The world of Social Media is constantly changing – the platforms, the tools, the user’s expectations. It has become inextricably interwoven with our daily lives and whatever form it may take on as it continues to evolve, we can be sure that it is here to stay.
Changes in Social Media can be rapid, and in order to stay on top of your game you must be prepared to learn, unlearn and relearn.
Choosing a platform
Over the course of this blog series on LightSpeed’s Social Media Strategy I have highlighted certain aspects of our approach to the social media platforms that we have decided to actively engage with. These platforms are what we see as the big three: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Each of these platforms requires a unique understanding and offers its own advantages and disadvantages that need to be weighed and considered before you start to engage with their user base.
We have chosen these platforms based on their popularity, the fact that we were already there and that we are extracting value from them. But be warned: There are always new social network popping up, and the popular ones might not be the best for your business.
“You don’t pick which platform you should be on, your customers do.” – Nadia Boucher
Five steps to a Social Media Strategy
Coming up with a strategy for your business’ engagement with Social Media is of the utmost importance. You need a plan and set targets or else you are doomed to fail.
Mike Anderson of Meltwater Buzz shared his Five steps to building your own Social media strategy at the recent Social Media World Forum, and I’ve tweaked it a bit for our perspective:
Step 1: Listen
They say all Social Media efforts should start with listening. Start listening to social media sites to find out where your customers are and what their needs are.
Step 2: Define why
Ensure that you know why you are getting involved in social media and what you hope to achieve.
Step 3: Strategize
Social Media platforms were not created equally. Choose your channels and define measurable goals before you go to market. Remember that Content remains King and be sure that you have something to say.
Step 4: Engage
Take action on your insight into your customers. Get involved with them, run campaigns and invite them to participate.
Step 5: Measure your return on investment
When measuring the ROI of Social media campaigns don’t focus on the amount of followers and likes, but on how your efforts are helping you achieve business objectives.
So now you have your shiny new Social Media Strategy in place and you feel that you are good to go. Just hold on before you jump online and get some buzz going. Remember that with Social Media it’s not really about you, it’s about your customers.
The tricky thing about Social Media is that you are sharing space with your customers’ friends and family, their real relationships with real meaning. People don’t really want to be marketed at and you don’t want to be the online version of a door-to-door salesman or an annoying telephone marketer. You should strive towards adding real value to the social spaces that you engage with.
Be truthful, be caring and be about the people.
Pieter du Toit of Social Media IQ said it best:
You don’t do Social Media, you become a social company.
Check out this slideshare presentation from the SMWF: