One of the challenges that marketers face today is having a clear and strategic view of all of their social media platforms. Many have built out a large number of platforms over the past few years and devote a great deal of energy and resources towards keeping them up and running. The challenge comes in the form of constant change across a number of interrelated areas:
- Target Audiences - how communities adopt and abandon different platforms, and change their own personal mix of what they use and why
- Marketing Objectives - how marketing goals and plans for a brand shift over time, resulting in changes to social media objectives
- Internal Resources - how investment, staffing, and internal commitment to social media platforms ebb and flow over time within an organization
How do you map out your territory when the tectonic plates are shifting beneath you?
One tool that I have used with clients to help create a clear view of their social media platforms is a playbook of sorts. It is a simple framework and living document that organizes the goals, role, and level of commitment for each social media platform they are active in. It also helps to illustrate the similarities, differences, and relationships between different platforms to create greater clarity in terms of how each should be used (or if a platform should be used at all).
While this framework appears on a single slide, you are essentially looking at a summary view of 3 different areas: Marketing Objectives, Platform Role, and Platform Plan. When I use this as a facilitation or planning tool, I typically focus on each separate area as an exercise and work from left to right to complete ‘the playbook’.
Marketing Objectives: After listing all of the social media platforms to be considered by the brand down the first column, evaluate the contribution of each platform to your relevant marketing objectives listed across the top. You can simply assign as High, Medium, Low or use a 1-5 scale.
Platform Role: Next, identify all of the different social-media related tactics and activities that you are considering to support your marketing objectives, and indicate which platforms will be used for each. It is important to note here any contingencies or relationships between platforms, captured in the ‘Used With’ column.
Platform Plan: At this point, you will have a clear view which platforms are expected to contribute most towards your marketing objectives and the relative role that each play. This should provide you with the ability to indicate relative priority per platform, and start to map out posting volumes (relying on internal performance data and best practices per platform) and paid media investment (relying on internal budget figures and advertising costs/platform).
So go ahead and create your playbook, just be prepared to revisit as you feel any tectonic trembling beneath your feet.