For the second post in this series I am going to focus on the planning and prioritization stages of social media.
We taught a social media seminar last week for almost 100 local business owners and leaders. There were businesses represented from travel and leisure such as large and small hotels and resorts, city government, service companies, marketing agencies, attorneys, accountants and more.
People are looking for the magic zoom ticket to social media success!
What I have noticed in every class we teach is that there is always a group of folks who are looking for the magic bullet answer. They want to know what is the magic tool that is going to help them succeed in social media. They often go from class to class, instructor to instructor trying to find the one trainer who can finally be smart enough to tell them the perfect social media plan for their business that they can write and execute in one day or week!
Sorry folks. There is no such magic class, trainer or plan. If you continue to search for and execute all the “magic plans” each trainer gives you without ever understanding your audience, the people then you will wind up with nothing more than a set of failing Random Acts of Marketing (RAMs), guaranteed!
Most people start with the tools, unfortunately.
In this particular seminar, the majority of the participants already have a start at getting their social platforms setup. Almost all of them have at minimum a Facebook page and LinkedIn profile.
They also had one common theme of frustration which was getting people to talk to them. Yet, as we walked through our methodology and how we first focus on the objectives and the audience I asked them how many of them have spent time to outline their objectives and know their audience. Out of a room of almost 100 people only a couple hands were raised.
People before tools!
Bingo! How can you have success in social media without knowing who you are talking to. I knew from seeing the few hands raised on that question we had one goal of the class and that was by the end they would all know and believe that social media is fueled by people and by conversations.
I knew I had to help them understand that it is the people and the conversations that will bring value to both business and life. They needed to learn that they must know who they are desiring to have a conversation with. They must also learn that the conversation must be relevant and inspiring to the recipient, otherwise chances are it will be ignored.
We immediately started the role playing exercise you see pictured on the right. We brought two participants up to the stage. We had them start a discussion similar to what they would talk about on Facebook. We then continued to interrupt them.
This role play made the light turn on for the majority of the peeps in the room. “They got it!” Yeah!
Social media prioritization starts with the people!
We had a couple folks in the room who kept asking “but what exactly do I do? how do I know how to prioritize my efforts in social media? what is the list I need to check off to get a return?”
Our answer is always the same… “It depends on your goals and objectives and your audience.” The answer kept coming up over and over from one particular participant. He seemed to want the magic check list. It was almost like he thought we were crazy that we didn't have the perfect plan to hand him for his business that would help him meet his objectives.
After this particular seminar I am 100% passionate about helping gentlemen like him crack this nut! I am determined to help people who are looking for a quick fix plan realize their only way to market and success with social media is with the people.
Connecting with people requires investment!
We also received many comments and questions such as “wow, this is going to take a lot of time if I have to respond and talk to people all day.” Yup, you are correct. It is people we are investing in. Conversations can not be automated.
It's similar to traditional marketing. I may want to purchase a one minute super bowl ad. However, chances are my budget for 2012 simply won't support such a decision.
Social media is the same way. You can't be everything to everyone. Even if your products can be sold to the entire world, it doesn't mean you have to have a conversation with people on every continent simultaneously. It's why prioritization is critical.
The best way to prioritize your investment, efforts and plans for social media is to prioritize it by audience with a focus and alignment to objectives and goals. There is simply no way around it if you want to see any type of business return.
Similar to the super bowl ad analogy, social media is the same way. You may want to get zoomin' turbo by leveraging and integrating social media into your business in 2011. However, your budget may not support it. Your resources may not support it. You must be realistic as to what you can and can't do.
Understand your mission!
Your mission should be to build and launch a social brand and business platform that inspires and connects YOU to your AUDIENCE!
Understand where your audience is hanging out online & learn how to have a relevant conversation with them! You can learn the tools at the same time you are learning about your audience.
Know your Audience!
1. Who is your audience?
2. What are their pain points?
3. How can you minimize or mitigate pain?
4. How can you inspire and help them personally or professionally?
5. How is your product positioned?
6. What is your social zoom factor? (how are you better than competition)
7. What is your competition up to?
8. What is your audience up to both online and offline?
Focus on the people, please!
Social relationships are the life raft that will get you through the tech evolution of changes. Who cares if Facebook goes away if you have solid relationships. Your friends will follow you to the new platform. Acquaintances won't!
Don't be afraid!
At the start of every seminar we teach we throw up a slide of a super powered CEO. He has a cape, goggles and is ready to take on the social world. We get the entire to room to stand up and chant “we are not afraid!” If you are nervous, intimidated, unsure, scared to death, worried or even a little bit uneasy, don't sweat it. You don't have to solve this overnight. Focus on the people and the people will guide you to the answers. Heck, you've been not on social media for this long, what's another couple weeks or months? It will come, no worries!
What are you seeing? Do you focus on the people with your social media strategy and execution? Are you seeing people get too hung up on the tools? How do you learn about your audiences? Has understanding your audience helped you build strong relationships?