Social Media: Do You Need a Plan?

When you’re working on social media marketing for your company, do you need a plan, or should you just jump in and encourage everyone else to do the same?

Making no plans has the advantage of giving you a very natural look at social media sites. You’re really there as a member of the community, you’re not selling anything, you’re just being yourself…

This is great until that intern’s wet T-shirt contest pictures turn up on the search engine results page for your company name. Or until someone in the back office wants to see the results of your social media campaign.

Unplanned, entirely natural social media can give great results and it has done so for many companies, but it requires talent. Possibly even charm. Planned social media, on the other hand, can be successful even for companies without much natural networking skill.

Our social media maven, Josepha, says that “social media does have devil may care elements, but it needs to take place within a solid structure, or you’ll find yourself accidentally talking about asphalt.” She does social media for a roofer, so this may be more of a danger for her than for most, but I think we all know what she means.

You can receive a Social Media Strategy Plan from us. We look at your company, your resources, and our extensive experience, and develop a step by step plan for you. But there are actions between random chance and buying a plan.

Here are some good preparatory steps:

  • Check with KnowEm to see whether your name and company name are available on major social media sites. If so, go get ’em.
  • Use the Social Media Firehose to see who’s talking about you or your primary keywords. Use this information to identify places where your potential customers hang out online.
  • Determine the goals you plan to meet with social media.  The classic SWOT analysis can be a useful starting point for this (we have a form). You want to be able to show your strengths and take advantage of your opportunities, while neutralizing your threats and weaknesses. Identify the areas where social media can help.
  • Settle on the who, what, where, when, how, and why of the social media plan for your organization. Then get everyone on board. Developing policies and sharing them with staff is a wise plan. You’d think everyone would know that kvetching about clients on Twitter is unwise, but it’s clear that lots of Tweeters don’t know any better. One of them might be in your office.
  • Plan how you’ll measure your results, keep track of your investment of time and money, and determine where to invest more and where to pull back as your strategy evolves.

With your plan in place, you can relax and allow the spontaneity of plan-free social media to take over, secure in the knowledge that you’re heading in the right direction.


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