social media efforts?
  • Who will be responsible for posting / commenting / maintaining / archiving/ etc.?
  • What training do those individuals need and who will provide it?
  • What is our schedule of consistency?
  • How much time will be allotted?
  • How will we promote our social media presence(s)?
  • How will we define success in 30, 60, 90, and 180 days?
  • Do we have a social media policy?
Know that these questions don't need elaborate answers, but they do need to be addressed. The more we open the dialogue about our wants, needs, and expectations, the better we are able to evaluate our efforts and make adjustments where necessary.

It is important to be realistic with each question. Maybe our definition of success in 30 days is that we have made a decision about what social media platforms we will use, who will be responsible, and training is in progress. Unless we have unlimited time, resources, and budget, social media will become a chore if we aren't realistic in our planning and approach. It shouldn't be that. It should be a tool(s) we use to interact and engage with our followers on their terms.

The worksheet and tools that accompany this step are currently only available to my clients. In the new year, I will be making it available for download.

What is the most challenging part of the social media planning process for you and/or your organization?

Connect with me at http://www.lbspeaksonline.com/ or at www.facebook.com/lbspeaksonline.