A framework for getting started in social media

The way I see it, there are two ways of getting into social media:

1) Dive right in and see what happens or

2) Apply a sound method to what you’re doing.

Both ways can lead to success but if you put some thought into your social media efforts, your likelihood of success will surely increase. Also, when you’re trying to get a company (vs individual) started in social media, the “see what happens” approach may not be an option.

The following framework is one tool you could use to go about thinking and planning your social media program. It’s based on the GO MAD thinking framework. Here, I’ve applied it to social media. I originally presented this framework at ad:tech Sydney 2010. The full presentation is below for your reference. The actual framework starts on slide 7.

Be sure to also print out the social media framework worksheet to help you put the framework to use.

Framework for getting started in social media

Step 1: Monitor

Before you do anything else, find out what’s being said about your brand. There’s no sense taking action if you don’t know what is the status quo. There are many free and paid tools you could use so I’ve put together a list of social media monitoring tools for you. I’m still working my way through these and haven’t found the perfect tool yet.

Step 2: The reason why

There are many reasons why you could/should do social media as a company. The key is to figure out what that reason is for you and your company. It’s important since there are so many options of activities you can do in social media. Nailing down your reason why will help you frame your goal and may help you figure out what activity you should undertake. Reasons why companies do social media can vary from “My CEO says so” through “My company needs to prepare for a potential crisis,” to “We need to increase our customer engagement.” (more examples in the preso below)

Step 3: The goal

Once you know what’s currently happening (via monitoring) and you have identified the reason why your company should do social media, it’s time to answer that reason with an actual goal. As with most things, SMART goals are the best kinds of goals to set. Here’s a guide to setting SMART goals for social media.

Step 4: Confidence check

You set your goal and you know why you set it, but depending on what that goal is, you might think to yourself “Crap, I’ll never achieve this!” Which is why this confidence check is in place. Take a look at your goal. Now think to yourself, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most confident), how confident do you feel you can achieve this goal? If you’re at a 7 or above, continue with the framework.

If you’re lower than a 7, ask yourself, what needs to happen for my confidence to increase? Let’s say the answer is “more resources” and you don’t think that’s likely to happen. Perhaps the goal itself needs revision? It’s OK if the goal is changed to make you more confident. It’s important that you don’t set yourself up to fail. If you’re confident that you will succeed, then you will succeed. If you’re wavering from the get go, you won’t find success.

Step 5: Getting buy-in

Since opening up as a brand on social media can be scary to some companies, it’s important that you get buy-in for your efforts from the get-go. The best way to do this is by involving others. Here’s another post I wrote on getting buy-in for your social media program to supplement this post.

Step 6: Possibilities brainstorming

You have your reason why, you’ve set your goal, you’re confident that you will achieve it and you’ve started to involve others in the process. So far, so good. Now the fun part begins! It’s time for possibilities brainstorming. There are many techniques for brainstorming so if you know some that worked for you before, use them. Otherwise, here are some suggestions of high quality questions to ask when brainstorming possibilities for a social media program.

Step 7: Prioritise

Now that you have your possibilities, the next step is to prioritise them. The way you prioritise these will differ depending on your goal. Some common ways to prioritise are:

  • Low-hanging fruit – What can you do quickly and easily?
  • Short term success – What gives you quick wins?
  • Long term success – What must we budget for now in order to gain wins later?
  • PR – What will be perceived as most important move by our customers/media/industry?

Here again is where you can involve others to continue getting buy-in. For example, let’s say your goal is to increase customer engagement. In that case, it might be good to get the Service Manager involved in your plans if it’s her team that will be executing the social media program.

Step 8: Planning

This next step simply takes your priorities and translates them into a list of tasks with individuals assigned to each task.

(Confidence check – Having done all this work, how confident are you that you will achieve your goal? If you’re at an 8/10 or above, that’s awesome! If you’re not feeling too confident, what needs to happen to increase your confidence? Remember, it’s OK to revise your goal if necessary. Just don’t set yourself up to fail.)

Step 9: Measuring success

How will you measure your success? If you’ve set a SMART goal to begin with, it will have a measurable element in there for you. Some possible ways to measure could be the ratio of positive to negative comments on a particular review site, visits to your website or increase in your company’s customer satisfaction index. There’s no one right way to measure social media ROI. You need to decide what makes sense for your goal and for your company’s individual set of circumstances.

Good luck with your social media program!

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Magda Walczak

Always hungry. Nuts for dogs. Love to travel. I write about marketing, food, web, travel and whatever else strikes my fancy.

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