Saturday, October 2, 2010

How To Prepare To Start A Social Media Community

Most of us have heard that we need to have Facebook and Twitter for business. I have been asked a couple of times how will this bring in business. Well by setting up your profile page does not get us any business.

We need to look at this as a very long term community event. At the start we are to have a plan of action. This plan would comprise of:
  • Community Members: Who is going to be joining your community. Defining your target audience is crucial. Determine your target audience behavior, attitude and usage on the internet.
  • Brand Personality: It is important that your target audience views and interacts with your brand in a cohesive manner. What personality they would see around of your brand is what they should see at your Social Media site as well. This would include competition understanding as well.
  • Understanding the nature of the Social Media site: It is important that one see and understands the various sites and what they have to offer. For instance Twitter would serve a little different purpose than what Facebook would help in. The various Social Media sites have slightly different functionality. And this difference is to be understand.
  • Content is very important: You need to understand and know that content is critical. This is what will get people to come back and re-visit you, this is what will start interaction and thereby lead the members to engage with you deeply. So whether you are on Blog or Social Media sites you need to have content defined and scheduled. The content will flow from your brand personality, marketing objective, customer mindset and the Social Media site itself.
  • Tackling negative comments: It is essential that you develop an escalation matrix to attend to your angst and angry customer set.
  • Monitoring / Listening and Measuring Tools: It is essential that you have procured and understood what tools you will use to monitor and measure the Social Media efforts. There are free and paid tools that you can avail of. It is critical that you have a system and parameters to measure. Social Media efforts like any other marketing effort requires that it be measured, monitored and be accountable.
  • Dedicated Person: Who would be the one dedicated person on this task. We cannot think that a general marketing personal will take care here. This person is to be as far as feasible online and attending to the community. This person is to be conversant with the above parameters. This person is to be a part of the core team and requires to understand their reason for being on the task.
  • Change: To change and meander as time passes is critical. For instance the content may need to be re-looked at. The measuring parameters may need to be tweaked. And so on.
  • Consistency and freshness: Social Media requires focus, planning, adherence to plan, continuity, consistency and freshness.

Social Media is like an investment. What you do today leaves footprints on the internet that enables you to draw positive fruits later on. Ofcourse if you do not use it wisely then you could suffer as well. Social Media requires focus, planning, adherence to plan, continuity, consistency and freshness.

When we do all of the above we can then be ready to start our venture into Social Media. Any other parameters that come to your mind share them here.