Now is the time of year where businesses all over the country are looking forward to the next year and setting goals. You’re social media program should be no different. If you’re like most businesses, you’ll be spending more time on social media next year, so its time to start developing strategy for your social media.
Is it possible to really measure social media and determine ROI? Well, its certainly not impossible. But you will have to do some pre-planning and prep. This is one of those circumstances where the more you put into it up-front, the better your results. I often tell my clients, “Now is the time to set up to measure. Because someday, you’ll wish you had.” Determining ROI starts with a Social Media Strategic Plan.There are 3 phases to this planning. We’ll discuss two of them today. We’ll cover the third step in another blog post and finally, social media ROI (a.k.a. the Holy Grail) in our third installment. Never fear, you aren’t on your own through this process. We have planning templates to get you started!
I’ll be the first to admit that social media measurement is evolving and slightly awkward still. The industry is still evolving definitive best practices, but that shouldn’t stop you from social media strategic planning. In fact, the good news is that much of social media measurement calls on some of the very same techniques that marketers have been using for a long time.
But let’s start with the basics. The first step in any kind of marketing measurement is the strategic planning phase. At its most basic, you’ll take 3 steps to social media measurement: WHY, WHAT, and HOW. Our Social Media Strategic Plan template steps you through the first two: WHY and HOW. Phase one to social media strategic planning may take several hours to complete. If that sounds too overwhelming, consider the amount of time your business will spend on social media and ask yourself the cost of NOT knowing how your efforts are paying off? I suggest breaking it into several short planning sessions if you just can’t do it all at once. The important thing is that you do it.
If you’re already doing strategic planning, but need a nudge on how to measure social media, then this template will help you too.
Also, keep in mind that a platform is NOT a strategy. Twitter is not a strategy. Facebook is not a strategy. Its by determining your goals that you determine metrics, KPI’s then tactics. Platforms are TACTICS. One of the beauty of real social media strategic planning is that it isn’t platform dependent. If Facebook dies tomorrow, you’re strategy shouldn’t change. You’re tactics may change, but not your overall strategy.
First, let’s identify the 3 steps to social media strategy planning.
3 Steps to Social Media Strategy Planning:
The WHY: Identify Objective and Goals:
This is perhaps both the easiest and the most difficult to do. You might be tempted to say “Drive more sales!” but dig a little bit deeper. Go ahead. Do you want to drive sales in a particular region? To a particular audience? The thing with this stage is to be as specific as possible. Being specific makes measurement much, much easier. In the social media strategic plan template, this column is labeled “Goal/Objective.” Be specific, and realistic. Don’t choose so many goals that they will be overwhelming. Remember that you’ll be tracking each of these goals, so choose goals important enough to spend time tracking.
The WHAT: Now identify your metrics.
Metrics will be the tool by which you evaluate success. The key here is to make WHAT you measure consistent with the WHY. For example, if you are measuring leads, the metric might be conversions (email opt-ins, downloads, registrations, etc.). But if you are measuring awareness, perhaps your metric is more like reach. Get it?
The metric must be quantifiable, otherwise, what will you count? The social media strategic plan template provides a column for “metrics” and even provides you with sample metrics for each sample goal. You can choose to measure track different metrics, just make sure the metrics match the goal. For example, increased followers does not equate directly to more sales, it equates to more reach.
The HOW: Identifying KPI’s.
KPI’s are measured over time. They are also at-a-glance numbers. Usually things like percentages, dollar values, etc. These are the numbers, based on the metrics, which will support the objectives and goals. Our next blog post will go into more detail about KPI’s and provide you some sample KPI’s for metrics.
The final phase of social media strategy planning
But before you move onto the KPI step, its really important that you identify the person responsible for each goal. That person should be reporting on the status of each goal. The Social Media Strategic Plan Template has an area marked “RYG”, for “Red, Yellow or Green.” If the objective/goal is on track to be accomplished by the deadline, its “Green.” If not, it’s “Red.” When its red or yellow, there is space for the corrective action. Corrective action is relevant because its not enough to identify THAT something’s not working, its just as important to FIX it. The simple act of tracking these items helps everyone stay involved in the success of the company. Its amazing what a simple spread sheet can do for a business.