So you need to develop a social media strategy. This helps cover the bases, then just add the music in your soul…
Know the landscape: Scope context, from external considerations (PESTLE) to overall organisational objectives to financial model (including where the department allocating this budget is getting its money from), business problems (may come from SWOT analysis), internal stakeholders, competitors, partners (potential and current). What is this activity intending to achieve and how does it fit into other concurrent activities? What is the wider global subject calendar, what upcoming events may support / detract from what you are trying to achieve?
Know the people: Research and define target audiences / consumers / participants. Determine existing access to customer / contacts / sales / donations data. Identify Social Technographics / Behaviorgraphics and flip all this over to consider who the Why Wasn’t I Consulted? gang might be. Segment and use personas but as guides, not straightjackets. Consider influencers – but be cautious when using tools to discover them – although new influencers may be found, most businesses will know who influencers are already and the challenge is usually how best to interact with them / reach out further. Consider influential spaces – find out where conversation and participation is happening already (when keyword searching look for brands, competitors and associated subjects) -and, where possible, take an ethnographic approach to analysing them.
Develop creative social concepts: Develop creative concepts whilst brainstorming the associated social object (s) around which these people will engage, and the different time /space / mood conditions under which they will do so (i.e. where are they, how long will they have, how will they feel, what device (s) / platforms will they use to consume, react and create). Now decide whether Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Quora, WAYN, FourSquare, blogger outreach etc. is appropriate, how the creative concept should work differently depending on which platform it is being executed over, and how you can crowdsource / work alongside people outside as part of each execution.
Define set-up: Clarify and allocate budget in line with creative social concepts. Define tools to monitor, interact, measure and store new contacts. Determine ongoing staff needs, including new hires /employee training or guidance needs. Define risks and use PRACT from Prince2 (Prevention; Reduction; Transference; Acceptance; Contingency; Transference to specify responses). Design content and participation strategy and calendar, develop creative assets (video, audio, graphics, copy, digital assets, applications, sites). Don’t forget all other marketing / communication channels and how they may support core social media engagement.
Plan launch and maintenance: Whether launch will be a big bang or a bashful beta plan in resources (people and tools) for monitoring, reporting, interacting, moderating, responding and adapting media / campaign activity in response to participation.
Scope reception (for the social enterprise): At the most advanced level, this is the capability for learnings from social media activity to be received by the business / organisation listening to / instigating it. This requires reflexive analysis, insights and change management. Who within the organisation can adapt product development, customer services, sales and supply chains (think sustainability) in line with what is being learnt? Who will they be fed back to and how, and how receptive are they? Reception must tie into overall business objectives, but for the truly social enterprise, even objectives may alter as a result of social engagement.
NOTE: This is not a waterfall model – whatever is planned, plan for change: adapting each element according to how the landscape and people shifts.