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5 Essential Elements of a Useful Social Media Plan

social media plan

photo credit: mkhmarketing via photopin cc

Living inside the bubble of the social media marketing world, it’s easy to forget that many organizations still don’t know how to reconcile social media into their everyday sales and marketing routine.

I taught the executive team of a very successful organization the basics of social media this past week and it was a great reminder that focusing on tactics without an organized strategy is still the greatest source of frustration for many businesses.

Yes, you eventually must get around to embracing certain tactics and tools specifically related to social media, but the key to determining both still lies in tying your actions to meeting your stated marketing and business objectives.

In order to create the proper context for social media inside this firm’s overall marketing plan I broke social media participation into five core elements and corresponding tools and tactics and mapped each to previously identified marketing objectives.

Collect

The first order of business in developing any social media strategy is to understand how to listen and collect useful market artifacts. You have to plug into the rich vein of useful information coming from your customers, prospects, competitors, journalists and other industry influencers before any of this makes much sense.

For this element we set up key alerts, created lists of influential industry players, setup Feedly RSS reader to subscribe to relevant blogs and setup Diigo to bookmark articles and email newsletter content.

Curate

The next element I wanted to address was the ability to curate important industry information as a way to inform clients and internal stakeholders. By aggregating and filtering a great deal of the industry content using some routines from the previous step you can become a source of insight for your customers and help them cut through some of the noise.

For this element we turned to RSS reader as well as several content curation tools like Newsle, LinkedIn Pulse and Scoop.it.

Create

One of the core marketing strategies for this firm is to establish a thought leader position for a very specific topic in their industry. They are busy turning a great deal of the industry data their analytics software produces into content objects that will draw a great deal of industry buzz.

For this element we established a sharing routine based on a set of core topics, LinkedIn Publisher program and owned content assets.

Share

In order to develop an expanding network in social media sharing must be a key activity. This does include sharing your own content and ideas but it also includes intentionally networking with and sharing content and ideas from others.

For this we turned to Feedly, Buffer and Hootsuite to establish a habit of sharing a set number of pieces everyday.

Engage

Finally, with many of the tools and routines above in place we could turn to the most obvious reason to participate in social media – to engage customers and prospects. With habits of listening, curating and sharing established members of the executive team and sales team will be able to more easily engage individual prospects, influencers, journalists and customer stakeholders by socially surrounding them.

For this step Hootsuite, Salesforce and Salesforce Chatter are the primary tools.

And, of course, where available the mobile apps for many of the tools employed were added.

By breaking social media participation into a specific set of core elements, each driven by strategy, every person in an organization can find the role that makes sense for them.

The focus then becomes less about tools and more about how a specific set of activities might help you better serve your customers.

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