How to select the right pilot project in social media?

Home How to select the right pilot project in social media?

Companies that want to use social media in a more structural way often start by implementing a few pilot projects. The difficult question is which pilots to select. One of our consultants, Polle De Maagt, wrote about important dimensions and KPIs of pilot projects earlier. I would like to add some dimensions and a way to prioritize these projects.

When choosing pilot projects, there a few things to consider:

  • More than 1: in order to create momentum and to build a steep learning curve, it is important to work on a set of pilot projects at the same time.
  • Make someone accountable: make sure you have one person (a conversation manager) who is accountable for all pilot projects. This does not imply that the Conversation Manager is actively managing all projects. The core is that the Conversation Manager is involved, facilitates and shares learning’s across projects.
  • Different people involved: Although one person is in the end accountable, it would be good if different people are involved. This creates a stronger commitment towards each other and towards the momentum in your organization.
  • Different departments involved: make sure it is not focused in one department. Social media is often related to commercial activities but it is clear that other departments are important stakeholders as well. Make sure they are also responsible for a pilot project.

Taking all this into account, I’m quite sure that you will end up with a long list of ideas of possible pilots. At that time, the challenge is to find the right projects to implement.

To guide companies in that process, we like to use the return/feasibility matrix. Based on these two axis:

  1. Return: whatever your desired return is. It can be increase in conversations, generating leads, direct sales… up to you to set the definition of return
  2. Feasibility: how hard is it to implement this idea. This is related to the difficulty (e.g. do we need to change our processes before we can implement this) and the amount of resources (e.g. time & money) needed.

Mapping projects on these two axis, we find four quadrants.

  1. Creating disappointment: this is a very dangerous quadrant. This project looks like a quick win, it actually is a quick win, but one without any value. These projects will lead to internal disappointment. The company expects some sort of return from your social media actions, and this one is just easy to do without any results.
  2. Slow & painful death: These projects are a challenge, hard to implement and in the end they won’t give us the desired return. A lot of energy, time and money will have flown to this project and in the end, people will lose their belief in social media.
  3. Smart quick wins: You should definitely have two or three projects in this quadrant. Things that you can do as from tomorrow, but with a fast and visible return.
  4. Strategic investments: projects that take more time but results into a concrete business value on the end of the day. You also need a few of these projects.