There aren’t enough hours in the day for all the chores that social media puts in front of us. The best writing I’ve found on how to manage your time in social media is via Amber Naslund’s social media time management series. Her efforts in crafting this should become a little ebook that you hand around to everyone. If you skipped over that link, go back, click it to open a new tab/window, and then read it when you’re done with this (or skip mine and read Amber’s- it’s that good). If you’re still with me, here’s what I want to say on the matter.
These are written from a marketer’s perspective. I can write from other perspectives if you want. Just let me know in the comments.
First, the Foundations
Without the following, there’s no point doing social media and social networking for business.
- Goals first – If you don’t stick to your goals, there’s no reason to put any time into social media, period. If your goal is to build relationships that yield sales for your organization, then make sure you’re always trying to answer the question: “how do I know which relationships will yield, and how do I attract/find more of those people who are perfect for my product/service?”
- Dashboard – At New Marketing Labs, we’re going into 2010 with the rule that all projects have a dashboard of measurements. We will be clear with every client which needles we’re going to move for them, and how. Without an understanding of progress, how will we know we’re helping them with their goals?
- Strategies – Strategies are paths one might take to accomplish one’s goals. Come up with a few strategies (not too many, but not one), and make those strategies relate to your goals and not to the tools. To start with the tools in mind is to believe those tools will be there forever. Where’s your Plurk strategy? Right.
- Wins/Losses – What do you want to count as a win or a loss? Make sure your dashboard can report on this.
In Order Of Value
- Listen – Listening gives you data, gives you metrics, gives you topic material for content, gives you a sense of where your crowd is. Use professional listening tools and even some free ones to be sure you’ve got information and a hot map of the territory.
- Read/Consume – Might seem counter to what you think I’d say, but I read several blogs and news sources before I start in on many of my other social media duties. Why? Because it gives me perspective, it lets me know what folks are finding useful, it gives me ideas on what the topics I follow might need from me.
- Comment/Share – I comment and share other people’s work for two reasons: first is that I want you to see the good stuff. Second, is that it also starts/encourages new relationships between people. Some of these relationships benefit me. Many benefit the person I point out. It all works to form a nice ecosystem.
- Create – Making media (blogging, video, podcasts, ebooks, tweets, email marketing, whatever) is the reason you came to start using these tools. By all means, use them. Creation is your chance to have a voice, to share your thoughts, to encourage people to do business with you. This blog is where I share with you, because I’m also simultaneously signaling to my typical clients (midsized-to-Fortune-100 companies) that if I’m giving you all this for free, you’d be thrilled with what I charge you for. Creating is important, but only after you’ve done the other steps.
- Communicate – It might be weird to see email/phone calls/face-to-face so low in my social media prioritizing. It’s “social” media after all, right? But if you look at all the above, you’ll note that they’re all meant to help the most possible people. With email/phone/f2f, that’s about a 1:1 connection (most times- email can be more). I find that communications help out fewer people than all the above so I try to handle them after I’ve done my other work.
- Close – Okay, closing is more sales than it is a social media tool, but that’s what I try to do last in my order of priorities. Not all that I do is a sales funnel (at least not for my own site and personal use of social media). To that end, I think closing goes last in my order of things I try to do, though I still have goals and targets for this. This might seem the most backwards for business people, especially sales people, to think about. But then again, think about what REALLY goes into a sale: awareness, education, negotiation, purchase, support, renewal. Right? Sales, or the close, is only the last in the line of all that. The rest of what I’ve listed out above lines up with those other parts of the funnel. Now does it make sense?
In Explaining This to The Leadership
The way I do business with companies is by sharing what I’ve learned and what I know, and then mapping that to the company’s goals and desires. I work mostly from the mindset of “how can I get you more _____” and then we talk through the various ways that can be accomplished. In almost all cases, we work to “teach them to fish,” as our goal isn’t to be in some kind of endless retainer loop.
In how YOU might explain this and get your goals across, try lining everything up with business objectives. Try working out how this all integrates to your departments, how the process flows will go, etc. Make sure you think of as many questions that other departments and key voices will throw at you, and work out your answers ahead of time.
If you’re a small business, then you get to make all the decisions. You’ll note that I wrote this from the marketer’s perspective. I haven’t factored in the time you need to create your product or service. Let’s cover smaller business in another post. Fair?
How do you think this maps for you? Do you see it? Do you have questions based on what I covered up there? How can I help you better understand the priorities?
Photo credit theogeo