Ok, so you’ve put your foot (or toe) in the water and have a facebook page, a twitter account and have made attempts at writing a blog, newsletter and updating your website on a regular basis.
Oh, you’re only doing two out of the above? Or three out of the five? Well, I hope that you’re couching your expectations on what the results will be. Oh, you haven’t thought about the outcome? Your goals for increasing visibility, getting your brand out there, generating sales?
Isn’t that a bit like inviting people to a party without knowing how many will actually come – or if they will come at all?
When it comes to comparing the success of your Social Media strategy to a party that’s a flop we all get the analogy. Then why isn’t there more planning, examination of the various channels and elements that go into an effective Social Media strategy? And why are most people’s/companies goals so vague?
So let’s go to our real life offline example for some lessons to be learned.
It’s a Saturday night and the candles are lit and the music is turned up in expectation of your guests. You wait and wait and finally the first guests can be heard coming in the front door and it’s your family, your best friend and a few others. Then nothing.
You make excuses to the other guests that people are being delayed by their errands, a sporting event that ended late on tv but in your heart of hearts you know that you have not succeed in drawing the crowd that you had hoped for to make the evening successful. Do you wonder why – or is it obvious to you that you didn’t do a good enough job of planning, creating excitement and contacting each guest to confirm their RSVP?
Or was it because the invite said 8:30 p.m. and Cocktails & Dessert instead of Dinner & Dancing?
Or was it because you picked a date that was crowded with other events? Or that you had just been to another party with the same crowd the night before so no one felt compelled to attend yours as well?
Kick-starting your Social Media Strategy, building momentum through the strategy for your brand and using the tools available to nurture and grow relationships is very much like throwing a party. You know that you probably can rely on friends and family to support your initial efforts – and probably your most loyal wine club members or repeat customers. But then what? Sit, wait and watch for them to come?
Like the party, in the early days of launching your facebook fan page did you make a list of potential fans or ideas to grow your fan base? How did you plan to fill your page? get people’s attention, draw them in?
Or did you just expect that “if you build it they will come”.
If you’re throwing a party your first decision aside from the date and time is Will I Cook? Cater? Or Combo of Take-Out and Cooking? Will you need a florist or someone to help with the theme or decor? Valet parking? Rentals of plates and glasses – a bartender? DJ or house mix?
And like a party, your Social Media strategy needs to examine the various elements – do I have assets like interesting photos to share, videos that aren’t like watching paint dry, contributors to help? Do you need outside sources to develop content, coach me on tone, dialog and other elements to make my Social Media strategy organic to my brand? Am I already getting conversations going between my followers and friends – or do my questions and postings lie ‘naked’ with no reaction at all?
Am I being too dependent on the people in my inner circle to grow my brand? How do I find new friends and fans that will be interested in my brand – and when during the day will I allocate time to these efforts which need to be updated daily?
As we round the corner on the last quarter of the year, it is my hope that more companies will reach out to get good advice, consultation and support – and no, hiring a full time person to do this is not going to answer these questions unless you have already started articulating the answers for you and your company yourself.
The holiday season ahead will be crowded with all kinds of distractions to give you excuses for putting this off until next year but the lesson that we have all learned thus far is that the best part about Social Media is that it can be tweaked, honed, changed and molded in real time and that there really is no time like the present to begin building upon what you already have.
So start planning that party for when you hit those milestones that you’ve laid out for your facebook, twitter, blog, newsletter and more. I’d love to be there with you for the celebration.
Julie Brosterman is the CEO and Founder of Women & Wine http://womenwine.com a social media platform where lovers of wine, food and travel can share stories, photos, videos and events. The company creates content, promos, offline events – and consults on Social Media Strategy to A-list companies seeking to reach this niche audience. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me @womenwine or join our facebook fan page http://www.facebook.com/womenwine