Overwhelmed with trying to keep up with the latest social media advice?
Simplify your 2013 strategy by considering just these three questions.
By Jay Baer
almost infinite variety of minor circumstances can occupy your attention and
create frustration for association publishers using social media. The pace of
change is breathtaking, and the feedback loop is instantaneous. This creates a
culture of disproportionate attention to detail. So much has been written about
the mechanics of social media marketing in the past year that I fear weíre
losing sight of the horizon.
the analogy of sand and rocks. We tend to pay too much attention to sand,
because it sticks between your toes and annoys you and is everywhere, and pay
too little attention to rocks because theyíre big and heavy, and hard to move.
As you get another year under way with optimistic expectations to take your
social and content initiatives to new heights, recognize that rocks, not sand, will dictate whether youíll
achieve your associationís objectives.
sure you can answer these three "rockĒ questions at all times in 2013. If you
can, the sand will take care of itself.
1. How does social media make us
money, and how can we prove that? The goal isnít to
be good at social media; the goal is to be good at your associationís business
because of social media. 2013 is the year of social optimization. Growth is
slowing, and itís time to focus on
making money, saving money, or both. It is essential that you have a
defined social media
strategic plan that supports real business
objectives like member acquisition or member loyalty.
youíre still using social connections (fans, followers) as a major proof-point
of your efforts, stop. Take the time and make the effort to measure financial
impact. Is it easy? Often, it is not. Is it doable? Yes. (Hereís a post on a
6-step process for
measuring social media.)
2. Do we have adequate resources to
succeed? Social media isnít inexpensive; itís just different
off having a more narrow social media marketing program
and focusing on excelling in the venues in which you choose to participate. I
recognize that isnít reality. Most organizations see a social network gaining
traction and feel a gravitational pull that forces them to "be where our members
areĒ and participate. That can spread
your attention very thinódangerously so.
and members increasingly expect
real-time customer service via social media, and fees
required to maximize your exposure on Facebook and elsewhere are only going to
rise. On the labor side, in particular, 2013 is also the year where more and
more organizations will decentralize social and make it a part of many peopleís
jobs, instead of relying upon dedicated social media teams. Much more scalable
that way, it recognizes the truth that all your employees are in marketing and
customer service now, whether or not they want to be.
3. How are we segmenting our
participation? If youíre doing the same stuff in
every social network, why bother?
tractor beam effect and social network expansion has turned the former Big
Three of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn into the Big Six of Facebook, Twitter,
LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google +/Google Communities. (Note that I
donít list YouTube in either column because YouTube isnít really a social network; rather, it is a content
platform like Slideshare or WordPress.)
is your participation in Twitter different from your participation in Facebook?
How does Instagram differ from Pinterest? If you donít have clear segmentation
for the audiences, content, objectives, and metrics of each of your associationís
social presences, you need to figure it out immediately. Realize that Facebook
isnít a social networkóitís a social layer. The truth is
that almost every person on Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest or any other
social network is also on Facebook. Thus, if youíre playing the same cards on Facebook that youíre playing
elsewhere, you could be wasting time and money.
For each and every social network, you need to
- What audience you want to engage with;
- Your content plan and editorial calendar;
- Necessary resources; and
- How youíll measure the success of that specific
Three Business Words for 2013
people perform a "3 wordsĒ
exercise (invented by Chris
Brogan) to help them frame personal and business goals for the
coming year. I suggest that for social media marketing, associations move
beyond the sand and consider these three "rock" words to help guide your success:
Strategy, Resources, and Segment.
Jay Baer is a social media strategist, author, speaker, and president of Convince