How to write a social media proposal

[tweetmeme source=”barrydewar” alias=”″ only_single=false style=”compact”]There’s an art to writing a social media proposal. It’s not as easy as telling someone what type of website you’re going to build or how many emails you are going to send out on their behalf. A social media proposal is about telling someone HOW you intend to help them define themselves online and begin the process of engaging with their customers.

What makes it tricky is that there’s a danger that you will go off half-cocked at this stage, happily listing all of the ideas you have about where their audience is, what tone-of-voice is effective, the content of their blogs. etc. This is bad in 2 ways:

  1. You are guessing. Until you sit down with your client and really explore what they do and where they’re headed you can’t make a professional attempt at working out what they should be doing.
  2. You’re giving away your services for free. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and you shouldn’t be surprised when you lay out an entire engagement strategy for free and then find that your client suddenly doesn’t need a consultant any more.

So what should your proposal look like?

Well, a good place to start is with your services. List out what you intend to provide. That may be branding services, strategy, training, comms planning, analytics, monitoring… this list goes on and you won’t be providing all of the above for every client. So lay out the ones that you do intend to provide.

Then explain HOW you are going to provide them. What steps are you going to take to come up with their social media brand? How are you going to undertake that analysis? Whatever the services are, make sure that you are clear and open about how you’re going to do your job. This is what you’re expecting to be paid for.

Finally, you’re going to need some metrics. Lay out some goals as you see them at this stage. Remember though that these may well change after you win the job. Be clear about how your activities can be measured against these goals. It might be and increased number of customer interactions, more online sales or an improved perception. It’s all valid but it needs to be laid out up front.


Leave this to the end. Be sure that your costs are clearly laid out and have individual tasks itemised. You want to be clear about what you are doing and how much you expect to be paid for it. In most cases you will be presenting a fixed price plan for what you’ve outlined but in some cases it’ll be a shot in the dark. I can’t stress enough how important it is to ensure that your client understands the distinction.

Then send it

And good luck to you.


Offline social media

[tweetmeme source=”barrydewar” alias=”” only_single=false style=”compact”]Social media has nothing to do with social networking sites.

Let your customers have access to all the data they need in order to decide whether they should use your services or buy your product. You can do this by any means you like, social networking sites are good for this but ignore traditional techniques at your peril because MOST people don’t actually use social networks.

Here are some ways you can achieve this outwith TwitFace:

  • Have an open day – invite your customers through the doors. Give them access to anything that’s not top-secret and finish off with a questionnaire.
  • Start a mailing list. It could be email but it could just as easily be postal if that’s more likely to engage your audience. Remember though, the benefit of email is that you can track your campaigns.
  • Conduct a survey. Have you got a customer database? Have you ever used it to evaluate your service or do you just use it for sales? Try calling them to ask how you’re doing.
  • Give away some freebies. Brand up some gifts and make them available, whether that be in the office or online. Just be sure to actually TALK to the people when they collect.

That’s just a handful of ideas. You’ll probably have more and better.

There’s one big thing to remember with all of this though, and that’s to act on the things that you learn. When people are speaking to you it’s not always going to be positive. Make sure you have a process in place for dealing with the feedback you get. Treat bad feedback and good feedback equally, don’t play favourites.

Am I telling you not to use social media?

Not at all. Where social networking sites do come into their own is the scope of the engagement. You can carry on conversations with more than one customer in real-time. You can address individual concerns in a way which you can’t do with traditional blanket broadcasting.

Just don’t put all your eggs in that virtual basket.

#followfriday – ladies day

[tweetmeme source=”barrydewar” alias=”” only_single=false style=”compact”]Today I’m celebrating the ladies of social media because it’s all too often dominated by sweaty bloke types.

@MacFack because she’s about more than just those stats, she’s also motivated and inspirational, I like that we are friends.

@nowaffle for outlandish bluesky thinking with some solid, linked up substance behind them. She’s always on hand to help me think.

@darciec for her 8 commandments of twitter which should be taught in schools.

@BigEars for helping me out with some brainstorming today. Buzzing with ideas, fun to spend time with.

@Hilary_W for her #36hrtwitterthon all for a good cause

@MamzelleLil for doing Twitter right, always engaging and always interesting.

@smallbizally for actually doing stuff rather than talk about it. Glad the Mashable event was a success.

What’s in it for me?

[tweetmeme source=”barrydewar” alias=”” only_single=false style=”compact”]If you want me to follow you, be your friend or like you, then I have just one question:

What’s in it for me?

