A wise person once told me that when I’m frustrated with someone or something, it’s most likely because there are missing steps. In social media, missing steps lead to frustration with using social media and sometimes complete disbelief in its use or good for the organization. More often than not, if the strategy isn’t working, there are missing steps. Most commonly, missing steps occur because of the organization’s rush to become involved in social media without thinking about the strategic goals, failing to research and identify online stakeholders, poor selection of appropriate social media channels to use, and developing tactics without considering how they will move the strategy forward. The biggest missing step is lack of a social media strategy.
When an organization is rushed to develop its strategy, the missing steps become apparent when questions like these arise:
- How can we get donations out of this group of fans and followers online?
- If we have 4,000 followers, how come no one is signing up for our (fill in the blank)?
- How do we get more people talking about us online?
- Why isn’t anyone talking to us in our online spaces?
Below are four slides that I created which represent stepping stones to developing a social media strategy. The entire slide show can be found on slideshare (or click the icon to the left of the link).
The first image, the Social Media Funnel, represents the fundamental belief that stakeholders must be really engaged (by your organization) in online spaces in order to take the next active role for your organization.
When you are creating your social media strategy, it’s 75% preparation.
The flip side of creating social media content and engagement is listening for opportunities. Listening is part of the preliminary research needed to create a social media strategy, but it is also an ongoing process essential to tweaking the strategy, finding opportunities and stakeholders, proactive reputation management, and engaging stakeholders. If you want to create a listening dashboard, read how the National Wildlife Federation creates and monitors its amazing (free) listening system here.
Your URL isn’t just your website anymore, but everywhere you are on the web. A social media strategy should tie official social media profiles to the organization’s website to create a goal-oriented comprehensive web presence.
I would love to improve upon the steps in the images above, with your bright ideas.
I’m also curious to know: has your organization experienced any missing steps? How does this affect your social media implementation? Are you trying to fill in the missing steps, or move forward in a different way?
(And, if you liked this post, you might want to read its related post, The Cornerstone of Social Media Is Clarity.)