Monday, August 17, 2009


Mind Your Knitting: Establishing an Effective Social Media Presence

By Meghan Wilker and Nancy Lyons

Two of the first, and most important, steps toward establishing a successful social media presence have nothing to do with social media. If you want to get any value from the world of social media, you'll have to do a little bit of homework first.

Mind Your Knitting
The first step in developing an effective social media strategy is to look first at your home base. For most people, this is their corporate web site. Or perhaps a microsite. All the tweeting and Facebooking in the world cannot help you if your web site presents a broken experience, if your product offering is terrible or if you can't provide decent customer service to the people who find you online.

In Nancy's words, "mind your knitting."

Assuming all of that is in order, you've got to figure out your content strategy:
  • Why are you getting involved in social media? What is your goal? (reach more people, build awareness)
    Note: If the answer is, "To sell more stuff," stop now. Social networks are not a direct marketing channel and if you treat them as such, you are destined to fail. To succeed in the social media, you must be willing to be social. To build relationships with customers who matter to you.
  • What will your Friends, Fans and Followers get out of it (customer service, special offers, inside information)?
  • How are you monitoring and responding to the networks?
  • Who is responsible for updating content? How often is it updated?

Grab a piece of paper and draw a box for every place your company exists online: websites. YouTube. Facebook. Twitter. Make note of what the purpose of each site or presence is. As an example, at Clockwork (our "day job"), we break our sites out this way:
Next, draw arrows to show how -- and if -- those things are connected to each other. In the Clockwork example, we have accounts on Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, Delicious and many others. Our diagram shows all those places, what type of content we focus on at each location, how often we try to update it and who is responsible for doing so.

This is a work in progress. Make one diagram that shows where you are today. Make another that shows where you want to go. And then figure out how you can take incremental steps to get there. Start small to ensure you can manage it, and add components over time. In other words, baby steps.

Listen First, Talk Later
Visit search.twitter.com and enter in the terms you'd like to keep an eye on. Do this one term at a time. The search box works a lot like Google (put quotation marks around words or phrases that you want to do an exact search on -- to monitor for Geek Girls Guide, I enter "geek girls guide").

Rinse, lather and repeat for all the different words and phrases you want to keep track of. Start with as many as you can think of and see what's good and what's not. (For example, we get a lot of value from "geek girls guide" but much less for "geek girls".)

To monitor URLs (as opposed to keywords), try backtweets.com. Enter any URL (your own, your competitors, etc.), and you're in business.

As you comb through these search results, listen to them. I mean, really listen. You'll start to get a sense of how people feel about your brand, your company or your industry. Use what you gain from that listening to help inform that strategy diagram you're creating. Really hearing what people are saying will help you figure out what your company can bring to the social media party. Because the value you get from it is a result of the value you put into it.

Nancy Lyons, President and CEO, and Meghan Wilker, Managing Director, work for Clockwork Active Media Systems. In 2008, Lyons and Wilker launched the Geek Girls Guide blog to demystify technology and publish their perspectives on the interactive industry.

Nancy and Meghan will be speaking at the 2009 MN AMA Annual Conference. Please visit the new conference web site and register today.



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1 comment:

Gini Dietrich said...

We always tell our clients to listen first, but I love starting with the knitting. Thanks for the tip!

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