Social Media Planning: Questions to Connect with Clients

On Monday, we discussed Groundswell and how to approach social media planning strategically.  Everyone will soon be working with real live museums that are struggling to define some aspect of their existence in social media.  Some clients have a well-developed idea of what they need, whereas others are looking for general ways to start exploring and playing in the world of the social web.

How can you develop a plan that will have the most likely specific value to the institution or initiative at hand?  A strong social media plan should include:

  1. the institution’s specific mission and audience goals.  What is this museum or program all about?  Who is the target audience?  These questions should focus and filter your planning more than anything else.
  2. the new relationships the institutions is seeking.  How would the institution like to alter or strengthen its relationship with the target audience?  What kind of relationship is sought?  Relationship types may include: broadcasting, spreading, listening, sharing, embracing, energizing, supporting, research, exchange, conversation…  Ideally, you will pick one or two relationships that seems appropriate to the mission and goals, although institutions that are looking at comprehensive media plans may need documentation and ideas in several relationship buckets.
  3. the resources and restrictions of the institution.  What resources (time, money, and people) does the museum have to support this effort?  What rules or control issues may prevent certain kinds of interactions?  What are they already doing, what have they tried, and where are they now?  These questions should help you define a reasonable scope for the project and hone in on some tactics that may be more appropriate than others.
  4. the intent of the institution.  How will they manage, grow, and respond to their newly energized communities?  This relates strongly to (2) and (3).  You need to make sure you are recommending something that the museum can honestly, enthusiastically, and appropriately manage in the context of their work processes etc.  This is very hard to ascertain from the outside, but asking questions like, “what will you do with visitors’ comments?” or “what will you do if someone posts something that is inaccurate?” can help.
  5. the ideas.  What are you recommending and why?
  6. the startup needs.  What will the museum have to do to get this going?
  7. the promotion plan.  How can the museum promote the project and reach out to the target audience?
  8. the maintenance needs.  What will the museum have to do to keep it going?
  9. the evaluation plan.  How will this project be tracked and tested against the goals?  How will you establish benchmarks and a starting baseline?

I know this sounds like a lot.  Parts 1-4 are functionally research elements — things you need to find out from your client and articulate in an understandable way as the basis for 5-9 (your ideas).

Anything missing here?  Any questions or thoughts on these?