July 15, 2013

With social media, you need to do more than forage

Heronavfood

Passivity & lack of focus won’t get the deal done

This is the first of a three-part series. Also see:
Part two: Are you a social media marketing trapper?
Part three: Hunting the big game of long-term clients

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, businesses, nonprofits, Facebook administrators, anyone with a Facebook page.

Chris AbrahamWhen you put lots of energy, time, and passion — but no plan — into your social media marketing and PR campaigns, you’re a forager. And you surely won’t starve foraging. You’ll always be fed. Social media foraging does get protein in the pot, though that protein is generally more in the form of grubs than it is prime grade lean steak. As they say, “look under enough rocks and you’ll eventually find a snake” (to eat). And, growing your followership, engaging heartily and consistently, and building up your Klout and reputation means that you’ll increase your snake-finding opportunities. But what you’re really doing is setting up a system where you know where to look and under which rocks.

While this is an excellent first step, it’s very passive and generates relatively little meat for your family, while also easily being depleted as you evolve from being a lone wolf to joining a tribe, evolving into a village, a town, and a city. Continue reading

November 26, 2012

Should you farm out some of your social media chores?

Why a hybrid approach may be the best solution

Target audience: Businesses, brands, marketing and communication professionals, SEO specialists, agencies, general public.

Chris AbrahamI just got off the phone with Andrea Howard, president of Social Media Maxima, a company I’d never heard of — but i’m impressed with what she’s doing.

Social Media Maxima doesn’t take over all of your social media content creation — unless you really want them to. Instead, they focus on posting relevant, industry-specific content three times per week. The content is provided by the client from agreed-upon sources culled by their research experts. (Disclosure: Socialmedia.biz offers comparable services for businesses that want us to manage, or supplement, their social accounts.) Continue reading

March 19, 2012

4 simple steps to measuring social media success


Image on BigStockPhoto by suravid

Deltina HayMost social media strategists agree that there is no one, established framework to measure social media success. However, there are tactics you can adjust and apply to any social media strategy to help create a framework that works for you.

This article can help you develop an individualized, social media measuring framework. Follow these four steps:

Know your goals

1Any good marketing plan starts with established goals. You need to know what your goals are before you can measure how successful your efforts have been to achieve them.

What do you want to accomplish through your social media efforts? Some possibilities include:

  • Sell more products
  • Get more reviews
  • Establish yourself as a thought leader
  • Drive more traffic to your website
  • Generate leads
  • Increase your fan base
  • Reach a specific demographic

Outline very specific goals so you can measure the results of your efforts.

Establish your baselines

2Based on your goals from step one, establish measurable baselines you can use for comparison later.

Create a spreadsheet that includes:

  • Current sales numbers
  • Review counts
  • Number of hits in Google
  • Website stats
  • Other baselines specific to your goals

Clearly, some things are easier to measure than others. Quantitative elements like sales, website stats, and Google hits can be tracked easily. However, more qualitative elements such as thought leadership, influence, or customer satisfaction can be trickier to measure.

You may be surprised at just how many things are measurable in social media. Check out this post entitled “100 Ways to Measure Social Media” posted by Marketers Studio in 2009. This lists demonstrates that there are many things that can be measured. Your job is to establish which items are true indicators of your efforts based on your established goals.

Track your efforts

3There are plenty of tools you can use to help measure your social media efforts. Internal features of social media tools like Facebook and WordPress, free external tools, and paid services can all give you insight into how well certain strategies are paying off.

It is important during this step to use more than one tool to track your efforts. Each individual tool can give you specific insight into one or more aspects of your social media presence. Together, a carefully selected host of tools can give you a complete picture of how your efforts are paying off. Continue reading

June 24, 2011

Create a social media strategy in four steps

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

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

Deltina HayOn Tuesday I introduced this short series on how to create a social media analysis, strategy and plan, defining how those different elements are important to achieve an optimal result with social media.

Today we’ll list four steps for completing a social media strategy.

1A strategy for the organization’s existing website:

  • Outline a strategy for optimizing the organization’s existing website.
  • You may suggest adding a blog, placing social bookmarking buttons from addtoany.com, or placing widgets and badges to highlight the organization’s Social Web presence.

2A strategy for improving the organization’s presence in existing social media sites:

  • Outline a plan of attack for improving and optimizing the existing social tools the organization has in place.
  • This may include a strategy to engage more with fans or to refocus efforts on a more realistic target market based on the social media analysis.

