7 Steps to the Perfect Social Media Plan

PamMoore
Pam Moore Owner/Partner, Marketing Nutz, LLC

Posted on June 7th 2011

Do you dream about the perfect social media plan? The perfect social media template? Many business leaders wanting to get social dream about it.  They think they need it. The social media magic template. The one that includes the perfect strategy, tactics and themselves as the social hero of their company and social superstar of their market niche!

You know the social media template I am talking about.  The one that will help you see a positive return on investment where everything is measurable and justifiable to stakeholders. The one that will make the boss scream with delight and as a result result enable you to keep your job or even get a promotion!

The question is does the perfect social media template or strategy for your business exist?

A perfect strategy or template, well probably not! A good template and structure, yes!

Do you want the answer? Are you ready for the top 7 tips to develop a social media strategy that will make your ROI zoom?

Here ya go…

Step 1: Do your own research on how to best leverage social media to meet business goals and objectives.

Step 2: Develop a business and integrated marketing plan inclusive of goals and objectives. Be sure to focus clearly on your target market segments with a goal of knowing them and getting in their head the best you possibly can.

Step 3: If you don’t have the skills and knowledge of social media internally, hire the agency or consultant to help you integrate social media into your business. Be sure that they understand integrated marketing, the importance of setting goals and objectives and can help you develop and execute a plan to meet yours! Refuse to accept a list of random acts of social media (RAMs). If the plan is not integrated then the RAMs will eat your ROI for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Step 4: Integrate social media into your business plan with a focus on leveraging social media to support biz goals and objectives. Your business plan may need to be adjusted based upon your new findings and research of the social media landscape.

Step 5: Develop an integrated social media strategy, approach and plan that best supports your business goals and objectives.

Step 6: Execute the integrated marketing, social media and business plan.

Step 7: Continuously analyze, measure and refine your approach, strategies and tactics based upon achievement to goals and objectives.

perfect social media plan 7 steps

Do you see any theme here peeps? There is no magic blue carpet tweet ride to skies of social ROI.

The best way to see results is to get focused, integrated and execute!

I am shocked at the number of different consultants that preach one strategy over the other.

The only agency or consultant that will be able to deliver you a successful template is the one that is able to customize it to you and your business.

Quit wasting time and money searching for the magic blue carpet. Instead focus in on your audience, market, and how your business can help your future and existing clients achieve their goals. Focus on developing a business plan that provides value for your community at every turn.

Social media should be an extension of your marketing. It should be integrated into everything you do from an event to an email blast. Social media is not a band-aid for a broken business, a magic carpet to get you out of trouble.  It is simply another medium for you to communicate with a broader audience than you would be able to do otherwise. A medium that will enable you to connect with people across the globe more easily than ever before. A medium that will enable you to nurture relationships organically and keep a natural pulse on how they respond to your messages, tone and offers.

Take the time to set goals and objectives. It’s business and marketing 101 peeps. Take the time to plan and get to know your audience. Invest in building real and meaningful social relationships up front and you can’t go wrong.

Did you read this post and get frustrated that I didn’t give you a perfect template. Sorry folks, it doesn’t exist. If somebody tries to give you one, it’s a hoax and you’ll be taken on a carpet ride to who knows where. The purpose of this post is to communicate a point that you must do your research, take time to plan and get to know your audience. There is no short cuts that will work long term. Yes, there is smart marketing, smart social media and smart plans. Yet, they don’t happen overnight. Most importantly you won’t find them while taking a free magic carpet ride!

Your Turn

What are your thoughts? Have you been searching high and low for the perfect plan? Have you thought that maybe the answers are mostly within the walls of your company and in the heads of your audience? If you are a consultant or from an agency are you seeing clients willing to invest in the planning phase or are they wanting you to jump right into the tweeting and Facebooking and take them on a magic social ROI ride?

PamMoore

Pam Moore

Owner/Partner, Marketing Nutz, LLC

Half marketing, half geek, social media addict, CEO & Founder of Marketing Nutz @MktgNutz, entrepreneur, speaker, trainer, coach. Lover of strategy, ROI, Brand, God, Family, Friends, Beach & Life! 15+ years of experience helping small startups to Fortune 100 companies, budgets teeny tiny to big in both B2B and B2C markets build brand awareness, grow new markets, develop communities and master ROI across all mediums! Industries of expertise include high technology, non-profit & fundraising, green eco-friendly, enterprise data storage, professional services and storage management, real estate and home building, natural lighting, database analytics & modeling, online marketing, as well as web 2.0 ecommerce for online retailers. http://www.themarketingnutz.com

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Comments

Posted on June 7th 2011 at 4:58PM

Pam - thanks for another great post. I am a social media consultant and the crux of my job is convincing business owners of exactly what you describe here/ It seems as of late, that most everything in our society involves a quick-fix promise. From weight loss, to getting out of debt, to finding the perfect man. While some of these quick-fix offers may be legitamate, the vast majority of them are not - and that includes engaging a business in social media. I tell business owners who are skeptical or not sure of where to start, to research what their competitors are doing. Take notes, listen, and figure out what strategies mesh the best with your business. Each business is different, there is no quick-fix, or universal plan that works for all businesses. Check out our blog to read a bit about the basics of social networks and getting started. www.brandstormproductions.com/blog

PamMoore
Posted on June 8th 2011 at 7:29PM

Jennifer - nope, social media is definitely not a band-aid for a broken biz like many business leaders unfortunately think.  

