Developing a social media plan

In a recent Foley Hoag event, CXO Advisory Group‘s Stephen Davis shared his “10 steps to develop a social media plan” (which I have enhanced with some additional information):

#1 – Monitor the conversations which occur in the social-media-sphere regarding your brand.

#2 – Identify who your audience is and where they are.

  • Identify influencers and key contacts and follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs.
  • Learn the language which they use.

#3 – Define what your brand is.

  • Note that your personal brand may be more important than your organizational brand.
  • Often, in the social media sphere, you are the focus, not the company.
  • Identify what attributes set your brand apart.

#4 – Define what you are trying to accomplish

  • This may include: building brand awareness, generating leads, creating customer loyalty, selling a product/service, providing customer support.
  • Be sure that you identify metrics which will track your progress toward your goals.  Measure everything!

#5 – Identify what “success” is for you.

  • Yogi Berra infamously pointed out, “If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.”

#6 – Select the appropriate tool to reach your audience.

  • Focus and start small.  Identify the number one main site that you need to be on initially.  And then expand from there.
  • is a tool which can assess traffic at various social media sites.
  • Think internationally. For example see in Europe, in Canada

#7 – Build your profile

In this order:

  • Create a presence
  • Build your online identity
  • Build your credibility and reputation
  • Become an expert source

[Tony’s note: Chris Brogan‘s “Trust Agents” book appears to provide a good tutorial on the topic of building trust. Disclaimer: I have not read the book, yet, but have a good sense of its contents from following Cris’ frequent blog postings.]

The most important component of your brand is your name.  Create account names that promote your brand.  Claim your brand in the universe of relevant social media sites. can check the availability of names across a wide array of social media sites.

#8 – Get involved, stay engaged

  • Join the conversations
  • Control your brand
  • React quickly and with transparency

Key principles:

  • Start small, be focused
  • Be human, natural
  • Be defined
  • Be honest (disclose affiliations)
  • Be consistent
  • Be interesting
  • Do not overtly sell
    [Tony’s note: Some say that you should have a 10:1 ratio of “informational posts” to “promotional posts.”]

#9 – Craft employee guidelines

  • Employees make mistakes. They need to know what to do.
  • Make your employees brand ambassadors.
  • Do not stifle them too much. (They usually want the firm to do well since they have a vested interest.)
  • Blogging policies should address: advice guidelines, attribution, copyright issues, content ownership, confidentiality, disclaimers, etc.)
  • General social media guidelines should address: boundaries, transparency, confidentiality, handling of financial information, consequences of inappropriate behavior, work use, handling of customer complaints, handling of competitive misinformation, handling of uncomplimentary reviews and articles)

#10 – Automate and optimize

Tools include:

In addition to the above 10 tips from Steve, here are some other useful resources and market data:

Additional contact info:
Webwww.TKGweb.comTwitter: @tonyparham

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