Posted on November 3, 2014 by Kevin Getch 5WH stands for Who, What, Where, When, Why & How. It is a very simple, straight forward and effective method for developing a social media strategy. We’ve even created a downloadable social media strategy worksheet to help get you started. “Tactics without strategy is the noise before the defeat” ~Sun Tzu from The Art of War Who The first W stands for Who. There are two key “Who” questions a business must answer when creating a social media strategy. They are: Who Am I? & Who is My Audience? Who Am I? As a business made up of many different individuals it is important that you have a clearly defined vision, purpose, mission, values, brand voice, etc. Think of your business as a person or a character. What type of personality does it have? Would your business use humor in it’s responses? What does your business care about? When you communicate online your business takes on a personality whether you like it or not. You want to make sure that the character of your business is meticulously thought out and crafted prior to jumping into social media. Who is My Audience? Identifying and understanding your audience is critical to success in business and in social media. Do you know who your customers are? What are their ages? Are they married? Are they homeowners? Do they work in specific occupations? You want to have as much demographic information on your audience as possible. While having the demographics of your audience down is a good start, I would strongly encourage you to take it a step further and create an Ideal Customer Profile. An ideal customer profile is a fictitious customer that you create, give a name, assign demographic information to as well as lifestyle & media traits, etc. By creating this customer profile it allows everyone in your organization to be able to understand who their customer is and better relate and communicate with them. It will also be very valuable in other parts of your social media strategy. It’s important to point out that your audience can consist of more than just potential customers. Depending on your strategy your audience may include media, influencers in your industry and or peers (competitors). Obviously you want a big part of your audience to be potential customers, though. Here are some resources that can help you better define your audience: Ideal Customer Profile Worksheet Nielsen PRIZM developed 66 consumer profiles that can be utilized for brainstorming and building your ideal customer profiles. Extremely valuable local demographic/psychographic information as well. Endorser Profile Worksheet (* This is coming soon. In the meantime you can watch the video below to understand more about the benefits of creating endorser profiles.) What This is one of the most important questions for you to answer. If you have a clear picture of who you are, who your audience is and what they want, you are already ahead of 90% of your competition. Your customer is the lifeblood of your business. Without them, you would be nothing, right? So, it makes sense that you should do everything in your power to understand your customer inside and out. Determine what they want and make sure you’re delivering it. What is important to them? Do they want to feel special? Do they want useful tips on how to use your products? Do they want discounts? Do they want to be part of a like-minded community? Do they want to be able to interact with your brand? Etc. What type of content do they want? You can utilize a tool like Social Crawlytics to analyze of all of the content on a competitors site to see which content has been shared the most on social media sites. This will give you an idea of what content your users find interesting and share worthy. Also, take a look at your competitors social media accounts. Which of their posts are most successful? Which ones receive the most shares, comments, likes, retweets, etc.? You can utilize a tool like Fanpage Karma to analyze your competitors’ social media accounts and see which types of posts (status updates, posts with links, posts with pictures, videos, etc.) are getting the most traction with their user base. Where One very common question we hear is, where should I focus my time and efforts? My answer is always; focus on the social media platforms where your audience is. If you have a good understanding of the demographic profile of your customers and you’ve created an ideal customer profile, you’re well equipped to decide which social networks to focus on. Below there are links to demographic and tip sheets on 5 of the most popular social networks. This will give you a high level overview of their user base, popular topics (or uses) and a few tips on how to best utilize them. Facebook Tip Sheet Pinterest Tip Sheet Twitter Tip Sheet Googe+ Tip Sheet Linkedin Tip Sheet Earlier when we were talking about determining what your audience wants We talked about tools like Social Crawlytics and Fanpage Karma. Both of these tools can also give you an idea where your competitors are active, and more importantly where their users are actively sharing their content, which is great insight to have when deciding where you want to connect with your audience. When When is the best time to reach your customers on the different social platforms? Below you will find a list of best and worst times to post for some of the most popular social networks. It is critical that you understand that this information stems from their entire user base. This is not necessarily representative of your users. You may find that your audience has different habits as far as when they interact online. You can also look at your Facebook Insights to see when your users are online or utilize tools like followerwonk or Fanpage Karma to analyze competitors’ social profiles to see when their users are most active. Why Why do you want to use social media to reach your customers? Do you want to create brand awareness, increase website traffic, offer real-time customer service, or generate new leads? Whatever your social media goals are, make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). Once you’ve established your goals you need to decide which metrics you’re going to use to measure the success of your campaigns. Below are a few of the common metrics that companies use to assess the performance of their social media campaigns. How So, you’ve determined who you are as a company, who your audience is, what they want, where you’re going to connect with them, when you’re going to connect with them and why your business is doing this. Now, you need to focus on how you’re going to do this. This section focuses on your “action plan” and the day-to-day questions that you need to answer before you get started. Preparing your plan ahead of time rather than on-the-fly will keep you on a straighter path to success. Consider the following thoughts and questions: How many times per week and per day you will post content? Who in your organization is going to be tasked with the different responsibilities? What time of the day is best for posting on your targeted networks? What tools are you going to leverage for social intelligence or competitive insights? How are you going to grow your audience? What are the first 5 steps you’re going to take this week? These could be things like setting up your social profiles (making sure to upload a profile photo and background as well as filling them out thoroughly), deciding on how often you’re going to post, what times you’re going to post, determining which tools to use, or hiring a company like ours to help with your overall strategy/efforts. Additional resources: 7 Radical Social Media Marketing Tools Social Media Strategy Template Worksheet I’m sure you can see by now that the 5WH social media strategy is very simple and effective as well as easy to comprehend, remember and implement. It will take some time if you do it right, but we’ve created the 5WH Social Media Strategy Worksheet to help you get started. Social media can be a very powerful channel for connecting with both new and existing customers. In the last few years social media use has grown significantly. It’s imperative that you don’t approach social media haphazardly. Make sure you and your employees have a clear vision of your company’s character, an understanding of your audience (you understand what your audience wants, where your audience spends their time, and when they’re active), and a handle on your companies social purpose. Then put together an action plan on how you will achieve success and execute it.