There's no question that social media is a R-Evolution. Apps and platforms change faster than a chameleon changes colors. People I talk with are struggling to keep up. The question I get asked most often at conferences and workshops is, "well, I know that works for _________________ (fill in the blank with a big corporate name), but I don't see how that would work for me."
Learning to scale is our biggest challenge in social media. No doubt you read a lot of blogs written by well-known social media folks that populate their writing with dazzling case studies from the Fortune 500. But do their shining examples really relate to you? My answer is a resounding "yes." Not only can we learn to scale what the big dogs are doing, but we can have "big dog success" on a "little dog" stage.
Here are three basic tips that will help you scale any case study for success.
1. Make sure the case is appropriate for your small brand--do you have the present follower engagement to imitate? Can you build it?
Develop a knack for understanding whether or not you have an engagement level that will let you duplicate what the big brand is doing. For example, many campaigns rely on a large number of fans to give input-crowdsourcing, if you will. So, do you have a crowd? If you're going to use your fan base to come up with a new product name, do you have enough people already responding to your posts to make it worthwhile? Nothing would be more embarrassing than asking your fans to name a new sandwich at your restaurant on your Facebook page and only have three people respond from your fan base of 250. Check your engagement levels. Are people posting, sharing, and already conversing on your social media channels? Look at your Facebook Insights, retweets, and comments. What is your percentage of engagement.
2. Break down the project into big-picture strategies. What are they trying to accomplish? How can you imitate that?
Can you look at a case study and find the basic components: goals, strategies, and metrics? Can you understand which loyalty model the company is using? Is it one that you already use or could easily implement? Will you have to use a strategy that you don't have the time, resources or people for? What is their goal? Are they just trying to increase their fan base (reach), sell product, crowdsource, start a conversation, give a benefit, gain deeper loyalty? Can you pinpoint what they're trying to accomplish?
3. Do their goals match your goals?
Hopefully by now your social media strategy is sophisticated enough so you have specific goals for specific channels. You are segmenting content to your stakeholders, and designing calls to action that will increase engagement levels. You have quit wasting time by just throwing darts at a board blindfolded, and have evolved enough to know that just having a Facebook page and posting something about yourself everyday will not bring people flocking to buy your stuff. You've got goals.
If you don't have goal-specific social media strategies, you need to work on that first. Figure out how social media will work for you, then look for other people that have that same vision and have already achieved success. Talk to people, read, look at case studies. Use your time on social media to learn from other organizations as well as to connect with your fans.
Learning to scale is social media 101. I know the phrase "best practices" is losing its zip, but honestly, that's what they are-best practices. And they can work for you if you learn to scale. Have you had success taking a lesson from a big company? How did you do it?