Unfortunately, there are some individuals who think setting up a Facebook and/or Twitter account is all you have to do to implement a social media plan. This is SO unfortunate!! I shake my head at those who set up their accounts and just blast out messages as if it’s a robot tweeting and posting messages. Using social media isn’t just about blasting out content. What consumer wants to engage with a robot? I want to know there’s a real person there…someone who will respond to questions, comment on posts, pose interesting questions and share relevant content.

Social media is not much different from our regular lives. We interact with others by sharing information, posing questions, and sharing our opinions. I wouldn’t want to speak to a robot in my regular day life, so why would I when interacting with a “person” online? In our regular lives, people appreciate engaging with people and building real relationships. In social media, people value building relationships as well. This cannot be done with “robots”.

Organizations and individuals need to put in the effort to put their social media plan into action. Some of the common tips include:

1. Listen to what’s going on out there (Ex. Use a Google Reader)

2. Curate and Create Content that is relevant

3. Pose questions and reply to others (as in a real conversation)

4. Be polite – aka say Thank you!

5. Be Patient – It takes time to engage and build relationships (as in real life).

As a fellow social media nerd, Tamsen McMahon once said — “social media is a science.” Just like the scientific method you need to:

1. Define the question: Ex. How can we “best use social media” for our business?

2. Observe: Listen and Watch

3. Investigate: Define the scope, check resources, etc

4. Hypothesize: Strategy you’re hoping to implement and possible results

5. Experiment: Design and Execute

6. Analyze: What happened?

7. Retest: Continual process to see what works best for you

Thus, like all relationships and successful plans in our lives, effort is key. To make a social media plan work and to build true relationships — try this thing called, “effort.” You might be surprised with what develops.

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