Everything we do as communications professionals is information driven, particularly when it comes to planning, and that includes social media planning. With any type of strategic planning you do for clients, the first step in the process inevitably involves gathering as much information as you can at the outset. This involves asking your client as many questions as possible to get a clear sense of their current situation and needs, aims and anticipated outcomes as well as expectations not only for the campaign itself but also of you as a consultant – and what you can deliver.
- Key planning fundamentals
Before you map out your strategy you want to determine upfront what your client wants to achieve from social initiatives. This includes:
Defined goals and objectives (e.g., increased web traffic, new leads or brand visibility).
Your client's goals should be achievable and measurable. It will be important to set expectations up front and be able to measure goal progress.
Who they want to reach (target audience).
Clients may want to go broad by reaching “everyone” but it is critical to delineate their target audience(s). You can then develop a strategy for each audience and ensure that you are deploying on the right channels with the right messages.
How much they’re willing to spend (budget).
In addition to your fees, consider social media management and reporting tools, photo sourcing, and advertising.
- Capacity and resources
You need to determine whether your client’s internal staff is capable – both from a technical and capacity standpoint – to handle any aspect of social media management, including content creation and monitoring. The involvement of those outside of the core client team, including other departments within the organization, also should be discussed regarding its implications and supervision.
Resources such as software and computer hardware need to be taken into account. The organization’s current repository of assets (e.g., websites, domains, social media channels, image library, etc.) should also be reviewed and evaluated.
- Roles and responsibilities
The question of who will take responsibility (and for what) can be a delicate question but it needs to be asked, as each person’s role and responsibility needs to be clearly defined. This includes identifying who will lead content creation, monitoring and responding as well as measurement and reporting.
Additional questions include who will take internal ownership and what the review and approvals process will look like. Parameters also need to be clearly outlined regarding social media policy and procedures, and should be communicated with everyone on the client team and within the organization.
To support you with your social media planning for clients, we have put together a comprehensive list of questions to ask your next new client or prospect. This questionnaire covers the full gamut of factors and considerations for developing social media plans and programs. It is also designed for universal use with any type of client regardless of sector or industry.
These 3 key questions will give you a starting point for in-depth discussion with new or prospective clients. Taking the time before you begin the work will set the stage for a successful engagement.
How about you, what areas do you cover in social media planning? Share your tips in the comments below or on social media using #solopr.