A social media strategy provides guidance on the approach to including social and online media tools within the company’s communication plan. Social media strategies should clearly articulate the reason why social channels are an appropriate means for the business to more effectively reach its customers. It is critical that the business knows why it is embarking into social media, what it believes the outcomes will be, and has a means for measuring the effectiveness of each social choice and their approach in order to ensure a successful response and appropriate adjustment for future social campaigns. The advantage of a strategy is that you have a clearly set out path to follow; everyone knows why you are going into any given social channel. It enables total company buy-in and the allocation of the necessary resources to manage it.
Is social media only for the young?
Social media is the domain for everyone these days. It is not determined by the demographics of your business, but rather by the behaviours and attitudes of your customers. Just as TV, print and cinema have always been evaluated for use dependent on their suitability for REACHING your audience, this same rationale applies to the social media channels. It is important to remember that they are just a modern day communication tool. Your businesses product or service should still only use any social channel if it is relevant, appropriate and consistent as a means for delivering a message to your customer. There is no point fishing where there are no fish! Can every business gain some benefit? I think establishing a level of emotional engagement with your customers is as critical today as it has always been. Social and online engagement are very useful tools for a business that is prepared to undertake a degree of co-creation and collaboration with their customers. If you are just wanting to communicate a website and a phone number then you may have absolutely no need for Facebook, Twitter and the like.
Just because they now exist, does not mean they are for every business or everybody.
You have to make sure your message works across each of the chosen channels and that you are comfortable and skilled using these channels well. Your customers will respond negatively if you misuse these channels, so you must be ready to continue the ongoing interaction that online engagement requires. Don’t start until you have a well defined strategy, and a structure that is set up to manage, monitor and massage the social media successfully.
What are the main components of a social media strategy?
There are 3 key phases…
- The Planning Phase:think about the 5 W’s:
- What do I want to communicate?
- Who do I want to communicate to?
- Where are they getting their messages currently?
- Why do I want to use Social Media?
- When do are they most receptive to messages?
- The Strategy
- How am I going to undertake and implement a social media communication programme?
- What do I want to achieve:?
- The Audience: know them intimately so that you can apply the way they use social channels to the message you want to deliver for your business or brand.
- User Patterns
Social media works if you follow 3 core tenants: