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.