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The 7 Steps to Creating a Social Media Strategy

Below is an excellent recent post by Jay Baer from his blog Convince and Convert. It speaks volumes about the value of putting a plan first, not the tools. And, while Jay does not say it directly, his step #6: How Will You Be Human?, speaks directly to why your story is so important. Your story makes you human to your audience. At the core people connect with people through stories. So, indeed let your guard down when engaging through social medias. Tell me a story. Tell me why you’re passionate about what you do or sell, and I just may join you in your passion.

Great post Jay! For more and to see Jay’s SlideShare on this topic go to Jay’s blog post at Convince and Convert.

The 7 Steps to Creating a Social Media Strategy

Before you begin, commit to worrying about social media tools last, not first. Why? Because tools will change. They always do. There was a time when Netscape seemed invincible. Yahoo, too. Myspace also. If you fall in love with tools, you’ll constantly be changing directions, with no real plan to guide your way.

1. What’s Your Pitch?
The elevator pitch is dead. Can you describe what your company does in 120 characters or less?

2. What’s the Point?
What type of program is this? Awareness, Sales, or Loyalty? Pick one.

3. What’s Your Relationship with Your Audience?
What does your audience know about you today?

* Nothing
* Aware of you, but never acted
* Acted once
* Repeat actions/enthusiasts
* Advocates

Pick up to two of these segments to focus upon, but make sure they are adjacent on this scale. It’s too confusing to have a strategy that targets advocates AND people that have never heard of you. That would be two strategies, not one.

4. How Does Your Audience Use Social Media?
Using the Forrester Social Technographics Ladder, understand how your target audience (as defined by gender, age, and geography) uses social media. If your audience skews older, you may not want to engage in a lot of “make a video” contests, since that segment indexes low on the “Creator” scale.

You can play with the Social Technographics Ladder data right here:

5. What’s Your One Thing?
What’s the soul of your brand. What’s the one thing that defines you – and it’s not features and benefits. Volvo = Safety. Apple = Innovation. Disney = Magic. What’s on the other side of your = sign?

Note: This is not easy to figure out. You may need to engage in some brand anthropology, and have an agency help you find your one thing.

6. How Will You Be Human?
Social media is about people, not logos. How will you let down your guard? If you’re a small company, congratulations, this should be pretty easy. If you’re a big company, how can you act small again?

7. How Will You Measure Success?
Lots of ways to measure social media success, so make sure you determine your key metrics BEFORE you get started. I recommend picking three solid metrics to track. Appropriate metrics differ based on what your objective is for the program. See Jay’s slide deck for details.

Now, you can worry about tools, and outposts, and social media tactics.