Seriously. There’s a very fine line between social networks and cliques. I look around and see large groups of people blindly following someone largely because there’s a large group of people following them. It’s a self-perpetuating myth and it’s largely without merit.

Take a closer look at those networks and it’s hard to see the value outwith a handful on meaningful connections which are either generating business or giving value in some other way.

It’s really not worth following someone just because it looks like everyone else is doing it. In fact #followfriday on Twitter is a perfect example of bad networking. Telling your friends to follow someone with no background is pointless, it fills up streams on a Friday and can be really annoying. (See my #followfriday post for my alternative suggestion)

A connection with no common ground is not going to lead to any engagement except by blind chance. All you’re getting out of the deal is another name to scroll past as you look for the content that your real friends are providing.

Think very carefully about every connection you make. And ask yourself at every turn “What’s in it for me?”

Specialise and prosper

[tweetmeme source=”barrydewar” alias=”” only_single=false style=”compact”]When I was 15 I won a medal. It was for playing rugby, we won the Scottish championship, it was very exciting.

The very next day I was playing in a football tournament. I’d been coerced into it, I hated football and was rubbish at it. I had been dreading it but when I woke up that morning and saw my medal, proudly adorning my bedside table, I felt empowered. I could do this, I’d be great. We’d be great!

I was rubbish.

What does that tell me? Well, it tells me that life isn’t like in the movies. Don’t expect it to be and you won’t end up disappointed.

It also shows me that you can’t be good at everything. Don’t expect to be. Specialise and prosper. Generalise and you won’t know what way is up, one day good, next day bad.

Also, don’t let people down by leading them to believe that you can deliver when you know that you probably can’t.

Always check credentials.

(I don’t hate football any more, but I am still rubbish at it)

*Image credit Bartek Ambrozik


[tweetmeme source=”barrydewar” alias=”” only_single=false style=”compact”]When I started this blog, it was never my intention to speak purely about social media, all the time. I thought I could banter about the interweb in general, pontificating on good ideas and bad ones. Talking about strategy as well as practice. Trying to be useful.

Didn’t turn out that way though. As the months have rolled by I find that everything I put on here has to have a social media angle. Sometimes I struggle to find a reason to post and it can all get a bit forced.

It’s not a good thing. I see it from other active social media types and it bugs me. No-one wants to read about social media all the time. Yes, it’s interesting, it’s new and in some cases it’s how we make our living. But it’s just one facet of what makes you a properly rounded person.

Effective branding

I advise clients to think about their brand. When they give me a 2d idea of what they think it is I poo poo it and tell them they need at least 4 dimensions in order to humanise it. Social media is about engagement and no-one wants to engage with a drone.

So expect more musings and less #socialmedia from now on. Don’t worry, I won’t stop (can’t stop) telling you how I think you should be doing it. I’ll just try and make it a bit clearer where that stops and where I begin.

*image credit Lorenzo González

Raoul Moat, social media and free speech

[tweetmeme source=”barrydewar” alias=”” only_single=false style=”compact”]The Raoul Moat story is a controversial one. He was a man who snapped and shot a bunch of people before going on the run and giving the media the gift of the sort 24 hour news blitz which they now thrive.

We’ve all got our own opinions on this but where does social media play into all this?

The controversy of late has surrounded a Facebook group which was set up which attracted a lot of friends. These people began to post and quickly a cult sprang up which painted Moat as some kind of working class hero.

Then it got interesting

David Cameron demanded that Facebook take down the group while Facebook defended their members freedom of speech. Now clearly this is a political move in light of Cameron’s courting of Mark Zuckerberg but it’s a dangerous precedent to be setting for the Prime Minister.

By demanding that content of this type be removed from a public forum while the media itself continues to demonise and celebritise Moat with no sanctions Cameron is hinting at his stance on civil liberties.

Social media is the very embodiment of free speech

It is open to all and as such, a lot of public figures have fallen foul of its public spirit. People are at liberty to express their feelings regardless of whether we agree with them or not. If you don’t like what someone says you can either talk to them about it, or simply stop following them. It is in no way detrimental to anyone’s mental wellbeing to find out that some people believe that the case of Raoul Moat was mishandled.

As I write this I see that Duncan Bannatyne has waded in to try and harness the power of his #duncansdream crew to boycott Facebook. Now, I don’t like that idea. I don’t agree with the reasons for it but the very fact that he is free to lobby people using a social network in such a way is a testament to the twisted circular beauty of the medium.

I expect this to be the first skirmish in the government’s war on digital freedom. Watch this space.

*image credit ralaenin