Developing a social media strategy is a never ending moving target. Regardless, there are some standard things almost everyone does, such as getting a Twitter account and a Facebook presence. Many often think that’s it: “Our social media strategy? Well, we’re on Twitter and Facebook.”
For basics on getting started read, “Looking for a social media strategy? Try this one.”
We all know that’s not enough, and even if you do a lot more, any social media strategy can truly have an endless number of moving parts. There’s always something you’re not doing. Still, I believe there are there are a number of critical issues that are often skipped or not fully thought through.
What could you possibly be missing with your social media strategy? Here are some suggestions:
1. Blocking social services is moot
If your company still has a policy to block services such as YouTube and Facebook, it’s completely pointless. The penetration of smartphones in your office is very high, and any service you may be blocking via the corporate network can be access through a mobile phone. In addition, many of those phones have their own hotspots so people could use their mobile phone’s wifi to circumvent any service blocking you have. If you believe your employees are using these social services unproductively, then it’s your job to train them to do otherwise.
2. Simplify discovery of what’s most important
It’s not too hard to find us fall into the trap of link overload. So often sites try to point people to everything all at the same time. Nick Bilton of the NY Times did a really interesting study where he analyzed 98 of the most popular sites just to see how many links they have on a single page. The results were surprising. Huffington Post had 720 links on a single page. Other well known sites had more than 500 and 400 links on just one page.
It’s impossible to put all your social media efforts on everything. Some people will be more involved in Twitter, a discussion board, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Wherever you want people to spend their time, you need to direct them there with less links, in more obvious locations.
3. Turn blogging into a challenge among colleagues
Ever try to get an office of non-bloggers to all of a sudden start blogging? It never works. In the early days of blogging for a completely unknown site and bloggers you get little to no response. Really hard to keep people motivated to blog when it seems so futile.
For that reason, in the early days of a corporate blog you need to gamify blogging within your organization. Give out awards and badges for small accomplishments such as first person to get five retweets, or first to publish three blog posts in a week, or maybe first to get a comment from a non-coworker.
To avoid social media strategy failure, read “Will your company ignore your social media strategy?”
4. Time, time, time
Similar to the last item, web developer Tom Belknap advises you to build time into the strategy. “The biggest mistake people make in getting into social networking is the thought that, well, we post a few updates on Facebook and we’re all set,” said Belknap. Plan on your social strategy taking time.
5. Own a singular identity across all social services
A successful social media presence has a lot to do with having a consistent identity. Too often organizations don’t plan out what their social identity is going to be. We’re “CompanyX” on Twitter. “CompanyXCorp” on Facebook. Our web address is “CompanyX-Inc.com”.
All these slight differences which may seem simple to you, are massively confusing to everyone else.
Pick one name and use it across all the services you plan on using. Use KnowEm to see if the name you want is available on all the services you want to use.
6. Move existing content from private to public space
A successful blogger is able to spot private conversations that could and should be made public in a blog post. We have private conversations in emails, IMs, over the phone, and at professional networking events. Learning what should be made public is what will make blogging a lot easier. For more, read my article, “Blogging advice for people who ‘have no time to blog.'”
7. Engage your top customers/connectors A LOT.
You’re going to learn and gain the most from the people who are your biggest supporters. For that reason, you need to feed that fan pipeline by communicating with them a lot. “Ask them if they had to replace you as their supplier how would they go about finding someone else? What keywords would they enter into the search bar, what social media sources would they pay attention to and consider to be authoritative,” said Phil Lauterjung, Duct Tape Marketing Consultant.
8. Your offline social strategy
Your strongest social media connections will be initiated in real life. Most people have very poor follow up skills. For example, 1-in-20 people I hand my business card to actually follows up. Not only should you follow up with someone via email, but also try to connect with them via all necessary social connections such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn so that you can more seamlessly maintain a relationship, even if it is only ambient intimacy.
9. Integrate with all other communications efforts
When it comes to customer relations, it is sadly the norm that you’ll get completely different service depending on how you contact the organization. I’ve noticed that the more publicly I discuss an issue (e.g., complain on Twitter, write a blog post about a poor product experience) the better service I’ll get from someone high up in the company. Conversely, if I chose to pick up the phone, I’ll wait a long time and get some phone lackey that may or may not work directly for the company, and not have the authority to give me the service that I need. They may not care about my dissatisfaction. I have always seen disjointed customer experiences. The trick is to simply bring everyone to same table and train them simultaneously, no matter what medium the public uses to connect with you.
10. Your strategy should be to help others
Almost everyone who begins in social media comes at it from the marketing angle of “How can I get people to pay attention to me?” If you flip that poorly aimed philosophy to ask yourself, “How can my social media strategy allow others to express themselves and their own interest,” then you will have a lot more success with social media.
Even though you need a strategy. The best social media strategy I think is to just start. For more read, “No more, ‘What are we going to do in social media?’ meetings.”
What’s your advice that I didn’t consider?
This is far from a comprehensive list. I’d like to know your rarely considered, yet highly important, social media strategy advice. Let me and your fellow readers know in the comments.
Stock photos courtesy of Shutterstock.