How to Create a Social Media Plan Using the POST Method

By Maribeth Neelis
I am working on a social media strategy for one of our clients, so I thought I'd share one of the ways I do this called the POST Method.
The number of social mediums can be overwhelming, and while it’s important to create content and engage with clients and prospects somewhere online, it’s not necessary (or even feasible) to be everywhere.
Before you begin using social, it’s important to create a plan. But, it's never too late to re-evaluate the way you are currently doing things. And there is no shame in saying, "(Fill in the social medium here) just doesn't make sense for our business." It's better to do this than waste your time on an approach that isn't working.

There are many ways to do develop a plan. The POST Method, from Forrester Research, is a fairly quick and simple way.
People: Get to know your audience (clients and prospects) and how they use the internet and behave online.
1. Look at the demographic (age, gender, occupation) and psychographic (values, beliefs, motivations) characteristics of your customers and prospects.
2. Think about what your clients and prospects do online. Do they fall into any of these six overlapping categories of social technology participation?
  • Creators: posting photos and creating videos
  • Critics: reviewing products and services, commenting in forums
  • Collectors: gathering photos, products and ideas they like and sharing with their network
  • Joiners: actively participating in groups and pages, providing feedback and offering solutions
  • Spectators: using and watching social media without contributing
  • Inactives: not using social media
3. Follow customers and competitors on various social media. Listen to what they are saying, and look at how they are using the various technologies. This will help you brainstorm what might work for you.
Objective: What are you trying to accomplish through social media? Figure this out before you begin. Then, figure out how you will measure it.
At least initially, focus narrowly and choose one main goal, such as,
  • Build awareness
  • Improve retention
  • Increase sales
  • Boost loyalty
Strategy: In the POST model, strategy means the result of your activity. How will your relationship with your customers have changed? Knowing this ahead of time will help you create an action plan.
  • Do you want to improve your relationship with your best customers?
  • Do you want to more people talking about your products and/or services?
  • Do you want a place where people will test your products, provide feedback and offer up new ideas?
Technology: Based on the people you want to reach, your objective and your strategy (or end game) decide what social technologies to use and how much time it will take.
  • Should you start a blog?
  • Do you want to develop your Facebook or Google+ community?
  • Should you be more active on Twitter?
  • Should you be posting photos and videos to Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest?
  • Should you start an email newsletter?
  • And finally, how will you measure your success—Google analytics, Facebook insights, Hootsuite, blog subscribers?
The deluge of content and slew of social media options can be overwhelming. But, the great thing about these uber-social times: there is a plan that will work for you, as long as you are thoughtful and strategic in your execution.

The Case for Google+

By Maribeth Neelis

Once upon a time (like six months ago), most of us thought of Google+ as a ghost town. Maybe we had a profile, as a result of having a Gmail account. But we didn’t click on that “View Profile” button at the top right corner of the page very often.

Sometimes we would be alerted to the fact that someone had added us into a circle. We usually ignored this notification and checked our Facebook newsfeed for the 47th time that day.
But listen up, folks, Google (per usual) is making moves. They are integrating several  Google products (YouTube, Drive, Gmail, Maps) into Google+ and thus increasing the number of G+ users worldwide.

Ultimately, this integration will lead to a better user experience. Imagine a version of Yelp where your friends’ reviews or places nearby move to the top. Picture a video chat with your friend or potential client. Except, you don’t have to download Skype. It can all be set up through Gmail and then stored on your YouTube channel afterward.

For businesses using G+, this integration means access to more prospects across several mediums. It can also serve as a way for companies using G+ to communicate amongst themselves.

The low-down on some Google+ features:

  • When you add a contact, you assign them to one or more circles (in-store customers; online customers; partners; industry leaders; business friends; coworkers; etc.). You can create targeted messages for each of your circles.
  • You can share circles publicly or privately. Publicly, you could share a circle of team members on Google+ to help customers. Privately, you could share a circle of people to attended a recent webinar or event, so they can then all follow each other. You can also invite an entire circle to a Hangout to collaborate.
  • You can literally create whatever circles you want. And no one can see what circle they fall into. So “People who talk too much” will never know how you really feel.

  • There are public and private communities that allow you to join or create groups around interests, or even brands. Unlike on Facebook, you can join a G+ community as a brand and interact with influencers and experts, as well as current and potential customers.
  • A great example: Ford Motor Company has a Ford Photo Community where members can share their Ford-related images.

  • You can hold video chat sessions with an unlimited number of people, broadest in real time and saved to your YouTube channel. You can slide share, collaborate with clients and colleagues and broadcast events and interviews. 
  • A great example: VeteransUnited uses Hangouts to educate veterans on how to use their VA benefit to get a home loan. It also partners with a nonprofit to create “virtual walks” where able-bodied citizens record their visit to different locations acting as the virtual eyes and ears for disabled vets.
  • Ready to get started? Read about how to set up your profile, create a business page and optimize your account to reach the greatest number of people.
Ready to get started? Begin by creating a profile, adding your info and finding people you know. And, stay tuned for more about how people and companies are using Google+.

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