No coach who hopes to win a game will take his team on the field without first constructing a game plan. Before we step into the social media stadium, we bloggers also need to develop a social media game plan. Remember, a strategy is an overall plan, and tactics are the means used to implement that plan. Before we get into social media tactics, let’s first get our social media game plan going.
There are many things to consider when planning our social media strategy:
Scout the Competition
Check out the social media game plan used by other bloggers in your niche. Observe what they’re doing and ask yourself the following questions:
- What ways are they using social media?
- How do I want my social media game plan to be similar? Why?
- How do I want my social media game plan to be different? Why?
Which Conference Do You Play In?
I’m a big college basketball fan. Each conference has its own unique identity, and different conferences have a different style of play. The same goes for our niches. Look at your niche. What does the social media game plan look like? It varies from niche community to niche community.
For instance, a local dentist would be wasting time to have his staff tweet about his specific practice to a global community, yet offering short dental health tips can provide value to that community and therefore position himself as an authority in the field. That strategy will in turn help boost his local customer base.
Identify the Best Players
Rotnei Clarke of the Arkansas Razorbacks is considered the top 3-point shooter in the South Eastern Conference. His shot has been timed at 0.6 seconds from catch to release, and earlier this season dropped in 51 points against Alcorn State. Clarke’s presence on the court influences how the Razorbacks play, plus he’s a very polite young man off the court. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting with him for a few minutes.
Who is the Rotnei Clarke of the other bloggers you scouted? Who are the big influences within your niche? What is their social media game plan? Study and learn from them, yes, but visit with them. Interact on their blogs. Tweet them. I interact with many people in the blogging niche. Like Clarke, most are polite and want to contribute to their communities.
Pick Your Plays
If a football coach tried to utilize “every play in the book,” he wouldn’t be very effective. Most coaches develop or adapt their own trademark plays and use them over and over. There are so many social media tools available, with more popping up every day, there is no way you can use them all. And even using too many will spread you too thin and make your social media game plan ineffective.
Pick a few plays from the playbook and execute them well. I personally use Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube on a regular basis. There are a few others I want to gradually add to my social media game plan, but I want to add them one or two at a time and make sure I’ve got each play down before starting a new one.
This is the point in your social media game plan where you actually create and deliver content using whichever methods you’ve selected. I read an unattributed quote earlier today that said, “Social media is not a conversation. It’s where the conversation takes place.” Your content (tweets, blog posts, etc.) is the conversation. You get to pick where to deliver it.
Watch the Film
Just as teams watch films of their games to determine what worked and what didn’t, a big part of a successful social media game plan is measuring the success of your strategy.
Orrin Woodward, a leadership speaker and successful businessman, has a four-step strategy he calls PDCA, “Plan, Do, Check, Adjust.” Going back over your social media game plan will enable you to check which actions worked, and which ones you’ll need to adjust.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be discussing individual social media networking tactics on Wednesdays.