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Posts tagged ‘Strategy and planning’

I recently attended an “Innovation briefing” (pretentious as you like!) on Future Trends. I really enjoyed it and given its prevalence and applicability, social media featured quite strongly.

One of the slides from the day said, “If you build it, they will come.” Now, as anyone who has tried to build up a community online or offline before will probably tell you, this isn’t necessarily the case. Sure, a couple of people may accidentally stumble across you, but they’re unlikely to stick around. You need to engage with your audience before they want to engage with you.

Building a site/forum and commanding “TALK! And only nice things about me,” just won’t cut the mustard.

Social networking sites have become increasingly about the user, Myspace, Twitter and Facebook let you customise your home with them, be it the background, your conversation topics, apps, music, groups, lists etc. It’s now about you, the basic framework is in place and you know the rules, but what you do with it is up to you. You decide who you want to engage with and who you don’t. But just because Starbucks (just for example) have a Facebook fan page, Twitter account, Myspace page does not mean that you’ll squeal with joy, quickly add them and sit there listening attentively waiting for published content.

Why won’t you do that? Because you have a life.

Your community, product, content or brand needs to be useful, relevant or entertaining, although not necessarily all three simultaneously (but brownie points if you succeed!), in order for your audience to want to engage with you. You need to either create something that makes their life easier, something that means something to them or excites them enough to want to spend their time with you, and time is a rare commodity nowadays.

Branding is key. Your communication has been carefully plotted into the realm of social media, but this doesn’t mean you should forget who you are or what you stand for to the people you wish to communicate with and who, just might, want to communicate with you. Your message, words, tweets, need to be an extension of your brand and support the experience that your audience/consumers have come to expect from you.

I’ve recently been reading a book called Crowd Surfing: Surviving and Thriving in an age of consumer empowerment by David Brain, it’s brilliant, covering lots of different case studies about organisations relinquishing the tight grip around the throat of corporate communications, some who got it right, others…not so right. In the book there is a quote from Charles Leadbeater:

“Workers can be instructed, organised in a division of labour. Participants will not be led and organised in this way”

I like this quote, I think if there was going to be a massively under described explanation of social media this would be it. Essentially, you can’t tell the crowd what to do and like any more. So you have to get creative in order to hold their attention.

After mulling it for a while, I’d like to think that six social media commandments can come from this:

  • * Participants aren’t your employees
  • * Your audience won’t be told what to do.
  • * You’ll be burnt if you try to force them.
  • * You’ll be burnt if you lie to them, (and they find out, but lets not get sneaky and lets assume they will, it’s safer that way).
  • * You can create cool and interesting stuff that makes buzz around your brand and inspires conversations.
  • * Be human. They’re human and your company is made of humans, so why act like a machine? They’ll dislike you for it.

If you think any are missing, let me know. I’d love to hear some feedback.

Social media isn’t about telling people what to do, its about giving people the material and the space to hold a conversation. In short, you might build the hive, but until you let people decorate their rooms how they want, they’re unlikely to want to live there for any long amount of time.


This is another infographic I developed whilst considering tactics in Social Media Marketing. Where my previous graphic showed a social media campaign timeline from conception, delivery and beyond, this aims to display relationship development, attempting to take a complete non-engager to a brand user. I know that this could be taken as quite a simplified view, but this should be understood to be part of a wider strategy.

A picture says a thousand words as they say, so I’ll let the jpg do the talking.

Sm diagram branded jh

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A Social Media Strategy

January 13th, 2010

The reason I say “a” Social Media Strategy is because that is exactly what it is. It is one social media strategy, there will be many, including different variants of roughly the same strategy, but here is one of them.

It’s something that I came up with whilst thinking through a time line for a client and reviewing some of my notes for STRASM. It’s a process to follow or at least a base to start with.

The thing that I like about this time line is that it gives a nod to the prep required before launching a campaign, including an analysis of the target audience, where they currently hang out on the web and how they talk to each other.

In the hectic real world, unfortunately, sometimes these kind of finer details can be missed out as organisations adopt an SOS strategy (sending out stuff), before properly plotting out their audience and their engagement plan. This can be dangerous, in this day and age web users are more savvy and cynical than ever, rushing in like a bull in a china shop before thinking can, and most likely will, get you and your brand burned.

Let me know your thoughts, I’m open to suggestion, everyday is a school day :)

Social Media Strategy

Download a PDF version: Click here

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