I am in the middle of planning my Spring vacation to Mexico and have my 10 key questions that I need to have answered before I even consider what resort or area that we will attend: Is it all-inclusive? Is it adult-only? Is there a beach (I can swim in)? And, the list goes on. After I can answer all of those questions, then I can make the best selection to guarantee success – a great vacation! Now, there will always be bumps in the road, but some due diligence always pays off to a greater chance to reach my goal!
So, why is my vacation planning connected to starting a social media channel in a B2B marketing program?
I have a very interesting role at SAP as the social media strategy and program lead in North America. In addition to creating pull-marketing and social media strategy for the 25th biggest brand in the world, I get connect with marketers to show them how to connect best practice marketing strategy with their goals. It’s one of the ways that we crated our Center Of Excellence over the last 18 months.
With this strategy platform created, I recently received a request from a coworker with some direction strategic considerations to start up some new social media channels for a new industry role assignment. I LOVE this architectural approach to channel building … creating the blueprint first, build the process and then launch a channel! I provided 10 questions for my colleague and for you to consider to help with the success of launching a new social media channel.
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- What are your social media channel goals? Make sure that they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-based! For example, Generate 1 million monthly social media impressions.
- What are the roles of each of your social media channels? Think through what each channel like Twitter and Pinterest are best at accomplishing based on how people use them and let that guide how you proceed with launching a channel.
- How are you going to measure social media success on your channels? Do you have a plan to measure your social media activity in a way that is more strategic than followers? I have a great tool for you to use if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- What is it that you want your target audience to do once they find and engage with your social media channels? To decide on the best channels that help you meet your goals based on what you want the customer to do, you need to think through the use experience. For instance, when considering the same person, he expects to act differently on Facebook (i.e., clicking on an activity that keeps him on Facebook) than on Twitter (i.e., expects to click somewhere else)
- Do you have a plan to create content, deploy, manage and measure your social media channels (e.g., content plan, social media manager)? Many brands have a plan to use a college intern or newly minted graduate, while others put these duties on top of current workload. Whatever it may be, make sure you have a plan to find the content and get it out the door!
- Have you determined the best level of messaging (e.g., 10 messages a day vs. 2 messages a day) required to help you reach your goals? Stating that you want to be on social media is only the start! How often should you communicate and message your audience? Why does this planning matter? This matters since sending 2 messages a day will take more resources than 25 messages a day, so you need to plan the entire ‘social media supply chain’ accordingly.
- Do you have sustainable resources to support the creation, deployment, management and measurement of your social media channels? (e.g., manpower, budget). A social media channel plan is a great start. A budget and resources are even more important to ensure you can execute your plan. It is key that you do not launch a channel without sustainable resources. I have seen many B2B channels die on the vine! Don’t let this be you.
- Are there any other in-house social media properties that can help you drive those same results (e.g., other Twitter channels, in-house community, in-house blogs). You would be surprised the by answering some of the above questions that there may be other channels and ways of driving the same results needed to meet you goals. This is a great time to bring in a second or third set of eyes or a marketing coach to help you understand the best mix of tactics.
- What channels will resonate with your target audience, since not every channel is built to serve every customer-segment’s needs? Since social media IS social, make sure that your target audience is natively connected to using a specific channel for specific reason. For example, would Facebook be the best way to build a defense industry audience? NO! So, you need to think through the nuances of each audience and related social media channels.
- Have you checked out the competition, influencers, media publications, internal company mentors and other like-properties to help you understand your place it the social media ecosystem and how to maximize your presence? Social media is the marketing and competitor equalizer! While you are planning your social media channel launch, make sure you check out your primary and and secondary competitors and other influencers for ideas and direction on the best way for you to proceed!
Some links to help you further with the above questions:
- Blogging 101: How To Blog in 5 Easy Steps
- How A Marketing Coach Can Help You
- Increase Your Social Media Return On Interesting
Do you have any additional questions that you would ask? Please share them below!
If you answer these 10 questions you will be much better informed to launch a social media channel to help you execute on your business goals and strategy. Please reach out to me with any questions @GerryMoran or email@example.com.