Spring Clean Your Social Media Strategy

Monday, 18 April 2011

Spring has sprung! (Or it will any day now.) For me, this means serious closet cleaning and sandal shopping. But if you’re trying to increase your presence in social media, spring cleaning should have a different meaning. It’s time to dust off your old social media strategy (if you have one) and start fresh. Don’t get stuck in a rut because it’s “what you’ve always done.” Spring is for new beginnings, whether it’s fixing something that’s broken or trying a new promotion.

Because I’m both a heavy social media user and a consultant, I’ve interacted with a lot of brands. Some for work, some for fun. So I’ve seen some social media savvy brands who definitely “get” it. And by that I mean balancing customer service with promotional content in a way that allows them to engage with fans in a fun, on-brand way.

Unfortunately, I’ve also come across a few companies that have missed the boat on social media, and sometimes customer service, completely. They ignore questions or cries for help on Twitter and wait until they turn into a Yelp or YouTube PR problem to take action. Worse, they whitewash Facebook posts and delete negative comments to paint a pretty picture of their product or service.

Create a Social Media Plan

Don’t let your brand fall into the second category. Develop a strategy for responding to negative comments, and encouraging positive ones. Having a plan can help you take action to improve the situation for your customers. This will also help you naturally develop credibility. Bonus? You get major kudos for demonstrating your commitment to customers out in the open, instead of hiding it behind the closed doors of a call center.

For some, posting every day is daunting. Add in responding to questions or resolving issues and social media can seem overwhelming. A social media plan makes day-to-day maintenance more manageable. Draft a few PR-friendly responses ahead of time so you aren’t scrambling to deal with upset customers. Decide what your policy is on removing posts, banning users or responding privately versus publicly. And stick to it. You might even want to post this info on your site somewhere.

Develop a Content Strategy

Customer service is a huge part of social media for a lot of brands. And while you can plan ahead to some degree, you still have to think on your feet. Which makes it even more important to plan ahead wherever else you can. Write your promotional posts, the Tweets and Facebook updates you push out, ahead of time. I like to plan actual posts about a week in advance, but I’ll often plan out topics for a full month. Find a method that works for you.

Obviously, plans change and you’ll need to be a bit flexible, but you’ll save a lot of time by having posts ready to go when you are. That way, you can spend more time on each posts and consistently deliver great content. No more skipping posts or writing generic copy just to get something out there because you’ve fallen behind. Spend a little extra time up front and plan ahead for the good, and the bad, to save lots of time later.

The take away for social media media marketers? Start a strategy. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there effectively. Think about how to respond to the issues that will inevitably pop up, and plan out your posts to deliver great content, every day of the week.

Win a Free Copy of The Facebook Marketing Book

Jumpstart your Facebook presence and spring clean your social media strategy with a free copy of my book, The Facebook Marketing Book, co-written with my fabulous hubby, Dan Zarrella. Just leave a comment below telling me why you want it. That’s it! I’ll pick two winners to get a free copy of the book. (Post your entry by 5pm EST on Friday, April 22. US residents only.)

UPDATE: And the winners are…

Donica and Jordan! I’ll be contacting you privately to find out where to send the book. If you didn’t win, stay tuned, more contests are on the way.


  • We are a small (green) advertising agency in San Diego and all for going online! It’s better for the environment and it’s better for the market. We could also use tips though, especially myself since I’m the intern. And it would be very impressive if, as an intern, I won my agency a free copy of your book :) Plus we’d spread the word.

    Please and thank you!

    Comment by Donica — April 18, 2011 @ 6:21 pm
  • To be honest I would appreciate a copy as I love seeing what thoughts and strategies others have in the social media sphere.


    PS This is my first time on your site, but it looks good. Well done!

    Comment by Russell Allert — April 18, 2011 @ 6:25 pm
  • Hey Alison,

    I recently attended the webinar The Science of Timing #TimeSci, learned a lot from your husband. I would love to learn from the social power duo that is Zarrella!



    Comment by Doug Logue — April 18, 2011 @ 6:37 pm
  • This us will be a great source for the launch of kickinkitchen.tv.

