Can We Get Back to Basics? Nine Steps to Successful Social Media Implementation

Project Planning Putting the Parts TogetherA comprehensive social media implementation is a huge project. It’s easy to get caught up in all the moving pieces and forget the overall picture. As rudimentary as it may sound, we’d suggest getting back to basics—Project Management 101. Good project management is essential to staying organized.

The overall developmental progression for a successful social media program implementation includes the following:

1. Start listening to the current market conversation
2. Envision and create master strategy (goals, timelines, and mission)
3. Set policy
4. Develop processes
5. Implement the plan
6. Gather metrics (and set automated analytic tools in place)
7. Close the feedback loop with continuous improvement mechanisms
8. Research and learn from what you find out
9. Rinse, repeat (which leads to grow revenue, adapt, and grow some more)

Before even considering the creation of a complete task list, establish your project management software platform. Dedicate your team from the beginning to centralizing your communication and project process to this hub so nothing is overlooked or neglected. Although it’s tempting to use a high-powered project tool like Microsoft Project, if you’re interfacing with others who are less experienced, it’s better to use a more user-friendly option. Some affordable and easy to use platforms include Basecamp and TeamworkPM.

Next, using the above areas as an overall guide, make a complete task list. Here’s an example of the activities that will need to be coordinated:

• Social media profile set ups (selection, account set up, bio creation, avatar and background graphics)
• SEO keyword targets for Google friendly content delivery
• Development of social media blurb library, sourcing of resource links, and creation of trackable links
• Content development and publication (copywriter outsourcing, timely completions, coordination w/specific campaigns)
• Coordinated editorial calendar
• Back end email integration (autoresponder set up, email copywriting, list management, list building, proper lead direction so the right internal person takes actions on leads in a timely fashion)
• CRM (customer relationship management) tool set up
• Listening tools set up
• Media/PR contact management and follow up
• Partnerships/alliances development and follow up
• Development of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level influence targets for relationship building
• Daily management/maintenance of social media platform messages, customer contacts, etc
• Metrics establishment and reporting
• Process scripting
• Policy development and enforcement
• Feeder Blog development and  maintenance (updates of blog pages, widgets, WordPress version)
• Reputation management activities (3rd party blog posting, guest posting opps, responding to alerts)
• Training and codification of process to integrate feedback and maintain activity
• Digital product and virtual event development, promotion, and after event production & publication

Once you have a comprehensive and prioritized task list, create a proposed budget. This can be a money budget, a time budget, a resource budget, or all of the above. The steps are essentially the same whether you spread the work and fiscal commitment out over 90 days or over a year, but your budget will greatly impact the speed at which you will be able to accomplish the plan. Strive to be as realistic and as accurate as you can.

Do your best to remember that social media is about relationships and relationships need to be nurtured and honored. The strategic partners you develop through this process are people who you could very well have lifetime alliances with, so be in it for the long haul and treat your partners with courtesy and professionalism. Keeping your eyes on the true purpose of the project in the first place is key. Respect, realistic expectations, kind yet firm actions, and a sense of humor will go a long way to making this project and all the future ones successful.

Cynthia Baker, Accolades PR Vicki Flaugher, B2B Social Media Training

By Cynthia A. Baker, President and Founder, Accolades PR;

and  Vicki Flaugher, B2B Social Media Training