The Simple Strategic Plan for Social Media Marketing

Today I was honored to be part of a discussion panel on the measurement of social media ROI. (Social Media Breakfast, Austin, TX) And the insights were fun and fast over the course of our breakfast panel. But one point that continued to come up, over and over, was about tracking your plan. Working a plan. Building a plan. Knowing your strategy.

I know because I said these things, say these things, many times. It’s a mantra for me. Tweeting, Posting, Liking, and Commenting are great, but they are simply “activity.” If you approach social media with an “activity-based” mindset, then activity is all you are going to get. But guess what? You already know the answer. Activity does not generate revenue. At least not by itself. Activity can be linked to revenue, but you’ve got to do the hard work to draw the connecting lines and show the results. And the R in ROI is Return, but for most companies, the R is really REVENUE.

So how do you build a simple plan? What are the basic components? We also covered these topics today.

1. Know where you are. (establish a benchmark)

2. Know what your goals are. (What are you looking to accomplish? Save money – offsetting support costs? OR Make money – sales and lead generation.)

3. Track your activity. Know when a Facebook post is shared and results in more LIKES or traffic to your website. Learn to create TRACKING LINKS (we talked about my favorite and free service, and add them to everything you do on social.

SOCIAL MEDIA ROI LAW #1: If you can’t track it, it didn’t happen. Or at least, you’re going to have a hard time showing the CFO how you’re “activity” generated the target goals if you can’t point to specific numbers.

4. If you find something that works, expand on it. Do more of it. Try variations of the successful post/tweet/video. Keep trying new stuff. AND TRACK THAT.

5. If you find something that doesn’t work stop doing it. (An example was given about Pinterest. A client is having great success at generating Pinterest PINS and some success at referral traffic to their site. BUT the visiting PINNERS are staying about 10 seconds. Only 2-in-100 are even visiting an additional page on our site.

6. Learn from your mistakes. Learn what others in your space are doing. And do better. (With Pinterest we are in the process of trying some new ideas. What about a landing page for a PIN? Not sure if it’s going to work, or if it’s worth the effort, but the 300+ referrals a month MIGHT be worth something. Today they are not really generating anything but “activity.” There is no R on the Pinterest efforts yet for this company.

7. Don’t give up. Keep trying. Keep thinking forward. What’s next? How can we use Pinterest in a way that isn’t being done?

8. Look for innovations that are on the horizon and try some of them. What’s new and what’s next in social media? Is there something that works really well for your client’s channel? Try that.

BOTTOM LINE SUMMARY: Measure every social media program towards goals. Look for actionable analytics, things you can see and change. And get your numbers down solid. When the CEO/CFO asks, “So what has social media brought us this month?” you can stand up and deliver the numbers. Then it’s not about ideas and innovation, it’s about cold hard facts. If they are GOOD, well done. You’re in business for another quarter. If they are BAD… well, what are you doing to change them and get things moving in the right direction?

Without the NUMBERS to support your social media marketing program, you will not have one for long

John McElhenney — let’s connect online
Facebook & LinkedIn & The Whole Parent

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