I Have been working on that white paper for some months, and trying to figure out how best explain - step by step - a social media strategy, so can guide people who want to develop a serious Social Media strategy for its business, but - and this is a great but - I'm not talking about the process going on, but focused on the development stage.
I've followed some steps from the latest projects I've been working on and then, put it together, when doing that I knew something was going to happen. It really happened, I was able to design a social media strategy based on the experience that these projects have brought to me.
Social Media Strategy step-by-step
A. Objectives. Define your goals, have a clear vision where you want to go and how you'll get there.
B. Analysis. Know your limits, take into account what can help and what can hurt your company, have a plan B, even a plan C. Make a plan, a plan for success and of course, a plan for failure.
C. Rethink step A and B, shake it and see what happens, have some time to mature the ideas and concepts. Are you willing to continue? nice, go ahead!
D. This is what I call the philosophical stage. Same as strategy planning: let you feelings go, paint what you want to represent, define your identity and image - vision - , set up a sense of purpose - mission. Every platform, tool or action taken should have is own identity, features and goals. On the contrary, we'll be talking about only a mainstream platform. However, all platforms have to be aligned into one workflow.
E. Once you have defined the key elements of your strategy - from analysis (competition, external factors and inside-out approach...) and brand identity - put ahead in every platform, and visible, what makes you unique.
F. Time to get serious. Brainstorm all the ideas and take what you're sure you can carry on with the highest levels of accuracy: campaigns, tactics, contributions, team, partnerships, tools, platforms, APPs...everything counts.
G. Do some research about the audience you want to achieve/represent (likes, habits, needs, profile...), competition, limitations, brand identity, market, platforms, singularities...once you get it, structure all the information and resources, so you can draw a map for your strategy. Study also how you plan to tangle platforms and people, because no need to mention that at this point you know that you "want" to segment communities in social platforms
H. Integrate and implement this map in your business model strategy. That is to say, find key facts that can help you to create a consistent social media structure. This is structure is built as it follows:
1. Once you get the platforms, assemble them
2. Build the social media profiles, don't forget to fill in every criterion
3. Don't publish it yet, make a draft - draw it if you want first, so management and to board can see and approve it
4. Optimize the profiles: use tools, APPs, resources and tips for giving the profiles a competitive advantage. If is like every other, why should I buy from you?
5. Link profiles: You post and it goes to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn...You know what it means right?
6. Set up your blog - at the end is what truly matters - (WordPress rocks) theme, plugins, CSS and ready to roll on
7. How will perform your blog in the social media ecosystem you've built? strategy-tactics effect.
I. Set up a trial period for all the platforms before you the launching and see how it works. You can test it inside your company, with colleagues or even with loyal customers. Get feedback, correct, polish and improve it as much as you can.
J. How are you going to market your social media strategy? If you don't say what you are doing, how will the audience know about you?
K. In order to do step "J" allocate resources: people, calendar, tools, actions and of course budget - this will help you to get better results - Note: It's really important that you allocate resources not just in short-term, but mid/long-term too.
L. Launching campaign. Do whatever it takes: guerrilla, offline, beta for your customers, offers, discounts, events, website, publicity, PR. Best results are achieved when you cross offline with online media.
M. Use optimization tools as: Posterous, Postling, TweetDeck, Tagthe, bit.ly, Workflowy, Storify, Curated.by, DropBox,MailChimp, Google Wave, Del.ici.ous, Docs, Reader, Evernote...- these are some I'm using now - it will help you to simplify the process and manage better your time.
N. As long as your strategy is on the field and deal with it. Consider - seriously consider - track, monitor and measure everything what you do on the Social Web. Identify how you can best meet your goals (step "A") by assigning ROI measures. I strongly recommend that you tailor them depending on your goals.
O. Short-term. Don't worry too much for it. Ensure that all fit in, your community is growing, therefore interactions happening around. People is talking about your brand, get feedback, creating traffic to your blog/website, some conversions
Q. Mid-term. Have it mind. Engagement, loyalty, brand reach, sentiment, sales, effort vs reward, opinion leaders
P. Long-term. What truly matters. Have you reached step "A"? If not, try different
Note: Notice how I haven't set up a timeline for the time periods. Your mileage can vary: it can go from 3-6 months to 3 years. It depends your product/service and your goals, of course.
R. Time to earn $$$. Beautiful, isn't it?
What's your take? With me? What others steps would you add?