In my previous post, I talked about how the authors of Groundswell put a great deal of emphasis around the importance of relationship-building as the foundation behind social media. In order to use social media effectively, you need to know the type of audience you’re trying to target and how this audience is engaging with online content.
Most importantly, you need to treat your audience as human beings. There is no magical mathematical equation that explains how to successfully connect with others through social media (though you may be tricked into thinking otherwise according to some of the attempts you see out there).
As marketers, communication and PR pros, we’re all familiar with strategic process (hopefully), but I love the POST planning method outlined in Groundswell. Simply put, when pulling together any social media plan, you should always assess the following: People, Objectives, Strategies and Technology.
First, define your audience. Second, think about what you want to accomplish with this audience. Third, plan how you need to start or change your interaction and engagement with this audience to reach your objectives. Last, choose the right tools and technologies to get you from start to finish.
Note, technology comes last on the list. Assuming a presence on Facebook or YouTube is your ultimate solution from Step 1 is a quick recipe for disaster. These tools may very well have a practical role, but think it through first with regard to your audience, objectives and overall strategy.
What might you actually want to do with your audience? The authors bullet out the following objectives your company may consider: listening, talking, energizing, supporting and embracing. Every company has a different objective and it’s crucial that you think about what you really want to do with your audience prior to outreach.
The big takeaways?
1. Don’t forget that social media is about building relationships. 2. Be flexible and patient. Social media success won’t happen overnight. 3. Listen, learn and collaborate. There are an incredible amount of smart, talented people out in the world. Take advantage.
The BIG BIG takeaway?
Don’t forget to have fun. That’s why we’re all here.