Social Media Strategy

by Joe Melanson, President, Parallel 6 Do you have a Social Media Strategy, or simply a Follower Page in Facebook? We often see organizations that have built a Facebook Follower page, maybe activated a Twitter account and a YouTube channel, post one or twice per week, respond to follower posts sporadically and then wonder why they are not seeing any business results from Social Media. The root cause? There's no comprehensive Social Media strategy. Social Media changes almost daily with new tactics, new technologies and new players. We believe that an organization must first fully understand what Social Media is, and just as important, what it is not, and then second, create an effective Social Media strategy that fits their organizational goals and objectives. Marketers and other key functional managers must first become educated on Social Media and then educate the organization – from the top down – to ensure that the organization achieves a positive return on their Social Media investment. Educate yourself. Read everything you can. There is a tremendous volume of information out there in Linkedin forums, blogs and sites like Mashable and Social Media Today. Attend webinars. Check out your competitors and see what they are doing. Follow major brands with robust Social Media strategies like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Best Buy, etc. Once you feel that you’ve got a handle on Social Media, begin to educate the rest of the organization. Meet with your company’s key stakeholders to update and educate your teams on Social Media and ways in which other companies – and your competitors - are leveraging Social Media to drive business results, improve customer service, recruit talent, provide customer research and obtain valuable feedback for product development. Then, take the time to develop an effective Social Media Strategy before you jump in and create that first Facebook Follower page. A comprehensive and effective strategy should consist of: 1. Business goals and objectives and the ROI that you wish to achieve through your Social Media efforts 2. Brands, products and services that you’ll want to focus on 3. Agreed upon budget and resource allocation 4. An integration strategy: How will you integrate Social Media with your other Marketing channels in order to build and engage large communities of interest across multiple Social Networks? 5. A content strategy. Content is the fuel that feeds Social Media. What content will be required and how will you produce that content? 6. A promotional strategy: What offers, discounts and incentives will you provide, how will you track those offers through the use of promo codes and how will you engage your communities to share those offers to their individual networks? 7. A recruitment strategy: How will you integrate Social Media with your recruitment strategy? 8. A R&D strategy: What types of research do you want to conduct in Social Media and how will you execute that research? 9. A Reputation Management Strategy: How will you manage your online reputation and brand? What monitoring tools will you use? Who within the organization is best suited to resolve customer issues within Social Media? 10. A technology strategy: What technologies will you activate, which social networks will you be active in? What and how will you link, bookmark and back link assets and content? 11. A measurement strategy: What metrics will you monitor and how will you measure and report on a weekly and monthly basis? How will you measure ROI for Social Media? 12. An implementation strategy: What’s the plan for implementing the strategy and what resources will be involved? 13. A Social Media Policy: How will you develop a Social Media Policy? Who will and won’t be allowed to represent your brand within Social Media? How will you train your organization on the policy? 14. The Social Media Team: Who will actually do the work? What skill sets are needed? What will you do in house and what will you outsource? 15. The Execution Plan: What activities are required on weekly, monthly and quarterly basis? Don’t have the time or resources to do it all? We’re here to help!

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