‘Mise en place’ is a French phrase meaning “putting in place”. It is usually used in the context of food preparation but I do think that the concept can help ensure your social media marketing success as well!
If you have ever watched a cooking show on TV, you have probably seen how the chef will have the recipe ingredients measured out in individual dishes, laid out in the order which they will be needed. That is the ‘mise en place’, prepared ahead of time so the chef can assemble the dish more easily. TV chefs, when teaching, frequently cite the importance of this preparation, extolling it’s value and explaining how it takes a bit of time to prepare but pays off by expediting the cooking process and makes for a better final product. I think that a good ‘mise en place’ can also help you with your social media marketing. Here are the ingredients in a helpful Social Media mise en place.
By gathering all your ‘ingredients’ ahead of time, before you log onto your social profiles, and laying them out in the order you will use them, it will make it easier for you to focus on the task at hand. Rather than logging in, only to start surfing around and getting distracted, you can log in, knowing which posts you want to share. Or who you want to find. You will know which terms and hashtags you want to search on and the titles of the people you are looking for. Once prepped, you can even use a scheduling tool like Hootsuite, to pre-schedule posts, allowing you to focus on replies and engagement when you do log in.
Having your Twitter content parsed into posts of less than 140 characters and including the hashtags you want to be found for, will make it much easier to share quality posts. The type of posts that will include calls to action that will get you some traction. The types of posts that will drive engagement and help you connect with the people you need to meet. By making it easier, you are more likely to do it – and to do it on a regular basis. And doing it on a regular basis is what will help you achieve your goals!
First, you need to define those goals and clarify the results that you are looking to achieve. Are you making a chocolate cake or chicken curry? While both can be delicious, you need very different ingredients for each one and those ingredients are not necessarily interchangeable.
Then you need a plan. This is like your recipe. Chocolate cake might require finding some high quality chocolate. Chicken curry would require gathering Indian spices. Your recipe outlines what is needed. And what is NOT needed. No, you don’t need to make a special trip to find those exotic India spices if you are making the chocolate cake. You may want to make that trip and get those spices another day but your won’t need them for this recipe today. Sometimes, this step can help you realize that a certain platform is not necessary to meet your goals, right now. It can be so tempting to try to be on EVERY social platform out there. And it can be so much fun to try every new platform that is announced. But like the trip to the spice market, if you are making chocolate cake, you can do that another time, when you have some free time, but it may NOT be necessary today, to meet your current goals. Focus on finding the best chocolate you can right now.
If your goal is to use social media to establish your expertise, your recipe, your plan, may include sharing tips, writing articles and looking for questions you can answer about your specific area of expertise. If your goal is to identify people who may need your product or services, your plan may include research, analysis and networking. Different ‘ingredients’ for different results.
The ‘mise en place’ for establishing expertise might include a spreadsheet of tips you have culled from previous articles, frequently asked questions which you can turn into new articles and a list of possible places to check for questions, such as industry groups or forums. It should also include a collection of keywords. A good ‘mise en place’ for ANY digital marketing effort must include keywords. I guess they are like salt – you always need to have these in your recipe in order to succeed.
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The ‘mise en place’ for identifying people who may need your product or services will definitely start with the keywords – you will need the words which will define the job title or category of the people you want to find. If you are using Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and/or Instagram, you will also need to gather the hashtags that will attract the people who are looking for your items. If you sell baby safety products, you may want to find the owners of stores which sell products to people with babies or groups that serve young parents. Your ‘mise en place’ should also include images and instructional videos so you have a variety of formats, ready to share. You may want to ‘slice’ the video content up into different length pieces, a quick 6 second Vine and then a longer, more in depth piece hosted on YouTube. Having both ready will make it easier to share these when you have the opportunity to do so. It may also make it more likely that you will look for opportunities to share them, rather than shy away from them because you know it will require extra work. When you do that extra work up front, it makes your life easier later.
If you offer financial planning services to retirees, you may want to do research by age. Finding the sites that allow that type of search should be part of your preparation. You should have have a white paper or two that you can offer, with an email gate (people must submit their email address before they can access the content) so you can collect email addresses for follow-up. Your follow-up letter/ script for call should also be part of your ‘mise en place’.
As you can see, a ‘mise en place’ will take time to prepare but once prepped, you will be able to do more, in less time and to do it more effectively. A Social Media ‘mise en place’ should definitely be a part of YOUR recipe for success!