julia-child-photo-by-paul-childWhat can green marketers learn from Julia Childs when it comes to creating a sustainable and effective social media campaign? Don’t begin with tactics.

Julia didn’t become a world-renowned chef by choosing her pots and pans first. She started by thoughtfully considering the ambiance of the dining setting, the tastes of her guests, and how best to tell a delectable story as the centerpiece for what she was going to serve.

Only then did she grab her spatula.

The same is true with planning your foray into social media.  The recipe that I have found works  is 7 parts strategy, 6 parts storytelling, and 4 parts tactical channels.

I.  Strategy for Sustainable Social Media

1. Describe your brand in one sentence

2. Communications goal

  • What are you trying to accomplish?

3.  Where is your audience relative to your cause?

  • Awareness: How familiar are they about your program?
  • Interest: They’ve heard of you but maybe not as involved as you’d like.
  • Action: They’ve taken at least one action because of your campaign.
  • Advocacy: They are fans of your brand and perhaps even evangelists.

4.  How does your audience use social media?

  • Creators: They write blogs, upload and create content online.
  • Critics: They respond to blogs and contribute to forums.
  • Collectors: Organize content for themselves and others using RSS feeds, tags, and voting sites like Digg.com.
  • Joiners: Connect in social networks like MySpace and Facebook.
  • Spectators: Consume social content.
  • Inactives: None of the above.

(See Forrester Research’s technographics ladder)

5.       What makes your story unique and shareable?

6.       How will you become more approachable?

7.       How will you know you have won?

(Props to Jay Baer at Convince & Convert for putting handles on his social media strategy outline, from which I sprinkled liberally across my plan.)

II.  Telling Better Green Stories

1.       Describe the hero (Protagonist)

2.       Write the ending of your story; what do you want to achieve?

3.       Who/what stands in your way (Antagonists)?

4.       What do you have to overcome?

5.       Who will help you?

6.       Why do they care?

Here is a library of resources to help you become a better storyteller.

III.  Activating Your Green Marketing Social Media Plan

1.       Realistically, what do you have to do to activate your plan?

2.       Who needs to buy in and champion your cause?

3.       How long will it take to launch?

4.       What social media channels will you launch first?

Here’s a campaign starter form we use to get clients thinking in the right direction for both online and offline word of mouth marketing and social media.

Campaign Starter Form

Remember, it’s Strategy, Storytelling, THEN Tactical Channels. Let’s not pull out the Ginsu knives before we know what we’re cutting.

Now, how would you spice up this recipe for social media success?