I do a good number of speeches around the country on social media, mobile media and marketing in general. The #1 question I get asked at the end of every speech is, “What are my next steps?”

That question may be on your mind, too.

In fact, if I were to guess, I’d say you probably understand the theory of social media and even embrace the strategic importance of social media. But you may still be asking, “What should I do today to improve my social media program tomorrow?”

In How to Make Money with Social Media, the book I co-authored with Dr. Reshma Shah, I provide a checklist of 59 steps you should take to set-up, launch and run a social media campaign. I’ve blogged about these steps before, but since this is one of the more popular posts (and since it’s one of the more popular chapters in the book), I thought I’d provide them for you again below.

I hope you find the checklist helpful. And please feel free to let me know if I’ve missed any steps you think should be added.

Here goes:

The Preliminaries:

  • I’ve conducted a review of my company’s business and understand its mission, goals and objectives
  • I’ve conducted a review of my company’s sales program and understand how a prospect is brought into the sales funnel and converted into a customer
  • I’ve conducted a review of my company’s marketing program and understand what role the marketing program plays in the overall success of the company
  • I’ve conducted a review of the strategies, tactics and tools involved in a social media campaign and understand what role each of those strategies, tactics and tools plays in a well-run social media program
  • After doing all of this, I’ve asked myself (again), “Is social media right for my company?” If I’ve concluded that it is, I’ve moved on to the next steps

The Competitive Landscape:

  • I’ve reviewed the overall strengths and weaknesses of my company’s top 5 competitors
  • I’ve reviewed the sales and marketing efforts of my top 5 competitors
  • I’ve analyzed the specific social media campaigns being conducted by my top 5 competitors
  • I’ve created a list of social media strategies and tactics that my competitors are using that appear to be effective
  • I’ve created a list of social media strategies and tactics that my competitors are using that appear to be ineffective
  • I’ve joined my competitor’s LinkedIn groups, Facebook pages, YouTube channels, Twitter accounts and other social media member sites my competitors are running
  • I’ve set up Google Web Alerts and Blog Alerts to send me notifications any time my competitor, my industry or my company is mentioned in blogs or articles online

Your Internal Management Team:

  • I’ve asked the social media proponents in my organization to be advocates for my program. I’ve asked them to be engaged in any way they can to help my social media program succeed
  • I’ve identified people within my organization who might not be social media advocates and have begun a program to help them understand the value a well-run social media program can bring to our company
  • I’ve assembled a team to help me set-up, run and manage the social media program for my company
  • I’ve asked each team member to buy How to Make Money with Social Media to ensure we’re all working from the same play book. (That’s a joke. Kind of.)

Setting Yourself Up for Success:

  • I’ve assembled a social media team to help me execute my program. (Your team can be as small as 1 or as large as 100+)
  • I’ve set Specific Measurable Actionable Realistic and Timebound Goals (S.M.A.R.T. Goals) for my social media campaign
  • I’ve reviewed my S.M.A.R.T. goals with my team and encouraged feedback and input
  • I’ve done an in-depth analysis of my target market and have a genuine understanding of who they are and what makes them tick
  • I’ve set-up my social media campaign so that it can be measured
  • I’ve conducted a review of each of the three categories of social media platforms – networking platforms, promotion platforms and sharing platforms
  • I’ve developed a strategic framework for my social media campaign that will help me accomplish my overall business goals
  • I’ve developed a tactical framework for my social media campaign that will help me accomplish my strategic goals
  • I’ve developed an executional framework for my social media program that will help me accomplish my tactical goals
  • I’ve aligned my social media campaign with my overall branding campaign so that they’re essentially one-and-the-same

The Days Prior to Launch:

  • I understand that a social media campaign is an ongoing process and can’t be executed in “5 minutes a day.” As such, I’ve allocated a realistic and reasonable amount of time to execute my program.
  • In an effort to get started quickly, I’ve completed the following tasks:
    • I’ve updated my company’s LinkedIn profile
    • I’ve joined several LinkedIn Groups within my industry
    • I’ve created a Facebook business page
    • I’ve set up a Twitter account
    • I’ve followed several hundred other people on Twitter who are in my industry or have similar interests
    • I’ve incorporated a blog into my website
    • I’ve created a YouTube channel
    • I’ve created a MySpace page
    • I’ve created an eNewsletter for my customers and prospects using ConstantContact, ExactTarget or iContact
    • I’ve updated our company profile on Wikipedia
    • I’ve opened accounts on Flickr, SmugMug and Picassa
    • I’ve uploaded content to Slideshare, Scribd and Slideo
    • I’ve added Feedback, Uservoice or Get Statisfaction to my website
    • I’ve investigated and incorporated accounts on other social media platforms including hi5, Xanga, Plaxo, Xing, Ning and Friendster

The First 30 Days:

  • I’ve committed myself to the following goals for the first 30 days of my social media campaign:
    • I’ll update my company’s LinkedIn profile once every 2 weeks with news and information about my company
    • I’ll visit LinkedIn.com/Answers and answer 1 to 5 questions each day
    • I’ll update my Facebook business page several times a week (at a minimum)
    • I’ll send out helpful, interesting Tweets anywhere from 10 to 20 times a day
    • I’ll write 2 to 3 blog posts a week (none of which will be about our company Holiday party or our CEO’s trip to the convention)
    • I’ll comment on 5 blog posts a week with a relevant, insightful comment
    • I’ll upload a series of YouTube videos designed to provide value to our customers and prospects
    • I’ll update my company’s MySpace page with relevant posts and content that will help build awareness for my company’s product or service
    • I’ll upload photographs on Flickr, SmugMug and Picassa that are business-oriented and that help sell my product or service (no summer party photos, please).
    • I’ll upload content to Slideshare, Scribd or Slideo once or twice a month during the launch of the campaign
    • I’ll respond to the Feedback, Uservoice or Get Statisfaction comments left on my site within 24 hours of receipt

Measuring Your Success:

  • I understand that social media can help me with customer retention and customer acquisition
  • I’ve installed Google Analytics, Adobe Online Marketing Suite or CoreMetrics on my website so I can track inbound traffic and analyze when and how a prospect converts to a customer
  • I’m prepared to generate weekly and monthly reports that highlight the success of our social media program
  • I’m continuously testing my social media program so that I can improve the results and generate an increasingly robust return on investment

This checklist should give you a roadmap for setting up, launching and running a social media campaign. If you want to learn more about this topic, please feel free to visit Barnes & Noble, Borders, 800CEORead or Amazon and ask for How to Make Money with Social Media.

Posted by: Jamie Turner, Chief Content Officer, the 60 Second Marketer, the online magazine of BKV Digital and Direct Response