I’m just finishing up last minute preparations for our upcoming 2-day Social Media intensive. Businesses are coming to Michigan from all over to spend two days working on their social media marketing. And before they ever send a tweet, write a blog post, or create a fan page, they will work on their social media plan.

The analogy I use is panning for gold.

And that’s the first step in creating your plan. Making sure you know exactly what you’re looking for. In this case, it’s clear, we’re looking for gold. But in the world of social media, you can have different goals and objectives. You might want more customer engagement, brand awareness, or quality leads. It’s important to be clear on WHY you’re using social media as that will determine HOW you use social media.

Then you need to decide where you’re going to look for gold. Back in the day, you went to California because that’s where the gold was. Businesses need to decide which social media sites give them the best shot of striking gold. Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter? Maybe it’s none of the above. But knowing where your potential customers are hanging out is critical to your future success.

When miners look for gold, they need to get through a lot of dirt. It’s the same with social media. Take Twitter for example. Businesses want nothing to do with it because all they hear about is Justin Bieber and Charlie Sheen. But there is potential business out there- you just have to sift through the dirt to get to the gold. How are you going to do that? How are you going to qualify them? Do you have a system in place to follow up with leads and qualify them that way?

And even when the dirt is gone, there’s still stuff in the pan other than gold (can you tell how little I know about panning for gold?). So you need to include a follow-up system with your leads and find out if they are indeed qualified leads or not. If you don’t have a solid system to follow up with social media leads, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. 

If you’re plan includes what you want to accomplish, a strategy to participate in sites where your potential customers are hanging out, and a system for following up and converting leads to business, then you’re ready to embark on your social media journey. Good luck on getting to the gold!

to your success,