June 28, 2011

How to create a social media plan in 4 beefy steps

This is part three of our three-part Social Media Planning series, broken down into the following phases:

  1. Social media analysis
  2. Social media strategy
  3. Social media plan (below)

Deltina HayIn parts 1 and 2 we’ve looked at how to create a social media analysis and strategy.

Now it’s time for four beefy steps for completing a social media plan:

1. Outline a phased plan

  • Using recommendations from your social media strategy, outline a phased plan.
  • Make your first phase as manageable as possible based on the organization’s resources.
  • Subsequent phases should evaluate existing tools and goal fulfillment.

Here is an example of a two-phase plan:

Phase one

  • Optimize existing website
  • Start a blog for the organization
  • Optimize or create optimized accounts with some social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • Create optimized accounts with and populate media communities such as Flickr and YouTube.
  • Integrate all of these accounts using an integration tool like Ping.fm or HootSuite.
  • Use an analytics/metrics tool such as PostRank or Radian6 to measure progress and success.

Phase two

  • Evaluate which tools are yielding results. Identify if the problem is the tool or the approach used to reach the target market.
  • Eliminate tools that are no longer feasible or alter your approach to using them.
  • Depending on resources, add some additional tools to the social media plan such as Foursquare, Delicious, Digg, SlideShare or Eventbrite.
  • Depending on resources, ramp up the use of existing tools like Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube by joining groups or adding applications.
  • Add an additional blog or Twitter account if applicable.
  • Assess your choice of analytics/metrics tool and consider adding more tools.

2. Flesh out the plan

  • For each tool in your outline, define specific strategies and tactics to use while implementing the tool.
  • Include a general strategy for applying the tool specifically to the organization’s goals and target market.
  • Include tactics for managing and optimizing the tool based on the organization’s resources.
  • Research effective tactics and strategies for each tool, and investigate how your competitors are leveraging them.
  • Plan how you will integrate the tool with the rest of the tools in your social media plan.
  • Plan how you will measure the tool’s success within your chosen social media analytics/metrics tool.

3. Time line and guidelines

  • A good strategy and plan will take time to implement and establish. Include a realistic time line for achieving the organization’s goals.
  • Don’t forget the importance of transparency, authenticity and interaction in this type of market — as well as the fact that anything you post is not going away. As a result, don’t skimp on preparing detailed social media guidelines and policies.

4. Integration and metrics

This post originally appeared as a Social Media Tip of the Day entry from Social Media Power.Deltina Hay, a partner in Socialmedia.biz, is an author and educator who develops online curricula on social media and other Internet marketing topics. She also helps businesses prepare their content for semantic search and big data analysis. Contact her, follow her on Twitter and Google Plus, or leave a comment below.

  • http://blog.sysomos.com 40deuce

    Great advice in here Deltina!!

    Cheers,
    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  • http://sproutsocial.com Brit at SproutSocial

    Such a detailed plan, Deltina! Beyond simply setting up an account on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, it's so important that companies really measure the activity that their pages are receiving as well as analyze how they can meet their goals. Social media tools are a great way to centralize and help declutter everything that is going on in the social media space — so brands can focus and find exactly where their customers are talking about them so they can respond quickly.

  • http://www.socialmediapower.com Deltina Hay

    Nicely put, Brit. I agree!