How to Develop Your Social Media Strategy from the Inside Out [VIDEO]

jasonverdelli
Jason Verdelli CEO, Phase 2 Solutions, LLC

Posted on March 31st 2013

How to Develop Your Social Media Strategy from the Inside Out [VIDEO]

Just the thought of developing your online marketing strategy can give you a headache. There are so many tools, tactics and strategies out there that it can be difficult to know where to start or even how to improve what you are already doing. I believe that developing a strategy to leverage the web to achieve your goals can and should be easy. It's all in how you approach it.

The Hub and Spoke System of Online Marketing

For almost 9 years I've been helping companies build their online marketing strategy using a hub and spoke system. The hub represents all of the tactics that you use when you have more control of the communication. For example, you have information for a new lead, subscriber or online community member. At the very center of your hub is the ultimate goal you are trying to achieve. The spokes represent the tactics that you use to drive people into your hub. For example, using social networking strategies to drive people to subscribe to your website or fill out a lead form. The hub and spokes need to work simultaneously or you won't go anywhere, or let's just say you won't know why. Online Marketing StrategyThink of a bicycle tire. In order for it to move you need to exert energy from your body to the wheel. In order for the wheel to move it needs a system to revolve around (hub). In order for the tire to move faster it needs spokes to transmit energy from the hub to the rest of the wheel to take advantage of a helpful force (centrifugal) to keep the wheel moving without the same level of energy being exerted. As you work your way from first gear in the center toward sixth gear you see a progression in speed. Going the other way around would leave you peddling just as fast, but not going any faster. Ok, I definitely geeked out there with some physics. That's what happens when you watch Big Bang Theory 3 days per week :) Now think of this analogy when it comes to using this hub and spoke system in developing your online marketing strategy. Let's look into this concept a bit further.

Start with the end in mind

What exactly are you trying to achieve? Remember to be as specific as possible. The specificity of your goal will help determine the level of time and resources that will be necessary to make your goals a reality. This is at the very core of the hub and your online marketing strategy. Everything else will revolve around it. The process of being specific with your goal will require some thought and energy, but doing this up front will pay off in the long run. Using our analogy, this is the energy that gets the wheel to move forward.

Define action steps closest to your goal

The next phase of developing your online marketing plan is to write out the actions that you currently take in order to achieve your goal. For example, if you are trying to increase sales by $1 million within 6 months, what are the action steps that you take just before closing one sale? How many times do you need to replicate these steps to achieve $1 million.

Now what you want to do is add in the tactics that you can implement to in order to make these action steps more effective and efficient using tactics and tools available online today. For example, if you are trying to increase sales and a series of 7 follow up emails results in 80% of your closed sales, you might consider using an email auto-responder to handle the emails. From there you could analyse your email statistics to find out who didn't open up your email and spend your time trying a different approach (i.e. video emails, etc.) to close the other 20%.

Back to our analogy, first gear is closer to the center of the hub and makes it easier to peddle. Tactics that are closest to your end goal are easier to define because they are helping to augment an existing process.

Define subsequent action steps

What you want to do from here is define action steps that get you to the point to where you can implement the action steps that are closest to your goal. For example, you might need to get someone to download a free copy of your ebook, subscribe to a webinar or join your own online community before implementing a follow up email campaign. You should find yourself saying "I need people to do X in order to implement Y".

The amount of subsequent steps you need to add will depend on the level of complexity of your product, service or decision making process. As we did in our first step, start adding or refining online tactics that can be implemented to make the action steps more effective and efficient. In other words, start listing ways that make getting to the next phase of communication (i.e. follow up email, etc.) easier.

Define your spokes to attract people that help you achieve your goal

The spokes are all of the marketing mechanisms that drive people into your hub. For example, pay-per-click advertising, being listed in relevant online directories, social networking websites, video marketing, press releases, guest posting, etc. The purpose of these activities is to gain further control of the communication. In other words, we want to convert visitors into real data that you can use to initiate follow up activities that help you achieve your goals. An example of this would be focusing on ranking higher in search engines to attract the right people into an purpose driven online community for your brand. Getting that person to register for your community now gives you an avenue to control the data and engagement experience.

