So you have you’re social media strategy, now what? If you’re like most organizations then you can’t roll out a social media campaign in a day, or even in a few weeks. So how do you go about rolling out a social media strategy? My recommendation would be to proceed in phases. What I’m outlining below is a very high level approach to rolling a social media strategy. Many of these phases will also have sub-phases. For example, during the content creation phase you may want to start out with something simple such as a blog or twitter account your first month and then in month 2 roll out a youtube channel.
Phase 1 Setting up Your Listening Dashboard/Analytics/etc (Month 1)
Before you get started with anything make sure that you have tools in place to help you track your various key metrics. You can use something like google analytics to measure traffic (among many other things) and something like netvibes to build a listening dashboard (something that will help you keep track of all of the relevant conversations going on in your space). It would be great to have these things set up at least one month before any type of efforts are rolled out so that these tools have time to collect and aggregate data about your site. This will help with creating an accurate benchmark to paint a “before and after” picture.
Phase 2 Account/Profile Creation and Branding (Month 1-2)
Once you have your listening dashboards and analytics tools set up you can begin to proceed with account/profile/tool/platform creation. This means doing everything from creating your twitter account and facebook fan page to setting up your tweetburner account to track how many people are clicking on links you submit through twitter. Make sure to brand everything, people need to be able to readily identify with your social media channels.
Phase 3 Content Creation (Month2-3)
You’re listening dashboard and analytics tools are all in place and all of your social media channels are created and branded. The next step is to create content that is going to be shared/distributed across these social media channels. This is something that you should already understand how to do (since it should have been a part of your strategy). You should already have a schedule set up for how often your going to blog, tweet, etc. You should also have your internal social media policies created and everyone at your organization should be on the same social media page (so to speak).
As mentioned above your content creation may be broke up into several sub-phases. You may want to roll out a twitter account one month and a microsite the next month.
Phase 4 Content Distribution and Promotion (Month 3-4)
I mentioned content distribution a little bit above but I want to expand on that here. During this phase you want to make sure that you are cross promotion your content across various channels and you need to have your main social media hub in place. People on twitter should know about your youtube videos and people on facebook should know about your twitter account. During this phase I would also highly recommend doing such things as a blogger outreach campaign and partnership/syndication push.
Phase 5 Community Building (Month 4-5)
Technically this should be happening throughout your whole social media campaign. So what do I mean by community building? Well, once your content is created and you start building trust and authority online your focus should now include much more than just site traffic. You want to encourage repeat traffic and you want to build a community of people that you can reach out to. Community building can include everything from setting up a newsletter to launching contests and special promotional offers that will keep people coming back to your site. Again this can and should be broken up into sub-phases. If you decided to do something such as a contest or promotion, you may want to wait until you have a bit more visibility online.
Phase 6 Measuring, Analyzing, Adapting (Month 5-6)
During this phase you really want to analyze your social media efforts thus far. Have you met any of your goals? Are you seeing the results you wanted? You’re most likely also going to want to adapt your social media efforts. Perhaps there is a new tool out that you can add to your arsenal or perhaps users are not responding favorably to your youtube videos. Regardless of what’s going on, this is where you want to evaluate and assess your social media efforts to see how you should proceed.
These are the basic steps that I would suggest using to launch a social media strategy. Again, please keep in mind these have been painted with very broad brush strokes. There is going to be some overlap and I’m sure many companies out there may tweek or re-order things depending on what their overall strategy is.
Is there anything that you would add/change to this?