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The Gold Rush To Social Media- How To Track Your Success

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Social Media is still baffling business owners as well as the question, “Is it worth it?” and “How will I know?”  An eConsultancy survey of 1,000 companies found 41% of respondents had no idea of social media’s financial impact. Despite the hearty rush for firms to jump on the social media bandwagon, social media represents only a fraction of most marketing budgets, if any at all. Once firms are using social media, many do not have a structure in place to track results.

“Social media success comes to those that link their social media choices to the firms overall business goals,” as stated by Susan Etlinger. Etlinger represents her findings with 60 social media marketers to understand how businesses measure social media through research completed for the Altimeter Group.

Etlinger goes on to say, “48% of social strategists indicate their primary focus is to develop ROI measurements.”  By focusing only on ROI, many pieces to the puzzle are missing, as ROI is just one metric in social media toolkits. Her study further reveals, despite advances in integrating social media into business, the majority of companies surveyed do not have a standard framework in place to measure its value. This was found to be true of businesses scratching the surface and more than half of the companies fully engaged in social media.

Before Choosing Tools-Establish a Foundation                               

Before a firm is ready to think about analytical tools, a foundation must be established. Entliger sites four steps to follow prior to selecting measurement tools:

Align social media strategy with business objectives: Determine what you want to accomplish.

Determine what success means to you and how you will measure it: Identify benchmarks to measure – such as brand awareness, lead generation, educational resource access, etc.

Evaluate your firm’s readiness to measure social mediaThis step is the most critical and most overlooked in social media tracking. Firms lack sufficiently trained staff for social media measurement and delegate it to over committed and under-prepared employees. 

Choose tools to compliment your overall strategyOnce you have identified what you want to accomplish, how you will measure success and what resources are available, you are ready for tool selection. Keep in mind, there is no one single-best tool for every objective and tools available are changing quickly.

Once you have addressed each of these steps, you are ready to move on to an organizational plan for social media.

Outline Team Roles and Responsibilities

Jeremiah Owyang has written extensively about how companies should organize for social media. I have included some of his findings here.

Identify your social media measurement team. This can consist of a group of team members working collaboratively or be the responsibility of one individual. Regardless of the anatomy of your measurement team, you will need to address the following components and identify solutions for each.

  1. What resources and skills are available within your firm?
  2. What resources and skills are not available within your firm?
  3. Who will design and implement your social media strategy and process?
  4. Who will be responsible for tool selection?
  5. Who will design and implement your tool selection strategy and process?
  6. What education and training will be required?
  7. How will the social media measurement team collaborate with other team members?

A good place to start with each of the above questions is to identify your current situation and identify where you would like to be in the future.

In our upcoming blog, One Size Doesn’t Fit All In Social Media Tracking Methods, we will identify resources to aide you in tool selection.

Question:    Is your firm or organization fully engaged in social media? How do you measure your success?  Leave us a comment by clicking here!

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Business Plans -Creating A Roadmap For The Success Of Your Firm

The main objective of strategic planning in your firm is to create an uncomplicated plan that clearly defines the direction of your practice. A business plan embodies your set of business goals and how they can be attained. Overall, a business plan supports the business model and explains the steps to achieve the goals of that model. You will want to be as specific and detailed as possible in each area of your business plan.

The goal of your business plan should be to create a roadmap for the success of your firm.

Ironstone’s research has shown us that approximately 40% of financial advisors actually have a written Business Plan and even fewer have a marketing plan. Those firms that implemented a completed business plan have 50% more profits and revenue than firms without a plan.

Your business plan will help you:

• Evaluate your firm and your position relative to your competition
• Provide a laser like focus to your marketing efforts
• Support your infrastructure to provide for the needs of your firm
• Diagram a route for your success

Focus Areas To Include In Your Business Plan:

An executive summary – Include your unique value proposition, how you will obtain new business, client retention practices, and your competitive advantages.
Practice Overview – This snapshot of your practice includes how it’s organized, its essential purpose, and other formalities such as founding date, legal licensing, location, etc…
Situation Analysis – Interpret the state of the environment & describe your competitive position along with the operating & financial conditions of your firm. Use a SWOT analysis in order to define your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Market Summary – Describe your niche markets.
Market Analysis – Stay abreast of new market strategies and understand the needs of your community. Research current trends and potential growth in your demographic area and industry to explain how you will improve your position in the market. Include statistical information showing your current position in the market share.
Market Needs/Service Offerings – describe what your firm provides to clients & prospects. Items to include are pricing, how you will meet the needs of your clients, advertising and client service.
Competition – Analyze your competition & how your processes outweigh your competition. Explain where you want to be in relation to your competition and how you plan to reach that goal
Keys To Success – Identify three or four areas that you will focus on for optimal success.
Critical Issues – Identify three or four goals or issues that your firm plans to achieve during the year. Develop a strategic plan of how you will obtain each objective
Marketing Strategy – Attach a copy of your marketing plan.
Marketing Objectives – List the objectives of your marketing plan.
Financial Objectives – List the financial objectives of your firm and include your sales and expense forecasts along with checkpoints that will gauge performance levels.
Exit Strategy – Outline your succession plan – timeline, person(s) to retain your practice.

Once you’ve developed your business plan, don’t file it away until the end of the year when you’re making the appointment to see your CPA.   Use your business plan as a GPS guidance system for running your practice. Update it often; real-time changes are ideal, quarterly at a minimum.  Communicate your business plan to your team in order to effectively bring it to life and track milestones to enhance your overall business focus.

As you begin to develop or review your business plan, contact Ironstone for tips and best practices that will assist you in taking your firm to the next level.  We have numerous tools and aides available for you and insight that will help you reach the goals you have set for yourself and your firm.
Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!
• Strategic Planning
• Business Development
• Operational Effectiveness
• The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series: Business Development – Referral Networks
• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
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