Business leaders must be careful not to always follow competition either. Most the time they are as clueless if not more clueless than the client themselves. We do not work with clients who are not willing to set goals and objectives. We simply will not build a plan, implement a strategy or even execute a Facebook page without the client being willing to invest the time to set goals and objectives. We are happy to help them do such but refuse to be the agency that attempts to implement the band-aid fix they're looking for. 

Best of luck to you Jennifer! I like the format of your site. Nice and clean! Good work :) 

Posted on June 7th 2011 at 6:28PM

Looks like a pretty good plan dude.

www.total-privacy.no.tc

Posted on June 7th 2011 at 7:53PM

excellent entry Pam, been a big fan of yours for a while thanks to "Mari Smith" who told me about you a while back. I learn a lot on a daily basis thanks to your posts. Some times folks think they just know it all but in reality... if your not moldable and learning everyday from the "Who's Who of Social Media" your only as good as the rest who have read that same book, took that same class, and or read that same blog entry

PamMoore
Posted on June 8th 2011 at 7:15PM

Andre - wow, those words are music to my ears knowing I have helped you daily! Mari, yes I love Mari! She taught me so much. I cherish our friendship and her being sunshine in my day when I left corporate 1.5 yrs ago and was feeling beat down. 

I agree with you in that we should never stop learning. I eat social media and brand nuggets for breakfast I think on most days and I am still learning. Life learners is what we must be to stay afloat. 

However, don't be afraid to set your own sail too. As Mari always told me "be the person you want to be tomorrow, today." Those are words I live by along with "perfection is the enemy of good." Do your best and don't wait until it's perfect or it might be too late by the time you get it to market! 

Best of luck to you! Stay in touch. 

Posted on June 8th 2011 at 4:35AM

Great post as always Pam! You are so right, we have to stop the random acts of marketing and make social media- and all of our marketing- integrated to get more bang for our buck. Unfortunatley many business owners and marketers see social media as some magic bullet. It's not. And it requires real time and work- and getting back to basics of knowing your audience and positioning your business. I think it is extremely important to have a plan in place to match your marketing strategies and tactics to your business goals and objectives. This would save SO many headaches and problems I see with the marketing efforts of many small businesses. I hope a lot of them will read and heed your advice!

PamMoore
Posted on June 8th 2011 at 7:42PM

Oh Gavin, you just had to mention that word "random" didn't you. I am holding myself back from writing a book in this reply to your comment ;) You know how I feel about "RAMMIES"! Stomp em'! Enough said. 

You are so right about the headaches. I have seen clients waste a year spending time arguing with one another of if, why or when they should do social media. Heck, by the time a year is up they finally decide to go in full force, yet now they've wasted a year, have lost some hair, gained a few grays and most importantly lost the year of time they could have been building community. Then they look at me and say, " can you get that social media going, we really need more organic web traffic." Funny thing is they didn't know what "organic" meant a year ago so we've made some progress, ha! 

Thanks for your comment. I am confident I'll see you around Tweeter town! Always enjoy seeing your smiling face! :)

Posted on June 8th 2011 at 6:31AM

Hi Pam, always spot on. Can you share a real plan. The steps are essential and we can read about them in more than one place now, what we need more is the actual practice/plan.

Thanks,

blogger hameed

PamMoore
Posted on June 8th 2011 at 7:15PM

Hello Hameed. I have written many articles on my blog outlining the how to build a plan. Although there is a framework and structure we use and share with our students and clients it is not cookie cutter. I can give you the basics that you need to complete. However, you still have to roll up your sleeves, get in the heads of your markets, clients, partners and social networks to determine how you should best leverage social media to meet your business goals. Inputs include resources, skill sets, existing content, ability to create content, partners you can leverage already playing in the social ecosystem, who you can take to market with you, communities you are part of and the list goes on. 

You can always consider joining one of our classes. We have a new round starting up in a few weeks that will walk participants thru each stage of developing their own strategy and go to market plan. 

Hope this helps. Always feel free to ask me questions. Only a tweet away! ;)

Wish you the best! 

Posted on June 9th 2011 at 3:59PM

Spot on. Marketing activities shouldn't be "cookie-cutter", because the plan in itself offers a chance at differentiation. That's what makes it so difficult to create a one-size-fits all blueprint, whether that's for social media or any other aspect of the promotional mix. When it comes to a social media plan, the important thing is to take into account all the unique features and benefits of social media and how they may be applied to a business' particular target audience. The first step in that process is choosing the right sites to participate in addition to the Royal Three (FB, Li and Tw).

