Adapted from a blog by Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler, both of Forrester Research and authors of Groundswell 

People: First, determine the interests—and capabilities—of your audience. Survey your attendees and use that data or make some estimates on your own. Understand which social media platforms they are using and how they’re using them, and customize your content to fit their needs. Don’t jump in without doing a little research. Note: Instead of thinking, “I want to use social media,” be sure you are thinking, “How can I meet my goals, and those of my attendees, better through social media?”

Objectives: Keep it simple. Will you be listening to your participants on social media sites, or engaging with them by re-tweeting or sharing their updates? Building an online community to collaborate with attendees and allow them to collaborate with each other? Decide on your objective before you decide on a technology. Then figure out how you will measure it, so you know if you’ve succeeded.

Strategy: Imagine what your success will look like and develop a plan to get there. A strategy could include, “Follow participants on Twitter,” “Create an online community on Yammer” or “Establish a wiki for conference speakers.”

Tactics: These are specific steps you need to take. For example, “Write one blog post per week on X topic,” and “Tweet information about the meeting venue.”


Luann Edwards, CMP, CMM, strategic communications consultant, social media marketing, for FM Global, develops and executes the company’s social media strategy around the world.