Social Planning How You Might Be Missing The Mark: Webinar Takeaways

This webinar was centered around the five mistakes most businesses make when creating social marketing plans. Presenters Uri Bar-Joseph, Senior Director of Marketing at Simply Measured, and Lauren Berry, Enterprise Client Partner at Simply Measured, promised a webinar to understand how past performance should influence next steps and how to create a social planning framework to help ensure you hit the mark.

The webinar from opened with a question:
Hardest Part of Social Planning

Bar-Joseph commented that planning is like thinking and you can’t separate it from human nature. We plan because we want to set ourselves up for success.

“Planning should be the starting point of the social media marketing management process,” he said. “Planning is one of the four functions of marketing management, alongside analysis, implementation, and control.”

Twenty-five to 30 percent of your time should be dedicated to planning the social campaigns.

From there it quickly moved into the Social Media Marketing Management Process.
SOcial Media Marketing Management ProcessSocial media marketers should look at each component of the process and then integrate the individual components to come up with the best processes and practices for your organization.

Make sure you have the right goals that align with your business’s goals. Make sure your goals are aggressive, but not too aggressive. The most important reason to set good goals is to improve.

As yourself: What makes a win for the stakeholders? How do you get the rest of your organization to celebrate wins with you? Find someone on that same team to be a devil’s advocate.

Data should be used to enhance performance, not just to have a cool report. Don’t get bogged down in the numbers. Find one to three goals and metrics that will help you map business needs. You don’t need 60 pages to share that information.

Avoid tunnel vision. Your strategy should be multiple components, not just a single one to focus on. This goes hand in hand with not falling in love with the plan. You need to be flexible. By being attuned to what goes on around you and evaluating the plan along the way you will be more likely to meet your goals.

Don’t ignore your competitors, but don’t assume that the first competitors you think of are your actual competitors. Find a competitor set that you can compare yourself against. This should be competitors who are targeting the same audience you want to target. Then look and see what social platforms they are using and how they are using those platforms to engage that audience.

Social is fast, but you still should review the data and the data of your competitors. A competitive analysis is not always about beating someone. It should be easy to get competitor information and glean practical data from that information. That data should also help you create a persona (or personas) for your target audience.

Don’t limit your data to social, you should also talk to sales people and research group that did secondary research on the audience.

Your audience can and should tell you what they care about. When you know that information, don’t be afraid to try it. While it is easy to get distracted by new social channels and predictions of demise of established channels, pay more attention to where you audience is and where they might be.

Look at your audience demographics, those metrics may tell you a different story about your audience than you originally thought it would. Interactions should support the business goals. Goals are not necessarily key performance indicators. Focus on specific goals and find the key performance indicators that will give you the right answers.

When evaluating your plan, make sure to include answers to : do your assumptions still hold? Can you validate those assumptions either way?

Takeaway slide:
Social Planning Takeaways

Promised takeaways were:

  • How to think about planning in context with social analytics
  • Tips for better strategic planning and performance measurement
  • How to collect social data about your brand, audience, and competitors

All three elements were reviewed, but not in concrete or specific examples.

You can see the entire Twitter conversation from the hashtag: #SimplyPlanning.

What do you think?

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ProTip – Profile Photos

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If you aren’t a teenager and want to be taken seriously and professionally, perhaps a photo of you in a bikini or shirtless isn’t the best social media profile picture no matter how good you look.

Your profile photo is the first introduction to you. The wrong photo can easily convey the message that you aren’t serious or professional. You don’t want a potential employer to search for you, find your photo and say to themselves, “She doesn’t look like she’s fit into our culture.”

As this article from Neil McKenzie on the blog for Creatives and Business, LLC aptly points out, your profile picture is one of the most important visual elements for an effective social media or web presence. It creates a tone for your brand.

“It is the first thing people will see when they visit your profile or ‘About’ page,” he writes. “Many people will make an opinion of you from your picture and this will influence whether they want to connect with you on social media or spend more time on your website. Make sure that your personal image makes people want to know more about you, your art and not turn them away.”

