Thanksgiving time in the US always yields an onslaught of new recipes to help us prepare a memorable meal for friends and family. A few years ago, while enjoying the results of a well-planned Thanksgiving holiday dinner, it occurred to me that many business firms seem to spend less time developing and executing a social media strategy to reach hundreds or thousands of prospects, partners, clients or customers than families spend planning, coordinating, preparing, serving and enjoying a large family holiday dinner. Not much has changed over time – So I am (re) sharing my recipe Social Media Soup. Hope it brings a chuckle while you labor over your turkey this year.
Just eight ingredients, 3 hours and a quarter. That’s all you need to create Social Media Soup.
Planning Time: 15 minutes
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Post-mortem Meeting Time: 2 hours
Waiting Time: One quarter
Serves: Fewer than you promised
- Two or three fresh, young marketing or PR interns
- One manager, unseasoned
- Several bunches of stale documents or outdated white papers (toss in a webinar of any kind, if you have one)
- One whiff of a plan for flavor
- 10-500 “followers” — a random mix is fine
- A dusting of emails
- A cup of hope, preferably from the eternal springs
- A grain of salt
Preheat oven and C-suite expectations to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 1: Begin with a few interns from marketing or PR. Dice up some social media sites like Facebook or Twitter or whatever they are familiar with. Divvy them among the interns to create a “presence” online for your company.
Step 2: Add personal photos and profiles wherever you see fit online. Link back to those stale documents and outdated white papers you’ve been keeping in the back of the ‘fridge to add some mature flavors to the mix. Just toss them together any old way – they’re just for visual appeal.
Step 3: Add your marketing plan flavor of the moment: a lead generation campaign, buzz-gen, brand awareness, whatever. Make sure the documents and white papers aren’t relevant so they don’t overpower the plan.
Step 4: Blanch your followers by urging them to friend, like, link or spam as many people as possible to show your soup will be really, really, really yummy.
Step 5: Place in the oven and turn off the heat. Let it stew in the oven for weeks — up to three months. Be sure not to open the pot, taste or stir at any point.
Step 6: When it’s ready, open the pot and add seasoning to taste — personal information or quirky non-professional updates broadcast on the social stream to jumpstart things.
Step 7: Ladle what’s left into business plan bowls. Explain the small portions by re-defining the soup as “just an appetizer.”
Step 8: Sprinkle with business justification success emails and serve to senior execs. Be prepared for “Ummmm…”, “Ahhhhh…”, and, best of all, “Oh no!” as you get responses from around the table.
For dessert, try pairing a PowerPoint presentation about social media success with your newly-updated resume. Voilà!
Just for fun, try adding up how many person-hours were involved in the creation of your Thanksgiving dinner social event. Include all the planning, coordination, prep, travel and “enjoyment” time before, during and after for everyone involved. Does your firm invest as much in its social media efforts?