I find way too many companies that rely solely on building up their social networking contacts and fans as a mechanism to drive their business. Although this can be a great strategy, the problem is that they are restricted to communication within that social network. Also, they don't own the data. Typically it should be coupled with a way to filter contacts and fans into further engagement opportunities that give your company a way to gain access to relevant data (i.e. email address, phone, etc.). Just remember that wherever you are collecting information, be sure to communicate why you are collecting it and be honest.

Get started now

Start building your online marketing strategy by drawing it on a blank white sheet of paper. You can follow the way I showed you in the video or create your own document. Below is a link to a sample framework that will help get you started.

Download sample online marketing strategy diagram


It's important to start this process now.
Implementing random online marketing tactics is like peddling in first gear forever. You'll never move faster toward your goal without knowing the steps (gears) that will get you there. Not to mention, it will end up costing you money and you will never know which online marketing tactics are working and which one's aren't. The key is to be proactive and have a plan. If you need help in developing your online marketing plan, please contact me by filling out the form on the right side of the page.

jasonverdelli

Jason Verdelli

CEO, Phase 2 Solutions, LLC

There is nothing in today’s world of modern technology that we can’t learn from over 10,000 years of civilization. History has taught us the power of uniting a purpose-drive community, small or large. Communities save lives, bring cures to diseases, help others in need and so much more. This is why I get out of bed everyday. My purpose in life is to help organizations create a culture of community for a greater good.

It took me years to really discover this passion of helping people and organizations unite their communities. I started my company, Phase 2 Solutions (an online marketing company), back in 2005 and for the most part the first 5 years. Like most that come out of college into the working world I wanted to make money and “live the American Dream”, but there was something missing. I struggled for years like any other business person in their first few years trying to grow a business. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I met one of my now business partners that ask me probably one of the most important questions I have ever heard. He said, “What greater purpose are you serving for the world? When they bury you in the ground, what do you want to have left behind to this world?”. I was shocked and never really thought about what I was doing for those first few years that way. This is what drove me to where I am today.

This is a quote that helped shape my mindset:

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
- Steve Jobs

Here is another quote that also helped:

“Be the change you want to see in this world.”
- Gandhi

Answering this question took several months and wasn’t easy. I looked at all of the puzzle pieces floating around in my head and started to put them together. I had been doing online marketing for years. Being the outgoing person that I am, I naturally enjoyed connecting people together. I put these 2 things together and realized that in today’s world more than ever, there is much more accessibility to unite purposeful communities together that serve a greater good. With the power of new social technology and strategic direction I could help many people and organizations harness the power of a purpose-driven community.

As I discovered this passion I realized a monumental flaw. The growth of social networking and digital connectivity, although a great pool of opportunity, actually makes it much more difficult for people and organizations to focus people’s time and attention. The more social networks that pop up, status updates to read, emails to read and ever growing distractions that naturally come with increased connectivity make it ever more challenging. This is when I saw the opportunity to create Social HubSite, a platform to help people and organizations build a purpose driven community while still staying connected to ever-growing expansion of social networking. I knew this was the first step in leading me to my vision.

This is the quote that inspired me to take my technology talents to develop Social HubSite:

“Without a paper – a journal of some kind – you cannot unite a community.”
- Gandhi

Social HubSite is a central online hub and community that is for a specific purpose run by a person or an organization. I learned that it is not just the technology that is important in uniting a community, but the way it is run. You can have the best technology in the world, but if you don’t understand how to grow and effectively manage your community, the benefits are far from reachable. This is where I realized that myself and my company was really responsible for helping organizations create a “culture of community”. In short, a culture of community is the way you run your online community and the way the members of it are interacting. It is the core to which communities either grow or die.

This premise of building a culture of community with an online community is not only the reason why my company exists, but also the purpose behind my blog. I want to inspire and give direction to people and organizations that want to make a difference by tying in a purpose-driven online community with the community that exists in real life. The goal being to get others to build trust behind the purpose of your community and to take action to support the purpose of your community.

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