You want to market on the web and take advantage of the vast potential of social media. You start your blog, create your Twitter account, launch your Facebook fan page, and you’re ready to go.
Or are you? Have you missed any crucial first steps?
Sandy Abrams, begins her new book, Your Idea, Inc., with words that have been attributed to Mark Twain:
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking down your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
This quotation presents three problems, which I believe ought to have troubled Samuel Clemens:
- Isn’t “breaking down your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks” itself a step in the process?
- Aren’t understanding your needs and clearly defining your objectives vital preparatory steps as well?
- How do we determine the optimal sequence in which to execute all the small manageable tasks?
Planning is not popular, which explains the all too common lack of direction and focus in social media work.
Lack of direction and focus impedes progress and can cause frustration.
Your Social Media PlanBefore you jump into social media, devise your social media marketing and PR plan. Here are 16 key areas that might factor into your social media plan:
- Understand your business and objectives.
- Think about your products and services, what makes each special and their respective market segments.
- Develop positioning strategies for each market or program.
- Compile a list of your online competitors for each market.
- Identify suitable social media, such as social networking sites and social bookmarking sites, for both your vertical and horizontal campaigns.
- Identify desirable directories and other sites that might link to your content.
- Research and evaluate the extent and quality of industry-specific online content.
- Devise strategies and techniques for developing and promoting your content.
- Define a policy for governing your employees’ interactions with the public through social media.
- Study the online methodology of competitors and identify their search engine keywords.
- Analyze and critique your existing web presence.
- Gauge your competitors’ online success based upon their standing in search engines, the number and quality of links to their site, and estimated traffic.
- Identify opportunities to outmaneuver your competitors.
- Use a process called keyword discovery to develop a potentially useful vocabulary that will attract targeted search engine traffic to your content through SEO.
- Analyze keywords to determine which ones ought to be emphasized, based on the frequency of search and the amount of competition for each keyword phrase.
- Create a lexicon as an output of your keyword research and as an aid to your content development.
Action is EverythingYou need not be concerned about every one of these areas. Use your judgment, since these are more suggestions than requirements. Certainly, do not use the length of my list as an excuse not to take action.
Action is everything. However, action begins with planning.