One of my favorite things to watch after a sporting event is the interview with the coaches. Inevitably the losing coach talks about how they should have scored more points. If the team just did… they would have won. Well of course they would of won if they had more points than the other team. That is the point of playing.
The reason for the loss is typically the failure to execute the plan. Whatever it may have been.
Your business needs a plan if it is going to use social media. Without one you will have wasted effort and if it were a sport you will not score.
Any idea, plan, or purpose may be place in the mind through repetition of thought. – Napoleon Hill
Components of A Social Media Plan
The jury is still deliberating on what form the social media plan should be. Should it be a marketing plan? Should it be a customer service plan? Is it a sales plan? Or is a social media plan really a networking plan? How about a combination?
If you search the Internet far and wide you will find a number of answers. Right now not a single one of them is in the wrong. So the correct answer for your business is to have a social media plan that meets your desired goals.
The first component of your social media plan is to have stated goals. How are you going to keep score and know that you are on the right path? Whatever your goal is, it must align with the goals of your business. Otherwise you will not be achieving anything of value.
The second component is defining how you are going to interact in the social media realm. Will you be self-serving (not really wise), conversational, providing free help, or simply commenting? Whatever your interaction will be it has to match the persona for your business.
Third component of your social media plan is when do you plan to engage. You have probably heard that time can be wasted in social media. That may even be a large worry for you. Determining the best time to be online needs to be a part of your plan. This means that you need to know when your audience is on and what the rhythm of the conversation is. This does not mean you will have scripted conversation, but you will be active when your desired audience will be listening.
The fourth component is to know when and where to promote specials or sales for your business. Not every platform is suited for specials. Depending where you promote your specials/sales, you better have the ability to meet the demands that your efforts can make. One key thing to remember is that when you promote these specials/sales it is best to do it in a conversation. Just shouting it out may attract some visitors but might not be the real clients you want.
The fifth component is to assign who will execute your social media plan. There are some schools of thought that should be assigned to marketing or outsourced. The latter is definitely not a wise thing to do and the traditional departments just don’t meet the holy grail of social media: engagement. This is where your business can really blaze a trail. The most successful businesses that have been using social media have had non-traditional roles lead the conversation. Example: Ford had its mechanics tweet and Starbucks has its key customer relationship experts, the barista, lead the conversation. Who would your customers really like to hear from?
The measurement of interest is the sixth component of your social media plan. Think of this as your milestones to measure progress towards your goals. Measurement of interest is not just seeing who carries your message, but also about how many people actually talk about your market, products, competition, and other items that affect your business. Your plan needs to discuss how this will be measured and what that data means. Key point: this is an active listening process.
One fear businesses have about using social media is a lack of control. Can people post stupid things? Sure enough. Just like someone can walk into your physical location and make a stupid comment, there is no difference. I am talking about a free-for-all approach, but you should not be so draconian that it shuts conversation completely down. Your social media plan should develop conversation with your business, other customers, and anyone else who is interested in your market. By generating this conversation you will learn things you never knew about you, your competition, and your market.
A good plan… executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. – George S. Patton
No matter what your social media plan is going to be, you need to execute it. Tweek what does not work and allow for team to execute the best they know how. Failure to execute always fails 100%.
So if social media were a sporting event and you are the coach, what would your interview be at the end of the match? Would you be talking about just needing to score, “a few more points” or will you be discussing how execution of your plan, although not perfect, kicked the other team’s….?
If you have a plan and you execute it for your business you will G.E.T. P.A.I.D.
By John Hester