Developing A Social Media Strategy
Businesses need to embrace social media but setting up a Facebook page is not a strategy. Here are some tips to get started.
A question this week on Quora was a good one and one that deserves some attention from us all, in conducting our business activities. Here’s my response.
“My company is a B2B company and we are trying to come up with a strategy around social media. I find it tough to figure out what to include and what to avoid. Are there any factors I should take in to consideration while devising a strategy?”
I would suggest you start with a clear understanding of the social media environment and a well defined purpose (and expectation) that is realistic and achievable in the first instance.
For those who want to use social media, and those who vehemently don’t want to – they need to understand enough to make an informed choice either way and to deal with the consequences of that choice. Whether one is ‘using social media’ or not they can be the subject of discussion on social media and managing one’s reputation online is just one element of this new world.
Get these right the first time. Know what kind of Facebook page is the wrong kind to use for business. Use the right kind. Don’t set up a Twitter page then fail to keep updated regularly.
*Remember Your Website!
Make sure your website is optimized for search – and for the people who
will use it! – Most that I see are very poor – on both counts. (Never
mind they may have cost a lot of money from an expensive web designer).
Never, never let a stranger be in control of your business online. Get informed and get interested.
Not Just What, But How
It is important to understand the etiquette of online interaction and also the ways to leverage time and effort without putting those to whom we are connected offside. (Easy to do!)
Putting up a Facebook or Twitter Page ( and with the correct configuration and naming protocols) all need to be considered and that is just the beginning, the strategy behind this needs to support the objectives and while platforms are free to use there is always a cost in time and resources and budget need to be allocated for this purpose. Expect this and include it in your plan.
Social Media Policy
Some things to consider on creating a social media strategy:
Your social media policy – needs to be fair, realistic and training done with employees so that everyone is clear. Also needs to be in line with employment legistation so that you are not overstepping and writing in clauses that you have no right to demand. Suggest your policy begin with an intention to be open to the opportunities of social media, as well as the potential downside.
Hoary Old Myths
On the matter of Control – some employers think they can dictate all manner of things to employees and restrict their access to social media during work hours and this will keep them in control of their staff members. This is quite a silly assumption. Firstly, because you have no control now, secondly, because such an environment may just guarantee that good candidates won’t want to work for you. Lastly – they can access anything they wish to via their smartphones and a combative attitude is not going to deliver a harmonious outcome that leverages the best available opportunities that new media can deliver.
Your Social Media Stategy:*
- A social media policy
- A Clearly articulated purpose and vision
- Select appropriate platforms
- Allocate a budget
- Who will manage it?
- Time and resources that need to be allocated
- Which KPIs you are going to measure
- How you will measure your results
- How you will manage (an enhance) your reputation online
- How you will integrate your social media with your conventional marketing
- How thoroughly your social media activities should permeate throughout the operations of the business (Which department will handle this? Will all departments be involved?)
- Ways you can adapt social media to help you improve how customers interact with the business
- Ways that you can use social media to improve communications within the business and strengthen the team
- Managing and monitoring the plan
- Reporting – how often in what way
- Integrating platforms to allow transfer of content seamlessly, but in a regulated way (not spamming)
- Understanding that social media is not a broadcast medium! It can’t be all just about YOU!
- Design for the type and quality of the content to be delivered by social media
- Who will create the content?
- What amount of content should be (can be) generated and by what frequency?
- Modes of content that can be made available – articles, blogs, ebooks, video, podcasts etc
- Integration with website
People follow people so it is important to remember that there needs to be engagement and if multiple people contributing to the social media for the company, there is merit in these being tagged to the individual who is posting at any time. Be interesting. Be interested.
Not Just For Christmas
There is often a thought that a social media strategy is a one-off, trial kind of activity that we do. It is not set and forget and it not even a funky thing to do any more. It is become expected. If you are not visible online, for an increasing many, you just don’t exist. So get accustomed to this being a new marketplace. Devise a plan that brings your existing customers along with you and if you are really smart – introduce them to those who can help you help them develop their own online presence. This is where the magic is, and this is where most fail to connect the dots.