How to Set Sail on the Seas of Social Media
• social media guidelines completed;
• team members educated about social media participation; and
• consistent implementation and documentation of responses to online conversations.
Level Two: Participating
Complete your strategic plan before you move to this level. Establish your presence on one or two platforms (e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Foursquare). Begin attracting and inviting consumers to join your community by starting conversations about things of interest to your target group. Invest time in learning how to use social media's tools to maximize your productivity and effectiveness. Document everything you do and your results. Then identify what works and what doesn't. Success measurements for this level include:
• initial strategic plan completed;
• accounts created and configured on one or two platforms;
• customers and prospects joining your community;
• daily conversations;
• integration of productivity and measurement tools;
• documentation of tests with cause-and-effect details; and
• revision of strategy as needed.
Level Three: Engaged
Expect wrong turns between levels two and three. The path is filled with distractions and challenges, but it's worth the journey. That journey begins with building relationships. Your efforts to connect with fans and followers will receive responses, and they'll start initiating some conversations, too.
This is the point where social media crosses the line from theory to practical reality. Success measurements for this level include:
• revenue directly attributable to relationships established on social media platforms;
• growth in customer and prospect participants (be sure to qualify this before celebrating increases);
• reductions in incremental marketing and operational costs; and
• increase in customer-driven conversations and referrals.
Level Four: Integrated
The top level is when everything starts working together. Social media is a tool that provides access to new customers, conversations and customer-care solutions. It facilitates opportunities for improved relationships and long-term loyalty.