Think Fine Dining, Not Bargain Buffet When it Comes to Community Success!

In this piece of the series following up our January 11th Webcast on Social Resolutions for 2011, I’ll discuss from a community perspective some of the key ways to engage your community for social success in the New Year.

One of the key strategies to focus on this year is the quality of your outreach efforts versus the quantity. This can be really challenging though with all of the social sites, data, bloggers, tweeters, communities, tools, metrics, and channels out there – and pressure to cover all of them all.  This year, consider the social community in the context of a bargain buffet vs. fine dining.

The buffet offers tons of variety and mass quantities of food, but with lower quality ingredients. Fine dining, on the other hand, focuses on single entrees prepared with care, attention, and high quality ingredients.   Therefore when thinking about quality vs. quantity from a community perspective, think fine dining, not the buffet line, and consider the following four areas as we kick off the New Year:

Relevant Social Presence: By ‘social presence’ I mean the number of places you have social representation: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube as well as your blog, others’ blogs, forums, and groups you try to participate in and actively monitor.  Instead of trying to be everywhere and all things to all people – meet and engage your customers and key audiences where they naturally congregate online – focusing ONLY on the social areas that matter most to your business. For example, having a Twitter presence may not matter much if your target market is seniors, but actively participating in the AARP online community does.

Rich Content: Putting content online is an effective way to build community and industry thought leadership, which often results in increased awareness and lead conversion. However, constantly producing meaningful content is resource and time intensive. Resist the urge to produce a greater amount of less relevant content by trying the following:

  • Breaking longer posts into a series
  • Leveraging existing content – white papers, Webcasts, presentations, and other content you can use to craft blog posts or produce short videos that highlight key takeaways
  • Asking for contributions from internal subject matter experts
  • Inviting partners or customers to be guest bloggers, Webcast participants, etc.

Actionable Metrics: There are an overwhelming amount of tools, sites, and metrics for measuring success in the social community. In the New Year, determine and focus on the metrics that are most valuable to your UNIQUE business. If you’ve already been measuring social efforts, go back and evaluate what you’re tracking and identify which key performance indicators (KPIs) are actually delivering value for your organization. If you’re just getting started, our resident Social Media Yogi in the Making, Vicki Blair, has written some great posts on setting up your social program and metrics.

Realistic  Planning: Social media is an “Always On” channel, and success within it requires detailed and realistic planning. When setting goals, consider the size of your social team and carefully determine the scope and focus of your efforts. As mentioned, high activity in a few relevant channels is better than spreading yourself too thin across many. There are several tools and strategies that can help address this challenge:

  • If you have a PR firm, they can often help assist in narrowing your list of media influencers to watch and engage
  • Social media and Intelligence platforms can make monitoring, measuring, ,and engaging much easier and more automated
  • Creating an internal editorial calendar helps ensure consistent content development that is relevant to your customers and on-point with your brand

If you take these four areas into consideration, you will be able to much more effectively engage your relevant social communities.

All the best to everyone in the New Year and if you have a community resolution, please share – I’d love to hear what you’re focusing on this year!

Stay tuned for continued posts in our series on Social Resolutions for 2011. Next time we’ll be addressing key tactics for combining traditional and social to maximize lead generation efforts.