- Objectives and Metrics
- Risk and mitigation
- Channel use and content
Where to start with social marketing? It's a question facing lots of businesses, large and small. Once you've made the decision that your business objectives can benefit from a social (or 'mutual', a term I've heard used recently) approach to marketing communications then Twitter often seems like the best place to start: it's free to join and unlikely to embarrass anyone. So when organisations want to 'dip their toe' in and minimise the risks then diving right into 140 character micro-blogging is the way to go right? Well, yes, but not quite. Without any clear objectives, metrics or guiding principles it's easy to stray of course and lose sight of why you're using this channel in the first place. Drafting a simple strategy document that outlines some clear aims and sets out a few guidelines can also go a long way to silencing the naysayers and getting buy-in from the sceptics. So here's my template (originally gleaned from many resources and then honed by experience!) for drafting a complete Twitter strategy document for business use. I would start by dividing the document up into four distinct categories: <ul> <li><strong>Objectives and Metrics</strong></li> <li><strong>Risk and mitigation</strong></li> <li><strong>Channel use and content</strong></li> <li><strong></strong><strong>Promotion </strong></li> </ul> <strong> Objectives and metrics </strong>From the outset objectives will need to relate to a clear business goal. Once established it's then up to you to set some objectives. Examples could be: <em>Provide thought leadership & credibility, increasing our visibility with experts in the field</em> and the way to measure that, or the <strong>metric, </strong>would be: <em>Retweets, click-throughs to other content</em> Of course both of those are relatively easy to measure, it's then up to you to decide what value you give them as a benchmark. <strong>Risks and mitigation </strong>It's important to understand that once you start Tweeting on behalf of a company then you're suddenly a very visible brand ambassador. If you're a small company it's likely that you'll have no social media policy and therefore no guidelines for best practice. That makes understanding the risks and mitigating for them doubly important. So what are the possible risks? <em>Inability to meet demands of followers eg they will expect to get answers to all problems</em> To mitigate you might consider the following: <em>Be clear from the outset about objectives and then manage expectations</em> (eg ensure followers realise that you are not using this account for customer service, be clear about what it is for!) <strong>Channel use and content </strong>Here you should start with your profile. This should include the <strong>Twitter account name</strong> and <strong>profile</strong> message - this is the summary that tells other users who you are and what they can expect from you. It has to be clear and concise, if this is misleading or poorly written it could undermine everything you're trying to do. <em>Resources</em> Whilst it might seem easy to do well crafted messages can take time and some effort. Be sure to outline here the resources involved, for example if you will need help with the content of your Tweets. It's also a good place to mention the tools you'll be using to manage your account and to help you monitor your metrics. You should also include your <em>content principles</em> (the tone and style of your Tweets...eg 'human', informal) and also other considerations such as <em>frequency </em>of Tweets. The type of content should be considered and outlined clearly in this part of the document. What are you going to Tweet about? Are you going to push out links to your own blog or video channel? Reply to your customers? Offer advice? Post links to interesting articles? I'd recommend that these are clearly listed. <strong>Promotional plan </strong>Here you'll want to consider the way you will inform your audience that you're on Twitter. Obviously following others and sharing good content would be an important part of this, but what about including your Twitter name on marketing communications? Is it right to put it on your stationery or business cards? <strong>And that's it.</strong> The length of your document really depends on the nature of your organisation and the objectives you set. Hopefully this will help you stay on course and make Twitter a successful social marketing tool for you and your business.
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