The communication model is always evolving. Many of us are still just getting accustomed to the necessity of emails, and yet social media seems to have overtaken us as a new communication necessity, both for individuals and for businesses. Many of us are having significant challenges seeing the need, much less formulating the strategy, for social media interaction.
The truth is that the current adoption rates make social media interaction a very real part of any communication strategy. With unique accounts numbering in the billions on each platform — Facebook, Twitter, 4 Square, etc. — businesses are seeing their clients possess a presence within the social sphere that they should cater to. For those who get beyond the denial, the need to formuate a plan seems like a hurdle unto itself. Here are a few pointers to get you through your first iteration of a social media strategy.
Build your core
The first step in the process is building your core. This includes identifying key stakeholders inside and outside of the organisation that can help you with establishing clear goals and objectives within your social strategy. At the end of the day, you want to be able to create clear campaigns that push your brand into the social space. Once you have a message in that space, ensure that you have your evangelists to help you spread the message. These evangelists can be either virtual (purchased ads, outsourced marketing efforts) or real (friends, relatives, key business associates).
Build value in the message
An essential portion of the social strategy is ensuring the quality of the message. Your brand is going to be inextricably tied to this message when it gets out there, so focus on value. Ensure that it’s not always a sales pitch. The last thing you want is for someone to view you as simply a hawkish capitalist. Extend value by creating affiliations with people, projects and plans that are fun at worst and philanthropic at best. If the message resonates well, the brand will also benefit. Ensure that the message is not just a unidirectional effort; build feedback through polls, questions and charity.
The message, however, is not a singular effort. You have to be consistent with it as well. Schedule a daily, weekly or monthly effort to get that message out to your audience and work on engaging that audience in that time frame to build your buzz. Nothing builds recurring visits and brand recognition like content, and the only way to build content is through consistent effort.
Build your metrics
Finally, find a way to measure your success. Identify key metrics that matter in order to ensure that you can gauge success and plan improvements. Many of the current social media strategists recommend tracking conversion rates, referral traffic or overall brand mentions. Choose what works best for you, and try to build a set of tools that makes this easy for you.
At the end of the day, novelties become new standards with increased adoption. Some of us will remember the days when email was but a novelty for the geeky few; now, it is standard fare in any business communication effort. Similarly, the numbers within the social media sphere seem to indicate that it will be here for the long haul. It’s time to figure out how you and your business will use it for your benefit.