Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Developing a Social Media Strategy

The brand tenets of the past such as control and predictability are no longer valid. Ever-increasing consumer power driven by social media and wireless technologies is having a significant impact on brand effectiveness and staying power. Consumers, more than ever before, are key drivers for brand strategy. We, as brand managers, need to understand how to leverage these technologies to our advantage.

The social media branding strategy can be broken down into 6 basic stages:
  1. Determine your goal and target audience
  2. Align your efforts with specific business goals and target the associated audience. The social media network is expansive and it's easy to find yourself spread too thin. Without a plan your efforts may be unfocused and ineffective.

  3. Define the timescale, budget, and measurement methods
  4. Don't forget that, typically, the more ambitious your goals are the bigger your budget will be and the more time you'll have to execute. Don't set yourself up to fail by setting huge goals without considering funding and time constraints.

  5. Choose appropriate social media

    There are a variety of social media channels available to us: YouTube, Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs are currently the most popular ones. Which ones you focus on will be determined by who your customers are. Are you a B2B or a B2C? If you are a B2B, your top three will be YouTube, twitter and LinkedIn. If you are B2C, on the other hand, you're better served to concentrate on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You also need to consider the speed of change of the information. Do you need to get updates on weather or traffic out immediately? Twitter might better serve your needs. Are you publishing a review of a product? Time to head over to YouTube.

  6. Choose appropriate communicators

    Not only do you need to appoint someone to communicate on behalf of the brand, but you also need to ensure there are policies or rules in place to ensure consistent messaging.

    • Comment within organizational policies
    • Comment in their area of expertise
    • Be polite and respectful
    • Respond in a timely manner
    • Above all - take time to think before posting
  7. Listen to the customer
  8. In old school terms, this would be considered "lurking." Hang out in the background and learn what your customers need and value. Review what's being said about the company and the products. Use this information to interact in meaningful ways that will keep them connected to, and interested in, your brand.

  9. Launch the social media strategy
  10. Putting customers at the center of your branding strategy will create connections with them. Maintaining these connections will help us better understand what they want.

Developing a social media strategy is a great way to connect with customers and grow brands. It will help you understand their needs and how they interact with social media.


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