    Comment by tara greco — April 19, 2011 @ 1:05 am
  • So I can have the best Facebook marketing advice and how-to money can buy today.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Tia Dobi — April 19, 2011 @ 1:05 am
  • Hey Dan, well I speak at alot of conferences around the US (mostly in the nonprofit sector) and I would love to read your book to see if there is anything I can pull into my 2011 sessions (of course giving you wonderful credit and giving away a copy or two of the book). What I run into most with nonprofits is that they all think that it is the new field of dreams solution. You know the web 10 years ago. “if you build it they will come”. They don’t realize that they have to market it that they can’t just stick up a FB page and people will like/join and friend them. It is always hard to explain that nothing magical is going to happen. I would hope to cite and use resources from your book and others to show that marketing strategy has to carry from traditional to social media. Thanks much and good luck. Jordan

    Comment by jordan dossett — April 19, 2011 @ 1:09 am
  • Hello
    I would love the book to improve my work as a community manager
    Thank you

    Comment by Carolina Tuccio — April 19, 2011 @ 1:17 am
  • Hmm.. Why do I want it? Let’s see… 1) Facebook 2) Marketing.
    Need I say more?

    Comment by thinkdj — April 19, 2011 @ 1:19 am
  • First, I’m surprised with the “borderless” world that has been further realized due to social media thar you would limit the contest to US residents.

    I work at a Canadian college and this book would be extremely valuable as many of our current and prospective students participate on Facebook. Understanding how we can better engage them will help find success in this new space.

    Comment by Mike McCready — April 19, 2011 @ 1:25 am
  • Hey Mike. The US restriction is for shipping reasons. But if I pick a non-US resident I can definitely hook them up with a PDF copy.

    Comment by Alison — April 19, 2011 @ 8:47 am
  • Hi Alison!

    I have only recently learned of you and your husband when I first heard him on a webinar a few weeks ago about social media. What an awesome take-away. I am a recent public relations graduate here in Canada and I am implementing and developing a small company’s social media platform. From their blog to Facebook to Twitter I have pushed the company to step outside of the “norm” and branch out! However, our Facebook presence is struggling.

    With the help of your book I would be able to successfully promote our Facebook page and develop it, allowing us to get our company name out. The company I work for sells customized and corporate greeting cards to businesses with the creation of an end result in increased customer retention, employee engagement and the overall promotion of sending greeting cards.

    I would love to read this book and learn from it to help us increase consumer knowledge about the benefits of sending out greeting cards.

    Thanks so much for considering me!


    Comment by Carolynn Kitchen — April 19, 2011 @ 9:31 am
  • I would like to have a copy of your book, to help me understand the analytics of using Facebook to market my business, and help other small business in my area understand Facebook better.

    Comment by Ophelia Livingston — April 19, 2011 @ 11:10 pm
  • Only just started getting into web marketing over the past couple of months, Company use Twitter, Linkedin and use a blog regularly enough. Never fully understood if facebook could be useful to us or just alot of teenagers posting about what they are having for tea, think i would find it pretty useful to see the capabilities of Facebook in web marketing


    James Brown

    Comment by James Brown — April 20, 2011 @ 4:12 am
  • I could use a little spring cleaning…

    Comment by Joe G — April 20, 2011 @ 11:23 am
  • I believe wholeheartedly that non-profit faith-based organizations deserve marketing materials with quality matching or exceeding businesses that can afford to hire people like Dan.

    If I win this book, I’d love to use it, guiding those deserving groups toward excellence in social media marketing.

    They may be little, but they’ve got big hearts.

    Comment by Angela Santana — April 21, 2011 @ 3:18 pm
  • My husband and I are starting up a Social Media Marketing business. The Facebook Marketing book would be a huge help in getting us started and assisting our future clients.
    If we don’t win the book we will most certainly buy it…It would just take a little longer.
    But we selfishly want to read it NOW!
    –fingers crossed–

    Comment by Rebecca Hellmann — April 21, 2011 @ 3:19 pm
  • I work for a non-profit and we are aggressively expanding our social media and inbound marketing efforts. It looks like this book would be a great resource! I also attended the #TimeSci webinar that Doug mentioned and really enjoyed all the insight offered by Dan.

    Comment by Elizabeth (Hammer) Kramer — April 21, 2011 @ 3:50 pm
  • Using Facebook for fun is one thing, but bringing your customers together via the Internet is another–especially when most of ours would rather be out riding their motorcycle! Our business is like a family & Facebook like our tree–I would love to have this book to keep it growing! :)

    Comment by Jordin H. — April 21, 2011 @ 3:56 pm
  • Our in-house blog manager is producing great content, and it’s helping with our Twitter traffic, but haven’t been able to see a good spike in Facebook fans.

    Comment by Sully — April 22, 2011 @ 11:44 am
  • We are trying to get the local health region (our client) on Facebook for their early parenting campaign. This book will have all the info they need to maintain the campaign.

    Comment by Dan — April 22, 2011 @ 12:37 pm
  • One happy reader

    Comment by fb geek — June 26, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

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