Strategic Social PlanningWe’re all familiar with strategic planning sessions and most of us have either just wrapped them up or are currently working through them at our credit unions. But, have you ever considered holding a strategic planning session specifically for your social media initiatives? We believe you should, and here’s why…

Planning is a critical component of a solid social media plan. Planning helps assure that you remain relevant and responsive to the changing needs of your online community, and contributes to your credit union’s stability and growth.

A strategic social planning session could be a fifteen minute group conversation, a brainstorming session that takes a couple hours, or a full-blown off-site event that takes an afternoon or longer. This session can be the driving force for creative, innovative, and collaborative breakthroughs, but only when you effectively utilize your time. You must have the following four fundamentals in place to keep your strategic social planning session on track.

  1. Encourage Openness

Go into your strategy session with the sole purpose of inviting thoughts and ideas from everyone. Create a space where new ideas and enthusiastic conversations are both welcomed and encouraged. Use those ideas to push yourselves and, most importantly…don’t be afraid to poke holes in new ideas as well as last year’s strategic goals so that you end up with better ideas and goals for the coming year.

  1. Review Analytics

Anytime you create a strategy or plan, you must commit to what Chatter Yak refers to as the “analytics trinity.” The analytics trinity includes measuring, tracking, and reporting on the success of the goals you’ve chosen. You certainly wouldn’t want to spend an entire day planning for the coming year, only to find 11 months from now that your goals weren’t met. When you measure, track, and report on your success, you’ll be able to adjust your plan to hit your goals and end the year on a high note. That said, what you should be doing before you head into your planning session is reviewing all the analytics from last year’s social efforts and take this information into your session to review and better decide how to improve your strategy for the upcoming calendar year.

Here’s a list of items to be reviewed:

  • social media content strategy
  • social media goals
  • social media audit (posts, timing, frequency, engagement, leads converted to sales, ROI)
  • social media contest or promotion calendar
  • social media advertising plan
  • evaluation of social media tools used by your CU (image creation, automation, social monitoring, apps)
  1. Set Clear Goals and Map Out an Action Plan

Set goals for your planning session. What do you want to accomplish? Do you wish to walk away with a content calendar for the next 6 months, a plan to launch an account on another social platform, or a social contest strategy for the next 12 months? In your planning session, be sure to set goals that are reasonable and achievable, as well as detailed. Stating that you want to grow your social presence is a pretty broad goal and not very specific. But if you state that you want to grow your credit union’s Facebook Likes by 15% by the end of Q2 and specify that you’ll use contests, email marketing, and Facebook advertising to get there, with a budget of $X.XX, your team will easily be able to help you map out a plan to achieve that goal. As you work through your planning session, keep referring back to your mission, vision, and core values. Continually ask yourself if you’re still on track and still contributing to the overall strategy of your credit union. If loan growth is a strategic goal for your credit union, then perhaps you’ll set a goal of “running 12 monthly contests to generate a revenue stream and grow your social presence” stating specifically that you’d “like to generate $1,000,000 in loan income and grow your Likes by 3000, and will do that by utilizing a contest app, prizes, email marketing, and Facebook advertising by the end of Q4.” Here, you can see how this goal clearly contributes to the mission, vision, and values of your credit union and a detailed plan of attack has been laid out

When mapping out your action plan, ask yourself questions that will prompt you and your team to think strategically about next year. Here are a few questions to get you thinking:

  • What is the one thing our social team was worst at this year?
  • What do we need to do to correct this?
  • What is the one thing our social team did best this year?
  • What do you need to do to ensure this happens again?
  • What was our biggest obstacle this year?
  • What can we do to avoid this obstacle next year?
  • If we had an unlimited budget, what would we do differently next year?
  • How can we make this idea work with the budget we already have?
  1. Communicate Completed Plan

In strategic planning sessions, team members are enthusiastic and energized. And yet, that enthusiasm and energy can quickly fade if you’re not communicating your completed plan and continue to keep your team focused.   Keep your team inspired in the coming year by updating them on the progress of your goals (think whiteboards and campaign thermometers).

Should you need help facilitating a strategic social planning session for your credit union, the knowledgeable team at Chatter Yak would be happy to assist…just hit us up.

Keep it Chatty, Friends.

Deb

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