More and more brands are jumping onto social media sites without asking themselves one simple question: Why? Most have walked blindly into the social media arena because it’s free or because everyone else is doing it, without an actual social media strategy. Many have failed to realize that having accounts on Twitter, Facebook or MySpace, posting videos on YouTube, or creating a blog does not mean that you have a social media strategy. All of these efforts are merely marketing tactics and are not effective in engaging customers when not backed by a cohesive plan. A social media strategy needs to be drafted in order to connect all of your online efforts to an overall purpose.
Search Engine Watch recently posted an article that takes a close look at the difference between marketing tactics and social media strategy. If you have jumped on the social media bandwagon without creating a solid social media strategy, take some time to consider these important points:
Answering the “Why?”: Why are you using this particular social media tactic? It is important to choose the tools that will work best to implement your strategy. You should be focused on ways to authentically connect to followers and making sure every tactic has a purpose. Start by going to sites where your audience is already interacting.
How to Deploy: Are you going to utilize social media as a place to ask your audience questions, offer advice or keep followers up to date on what is going on with your brand? All too often brands use social media tactics as a way to throw information about their brand at their audience. Instead, they should be asking themselves how to best engage their target audience.
Defining Your Goals and Measuring: How do you know that your social media strategy is successful? Establish a method for measuring ROI for your social media efforts. There is no universal way to measure a brand’s success in social media, so create a method that is right for your brand. A good place to begin is by benchmarking against competitors. You can also compare your traffic at different stages of the social media campaign. Remember, social media success is not about how many Facebook fans or Twitter followers you have- it’s about engaging your audience and facilitating conversation!
When to Re-evaluate: Although most companies forget to, it is crucial to set points in your strategy for re-evaluation. This makes it easier to fix something that isn’t working well or better yet, take advantage of something that is working really well. Here at LoSasso, we launched Brunswick Bowling’s presence in social media with its Win a Wii-a-Day Sweepstakes. Due to the high level of interaction on Facebook and Twitter, our interactive division created a YouTube video contest on the fly. By re-evaluating our efforts during the campaign, we were able to leverage the excitement being generated around the sweepstakes and generate even more social interaction.