Daily Archives: August 19, 2011

The 5 W’s: Writing your social media strategy

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.

– Lewis Carroll


Its pointless starting out with your increased use of social media and  communicating like crazy if you don’t have a strategy.  Its pointless measuring your activities if you don’t yet have a baseline to compare against.

If you’ve never thought about documenting your social media goals and activities, you might find it hard to justify the direction you’re going in and succinctly define your all up goals and vision.

You need to have a strategy in place.  You need a goal to aim for.

if you don’t have a strategy, you won’t know if you’ve succeeded.  Without implementing a baseline, you won’t know if you’ve achieved your goals and delivered ROI to the business.  You won’t be able to measure the increase in engagement

So where do you start?

Here are some of my ideas that will help you create an effective and workable plan.  Start with your overall vision statement.   Your vision statement should set out your ultimate goal.  e.g.: “delight our customers with our innovation and customer care programs

Then you need to go through the process of the 5 W’s.

Who, What, How, Where, When

WHO are your customers?  Do you know who they are, where they hang out?  Do you know how to segment them?  Are they fashionistas, journalists, working mothers, technologists, shops, foodies, students, teachers, trendsetters, teenagers, charities, agencies, brands or influencers?  Do you know where they congregate?  Do you know which social platforms they use?

WHAT are you going to do?  You need to create workable engagement frameworks and plans for several areas and these are the areas that you could consider in your all up strategy

For the first bullet point our WHAT might be: improve the customer and partner experience through regular interaction, updates and connection both online and at offline events”.  You need to do this for all of your own bullet points

HOW are you going to do it? This is your plan which needs to be created for each of the bullet points above “by creating a workable engagement framework and implementing it across the company

WHERE are you going to do it? Well for the first bullet point this is easy.  “Store the completed framework on the social media marketing tactics shared area / portal / SharePoint site” Other sections, like crisis management will involve cross team work across legal, PR, IT and management and will be much more detailed

WHEN will this be completed? For your baseline and ROI measurements you need to set a timescale.  You need to decide how long it will take you to implement and execute your plan “all activities to be completed by December 2011”.

You’ll then need to drill down further with targets and plans for engagement and implementation by the team. Perhaps something like this:

Time (minutes) Activity
30 Respond to Facebook comments and issues. Reply to blog comments on the blog, Retweet and reply on Twitter account and reply and retweet useful tweets from the users that we follow
30 Comment on websites according to upcoming event (e.g. F1 Grand Prix) build engagement with daily interaction
15 Research new Twitter /Facebook followers to add to influencer lists
15 Repurpose blog content across Facebook / Twitter, refer to blog post from both Twitter and Facebook updates

You might also  consider a matrix of activities and metrics that  ties in with the table above, to be included in goal setting objectives for each member of the team. e.g.

Channel Monitoring level Suggested engagement level
Blogs High Minimum 1 post per week
Microblogs High 3 posts daily and respond to all @ replies.
Online forums and comments High Determined by the level of engagement on the site
Social networking sites High Post new information twice per day, reply to audience comments 5 times per day.
Media sharing Med Post 3 pieces of new media per quarter.

You’ll be well on the way to having a great workable strategy, tactical plan and implementation plan.  All of your team will know their roles and responsibilities, and you’ll be able to measure the impact that the social media activities of your team has on your business – and the returns that it generates…

By the way – for the detail oriented people reading this (@pjbryant) , if you noticed earlier on in the post that I only included 4 W’s in the process (and an H)…

The 5th W is WOW.  Which is the effect that you’ll have on your customers when you’ve got your strategy right Smile

Image credit: Flickr

Eileen is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.