Social Media CloudNothing is worse than playing catch-up. The key to an effective campaign is creative ideas facilitated by preparation and execution. Similar to any marketing or public relations effort, a social media plan should include all the essential components of an equipped strategic foundation.

The Similarities

  1. Research
    David Ogilvy once said, "Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals." This is true for your social media campaign as well. Your first step should be extensive research on the product, the brand, the company, the target consumer, the competition and of course an analysis of current social metrics.

  2. Summary
    This should be an assessment and situation analysis of your plan. Creating a summary will help with identifying objectives and goals. Incorporate your research findings to show your client that you understand why social media is an effective tool and investment for their business.

  3. SWOT Analysis
    A great way to organize and build strategies for your plan is through a SWOT Analysis. SWOT evaluates the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). 

  4. Objectives
    Once you have completed an ‘Executive Summary' and a ‘SWOT' chart, there should be a clear cause for action. List all of the objectives and goals for your social media plan.

  5. Strategies & Tactics
    Create a chart listing your strategies and their corresponding tactics. 

  6. Timeline & Calendars
    Because social media evolves so quickly, create a timeline to stay on track.  This rapid change also means that a 12 month timeline is unrealistic and unwise. Staying current is so important in social media that planning for engagement 8 months from now doesn't make much sense. Create a 2 to 3 month timeline and then reassess goals and create another one. 

  7. Measurement & Reporting
    Create a list of expected results and methods for measurement (e.g. Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, Radian6, etc). 

The Differences

  • Considering the massive shift in communication, news, and media- social brings something different to the table. Remember that the social consumer evaluates and absorbs information differently from the traditional consumer.  
  • The conversation is now a two-way street, it is necessary to monitor your community and respond with the established "voice" of your brand. Across all social media handles, always maintain consistency in the manner that you present your brand.
  • Because this relationship is about interaction, develop and position your message in a way that invites your community to relate and connect with your brand.
  • Like I've said in the past, social media is still very much the unknown, professional best practice methods haven't been established (yet.) To stay on top of your game, move quickly and don't dwell on tactics that may have flopped. Instead be assertive and move onto the next thing.
  • In terms of your editorial calendar, place emphasis on content versus media placement. 

This is definitely going to be tough because many businesses still don't understand social media and because this will be a process of trial and error. But as you build your strategies, creating an organized plan will provide you success.