About six months ago, we launched a social media strategy at my company. It’s been an interesting process that I’ve been dying to share with everyone. I’m no expert, but I think there’s a lot of value in sharing my process. Twitter has been the most interesting, so we’ll start there.
Step 1: Define Strategy
This is the part where you have to prove: Why Twitter? Twitter was a good fit for our company for a few major reasons: Our competitors were active, our customers were present and talking about us, and it would be a good channel to expand communication and participate in the conversation. Twitter can be used for communications, customer support, thought leadership or promotions. If you’re not 100% sure which strategy will work best, don’t worry. Your community will drive you to what they want.
Step 2: Monitor
Through the initial research for strategy, I set up searches in Twitter so I could keep an eye on what people were saying. I found industry leaders and key customers on Twitter so I could see what they were talking about and what they were saying about us. I monitored what the competition did and what people were saying about them. I truly think this is one of the most important parts of social media, and proving active communities piques management’s interest.
Step 3: Educate
Start spreading the news! Oftentimes, you’ll have to present, explain and evangelize Twitter – it’s not always easy for your company’s stakeholders to understand. I really did Steps 1-3 simultaneously, leading to…
Step 4: Gain Buy-in and Write the Plan
When I knew things were catching on, I started tying together the monitoring and strategy into a formal plan, addressing the concerns you’ve come across in the process. Make sure you have everything in Step 5 and 6 outlined so that it’s easy to implement once you have signoff!
Step 5: Build an Editorial Calendar and Crisis Plan
Once you’ve brought everything together and gained the buy-in, make sure you have developed a crisis plan to tackle negative comments. For us, it was making sure I had a chain of command with backups so I could quickly address questions that I may not be able to answer myself. I also built a 90-day editorial calendar to prove we had enough content to provide value, keep the content fresh and slowly generate conversation.
Step 6: Build Your Profile
Now comes the fun part! You should have everything specified for your profile, including your profile name, webpage you plan to link to, a short bio and a background to pretty up your page!
Step 7: Posting and Profile Management
Start posting! You’ll probably want to find a tool to use to manage your account and track your posting. One that I use is Hootsuite. It has a built-in URL shortener, it’s easy to track clicks on your URLs and very easy to set up your monitoring - so everything is in one spot!
Step 8: Promote
Emails, press releases, websites, email signatures… include Twitter in everything so you build your network! You can also use lots of widgets to cross-post your Twitter content to your websites, blogs, Facebook pages, etc.
Step 9: Engage
Now that you’ve posted, start engaging. Begin responding to those that are posting about your company – both good and bad. You’ll be surprised how quickly the negative comments are turned around!
Step 10: Repeat
Start over. Reassess and continue to tweak processes. Continue to engage. Your customers will let you know what information they want from you. This isn’t a one-time deal – this is an ongoing investment in your customer community.