by Dan Harris on April 18th, 2010

The Social Media Strategy: Investment-Risk-Return Infographic

The following chart is helpful when you're talking to people or companies about social media strategy. This gives you alot to talk about.

1.) You can position Monitoring & Report for a person or business that is more conservative or is not willing to invest in a more comprehensive program.

2.) This chart is great for conversations around investment in tools, people, and time. Everyone says social media is free or low cost. I disagree. You will get out of social media and social networking what you put into it.

3.) Depending on what a person or company is trying to accomplish this chart lets them visualize what will be required from an investment and commitment level.

4.) This also comes in handy as a way to position the potential risk and the opportunity for reward.

Let me know what you think of the chart.

If you would like to learn more about strategy, tactics and more review the post: Use "A STAR" To Build Social Media Strategy

Until next time...

Dan Harris

by Dan Harris on April 9th, 2010

One thing I can never get enough of are companies and developers who offer free tools for social media and marketing metrics, measurement, monitoring and more. If you've found free tools send me a message along with the links of your favorite tools.
PostRank™ (originally AideRSS, Inc.) monitors and collects social engagement events correlated with online content in real-time across the web. PostRank gathers where and when stories generate comments, bookmarks, tweets, and other forms of interaction from a host of social hubs.
BoardReader was developed to address the shortcomings of current search engine technology to accurately find and display information contained on the Web's forums and message boards. Founded in May 2000 by engineers and students from the University of Michigan, Boardreader uses proprietary software that allows users to search multiple message boards simultaneously, allowing users to share information in a truly global sense.
BackType is a real-time, conversational search engine. We index and connect millions of conversations from blogs, social networks and other social media so you can find out what people are saying about the topics that interest you.
Truveo is one of the largest video search engines on the Web and the most comprehensive search engine for video, making it possible for consumers to search and browse through over 300 million videos from thousands of sources across the Web. Truveo is the search engine that powers many of the Web's most popular video destinations.
BlogPulse is an automated trend discovery system for blogs. Blogs, a term that is short for weblogs, represent the fastest-growing medium of personal publishing and the newest method of individual expression and opinion on the Internet. BlogPulse applies machine-learning and natural-language processing techniques to discover trends in the highly dynamic world of blogs.
SocialMention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information.
It allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web's social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.

by Dan Harris on April 9th, 2010

Dan Harris’ Social Media Self-Assessment

This questionnaire is just for you.It’s not digitally interactive; it’s simply thought‐provoking. It’s
designed to help you audit where you – or your organization – stand right now when it comes
to social media. It will help you identify the platforms in use, determine the purpose for each
platform and raise your awareness around competitors, policy and online interaction.
So, grab a sheet of paper and take time with these 20 questions. Your answers will provide the
foundation for your new or ongoing consideration of a social media strategy and can guide your
thinking around how to implement and manage that plan. Click here to learn more about how do develop an social media strategy using A STAR.

1. List the social media platforms you and/or your organization are currently using.
If you’re not yet using any platforms, don’t stop here. Review the questions below as
you consider deploying a social media strategy.

2. Prioritize the platforms you’re using, from most important to least important.

3. List what you’re trying to achieve for each social media platform listed. Consider:

  • Is it personal, business, or a mix?
  • Are you selling, marketing or promoting a product or service?
  • Are you listening and watching for opportunities to perform damage control or
  • provide customer service?
  • Are you looking to build social media credentials and thought leadership?
  • Are you conducting market research?
  • Are you building awareness for your brand?
  • Are you offering coupons, incentives, or running contests to build mailing lists?

4. How many fans, followers, links or connections do you have on each social media
platform?

5. Are your current friends/family or customers/prospects on these platforms?

6. Write down or describe the average profile of the fans, followers, links, or connections
on each social media platform.

7. What would an ideal profile of a person be to make the best fan, follower, link or
connection for your cause?

8. On average how much time per day do you spend updating and interacting on these
social media platforms?

9. Describe the types of updates, comments, and links you usually make on these social
media platforms.

10. Are your employees or business partners using social media?

  • If so, is it in support of your effort or are they using social media to support their own cause/agenda?
  • Do you have a designated person assigned to the task associated with social media?

11. Are your competitors utilizing social media? If so, list who they are and what
platforms they use.

12. How do your competitors use social media?

13. Do you have a social media policy in place for your organization?

14. Are your employees or business associates aware of the social media policy and do
they agree to follow it?

15. Do you have any perceived risks related to using social media?

16. What is your specific policy on handling critical or negative comments about you or
your business?

17. If you’re using or have used social media, describe the challenges you’ve
encountered.

18. What other media do you currently use to communicate with customers or
prospects?

19. What other digital/web‐based assets do you have at your disposal?

  • Website(s)?
  • Micro‐sites?
  • Landing pages?
  • Blog(s)?
  • Video library?
  • Image gallery?
  • Podcasts?
  • Polls or Surveys?
  • Online Communities, Groups, Wikis?

