Your social strategy determines the level of resources that are currently available. A complete social strategy reviews the current staff members and their workload, knowledge of the company and understanding of social media. Unlike financial reports that belong to the accounting department, social media finds its way to most all departments. This ‘ownership’ is based on the needs of the community and that starts with marketing, general operations, customer service and sales. A social media strategy defines the roles within these departments and is the glue that holds them all together.
In 2011, small- to medium-sized retail and destination brands who indicated they had been using social media as a marketing tool for less than two years spent an average of 30+ combined hours each week. This same group indicated they were utilizing three to five social media mediums like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and a brand-specific blog. They indicated that overall online brand management and content creation took up the majority of their time. It is clear that without a workflow, direction of communications or overall strategy, social media marketing may not be working as well as it could.
The social marketing strategy determines and plans for the resources needed to meet the goals. Think back to 1995. Chances are you were publishing your 3 page, text based, .gif-oriented website using the popular (and only) browsers, Netscape and Internet Explorer. Do you remember dial-up internet? Five years later the technology expanded, and we became a graphic hungry user that needed an icon at every turn and buttons to press. AOL entered the arena and we were watching low quality videos over 56k modems and happy with banner ads and pop-ups interrupting our newfound love of chat rooms. Enter the new millennium, Y2K arrived and IT departments were adding programmers. Fast forward to yesterday. A website is expected to be useful and fast on all web browsers, searchable, visually appealing, mobile and interactive.
The social media lifecycle is comparable to websites in the early 2000’s. If an individual wanted to build a website, he or she could with a self-taught knowledge of HTML. As the web became further defined and users began to transform the way it was used, the static websites were not meeting the expectations of the end user. Social media has specialized marketing needs on multiple online platforms that consistently change. The personnel behind the companies social existence have combined special skills to meet those needs.
A social media strategy outlines what your current and potential customers want from a social presence. It gives creative and measurable ways for your brand to stand out. It determines the staff needed to lead the social marketing efforts, generates a flexible timeline for tasks and establishes benchmarks for results.
A social media strategy indicates the level of effort needed across the organization. Successful social marketing takes more than ten minutes a day. One thing to understand when using social media for business is to forget everything you knew about marketing and mesh into the mainstream of your customer. That customer is online, right now, making contact with your brand on levels you may not even know about because another customer created it. It could be a review, a comment, a blog, a check-in, a picture or other shared content.
What will you need to achieve your social media marketing goals? Consider a social media manager, community manager, content creators, technical web programmers and designers to fully take advantage of the opportunity. Each play an important role in meeting the goal and are active on a daily, weekly or as-needed basis.
How can a social media strategy benefit your business? By determining a work flow and the appropriate number of people needed in order to meet the goal.