Monday, August 23, 2010

Why your social media strategy should be like my homemade pizza

I rarely order delivery pizza, because I've found it's easier, healthier and less expensive to make my own. (Last night's had a tomato-eggplant-squash sauce, studded with salame, mozzarella and multicolored roasted red peppers.)  And if you take the time to develop a thoughtful social media strategy, it'll follow the same recipe I use for my house-made pizzas: 
  • Authentic--and without the middle man.  Sure, you can hire someone or some firm to ghostwrite your blog and Twitter posts or to manage your organization's Facebook page. And I could call and have someone deliver me a chain pizza.  But there's nothing like the real thing you've made yourself, minus the middle man. (Yes, by the way, your followers can tell the difference.) One thing that helps that happen is...
  • A consistent base that's easy to make--and lets the content shine. I've got a great dough recipe that has proven itself over and over again. It's simple (flour, water, olive oil, sugar, salt and yeast), which makes it easy for me, and a showcase for the toppings. Whether you choose a primary social media base on Twitter, Facebook, a blog, or online video, make sure your "base" is simple and straightforward enough to show your content to best advantage--and not tie your operation in knots trying to get it done.
  • Minimal active prep time.  From start to finish, a house-made pizza at my house takes just 2 to 2.5 hours--but about 20 minutes of that time actively involves me. The dough can rise and bake just fine without action on my part. If you invite crowdsourced answers, ask questions, invite people to share their stories, and encourage collaborators and guest posts, you, too, can kick back and watch the results develop.  It also helps if you've planned your content and interactions using a good editorial calendar approach, and taken advantage of...
  • Make-ahead magic.  Nowadays, I almost never make a single recipe's worth of pizza crust dough--I double it and freeze half. On social networks, find and use the schedule-ahead and automated services that let you prepare evergreen topics and queries early or at one time.  Just be sure you're monitoring interactions and posting some content yourself, to keep that authentic feel.
  • A capacity for leftovers, without a "clean out the fridge" feel.  If I already have a few roasted vegetables, sauteed mushrooms or just one leftover cooked sausage, I've got the start of a good pizza's "content."  Similarly, you should be able to use your social media channels to share small amounts of content that would otherwise not qualify for a full report, a news release, or some other major push.  Just don't put all those toppings on at once.
Need help thinking through what goes into the pizza that's your social media strategy? Contact me at info[at]dontgetcaught[dot]biz for more information.

Check out don't get caught on Facebook, where I'm floating ideas and discussing them before they appear on the blog.  It's shaping up as a great networking community for communicators.

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