20. How do you, or will, you gauge your success? What metrics do you, or will, you use?

  • Numbers of followers?
  • Leads generated?
  • New business?
  • Referrals?
  • Customer issue or critic resolution?
  • Customer satisfaction and praise?
  • New opportunities afforded you?
  • Research and resources gained?
  • Connections made?
  • Competitive or business intelligence?
  • Brand recognition?
  • Press and Media?

by Dan Harris on April 9th, 2010

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan
Whether you’re a business owner, marketing professional, self‐employed or the person who’s been tasked with creating a social media presence for your organization, you need to know
how to best utilize the tools, tap into the conversations, connect with the right digital demographic and capitalize on networking to benefit your company, your cause or yourself personally. Attend a free webcast on this subject. Click here.

Using social networking well is similar to marketing effectively through any other medium. Every organization will have different goals, their own specific approach and unique results, but they can start with realistic expectations. That means you have to assess where you are on the networking continuum, define a purpose and strategy, implement that plan, analyze
the results then constantly correct and improve. Click here to learn more about Twenty 20 Questions You Should Ask and Answer Before You Begin Using Social Media.

Be Careful What You Wish For
Expect some key differences from your experiences with other media, however. Your social media audience will be a unique subset of your traditional audience. “By networking, you can explicitly define and unquestionably reach the specific target you desire,” says Harris. “You can hit the right demographic within a self‐selected community of interest and, with the right approach, they will become quality followers. But expect them to be extremely interactive and conversational. They’ll have questions. They’ll respond and react publicly. They’ll be quick to critique and even quicker to share their perspectives with others. Be prepared,every social media strategy should include policies, procedures and even legal guidelines to protect your business and move it forward. People tout networking as lower cost, but it’s not necessarily low risk. For example, consider the ramifications of too much response, either positive – more orders than you can scale to handle – or negative – viral criticism or complaints, and prepare your business strategically and operationally before you jump.

Time Is Money
Time is money Is the cost of social media really so low? Networking can represent true value with an extremely high return on financial investment, if you are willing to invest time in several
ways. Do not to expect immediate results. Even with the right infrastructure in
place, including an effective website and the tools to track results, it will take at least three to
four months to begin to realize SEO (search engine optimization), four to six months for results to build on web campaigns and more than a year to establish real brand awareness. Plus there’s
significant people time: Dedicate the right people – the ones with the passion to do the ongoing
research and work the connections, the communication skills to represent your organization effectively in real time, and the business savvy to analyze data, manage results and use them to achieve your goals. Then free them up to be a constant presence. And recognize there will be opportunity costs….

So, What Do You Want?
Clearly this is the question. Is your goal to build awareness? Collect qualified leads? You can take a proactive approach with your social media strategy, building your network over time, and constantly working it by engaging, connecting and communicating with a growing number of followers. Or you could choose a non‐conversational listening post approach, using your website as a brochure for corporate news, following competitors, tracking customer comments and being prepared for conflict… Don’t try either one if you’re not willing to commit, Ignore it, let it go flat, and your public will think, "If they can’t even keep up with a LinkedIn account, then how effective are they in their core business?" Whatever approach you choose, systematically capitalizing on social media will take structure. “So, if you’re not convinced networking will work for your whole business, choose one aspect or product and take it through all five steps: assessment, strategy, tactics, action and results. Even a test should be structured appropriately and deployed long enough for optimal results and real ROI.

How Do You Best Serve Your Customers?
Obviously your target clients have issues and challenges. To best serve them you ask, “What do they really want?” “How can I help them?” “How can I show them that my solution will make them more productive or efficient?” Those questions propel you to build the relationships from which you can sell effectively. They’re the same questions you ask to optimize social networking and build connections with your target audience. And the answers you come up with – your consistent presence plus materials and tangible resources that target your audience’s special concerns and needs – become a commodity of value that allows you to start conversations and exchange information. They help establish you as a thought leader and begin to build awareness and trust for your organization with a quality, connected constituency. Regardless of your product or service, take stock of where you are and where you realistically want to be, put the processes and infrastructure in place to implement your plan, and build in the metrics that allow you to assess your effectiveness. Systematically capitalizing on social media is pure common sense.”