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5 Steps to Social Planning for Enterprise Brands

Ron Schott, Director of Professional Services

At the biggest brands, the dollars being spent on social media require careful planning, regular analysis, and optimization on a large scale. These high-revenue companies are pushing hard to make social media support their business.

We asked Ron Schott, Director of Professional Services at Simply Measured, how he sees the major brands he has worked with – leaders like MasterCard, IHOP, HTC, and KIA – approach their social strategy planning process.

The following is his summary of five planning steps and some advice on each.

1. Get everyone to the table

Social can be part of many areas of the business, each important in its own way. Those involved include customer service, PR, marketing, advertising, product development, and more. Bring everyone on board to create a strategy that has the broadest positive impact possible.

It’s not just social. Social is a giant part of it any modern marketing program. That said, there are other channels that may drive more impact in some cases. Focus on understanding each group’s goals so you get the most out of your time and resource allocation. 

2. Set your goals

What does social need to do to help each of the areas of the business you’re collaborating with? What will success look like? Use data to answer these questions. Don’t make decisions based on guesses. Those rarely work out.

Are your goals action or brand oriented? Which social channels drive toward each one of those goals? You can figure this out by thinking about which metrics you’ll use to measure success, such as action-oriented engagement metrics or impression-type metrics that are more for brand promotion.

Then, look at how much money you have to spend. You have to divvy up the money and say, ‘To get that, here is what we’re going to do.’ Look at the past performance of all your content to know what works for blog post views, downloads, etc.

Also, don’t bet on viral happening. Viral isn’t a strategy. It’s just something that happens.

3. Divide and conquer

Create strategic and tactical plans for how each channel can contribute, but know that not every channel may match up with every goal, and that’s okay.

Enterprise companies are typically more calculated in how they use social. They don’t try to make every channel do everything. When you’re a smaller company, you’re often thinking, ‘Let’s do everything. We have a small team and we’re going get as much as we can out of it.’ But, when you’re a bigger company, you’re looking at budgets and you’re thinking about getting the most bang for your buck because you have to put all of your other money in R & D or something else. The key is knowing which metrics matter to you most. If reach is what you’re trying to get, and you don’t care about people going to your site or anything else off the back of it, you have a plan. Does your Instagram or Twitter account help you most with reach?

There’s has to come a moment when you can say, ‘If this is our goal then this is our mix.’ I think that’s something that you see large enterprise brands focusing on. You’re not going to see them putting the same content out everywhere in the same way.

4. Measure and report

Set up measurement and tracking, and use it. Don’t be afraid to see that ideas aren’t working. That’s part of the process. With measurement, you can spot trends and shift efforts to somewhere different. Gaining efficiency in achieving your goals is the point of analytics and measurement.

Reporting is equally important, not just for the people doing the work, but for decision makers and executives. Share your results and take the guesswork out of understanding your team’s strategies, tactics, and contributions.

Measure during your campaigns. If you’re going to be running a campaign for a long time, it doesn’t hurt to have measurement milestones along the way. If you wait until the end of your campaign, you may have missed your chance to optimize.

The big thing here is that you’re not doing your work in a vacuum. You’re always running on data to help you set the bar for success in the future. Then, immediately, once you do something, you can know if it worked. You’re instant. The next day you’re going to have a new set of data to say if that next strategy worked.

5. Optimize and move forward

Optimizing for efficiency in goal completion lets you spend time and resources more wisely. If you’re able to achieve higher efficiencies then you have more room to focus on the future and to explore new strategies.

You have a ton of data. You shouldn’t ever make a guess in marketing, especially in digital because there’s so much data out there. Even if you don’t have your own data you can look at your competitors. See what they’ve done. See what works. It’s all out there for us to get our hands on.

Also, work a quarter ahead. The biggest pitfall a lot of social teams fall into is that they plan something and start it the next day. Large brands are always at least a quarter ahead. You know what products are coming out. You know, for example, that the holiday season is coming up. You’ve got the same products and you’re competing against the same people. You should be planning ahead for that stuff and looking at past performance for key indicators.

Finally, share. Get outside your team and share what happened and why it was successful and why it wasn’t.

Do These Steps Make Sense to You?

Enterprise brands spend a lot of time not just planning and measuring their social programs, but thinking about how they plan and measure their social programs. Are you using steps similar to the five that Ron named here? How is your process going? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and download our guide, How to Create a Weekly Social Media Report, for more insight.

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Bridget Quigg

Bridget Quigg

Hello, fellow Marketeers. My job at Simply Measured is to tell Kevin and Lucy how awesome they are at running the blog. Because, they are.

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