Everything is Process
When you think about it, virtually everything can be broken down into a process.
By “process,” I mean the steps that lead to the conversion of one thing into another. My blog is a process of converting ideas into words and publishing them online. My business is a process of selling my skills to individuals that have a need to understand how social media can impact their business. My client work is a process of translating ideas into action into results, measuring those results and making adjustments. Keeping my house in order is a process involving other processes such as doing dishes and throwing away paper mail.
I have a friend, Amy Larrimore, that as a child, was fascinated with Taco Bell. She was enamored with the process. Each person had a job, and that job was specific and broken down into time-based tasks. It became the basis of her work and now she thrives on making processes work for companies, it’s what enables her to build Empires.
Henry Ford, revolutionized the car industry by implementing a new method of constructing automobiles using the assembly line…a process.
How can you succeed online if you don’t consider the process?
The process of utilizing Social Media for your business is often fairly simple: Plan, Execute, Assess
Everything I do with clients is a process and 99% of the time, planning is the first step. Planning is the part of the process where you identify each subsequent step understanding the time and capital it will take to accomplish the goal.
Planning: How to utilize Social Media
- Understand what you are trying to accomplish: Are you trying to generate awareness, acquire new qualified leads, sell something?
- Define your conversion: Are you trying to get someone to fill out a form, subscribe to a blog, call you?
- Understand who you are trying to reach: Are you trying to influence 45-55 year old moms, affluent young professionals, diabetic men over 50?
- Determine how you are going to reach that audience: You know your audience, but what do they do online, how will you reach them? Are they on Twitter, Linkedin, or just email?
- Understand how you are going to capture relevant data that will help you drive conversions: What data do you need to “move the needle?” What time of day can you reach your audience? What content drives them to action?
- Define how often to analyze data: Is your business going to make changes in real-time, over the course of weeks, months, years?
- Define realistic expectations about time and money: How much time can you honestly set aside to blog, tweet, use Google+ or any other activity ? Is the expected ROI, or lack thereof, something you can afford?
Big ideas are nothing new. People have them all the time. What sets apart those that succeed from those that don’t is execution. It’s one of the distinguishing characteristics between an entrepreneur and some shmuck that decided to start a business. Typically, you will see those that execute have created systems that work for them. It may seem like creating a routine for Social Media makes it feel inauthentic, robotic and dull, but this is real life and this is business. The majority of social media users dip in and out of Facebook at will all day, checking on crops and bemoaning the responsibilities and stress of life, but YOU are a business person and you don’t have time for that crap. Execution is about doing the work, and for most people that has to be fit into an otherwise busy schedule.
Execution: How to get results using Social Media
- Block off time in your calendar
- Eliminate something unproductive from your existing schedule
- Have someone hold you accountable
- Develop a habit…but not an addiction
- Delegate, if possible or share responsibility
Maintenance: Continually Execute
I’ve found that the part of that process that breaks down most frequently, is maintenance. This is the company that starts a Facebook page and 2 months later the most recent post is about “How to make money from home. UNBELIEVABLE!” This is the company blog that hasn’t been updated in a year, the sidebar has an “image not found” logo and the comments section is returning a PHP error. And this is the company that in spite of numerous inbound comments, continues to simply push out content
The reality is that thinking up the idea isn’t the same as carrying it through week in and week out. This takes work, this is what defines winners and losers, campaigns from social businesses and meaningful data from incomplete pictures. If you want to maintain, you need to have a process and stick to it.
In spite of the long history of marketing, many gurus and uninformed marketing directors never stop to check in on whether or not their ideas are working. Social Media is no different in this respect, you NEED to measure your results.
How to Evaluate
- In light of your goals, determine what is working. Work backwards from there. Look for trends and patterns in both successful and unsuccessful actions.
- Extract Actionable Information: Data isn’t there to make you feel good, it’s there to give you information that you can use.
- Plan how to use new information moving forward.
Maybe I’m wrong, maybe a process isn’t necessary. There are likely bunches of individuals that have succeeded without so much as a plan or time blocked off in their schedule. If you are me, and you work with clients who don’t use these tools like the average person, the process is very helpful and it helps you to avoid mistakes that could’ve been planned for. What do you think? Do you have a process for your social media usage?