You measure the value of your programs by setting up different benchmarks that help you gauge success. How valuable your social program is will depend on how much social capital you build up. Just having a large number of followers or just being present on social media isn't going to cut it.
Use these seven steps to help plan your strategy and build up social capital so your consumers (or fans) flock to you.
1 - Think about branding your program with a name - don't just call it your social media program. Instead give your program a name and then invite your consumers to come join that program.
2 - Offer your consumers some relevant reasons to sign up for your 'Named' social media program. Your reasons should reflect your brand and are ideal if they match what your consumers expect.
3 - Leverage the reasons to get your consumers to be part of your social sphere of influence. Begin the solicitation process by advertising the reasons across multiple channels.
4 - Think about the first few messages after sign up. Once your consumer joins your program, think about putting together a welcome stream of messages for that consumer.
5 - Pay attention to what the consumer is saying and try to learn from the dialogue that is taking place in the social sphere. The easiest way to get input is to ask for it - so offer a link to a survey.
6 - Respond to consumers by answering their questions. Converse with them and keep the dialogue going, don't be the only one starting conversations - join other conversations.
7 - Find your brand champions or brand advocates and endorse them. You can do this in a few ways. First, if someone is leading the dialogue (appropriately), thank them. Second, if this person continues doing good things - list them as a brand ambassador. Third, if they continue to talk about your brand, think about offering them 'samples' or 'service experiences' to evaluate and write about for the rest of your fan base.
The goal here is to continue to build up social capital by doing things that are relevant to the consumer and help you build relationships with that consumer. All of this adds up to help you stay engaged, and continue to serve your consumer.
(Do you know why peacocks dance?)