Creating a Social Media Business Plan (including a Revenue Model!!)

originally posted on Concept Hub

Friday night I attended my first Atlanta Bar Camp event. Bar Camp is a gathering of some of the smartest people in the city in which everyone who attends has to sign up to give a 30 minute presentation.

My presentation was “Creating a Social Media Business Plan (including a revenue model!!)”

Surprise!! My room was packed! Standing room only.

I explained that I have spent my career as a sales person, therefore my approach to creating a social media business plan has always tied in a revenue/sales model.

The room was full of mostly entrepreneurs, the techie kind. From my experience they are the brilliant minds who create solutions in search of a problem.

I explained that before launching into ANY social media initiative, you must first understand who has what problems and what kind of solutions are they search for.

I demonstrated a social media business plan that I created for one of my clients.

The first step we took was to listen. But prior to listening we had to decide exactly what we were listening for.

In the case of my client example we were looking for people who had questions regarding their financial retirement planning. The assumption was that we would find the baby-boomers to be our core demographic.

However, because we were listening for the problems and not focused on our ASSUMED demographic we identified that Gen Y had serious questions about how to fill out their 401K forms when entering the job market. Considering that human resources personnel are not in a position to answer these questions, and many of the parents of this group were just as confused these days as their children were, Gen Y was turning to the web for answers. This knowledge led to creating new offerings to a new client base which meant new revenue opportunities.

We also identified Gen X as having a very unique set of challenges as well as sentiment around their Retirement plans. Gen X is a group that tends to be more DIY and Peer supported than any other group. Our research enabled us to shape our messaging and value proposition to this group.

Our baby-boomers still looked more to advisors for counsel, which means that there was an opportunity to introduce advisors to a core community of people searching for solutions.

We created personas for each group which enabled us to look at the competition through the eyes of each group. From that perspective we were able to develop a comprehensive SWOT analysis on each of competitors and learn what to do and what not to do.

The next questions that we addressed were;

  • What can you offer for free? The obvious answer is knowledge. Knowledge is no longer power, it is a commodity. Information freely is available everywhere. What is valuable these days is time.
  • How can we save people time and what can we expect in return? This is the answer to where you can begin to structure pricing around your offering. Ask yourself, how can you save people time and then ask how much would that be worth?
  • What will your customers need to best benefit from your offering. This is the revenue model I see most people missing these days. In a nutshell it is training. Microsoft generated lots of money in this space. No software was released without a certification tied to it. I am dumbfounded that so many people are skipping this step when a new product is released to the market.

The most important key to capturing our audience is to meet them where they are. Even if we are introducing a world changing innovation, we cannot expect a 360 degree paradigm shift, we have to understand our prospects current world view and meet them there in order to guide them to new opportunities.

I have said it over and over and over again, but it is worth repeating.

Social Media is an EVOLUTION not an add-on. In no time everything on line will be built on social software. So, do not worry about how to make the next million dollars as the next Facebook. Instead focus on solving problems using current (or better) social technologies.