A few months ago, we published our Social Media Marketing Starter Kit (download HERE for free), a look at things to consider before tweeting, posting or blogging. As part of that process, we recommend you first address a team of questions that will help guide you through your journey. It involves quite a bit of honesty and self-awareness, but the process will help you build the foundation for all your future SM efforts. Here are five of the most vital questions.
1. What is my ultimate goal? We have a saying at Marcello Entertainment about social media activity – “just being there is not a win”. I tell all my clients this as often as possible. Simply setting up a Page on Facebook because millions of people interact there does not mean you’ve found success in social media. As yourself why you even want to be there. What about SM intrigues you? Do you have a bunch of content you plan to share or are you simply looking to gather more market information? Do you wish to be viewed as a daily source of inspiring information or are you looking to drive sales for a specific product? You absolutely have to address the “Why?” before even considering the “How?”
2. What is my “social media voice” going to be? This is one that seems to give a lot of brands some trouble. Who is going to run your social media efforts? Are you going to post as the brand or as an individual representing the brand? Will you present your voice in a more casual manner or is it all business? Does your communication style match that of your other marketing efforts (e.g. advertising, customer service, etc.)? A deliberate voice will go a long way to drive consistency during the customer experience.
3. Do I have a content creation and distribution plan? Sounds laborious, doesn’t it? Good, because the amount of effort you put into SM will determine the level of positive (or negative, for that matter) results you receive. I know several folks who build very detailed creation and distribution plans via customized calendars. I don’t personally get too detailed, but I absolutely have a planned approach to both producing content and communicating that via my various networks. Different types of content should be used for different media (blog vs. Facebook vs. Twitter, for example) and the way you distribute (and redistribute) that information will determine how it is received. Check out our “Flexible Content Distribution Example” for a peek into what we’re talking about.
4. What is the value I intend to provide? Kind of a big one here. I had a sit-down with one of my favorite clients recently and, after analyzing his existing Twitter account, I had to let him know that he was “taking the social out of social media“. Value can be defined in many different ways depending on your industry and brand approach, but it will never equate to utilizing social media channels to push out one-way messages in the same way you might use use print ads. You must engage, engage and, once you’ve engaged, engage some more. Don’t ever forget to be social. Provide thoughts, inspiration, content, unique points of view. Always ask yourself why anybody out there would follow you online.
5. How do I fuse my online efforts with my offline ones? Yes, it’s vital to think of both online and offline efforts as two sides to the same coin. 93% of consumers identify word of mouth as the most reliable source of information on products. And while most of us would assume that this information is spread mostly online due to ease of communication, research tells a different story. 83% of word of mouth messages are actually shared offline. No matter how awesome you are on SM outlets, nothing can replace hugs and handshakes. I’ve found that those who achieve the most success online are the same ones who find a seamless way to integrate in-the-flesh experiences.