Do you remember your fourth grade science class? Your teacher probably spent a little time carefully explainging the elements of the scientific process.

  1. Observe the environment – Look for patterns and trends.
  2. State the hypothesis – Based on your observations, make preliminary conclusions about your environment.
  3. Determine elements to test – Describe elements you wish to learn more about.  Identify parts of your hypothesis to test.
  4. Design the experiment – Select the specific techniques you will use to test your assumptions.
  5. Conduct the experiment – Follow the plan you have laid out, carefully collecting and analyzing the data.
  6. Prove or disprove the original hypothesis and begin again.

I actually liked fourth grade science.  The process made sense; test an idea, learn from the results and try again.  This same process seems to work equally well for social media strategy and execution planning

  1. Observe the environment – Log on and pay attention. Each social media community has it’s own unwritten rules, shorthand and conventions.  Take time to see how others participate before you jump in.
  2. State Your Goals– While having lots of friends, fans and followers is nice, be sure you know what you are trying to achieve with your social media activity before you invest too much time.  Are you trying to strengthen connections to existing clients or find new ones? Different goals will lead you to different networks and different types of activities.
  3. Select Your Networks  – Social media is not a one size fits all program. Based on your target audience and your goals, Facebook may make more sense then Twitter, or Pinterest may be your best choice.  Don’t try to do them all at once. Particularly as a small business with limited resources, pick one and get very good there before move on.
  4. Create a calendar or schedule – While there is certainly some spontaneity to social media, having a plan for your baseline content insures you have something fresh every day.  For Roundpeg we tyically do two posts a day on Facebook. One link to our blog, and one that is more fun, a picture of the cats or link to something humorous we have found on the  net.  The “soft” post brings people back daily and while they are visiting, they can see the link to our more substantial content, seminars and podcast announcements.
  5. Measure the results –  To transform social medial from busy work to a viable part of your marketing, you need specific measures.  # Followers, Fans and Friends is a start, but the real meat of your strategy is in engagement.  How many comments, likes and RT’s.  How many people click through to links on your website, sign up for your newsletter, subscribe to your feed.  And best of all, how many ask for quotes and become clients as a result of what they see on line.
  6. Use the information – Review your results, make adjustments and begin again.

Just as good researchers conduct experiments over and over again to verify their conclusions, good marketers must do the same.

Need some help? Roundpeg, an Indianapolis Social Media firm can help you design your social media experient.