(Post by Jessica Killenberg Muzik, APR, Vice President – Account Services)
In addition to my role at Bianchi PR, I also have the good fortune of teaching a social media course at Wayne State University in Detroit. The reason I say good fortune is, after many years in the PR business, it’s always refreshing to see PR through the eyes of students, eager to make their professional mark on the world.
The key to the course is developing and implementing a social media plan. So one of my first questions for the students is this: “Do they still teach ROPE – research, objectives, program / plan and evaluation – as part of the core PR courses?”
And, it’s always music to my ears, when I hear a resounding “yes” from the students. Why? Because, as with traditional PR plans, ROPE can also be applied to social media plan development.
If you find yourself being tasked with developing a social media plan for your organization, here are the steps I suggest:
- Research. Provide a summary of what your company (or client) is currently doing in the social media space. More importantly, research what the competition is doing. Using a case-study, critical-eye approach as to who’s getting it right and who’s getting it wrong, will provide a road map for where you might want to take your efforts.
- Objectives. Define the goals of your new media plan. Be specific in defining what success will be, so you know what you’re working to achieve at the onset. Tie some realistic measurements / metrics to your efforts – increase in “likes” or followers, amount of engagement, tone of feedback, issues being discussed, etc.
- Program / Plan. Define who your target audiences are and where they are spending their time online. Define three or four consistent key messages that will be communicated throughout your social media efforts. Define your strategy and tactics, as well as your timeline. What social media application(s) will you be adopting for your organization (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, a blog, etc.)? What will your content be (product / service updates, news releases / announcements, media coverage, technical data / research, event involvement, community involvement, etc.)? What about consistency? How often will your post, blog, etc.?
- Evaluation. Based on your objectives, how will you measure the success of your new media efforts? You can monitor and measure visitor statistics via your website, Facebook Insights, Word Press, bit.ly, etc. And how often will you measure? You need to be sure to analyze and measure data at set time intervals, so that implementation can be tweaked as necessary.
Have you developed a social media plan? If so, what are some the lessons you have learned?