I attended Rahaf Harfoush's presentation at the Canadian Business Leadership Forum in Toronto yesterday. She's the Canadian who helped guide Barack Obama's social media strategy last year and authored a book on the subject (Yes We Did: An Inside Look at How Social Media Built the Obama Brand). She talked about the key steps in a social media strategy and the tactics that were very successful in the Obama campaign. It was a great talk - inspirational and informative.
The first question she was asked in the Q&A was really telling I thought. It was, "With all that's out there in the social media world, how do I get started with Social Media for my organization?"
Here's what she advised:
a) figure out what you want to do as an organization. Is it raise awareness, engage with customers, generate leads, or something else? Social media can be used to many ends, so it's important to figure out first what end you have in mind.
2) Identify your resources and a realistic work plan. It's easy to think, "Hey, let's launch a blog, a Facebook page and get set up on Twitter. We can have the intern manage it - he's young and adept at this technology stuff so he can probably do it all in a few hours a week." Dead wrong. Rahaf advised that it's a good idea to break all the tasks down into hours - how many minutes to write a blog, how many blogs per week; how much time to read and respond to others' blogs and comments; how much time on Twitter and monitoring other channels. Then you'll have a good idea of the right resources you'll need to execute well.
3) Only do what you can do really really well. With step 2 in mind, be realistic and set out to do 1 or 2 things really well. Then you can go from there.