With all of the hype in the last few years, I think it is essential to make sure that you are all on the same page with the technologies that are available. So….let’s assume that they somewhat get it – or atleast your co-workers know that you can listen to podcasts on more than just an iPod. What is next? Time to build a plan.

The plan is essential to explain what you will be doing with social media in the mix of things at the workplace. The first part, and focus of this post, is to determine the target audience.

Determining the target audience is key in building this plan. Are you targeting your co-workers (internal) or are you going after clients, prospects, analysts, etc. (external). This can be determined from key initiatives that you may have heard about in meetings or corporate comms. One that I heard a ton of when talking to key decision makers was that we needed to do a better job at effectively educating “our own” on a consistent basis. Another thing that I have heard is that we need to hear more of what our clients want (be careful with this one). From the research that I have read I would recommend starting internal to get some more buy in from the skeptics. Integrate current methods with some of these new Web 2.0 tools.

A BIG PART of this step is once determining if you are going to target an internal or external audience, to look at that group’s current online usage and participation. If you have a budget, you can hire agencies to actually figure this out for you….but most of us will not have budget for this and will have to do it on our own.

If you don’t have budget for true primary research on your specific target audience, take a look around you. Think of the median age of your workforce – this will determine eventually what types of tools to implement.

If your workforce is around the Boomer era, as a whole they are most likely not creating videos and putting them on YouTube, or writing their own blogs. They are not on Facebook actively commenting on photos and status updates. They are probably reading news and blogs online and watching videos (collectors of information) or rating and commenting on products and blog posts.

If you workforce is Gen Y and Gen X, as a whole they are most likely creating videos and blogs, on social networks on a daily or weekly basis. They as a whole are more active, and are more likely to participate by uploading video and writing blog posts – commenting and joining the conversation on a larger scale.

When looking at your target audience, just look around you. This will help you in later steps in the planning process to determine the best tools to implement to get your social media initiative revved up.

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