February 16, 2018

6 Steps to Build A Social Media Strategy


Wondering where to start? Here are six steps as outlined at a Social Media Club gathering I attended this week. I took careful notes in order to share them with you. Also, the presentation is available on Slideshare here.

Before I list the six steps, these context-setting comments are important:  First and foremost, social media is just one part of your marketing effort. It should never operate as a separately channel unconnected to your other marketing efforts.

Also, remember that the strategy is not tactics. Facebook, Twitter, are tactics. If you start there, you are doing it all backwards. Why is the strategy important? Because in 1990, this is the list of top tactics available in marketing:

  • Direct mail
  • Telephone
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Print
  • Display

Today that list includes:

  • Email
  • Mobile
  • IM
  • SMS
  • SEO
  • Online display
  • Landing pages
  • Widgets
  • QR codes
  • Microsites
  • …you get the idea.

The tactics are ever changing. If you don’t have a strategy, you can see how quickly the message can get fragmented. So where to start?

1. Plan. How does social media align with your overall strategy? Where is your audience online and how can you create/share a compelling content.?A plan keeps you disciplined, engaged and motivated.

2. Do Your Research. Start with a website audit. What are you already doing that you can repurpose? What channels are your audience using and how do they engage with each other? What are your competitors doing – and yes, libraries have competitors; and no, they aren’t other libraries.

3. What Does Success Look Like? Define some key performance indicators for yourself. Remember what Jack Welch said: “if you can’t measure it, it’s just a hobby.” Challenge yourself to go deeper than just how many “likes” you have on Facebook. Look at the times when you have the most conversation about a topic, study why that was and repeat that type of engagement.

 4. Engagement Strategy.  How are you going to drive interaction? This is a mistake I see on a lot of Facebook pages. The postings are all about the organization. Particularly with libraries, it is all about events. Challenge yourself to create conversation to drive user generated content. And, importantly, create a parallel Crisis Communication Plan, because you will see postings by users that you don’t like. Think today about how you are going to respond to that.

5. Measuring Your Goals. You won’t be able to affect what you are doing if you aren’t measuring it. The speaker pointed out that a lot of people he sees don’t have their analytics set up so they miss a lot of things. And, there are a lot of third party tools that are fantastic in helping develop your measurement. For example, Hootsuite.

6. Execute. Get your content ready. Train appropriate teams. Get to work. As part of your plan, make sure you review #3, 4 and 5 above.

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.