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Social Media Strategy

Social Media Strategy and Tactics

Lets face it. Managing a Social Media Strategy frequently leads to a complete mess.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all the other platforms operate on much different sets of rules. To maximize the return on the money and time invested in social media requires a structured plan and talented execution. Good social strategies use the strengths of each platform and utilize distinct messaging on each.  A good social media  management process requires gathering and managing information, people and building an ongoing strategy that is not only proactive, but reactive to changes in the business environment. So in a sense, there are two strategies underway at all times: a proactive one and a reactive one. Social media strategy is a lot like assembling a Rubik's Cube - you can get most of the pieces in place but getting it all right is a chore!

Proactive Social Media Messaging

As the name implies, proactive involves getting the company communication strategy in place, planned, composed, researched and distributed on a pre-determined schedule. This is a necessary part of social media management that is usually governed by a content calendar.  Senior managers determine the messaging thrust. The messaging team assembles a schedule and creates the distribution strategy. A well managed company then employs a creative team to handle delivery.

The organization requires business messaging.  But audiences engaged on social media intend to be social.  They view themselves as conversationalists and readers – not consumers. Creating a true social communication strategy then involves reaching these audiences on a social level.

So be social! Companies need to allow their teams to engage and reach these new audiences, and the truly successful social media managers are the ones that work their message into the environment. And while others are pushing their message, you can be earning the trust and attention of audiences you care about.

Reactive Social Media

So many companies miss these opportunities! It hurts to watch! The environment overflows with things to be commented on and talked about. Get into the conversations! This is a key piece of social media strategy! Find out what others are talking about. Engage with those that you think would make good customers.  Then listen and participate.

A quick note about reactive media management… it takes time. It also takes real people. A truly successful social media strategy requires a team of people dedicated to representing the company and its interests online.

Turning readers into customers requires building familiarity and trust. Rather than simply pushing a message, engaging with your audience brings results over the long term.

The Art of Social Conversation

Because the term conversation implies an exchange of communication, responding to comments and opinions is essential. Remember, though that the entire world witnesses your online exchanges.

ALWAYS respond to comments – especially ones that may not reflect favorably on you or the organization. If possible, take the communication offline. Offer an email exchange during which phone numbers may be exchanged. Should positive comments emerge, respond with a simple thank you or ask for more information about which person at the company caused such a favorable reaction.

Responding by asking more questions implies interest in the potential consumer’s situation. As the entire world sees this interest, even a negative comment may be either negated or turned into a positive situation. In the end, engaging the the reader provides the greatest value.

80-20 Rule

One of the most difficult concepts for business managers to understand surrounds the issue of content. Sales Managers and C-Level types want sales! Many company leaders ask for sales at every opportunity. Unfortunately, in a social environment, constantly bugging the audience to review the advantages of your product only discourages them from doing so.

Posting 80% social content is a good baseline.  Showing the audience that the organization values what people do and talk about, is as important as product messaging. This builds long term trust. After all, people buy from people, no matter what the product or service.

Relationship and Trust-Building

Individuals speak very publicly on social platforms. The company must respond with that in mind. Further, the worst thing that could emerge is a failure to respond at all. Engagement requires investment, training, consistency and constant attention. This also requires real live people on the company side.  Accordingly, companies that invest in social media teams enjoy strong customer trust and earn for themselves, the opportunity to turn readers into customers.

Social Tactics and Message Consistency

Message systems such as HootSuite and SproutSocial allow you to post the same messages to multiple platforms.  These make posting a breeze. Unfortunately, they enable poor communication on a mass scale. In most cases, messaging distributed in this way fails to inspire much in the way of conversation. While these systems provide efficient ways to post to multiple platforms, they should be used with some discretion.

Integrated Social Media Management

Social media strategy plays an important role in the integrated digital marketing ecosystem. Social supports web content development, email outreach, SEO and all other portions of the digital marketing mix.

Have questions on how all this works?  Just send us an email and we will schedule a free initial consultation!