Posted on June 8th 2011 at 3:10PM

All great points, however, I'm not an advocate of "social" media being managee by marketing departments/consultants. There truly is a difference between Marketing (which is for products and services) and Public Relations (which is for developing and sustaining relationships with businesses). Far too often have I seen Marketing professionals spew loads of information about a product or trying to sell a product. Social media is not a sales. channell, but it can be used to direct people to the sales function (i.e. a web site, phone number, salesperson, etc.). And for the lost and weary... let's be clear, Public Relations (PR) and Marketing work hand-in-hand, however, they are seperate entities.

PamMoore
Posted on June 8th 2011 at 7:04PM

Mark - I agree with you. No where did I state marketing should be managed by a mktg consultant or firm. A full outsource scenario without involvement from the brand is a recipe for disaster and something we personally would never sign up for. 

Social media if done well can work nicely as an organic and amazing lead generation channel based on conversation, inspirating the business person to action.  

It must absolutely must be integrated with sales processes. The sales funnel overall must be modified to be able to integrate social media. We are enhancing our own and clients sales funnels weekly. We are working with clients on how to best qualify the leads that come in via social media prior to any hand off to sales. It's a different game but the rules are the same. A lead is a lead and there are still valid methods to qualify before wasting the time of a sales manager. 

We are finding sales teams spending less time prospecting via old methods and more time following up with leads that are being driven leveraging social media. It's a beautiful thing when you give a sales rep back hours a week to provide better service or invest further in clients with real potential to grow.  

Marketing and PR as different functions, yes technically, maybe ;)  However, integration to support a common goal and objective is key. 

 

 

Posted on June 8th 2011 at 3:56PM

Thanks for the wonderful post Pam! If only there is such thing as a PERFECT social media plan. And I do agree, it certainly doesn't happen overnight. Research, and more research to update yourself of the latest changes and to integrate them into your current plan.

PamMoore
Posted on June 8th 2011 at 6:54PM

Kei San thanks for the comment. I agree. I eat, sleep and breathe this stuff & I am constantly learning, day and night. Knowing your biz is of most importance as then as the tech and media evolves you can continuously integrate, enhance and refine. Keep up the great work! 

Posted on June 8th 2011 at 4:39PM

Great post Pam! It is always helpful to see how others suggest adding social media to a marketing strategy. I've been able to use suggestions from others (including you!) to help my clients understand that social media marketing does not replace all other marketing. I will certainly use your post to help educate those of my clients that truly want to learn about social media and ROI and basically, how to continue with successful marketing!

PamMoore
Posted on June 8th 2011 at 6:51PM

Hi Jackie! Thanks so much for your comment. Happy to hear you the post helped you. Sometimes I think folks make things harder than they need to be which is why posts like these often resontate with people. It's business 101, marketing 101 yet so many think of social media as something so different we need to all lose our minds and forget all we have done and learned. Truth is we don't! 

Stay in touch! 

Thx

Pam

PamMoore
Posted on June 8th 2011 at 7:29PM

Jennifer - nope, social media is definitely not a band-aid for a broken biz like many business leaders unfortunately think.  

Business leaders must be careful not to always follow competition either. Most the time they are as clueless if not more clueless than the client themselves. We do not work with clients who are not willing to set goals and objectives. We simply will not build a plan, implement a strategy or even execute a Facebook page without the client being willing to invest the time to set goals and objectives. We are happy to help them do such but refuse to be the agency that attempts to implement the band-aid fix they're looking for. 

Best of luck to you Jennifer! I like the format of your site. Nice and clean! Good work :) 

Posted on June 9th 2011 at 5:34PM

I couldnt agree more with this post! I recently did a presentation on this topic 'Building an Integrated Social Media Campaign" - You can find the slides here: http://www.slideshare.net/SparkBoutik/integrated-social-media-campaigns

Joel Pinto
Posted on June 10th 2011 at 5:42AM

Hi, Pam

I cannot agree with you more: 200%! It is somehow to see so many business owners looking for the perfect plan, the perfect strategy, the perfect thing... There is an old saying "No pain, no gain". Business owners would need to look at Social Media as it is: a wonderful venue that can definitely increase business exposure and customers loyalty... IF BUSINESS OWNERS use it the way they have to.

There is no magic thing, only same old rules: set your goals, make your plan, execute it and measure. If your goals are being accomplished, can't complain. You did not have to suffer. If your goals are not being accomplish then go to RE: re-define, re-execute and re-measure. It is a cycle that will never end... that is good for business practice. If at anytime business owners were to find the PERFECT THING, then they will stick to it forever and nothing else would happen.

The good thing about what we see today is that social media is demanding business owners to be creative, highly creative and, what I personally believe is the best, is also requesting them to ACTIVELY LISTEN to their customers. That is a HUGE ACHIEVEMENT.

Thanks for such a good post. Loved it!

Posted on June 19th 2011 at 5:54PM
WOW! You've hit the nail on the head, Pam. I enjoyed reading what you've shared and look forward to more.
Posted on September 30th 2011 at 12:01PM

I have to agree with the article and the comments following.  Social Media is not a band-aid to fix a failing business, especially a small business in a small community.  I like to see a well rounded business plan that integrates the business and the marketing firm.  I am also an advocate of community involvement, on top of traditional advertizing and web/social media.  You need a full spectrum outreach to your audiance.

Thanks for the good article