When time, money and resources are tight, it’s important you understand what you want to achieve with your media activities and why. Being strategic is vital as this will enable you to present a consistent message that is heard by the right people at the right time.
Working through the strategic pillars below before embarking on media activity will help you and your organisation decide what you want to achieve and why. It can also help remove duplication of effort, enable resources to be directed precisely where they are needed and avoid wasting time and money.
The Strategic Pillars
What do you want to achieve and why? Do you want to raise awareness? Strengthen your reputation within a key area? Promote a fundraising campaign or petition? What does media success look like to you and your organisation?
2: Target audience
Who do you want to talk to and why? There is no such thing as the general public so be specific about who it is you want to engage with and what their information needs are. This will allow you to target your media activities accordingly.
3: Tone of voice
What kind of personality do you want to convey? Are you fun and energetic? Authoritative and serious? The impression you want to create among your target audience will help determine the type of media outlet you want to work with, what you want to say to them and how you say it.
4: Key messages
What do you want people to think, feel or do? Your key messages will help explain your organisation and what it does, why this is important and the difference you make.
Central to the success of your media activity will be the quality of the stories you have to offer journalists. What case studies do you have? Do you have access to data that will help evidence your opinion or your work?
6: Media training
Knowing what you want to say is one thing. Having a spokesperson who can communicate this clearly and concisely, particularly under times of pressure, is another. Media training can help iron out any creases.
7: Crisis communications
Preparation is key if a crisis is to be averted or minimised. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and having a plan as to what to do if it all goes wrong, are essential to protecting your reputation.
8: Managing expectations
While you may understand the opportunities and challenges associated with media your senior management team and trustee board may not. Helping them to understand what is realistically achievable is important if you are to satisfy expectations.
9: Monitoring and evaluation
Knowing what worked and what didn’t will help you understand which areas of your strategy to change and to do more of. It will also provide you with valuable insight to build the case for future investment.
Social Media Strategy
With all the new tools and platforms constantly emerging, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking about social media through a tactical prism instead of a strategic one. The best social media strategic plans are tools-agnostic, and set forth objectives and metrics that supersede any particular social venue.
1: Build an Ark
Nobody should “own” social media strategy in your organisation. Social impacts all corners of the company, and should be more like air (everywhere) than like water (you have to go get it). Thus, the first step in the process is to create a cross-functional team to help conceive and operate the rest of the strategy.
2: Listen and Compare
It’s an old social media strategy chestnut by now, but “listen” is still good advice that’s often ignored. The reality is that your customers (and competitors) will give you a good guide to where and how you should be active in social media, if you broaden your social listening beyond your brand name.
3: What’s the Point?
Yes, you can use social media to help accomplish several business objectives. But the best social media strategies are those that focus (at least initially) on a more narrow rationale for social. What do you primarily want to use social for? Awareness? Sales? Loyalty and retention? Pick one.
4: Select Success Metrics
How are you going to determine whether this is actually making a difference in your business? What key measures will you use to evaluate social media strategy effectiveness? How will you transcend (hopefully) likes and engagement? Will you measure ROI?
5: Analyse Your Audiences
With whom will you be interacting in social media? What are the demographic and psycho-graphic characteristics of your current or prospective customers? How does that impact what you can and should attempt in social media?
6: What’s Your One Thing?
Passion is the fuel of social media.
It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you sell, your product features and benefits aren’t enough to create a passion-worthy stir. How will your organisation appeal to the heart of your audience, rather than the head? Disney isn’t about movies, it’s about magic. Apple isn’t about technology, it’s about innovation. What are you about?
7: How Will You Be Human?
Social media is about people, not logos.
The mechanics of social force companies to compete for attention versus your customers’ friends and family members. Thus, your company has to (at least to some degree) act like a person, not an entity. How will you do that?
8: Create a Channel Plan
Only after you know why you’re active in social at all, and how you’ll measure social media strategy success should you turn your attention to the “how” of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the rest. This channel plan should be distinct, in that you have a specific, defensible reason for participating in each.
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