The key to a great public relations or marketing campaign is great planning.
People first. Tactics Last.
We tend to do this in reverse, we see a great tactic and we quickly try to see how we can shoehorn it into what we are already doing (best case) or just do it as a one off (worst case). But tactics aren’t strategies and on their own will rarely move you down the field purposefully.
A social media strategy action plan that hits it through the GOAL POST follows a pattern (see what I did there?). You can read a quick definition of a GOAL Post Social Media Action Strategy here.
15 Questions for Your Social Media Strategy Action Plan
To get started down the right path, answer these questions:
It is important to know what you want. It seems obvious, but so many plans start out with very murky desires. It’s not enough to just want to be “out there” or “be seen.” Answer these questions:
- What is your overarching goal?
- What do you want to see change as a result of what you do? Is it to create attention, raise awareness, change attitudes, or get people to take a certain action (buy, sell, support, promote)?
Defining the People
Even in Business to Business marketing, it is all about people. People make decisions to buy into or support your business or organization. People are the lifeblood of what you hope to accomplish, so all PR and marketing activities need to start with how they will be impacted and what their interests might be. Ask these questions:
- Who are you trying to reach and what are their interests?
- How does what you have to offer solve one of their problems or help them?
- Where can you meet them, both online and off? Association meetings, conferences, events?
- What networks or technology do they use? Facebook, LinkedIn, Email, SMS, etc. If you don’t know, check out the research.
Setting SMART Objectives
Once you have a general idea of what you want to happen and who you want it to happen with, you can set some specific objectives. Objectives should be SMART (see this post about how to set SMART Objectives) and answer these questions at minimum:
- What actions do you want people to take?
- By when do you want them to take these actions?
- What overall results do you want to have and by when (financial, other)?
Social Media Strategies
Concurrent with you objectives, you need to build your strategies for reaching the people you have decided are ideal for your outreach. Strategies are not tactics. Remember, those come last. Strategies are things like, “We will reach CEOs with Targeted Content.” The type, style, media channels and schedule are the tactics that would support the strategy. You should ask these questions to get to the bottom of your strategy:
- How will you approach your desired audience? Will you use content, events, personal connection, third party endorsement?
- How are other brands/organizations currently reaching out to your demographic?
- How successful have they been and how can you stand out and be different?
Setting Up Tactics
Tactical brainstorming and implementation can be one of the best (most fun) parts of the marketing and public relations job. However, it isn’t really effective unless it is grounded in the previous steps of People, Objectives and Strategies. Here are some of the questions that we ask when considering tactics.
- What have other people done in and outside of our industry? For instance, if we have chosen an event as our strategy, what creative things have been done in other industries that we can borrow?
- Ask how you can turn it into a game? Check out these AddingPlay cards.
- How can you use psychology to find persuasive tactics that really connect? Read this book: Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences. While it is aimed at web designers, it also can be used for creating any experience.
What are some of the questions you would ask?