Planning social media used to be a trial and error process for most companies. But with soaring use, social media has become a vital part of corporate communications. Sectors such as tourism are firmly in the grip of social networks and evaluation platforms. It’s goodbye to the playground – social media has grown up.
Unfortunately many companies still use the same process as in the early days – particularly in companies where managers have not established any relationship with social media either personally or in business.
Anyone who is not on Facebook cannot receive any poor evaluations or unpleasant comments. Or so they think! That’s their first fatal mistake.
If management eventually takes the decision to use social media marketing, the procedure is often as follows:
- We’ll just start with Facebook. We can do Google+ etc. later
- So what shall we write? We’ll just show our products and services, the office dog etc
- So how do we get fans now? A competition should do the trick. (Buying fans is now taboo even for beginners)
- There is more to it though than the number of fans. How can we also get our contacts to be proactive?
- And what do we do when our fans proactively ask questions and make comments?
And, dear reader, nowadays that is no longer enough. The days of the Facebook Gold Rush are finally over. Early starters set up their pages very quickly and easily and created large communities. But since more and more companies have been using Facebook as a communications channel, things are starting to pinch.
It is certainly true that Facebook no longer wants to give away coverage for free, but would rather sell advertising – a corporate goal that should be permitted for a public company. But the real reason for coverage below 10% is more the dense throng of fan pages and huge numbers of posts and new items that are trying to woo the reader.
Simply using trial and error is not enough, because the interrelationships have become so complex.
Complexity does not just exist within each social network, but also in connections between networks. How does Google+ work and do I actually need it? When do I use Twitter and who actually needs Xing? Is cross-posting damaging or efficient? Successful social media requires a well-thought-out social media architecture.
The entire internet has become an interactive space. Social media starts with your own websites and blogs (owned media). The interplay between owned media, social media and, last but not least, partner sites and platforms (earned media) requires a master plan to make it work.
And this is how you can plan your social media strategy:
- First of all, specify the goals social media needs to achieve for your company
- What added value can your social media presence give to the user?
- Specify the topics that your social media channels should deal with
- Determine responsibilities and key performance indicators you can measure
- Derive a content strategy from this.
Do you know the difference? Basically, it is simply down to the fact that you first of all need to consider a strategy and then start to implement it. Just like when you build a house, you don’t simply put down concrete foundations and then try and decide what should be built on them.
*Picture credits: Jason Howie