As I write this, I’m listening to the waves crash along the beach during my own recharge. The Social Media Explorer team trekked its way down to Oak Island, North Carolina for a workation designed to evaluate and refresh our perspectives on every part of the business. It got me thinking about the importance of recharging our digital presence. I’ll give you a look at what we’ve been reviewing over the last 10 days in an effort to help others step back and recharge their perspective.
Get Out of the Office
It may not be feasible to take your team on a company retreat to a beach, however, you can take a few days to get the team out of the office. Try to find a place that will allow you to bring the outdoors into your creative space. The key is to get out of a conference room and break the monotony that comes with holding another meeting in the office. You need to find a space that will inspire creativity and get your team out of their comfort zone and start thinking outside of the box.
Here are some keys to selecting your space.
1) It must have access to high speed internet OR you need to bring a mi-fi with you
2) It must have access to a beautiful view
3) It must have access to outdoor and indoor meeting areas
And to be clear, a single day won’t cut it. You’ll need to take a few days with a solid agenda for creativity and fun if you really want a full recharge for the team. Recharging to 50% isn’t going to deliver the kind of results you want, so don’t cut yourself and your team short.
Review Your Reason for Existence
Let’s be honest, when you get into the minutia of the day to day it’s easy to forget why you are there to begin with. We took a look at why Social Media Explorer is here by evaluating who our target audience is (more importantly who ISN’T) and what services we want to offer to them. We talked about the vision for the company in the short-term and the long-term. Then we aligned all of that by talking about how we could better structure our teams to achieve those objectives. We also held a pretty intense brand review from the comfort of the deck looking out on the waves. It’s amazing how a few crashing waves can get the creative juices flowing!
Review Your Digital Properties for Alignment to Objective and Opportunity
Once we had everyone on the same page about what our mission in the world is, it provided the framework we needed for the rest of the agenda to review our digital presence for alignment to our objectives and opportunity.
First stop, socialmediaexp.wpengine.com. We talked about what we needed to do in order to more closely align the objectives of the company with the objectives of our audience. This resulted in creating a list of changes for the site that we think will help take our business to the next level while continuing to give you what you’ve come to expect from us. We focused on how to optimize our path to conversion from the blog with the framework of building a stronger email list and provide value to that audience, how to have a stronger conversion path for agency leads, and how to align the site with what the company does. While Social Media Explorer started as a thought leadership blog, it is now a full-service digital marketing agency. We will always push the thinking in the blog, but you will see the other areas of the site transition into positioning the expertise of the agency and driving qualified leads. Our goal is to make it stupid easy for someone who is looking for help from our digital marketing agency to raise their hand and ask for help without disrupting the experience of those who don’t. We will be using Marketo, a robust marketing automation platform, to assist with these efforts and we are super excited about the opportunity to become more strategic in our efforts to generate more agency leads.
Second stop, Twitter. We had a discussion about the opportunity to make sure the followers of both Nichole Kelly and Jason Falls know we launched the SMXplorer account this year to assist with our goal of growing the corporate following. We also talked about doing targeted campaigns to select followers who might be viable prospects for the agency and a separate campaign for those who might be interested in attending the Social Media Domination Tour this summer. Our goal is to use the campaigns to inform those who already follow us about some of the opportunities they have to connect with us in new and exciting ways. At the end of the day, we want to provide more value to our followers through targeted segmentation. We will be using the Twitter targeting tool Insight Pool to assist with these efforts.
Third stop, Facebook. We talked about how we can provide more value to our followers on Facebook, as well. We decided we want our corporate Facebook account to mimic what our personal Facebook accounts do, provide a view into the human part of our story. We will continue to share content from around the web that we think our audience will find valuable, but you’ll also see more content designed to humanize the team behind Social Media Explorer. We want to take the opportunity to share more content like the post in the photo (minus the humid beach hair, heh!) We also will have more content that shows our quirky sense of humor. You may not realize we have three comedians on our team. You probably already know and enjoy the comedic side of Jason Falls. Internally, we also enjoy the comedic riffs from Jason Spooner, our lead strategic account manager and Jay Kelly, our VP of Operations (and my husband) who actually met doing improv comedy in Baltimore. They are all ridiculously funny guys. I’m seriously hoping that the gut busting laughter we experienced at the beach will result in 6-pack abs, but I’m not holding my breath! We want to share the laughter with our Facebook audience, so you can expect to see more content in that area.
Fourth stop, content. Finally, we talked through the content strategy for Social Media Explorer and all of our digital properties. I’ve already shared a few of the results of that conversation, but we also reviewed the SEO and keyword audit WebMechanix created for us and discussed how we could take advantage of their recommendations to drive more organic traffic to the site. We talked about what type of content we need to be producing to serve the goals of the agency and how often we need to be producing content. The one area we found a weakness in is e-books and guides. We know we need to leverage our internal expertise to deliver more actionable and in-depth content for our target audience. We came up with a draft list of topics these e-books should focus on and will step up our game in this area. We talked about how we can make sure our content passes our Holy Smokes, That’s _______ (fill in the blank with the value you want to deliver) test.
Ultimately, this exercise was about practicing what we preach, for lack of a better term. We want to take the recommendations we provide to our digital marketing agency clients on a daily basis and put them to work for our company. The creative brainstorming provided the team with a renewed sense of purpose and energy for the work we do at Social Media Explorer. Over the final 2 days of our retreat, we’ll be focusing on reviewing all of our clients to do the same for them.
Your retreat may look very different, but the purpose should be the same. Use the opportunity to get out of the office to rejuvenate the creative energy of your team by auditing your digital presence and making sure your efforts are aligned to the objectives your management team wants you to achieve. Be prepared for the added benefit of closer relationships between team members, a renewed sense of purpose, and a strategic focus that simply isn’t feasible to achieve in a dingy conference room. The results are likely to improve the bottom line in more ways than you could have ever imagined. Now that’s an investment worth making, don’t you think?
Have you ever done a corporate retreat with your team? If so, what results did you experience? Do you do a regular audit of how your digital properties are aligned to corporate objectives and opportunity? How does your team recharge its batteries? Leave a comment and share your story.