This week, my dog Callie cut her paw pad while hiking on a rocky desert trail. Three miles into a six-mile hike, I noticed her favoring her right front paw but I couldn’t find any reason for it. We finished the hike, but once we got home she began licking her paw and limping. Her pad was raw, cut open and oozing. Today, she’s bandaged up and resting, and from the look on her face, a little miffed at me for not helping her out sooner.
Callie, being the trooper she is, reminded me of what many organizations who are new social media do – jump in with all fours (i.e. get on every social media network), power through a long slog (i.e. post, post, post with little attention to metrics or results), only to stop and tend to minor cuts once they’ve become bigger problems (i.e. so busy trying to post content that there’s no time to assess whether it’s working).
So, how do we, as social media communicators, best serve our organizations when we might feel pressure to “get on the trail and get moving”? Here are my suggestions:
- Find the right network(s) first. Consider the organization’s strategic goals, and how social media best serves them. A retail business will have very different goals – and consequently, different social media strategies – than a government service agency. Then determine which networks your primary audience uses.
- Control your content. Retweeting industry experts and other interesting people is part of the strategy, but the real value comes from what @markwschaefer in “The Tao of Twitter” calls “rich content,” the blog, vlog, or podcast where you showcase your original, valuable content for your audience. With rich content, you build trust and reputation as an expert in your industry and you become a resource for others.
- Track your success. Once you decide which metrics to measure (followers, likes, engagement), make a habit of recording monthly progress. SproutSocial has an extensive explanation of what and how to measure your social media efforts.
- Expand with a plan. As resources allow and strategy dictates, create a 12-month plan for social media expansion and your continued success!
So, if you don’t want to get ‘that’ face – from your dog or your co-workers – plan a social media strategy before you jump in with all fours.