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Everyone has their own way of doing social media. I have seen a large amount of advice out there, all saying what to do or what not to do. And that is great! However, it is not applicable to all companies. What might work for one, might not work for another. Some of the examples out there are great, however it does not show the work that was required in order to achieve their goals.

So I have come up with a pyramid framework for anyone that does social media consulting, or for a company that wants to start at it for themselves! In this post, I will go through all 5 steps of the pyramid, and what each step is intended to do. You can also download the framework for yourself! It includes a bunch of questions to make you think and help you set up your strategy for each step 🙂 – Social Strategy Pyramid Framework

The Social Strategy Pyramid

For this framework, you must first start at the bottom of the pyramid, then add a layer once you feel comfortable with the current step. Never abandon a step once you move on to the next one, as all steps are necessary at all times (in the end) in order to succeed. The following are questions that you should answer for each step, to help you realize/set up what is necessary in your strategy.

Learn

Ray Hiltz (@newraycom) brought to my attention an article featuring Guy Kawasaki that I found very interesting. He was arguing to drop the social strategists, and just go at it when it comes to social media. You need to learn! While I don’t fully agree with dropping social strategists, I do agree that there is a learning period when it comes to social media.

The learning curve is just too steep for an organization to embark on the social media strategy journey without any social media experience. So the first step in my framework is learn! Learn about the different social networks out there, and why/ how they work. Learn about different social media tools. Do some research. What is social media anyways? Do you know? This is the first step to any good strategy. It’s used in Marketing as well, but called market research instead! So before calling the social strategist, try some stuff out, and learn a little.

Listen and Engage

Once you’ve learned the different social networks and tools, spend some time just listening to what your followers are saying, and engaging with different people online. Track industry keywords to see what’s going on in your industry. Track your competitors to see what they are doing, and how people are engaging with them. Listen to what followers are saying about you! Are they positive comments, negative comments? Are they saying anything? If not, try engaging with them! If they are saying something, engage with them none the less! Being social is about forming relationships and two way communication. So before you set some goals or strategies on how to convert your following into customers, try building relationships, and getting people to talk about you.

Listen!

Set your goals!

Before you can come up with a strategy or tactics, you need to know what you want to achieve! Set up some goals for your online efforts. What do you want to accomplish? What do you expect the outcomes to be once these goals are accomplished? Also, don’t forget you need to determine a metric to measure your goals. This might just be the marketer talking in me, but your goals should be measurable, quantifiable, and attainable. So set yourself some realistic goals, and then set up a framework on how you will measure them. It’s no wonder people don’t really believe in ROI. Usually, when that’s the case, it’s because management hasn’t set something realistic as a measure. Determine your goals, what your measure will be, and then set up a strategy to achieve these goals.

Define your strategy and tactics

Now that you have experience with social media and different tools, it’s time to set up a strategy that will work for your company. You’ve spent some time learning, listening, and engaging with followers. You understand what they like and what they want. You know what your competitors are doing right, and where they can improve (this is where you come in and steal their market share). You’ve determined what you would like to accomplish. Now set up the strategies and tactics that will achieve these goals.

Determine what social networks and which social media tools you’d like to use. Establish a social media team and schedule. Establish a blogging team and schedule. Create a social media policy, or social media guidelines, on how you will engage with followers, how you will sell to them, and how you will respond to customer service (or negative publicity). You also want to make sure that the strategy you created is flexible, and that you will be able to adapt with social media trends.

Review

Now that your social media strategy is created, you’re not done! You need to review. You need to analyse the data that you get from the different networks and tools, and see if it corresponds with the goals that you have set. Was your expected outcome actually what you expected? Is there anything new that you learned that you could implement (this is where a dynamic/ flexible strategy comes into play)? Is there anything you can improve? Is it time to set new goals?

Take-away: A social media strategy is a never ending process (social media is dynamic, so you’ll always have to modify the strategy). It is a time consuming investment, and does require some capital to make it work (for those of you who thinks successful social media strategies are free, think again). But the results can be great! You need to make sure that you are ready to take on this adventure before going into it, or it won’t lead you anywhere. Once you are ready to take on the challenge, it is a life changing experience! There is a world of unexplored opportunities out there, and your company could profit from it.

So what do you think about my framework? Is there anything I should add/ remove? Is there anything that is out of place? I’d like to hear from @newraycom, @davergallant, @rontite, @davidbthomas, @cdessi, @fondalo, @skarakasis, and @radian6 on this. Or from anyone else that wants to leave a comment! 🙂 This framework is still a work in progress, so any feedback would be appreciated!

Here is the document again, for your convenience – Social Strategy Pyramid Framework

 

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