There’s no doubt that almost every business is (or at least trying to be) active on social media. But more often than not, you’ll find companies trying to engage with their audience on social channels with no plan or strategy. This post will walk you through a simple four-step social engagement plan to get you started.
Before diving into the plan, it’s important to take a step back and define the purpose of engagement. The purpose of engaging in social media is to create a genuine and meaningful two-way conversation. Once that’s established, other business goals such as brand awareness and lead generation will follow naturally.
Now, onto the fun stuff. The four steps of this social engagement plan are listening, engaging, measuring, and learning. You’ll want to think of this plan as being continuous or cyclical, so you can repeat it once you’re done with the fourth step.
Ever heard the saying “think twice before you speak?” Well, I say “listen twice before you tweet!”. When you start your listening exercise, you’ll want to identify things like:
- What are my audience’s main pain points?
- What type of content does my audience find appealing?
- What format of content is best consumed, engaged with, and shared by my audience?
Remember that listening doesn’t have to be passive. Feel free to engage in active listening by soliciting the information you’re looking for through testing different content formats and lengths, using online listening tools like surveys, or even researching what people are interested in or looking for on forums, etc.
Let’s say, for instance, that you’re a company providing PPC management services. You can look through the AdWords community to identify the most popular topics or issues people are discussing, then create content around how you can address or solve it.
Engaging consists of not only creating specific content based on the areas or topics of interest identified in the listening phase, but being available to engage back as well.
In the initial engagement phase, you might want to explore as many channels as possible to get a sense of where your audience spends the most time and consumes your content.
In this step, you’ll want to start by defining what your success metrics are. It’s important to take the time to set this measuring framework first, so you can easily determine success, failure, or areas of improvement.
Take a look at Angie Schottmuller’s post for great insights about how to set up goals to measure your social media ROI.
Measuring is useless if we don’t learn from it. The goal of measurement is not just to understand what happened in the past, but to determine our future actions as well.
So when you’re analyzing your success metrics, you might find, for example, that you have a low level of engagement on Twitter.
But a much higher one on YouTube
But take that a step further, and you might find that what this really means is that you have a high viewership but low engagement on that channel.
Use this type of insight to revise your next iteration. If you have the views but little to no engagement, solicit it.
Google’s Web Analytics TV gets a lot of engagement not only because Avinash is kind of cute, but because they clearly and specifically ask their audience to ask and rate questions.
Analyzing your metrics this way turns them into more actionable insights, allowing you to repeat the process again, knowing specific things like:
- The need to deliver more quality content.
- Understanding different content consumption levels across channels.
- Segmenting your your target audience to cater to them differently.
- How to coordinate similar efforts across your social media team.
- Uncovering opportunities to convert prospects.
With this simple four-step plan to listen, engage, measure, and learn, what’s keeping you from getting started today?
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