With that in mind, here are some things to avoid in your profile photo:

  • badly lit photos (overly exposed, dark, etc.)
  • brands on shirts
  • badly cropped images
  • blurry photos
  • a photo that isn’t of you
  • old photos (your photo should be recent and represent how you currently look)
  • photos of you and another person, especially without their permission. (You don’t want the potential employer or business associate to guess which one you are)
  • bad body language (you want to come across as open and friendly, not sour and standoffish or worse desperate for attention)

If you aren’t sure what kind of message your profile photo sends, try asking a trusted friend what the photo would make them think about you. Ask that person if he would want to be friends with you based on the photo alone.

Above all else, it’s better to fail with an overly professional image on Twitter and especially LinkedIn that a party picture that is better left on your bookshelf.

I didn’t build a network to look at

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A friend and mentor recently said those exact words, which are rather profound.

With social media, it is easier than ever before to connect with colleagues and friends across states and countries. However, if you aren’t leveraging these contacts for yourself and for the good of the network, then what’s the point?

Networks should a relationship built on give and take. You should be sharing ideas, having conversations and adding value. Don’t just tap the network when you need something.

The Berkley Alumni site has great tips on networking basics, including this gem: Honor the networking code.

“Another way to say this is ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ If you want to have your phone calls returned, return phone calls. If you want help with your career, you must be willing to help others.”

Advancing everyone in the network is the point, be it a new career, industry insights or just advice. Networks should make everyone better.

It’s ok to be quiet in a tragedy

I’d like to clarify in more than 140 characters a Tweet I sent earlier today. The Tweet was: “Every business social account does not need to share “thoughts and prayers are with #Newtown.” If you can’t add to the conversation, don’t.”

The context came from both my Facebook newsfeed and my Twitter feed. In both, businesses and organizations were simply posting some variation of: “We’re deeply saddened by the news of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. We send our thoughts and prayers to all affected.”

It was overwhelming and distracting. Those kinds of statements don’t add to the conversation. Coffee places, non-profits, businesses and the like, didn’t need to say anything. At best it comes across as trite, at worst, like this Tweet from KMart, which Matt LaCasse posted to Facebook after seeing it elsewhere, comes across as very insensitive.

KMart tragedy Tweet

In a 24/7 news world, it is crucial for brands and business to follow news and revamp on the fly.

As digital marketer, Lauren Fernandez, (cubanalaf) points out, there are times when it is appropriate to say something. She replied to my tweet with, “We did so when canceling our contest today, and felt it was appropriate. I still do.”

Fernandez also adds, “It’s appropriate for brands to do so if product, company values or brand location ties into it.”

I agree with her on both points. Her first comment is the right way to acknowledge that plans changed and events and people take prescience over promotion.

Do you manage a social account for a brand or business and agree or disagree?

Math, smath

If you’re in PR, Marketing, Social Media, Journalism or any other word-centric profession you might think math, who needs it? Turns out, you really do.

You’ll be seen as an asset to your company if you can measure a campaign, turn likes and follows into actual hard data and can explain the numbers to your bosses. You’ll be able to contribute to the company’s overall business picture and reiterate your importance to the team.

Anyone can tweet, post to Facebook and search for the newest social channels, but not everyone can use math to provide justification for their efforts. You will likely learn the basics in college: statistics, media impressions, market research, campaign measurement, etc. With those tools you can delve into any new analytical arena that pops up. By the time you graduate you should have a good idea of how to translate those skills to new media and social media. How to evaluate if a social channel is worth your company’s time. You should be able to read a Google analytics report and understand what it all means and then tell your bosses.

Reviewing the analytics should keep you from continuing to invest in a strategy that isn’t working and ultimately save your company money.

In case you need a refresher, check out this Poynter News University course on math for journalists.

How do you use math every day?