Organizing Your Social Media Marketing

You can take the stress out of your social media marketing process by organizing it into written plan that is consistently implemented. That organized and written plan can then be refined as you grow with it.

The key to an effective social media marketing plan is following specific rules that are organized into a process. Following that allows you and your team to capably respond to unforeseen challenges and opportunities, thereby avoiding social media overwhelm.

Organization is not an activity, but rather the design and implementation of proven practices that are Built-in — a planned structure that gives everyone confidence for the accomplishment of practical objectives that sustain the growth of the organization.

Social Marketing is a Process

While earning my college degree in the sciences I learned an important lesson about managing change. Put systems in place to control what is controllable, so that you can better respond to what you cannot control, which for social media could be changes in the networks, or simply the actions of other people.

As you know, the various social media networks do seem to change like the weather. So, instead of stressing about the inevitable changes to LinkedIn, YouTube, or Facebook, expect and plan for them by getting and keeping everything else organized to run like a well-oiled machine.

Your social media marketing process should include, but not be limited to the following best practices.

1. Actions you will take daily, weekly, and monthly. This is simply building a schedule to which your business is prepared to commit, such as a weekly newsletter, daily Facebook page updates, checking your blog or Twitter for comments, Facebook for birthdays, and so on.

2. Specific topics that your content marketing will address. This will keep you on topic and more aware of balancing the type of content you create and share across multiple channels. Limit this to as few as one, and preferably no more than seven topics.

3. Keywords and hashtags that you will use. Having a handy list of hashtags and keywords that relate to your topics will streamline your work.

4. Tools that you rely on. There are thousands of social media tools and many of them work quite well. Choose and limit your use to just a few, but do your homework to learn about newer and better ones as they come along.

5. Allocating time for research and education. All of us have to do research to learn. So, make a list of blogs and other resources to subscribe to, while also attending educational events online, or in person where you can make new connections.

6. Making lists of like-minded friends and colleagues that can help you. Try to organize your friends into categories of expertise. A quick email to a colleague can save hours of research.

7. Methods for batching your work to build in flexibility. Some of the more prolific marketers do all of their content creation in one focused period every week, rather than pushing it all to a deadline.

8. Allocating time for making progress with what you have been putting off. You can dramatically reduce your stress by committing to periodically fixing or updating one channel you have been ignoring. For many of us this is Pinterest, and for others it is your blog.

9. Write down your process steps. That alone will give you more confidence.

Refine Your Process

At this point you have practices that got you here. Applying even a few new practices on a regular basis will serve to refine your process into a valued resource. You’ll also discover it helps with recruiting good people who will recognize your business has a process in place to help them succeed.

The process of organizing social media marketing comes down to understanding not just what to do, but also why. After years of working with thousands of small businesses as a social media coach and trainer I discovered the primary source of poor implementation, and often giving up altogether, could be reduced to simply not understanding why.

You absolutely have to believe your work will produce results, and that comes from knowing both why and how it works. This is the primary reason I wrote the book Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business.

Do yourself a favor and get the Introduction and 1st Chapter for free by clicking here. Reading just those 30 or so pages will teach you more than most small business will ever know about social marketing. Then take a look at the Table of Contents and you’ll get a sense of how the rest of the book builds on that essential foundation.

Everything in business is a process. What should be exciting is knowing that refining your social media marketing process will make your work easier, better, more readily managed as a team, or outsourced to skilled professionals.

Organize your social media marketing process; and have a plan for implementing it well.

About the Author: Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

Responding to Positive Web Comments

 Jeff Korhan

Why does the concern for managing negative web comments overshadow the practice of skillfully responding to positive comments?

Positive comments are the seeds of conversations and the beginnings of new relationships.  Shouldn’t this be the focus of your social networking?

The focus on having a strong defense (as opposed to a strong offense) suggests that many businesses are using their social media to market in a traditional fashion. In other words, they want to control the message, instead of giving up control to their customers to get them talking favorably about their brand.

If your response to favorable comments on your social media channels is “Thanks,” then it’s time to learn how to better use this interactive platform to more effectively accomplish your objectives.

You’ve Received a Comment: What’s Next?

The first thing that should come to mind when receiving any comment is what to do next.

One thing is clear, any response to a comment is always better than none at all.

Fortunately, networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ allow you to favorite, retweet, like, +1, and share. These social signals are a quick and easy way to acknowledge comments with the bare minimum effort. This should be standard practice.

When you respond to social media comments you honor the commenter.  In most situations, that is enough to give a boost to their day, especially if you happen to be influential or someone they look up to.

You would think that influential people with large followings are mostly unresponsive to comments. My experience and that of others is quite the opposite. While they may be using a team to manage their social media, they understand the need to be actively engaged with their followers.

Of course, there are people with large followings that seldom if ever respond, and if they do, it is usually only to influentials and their very best friends. This is a bad practice, sort of like giving preferential treatment to your largest customers and ignoring the others.

Remember that social media democratizes media, so it’s always best to be inclusive.

If you are a business, you should endeavor to respond to every single tweet, share, and comment, regardless of the social channel.

Responding to Positive Comments

1. Acknowledge Intent

The primary value of a positive comment is its intent, not necessarily the usefulness of what may have been shared. Thus, when you acknowledge that you honor the person making it.

2. Make a Connection

Do you have something in common with the commenter?  If so, blend that into your comment. Now you are referencing a shared relationship to thereby establish common ground.

3. Share an Idea

We talk a lot on the social networks about sharing value, but that isn’t always appropriate with brand new connections. It could be interpreted as “selling.” A better practice is to introduce a new possibility.

4. Suggest a Next Action

This can be a little tricky. Once again, avoid the inclination to promote. Simply encourage the commenter take action on what they specifically acknowledged in their comment, which often is the message of your blog post or article.

5. Keep the Conversation Going

If you are building your systems, you will have a method in place for circling back to take the conversation further. This could be running through your starred tweets or recent comments on your Facebook business page. However you accomplish this, it should be part of an integrated plan.

Your Social Media Implementation Plan

If you are a subscriber to my weekly newsletter, you have already seen this recent issue for building Your Social Media Implementation Plan. If not, you can subscribe right here to get future (and free) updates.

Responding to comments, both favorable and unfavorable, should be a micro-process within your overall social media marketing plan. My experience is that most businesses do not have a social media implementation plan, or if they do it is not written down.

Your social media will not come alive until you discipline yourself to build a plan, have it written down in a step-by-step manner, and then endeavor to update it periodically. As you know, technology changes, and that will affect the focus that your business should be taking.

You will most skillfully respond to positive web comments by taking a few simple actions. If they are part of a larger plan, you will have the confidence that your entire team is working in sync.

And that’s a positive thing!

Share your thoughts with a positive comment.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)

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