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7 Questions to Ask Before Launching a Social Media Program

- September 13, 2012 - 2 Comments

Success can come in many forms. Three very different success stories. Listen to the replay for details.

This week, Partner Velocity (Cisco’s program to help partners’ marketing efforts) held a one-hour webcast to help you get started with social media.

It’s a topic near and dear to my heart, so I led the webcast and provided some guidance for beginners and more advanced practitioners, tips, and tricks to help launch a social media presence.

If you couldn’t make it, don’t worry as there’s a replay available. Be sure to listen to this replay and attend the next two webinars in the series: you’ll be entered to win a US$2500 marketing consultation.

Head to the Partner Velocity site for details, and to register for the next two sessions (Social Media for Events and Creating an Integrated Campaign).

Here’s a quick recap of the topics covered in this week’s session “Building a Successful Social Media Program”:

  • How to develop a listening strategy
  • How to define and segment your audience (and create content for each persona)
  • Tips and tricks for engaging with your audience
  • Ways to design a measurement/metrics plan
  • And finally, some key takeaways and next steps

Keep reading for my seven questions to ask before launching your own social media program.

Before embarking on a new social media program or if someone comes to you asking if they should launch a new Twitter account, first ask these seven questions. (In the session, I covered these in more detail so listen to the replay for all the info.)

1) Is there an executive champion?

Executive champions are so critical to the success of a social program because let’s face it: a lot of people STILL just don’t think social media is an effective use of time. Executives are often the ones who put their muscle behind this social media thing and getting their buy in means you’ll have others to help support your efforts. Some executives may take things a step further and actually author blogs, send tweets, and really get involved.

2) Are there subject-matter experts?

Finding the appropriate subject matter experts is really important. Many times, the marketing person is the one running the feeds and writing content and let’s face it: we don’t know everything. Having the proper resources who are technical, familiar with the sales cycle, or are in the trenches are your best sources of content.

3) What is the workflow management strategy to handle responses and engagement?

Creating a workflow to manage questions from followers, customer complaints, or leads is critical to your program’s success. Listen to the full replay to get tips and advice on how to do this as well as a handy flowchart for routing questions.

4) Do team members have a social media skill set or will efforts be outsourced?

Know what the level of social media savvy your staff has (and don’t be tempted to hire a 20-year-old intern to do all the tweeting, though they can definitely help). If you don’t have someone on staff who knows what they’re doing, you may decide it makes sense to outsource some or all of your social media efforts to an agency.

5) How much time and resources are available?

Because good social media does take time. Knowing how much time you have will determine what sort of results you get and what sort of goals you need to set. It’s better to do one or two things well than spread yourself too thin.

6) What statistics will you set out to measure and how will you measure results?

As you launch your program, decide what you want to measure: are you driving people to buy, to try, to attend a webcast, to increase share of voice? Some metrics are easier to measure than others, but by deciding what you’re measuring at the start, you can better map your activities around driving specific actions.

7) How do I turn fans into advocates and get people to share my stuff?

You may notice that you start gaining fans or people who avidly share and comment. Be sure to nurture those fans, feature them on your Facebook page, perhaps offer them guest blog posts or write about them on  your blog, give them sneak peeks at solutions or products that others don’t get. Maybe a discount for retweeting. Lots of opportunities to give those super fans special treatment.

Lots more tips and info can be found by listening to the webcast replay.

Additional resources:

Finally, if there are any topics you’d like to suggest for future blog article or Partner Velocity webcasts, drop us a note in the comments.


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  1. According to my experience the most crucial point is to have an interesting product or service, ideally a visually appealing design of the corporate website. Otherwise you might not be able to ignite word of mouth on the internet.

  2. Social Media has surely become one of the largest marketing channels for businesses. Everyday, more and more businesses are jumping in to promote their businesses and services on social media. These 7 points are surely a help for marketers who wish to engage more and more niche audiences for their business. Many experienced employees of the companies, especially those holding the senior positions still have little social media presence or they don't know how to create buzz on social media. It is for this reason companies are more reluctant to hire younger people in doing this promotional job. They think younger audiences might give them better visibility. I strongly companies must use social media as an effective channel of feedback. Many consumers find social channels as the best available channel to say their words before the companies. The companies must patiently reply to user feedback. This helps to give the story better visibility and also helps in the effective management of online reputation.