3A social media tools strategy:

  • Outline the tools you believe will most benefit the organization and why.
  • Include a statement about how the organization might specifically leverage each tool, but save the details for the “social media plan.”
  • Here is a collection of social networking stats by Web Strategist that can help you back up your recommendations.
  • This should be an overview of your recommended social media strategy, the actual social media plan will come after this phase.

4A social media analytics and metrics strategy:

  • Include recommended analytics and metrics tools.
  • Outline a plan for establishing an existing base line to use as a basis of comparison.
  • Save more detailed tactics for the social media plan.
  • Continue reading

June 21, 2011

A social media analysis in six steps

Whether you’re a seasoned social media user or a beginner, you can benefit from this three-part series focusing on social media planning, broken down into the following parts:

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

Deltina HayAsocial media analysis should define an organization’s online goals and target market as well as the existing resources it has to apply to social media efforts.

A social media strategy should include how an organization can improve social media optimization for its existing website as well as recommendations of other social media tools and how an organization can leverage them.

For each tool recommended in the social media strategy, the social media plan should include an overall strategy for applying the tool specifically to an organization’s needs and tactics for managing and optimizing the tool. The resulting plan should reflect the needs and resources outlined in the social media analysis and strategy.

6 steps for completing a social media analysis

1Perform a SWOT analysis in addition to the items below.

The Canadian site SEO Wizardry has a nice example of social media SWOT analysis.

2Define the organization’s target market.

3Define the organization’s online goals. What, specifically, does the organization want to accomplish with social media?:

    • Get the word out about their brand.
    • Offer a platform for getting a specific message out.
    • Target new customers.
    • Sell more products.

4Assess the resources available to the organization.

    • Outline the resources the organization has on hand to facilitate social media efforts.
    • Estimate how many hours a day the organization can afford to expend on social media efforts based on this outline. Continue reading
March 10, 2011

Starter kit for a social media strategy

Looking for Social Media Strategy

Creating a plan from scratch? These 7 tips will get you going

David Spark‘We need a social media strategy.” I hear this all the time. And companies have meetings upon meetings to discuss this. I’ve been a part of many of those meetings and it can be tiring to go through endless internal discussions as to what your social media strategy should be. You know what doesn’t work for a social media strategy? Not being social.

People just want to start.

Social media works when you become public about your discussion. So my recommendation is to fast track your social media strategy with the following recommendation.

While everybody’s situation is different, I find myself recommending the following basic model for most of my clients. Some of these recommendations are echoed in an article I recently wrote for Mashable titled, How to Jump-Start Your Career by Becoming an Online Influencer.

There are plenty of variations, but if you don’t know where to start, this model will work well for you.

Set up your own media outlet

TV StudioStep 1You need an outlet to publish your thoughts. You need a place where you can invite influencers and customers to be interviewed. You can’t become an online influencer if you don’t create content.

Repeating my mantra, “Content is the currency of social media and search.”

If you want to be traded and visible in social media and search, then you must create content – ideally good content.

There are many ways to do this, but if you want to save yourself a ton of headaches, complications, and cost simply set up a WordPress blog with a theme that’s optimized for social media and search, such as the Thesis theme. This blog uses WordPress and Thesis.

Create social identities

Step 2For most users and brands, you’ll want to have accounts and identities with the major sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Try to stay consistent and use the same username for all identities so as not to confuse yourself or your audience. KnowEm is a great service that will check across endless social services as to which names are and aren’t available.

Create a proactive editorial plan

Step 3Create thought pieces, how-to’s, explanations, videos, podcasts, or anything else that demonstrates your thought leadership in your space. This is where you form viewpoints that you hope to become leading opinions.

A simple way to produce a proactive editorial calendar is to simply ask your sales staff and sales partners, “Why are we losing sales?” You’ll get answers such as “We’re not even a consideration,” “They don’t know how we’re different than competitor X,” and “They didn’t think we had a solution for problem Z.”

Take all the answers, rank them 1-10 in terms of importance, and start creating content (e.g., articles, screencasts, how-to’s, case studies, video interviews) that answer those issues. Next time your sales staff are out in the field and they get hammered with one of these top ten questions, they’ll have your content as support and they’ll be able to close the sale. Continue reading