I often get asked how I structure my actual written strategic social media engagement plans when working with a public sector or non-profit organization. The answer unfortunately is “it really depends”.
Over the years I have continually tried to update and improve my Strategic Social Media Engagement Workbook based on what I learned from my actual experiences consulting for a variety of organizations from those sectors. This workbook however was always only meant to serve as a guide to help my workshop participants think strategically and create a framework for their soon to be developed plans. By no means was this workbook ever meant to be the be all and end all process for social media planning, nor was it meant to be an actual outline of what a written report should look like.
I’ve never actually been a fan of one-size fits all business processes with trendy trademarked names (no need to name them), magic acronyms or perfect 3, 5, 10, even 15 step approaches. Admittedly however, sometimes these need to be used to appease the mind and turn complex business issues into a logical linear process (especially for all the left-brain thinkers out there). Even in my speaking engagements I often talk about simplifying things down to a goals–>objectives–>strategies–>tactics funnel, which is a great starting point, but rarely enough to justify serious financial and human resource investment within a large bureaucratic organization.
In truth, when it comes down to actually writing a deliverable for a client, even details such as the report style, format, length and the sections I use vary considerably. There are numerous factors I consider, including:
- Who is the intended audience? (seniority level, background, personality types, etc…)
- What kind of report is this audience expecting? (lengthy process and risk mitigation oriented vs. short , concise and action oriented). -There have been situations where I have been asked to ensure I submit a “thick” report, without any other comments. No joke.
- What is my perceived level of their “willingness to change”? (this affects the wording I use and the amount/length of phases I incorporate into the implementation plan)
- What are their personal attitudes towards the topic at hand?
- Are they more interested in the report “process” or the “outcomes” that the report is meant to achieve?
- If the intended audience of the report was involved in the decision to hire me, why did they do so (beyond the RFP text)?
- Executive Summary
- Project Background
- Goal Alignment
- Research Approach and Methodology
- Social Media Presence Audit
- Stakeholder Interviews
- External Environmental Scan
- Situation Analysis/SWOT
- Segmentation & Target Audience Selection
- Positioning & Unique Value Proposition
- Overview of Suggested Platforms
- Suggested SMART objectives
- Recommendations (detailed strategies and tactics)
- Phase 1
- Phase 2
- Phase 3
- Governance/Leadership and Resource Requirements
- Risks and Risk Mitigation Strategies
- Evaluation & Monitoring
- Developing long and short versions of a report
- Writing a really solid executive summary
- Creating a one-page supplemental handout
- Breaking down the report into separate stand-alone deliverables and cross-referencing them
- Creating a stand alone implementation plan spreadsheet
- Creating a high-level overview presentation deck (I’m not necessarily a fan of bullet infested “decks’ used as actual deliverables, but many people still are).
- Creating a presentation geared specifically at senior management (this is usually a given)