10 components of a social media strategy (Part II)
By Jagdish Singh Malhi April 22, 2013
- More on how to create a clear strategy towards achieving your goals on social media
- Not the solution to everything, but social media is a tool to help you achieve organizational goals
THIS is the second half of the article I wrote last week, on the 10 components of a social media strategy.
To recap, having a clear strategy is very important as this will be your roadmap towards achieving your goals on social media. As with all other initiatives which require resources, the last thing you want to do is just jump in and wing it from there.
The five components that I discussed last week were: 1) Clear objectives; 2) Research; 3) Platform selection; 4) Content & Functionality; and 5) Rules of engagement.
Below are the remaining five:
6) Measuring performance
How will you do this? What will the metrics be? ‘Talking about this’ rates over number of fans? Shares? Reach? Re-tweets? Views?
Whatever it may be, you need to understand the data different social media platforms provide you and what data you can get through other third party applications or services like Google Analytics, Radian6, Meltwater, etc.
Once you have decided which data you want to track and how you will do it, set your KPIs (key performance indicators) and what remedial steps will be taken to address gaps in performance.
For example, if your engagement rate for Facebook (talking about this / number of fans) is 2%, your goal could be to get it up to 4% within six months without any campaigns or media spend.
Ensure you have a KPI for each platform that you’re on!
7) Campaigns & integration
I feel it’s important to repeat this. Campaigns on social media should be integrated into all your on-ground and traditional marketing and communications activities. Do not make the mistake of running separate campaigns and risk looking disjointed.
Remember – to your customers, there is no difference where they engage you.
Very often, social media activation is considered at the end, or worse, after the campaign has launched.
You also need to ensure your agencies play nice together and everyone is working towards the same goal. You may however run social media-only campaigns for certain activation campaigns (in some cases, I’ve seen it to be more effective and cost-efficient) or to increase engagement with your fans and reward them.
We know of countless brands that have had their social platforms breached, so what steps can we take to reduce the risk of this happening to us?
Facebook, for example, allows us to segregate access to certain functions like making posts or media buying, so remember to use these options when providing admin rights to staff or your agency.
If you have budget for a third party security tool which logs in to your accounts and requires staff to log in through the third party security tool, this would be good. This means only one ‘account’ accesses all your social media accounts and there is an audit trail.
Remember to log out of your accounts after using them when on a mobile device, and always log out of your accounts at the end of a work day and shut down your computer.
Don’t click on links in suspicious e-mails or those purportedly from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and such. Common sense always wins folks; there are no secret sauces in this kitchen.
9) Crisis management
This is the favorite part, isn’t it? How do I make sure I’m not the laughingstock of the town or included as part of someone’s presentation as an example of a social media failure?
The first thing you need to do is accept that it can happen to any brand, including yours. In the current landscape, the power has shifted from brands to its customers. When things go wrong, there’s nobody for you to call to hide or delay bad press.
Remember, most people have a smartphone and a data plan which means if there’s a fly in my ‘teh tarik’ (pulled tea), it’s going on Facebook.
For now, the best thing to do is to be honest 100% of the time (or as much as possible) and do what you say you will do.
If and when you do make a mistake: 1) Apologize; 2) State how you will correct the mistake; and 3) say ‘thank you.’
This is a simple answer to the topic of crisis management, but on the back end, here’s what needs to be done: Create a manual on dealing with a social media crisis and make sure all the team members (and your agency) has a copy; get your PR (public relations) and customer service teams on board and run a test crisis (simulations always help); and make sure you have monitoring tools like Radian6 or Meltwater to help spot a potential crisis.
10) Staff social media policy & training
Although this is the last thing I’m covering, it doesn’t mean it’s the least important. In fact, I’d rate this as one of the first things you do before getting onto social media – inform and train your staff!
Don’t shake your head and say “it’s impossible,” “it’s painful,” and “it’ll never work.” Large multinationals like Dell have social media training programs in place for all employees to ensure they know how to conduct themselves on social media platforms.
So why is this important? First, your staff needs to know what’s okay to be shared and what’s not. They should have location services or their phones’ GPS (global positioning system) turned off so that their location isn’t shared when they share an update through mobile.
Your competitors can ‘follow’ key personnel and tell where they are if location services are turned on, and – surprise, surprise – find out if they’re meeting a key supplier. This is just one example.
There’s plenty of other reasons why a policy is important.
Training is a good way to get your staff engaged and unleash the potential of them being your brand ambassadors. Teach them where to get content, how to share it, and what you would like them to do to help you on social media.
They could even be on the lookout for customer complaints and help you with some customer service!
Key word is integration
I hope this article was useful to help you think about what you need to consider when mapping out a social media strategy. You will need to research a little more into the points I have mentioned as it is impossible to cover everything in an article, and I hope you learn more this way.
In the end, social media is a tool to help you achieve organizational goals. It’s not the solution to everything, merely a means to an end. It’s the season’s flavor and will continue to grow in importance over the years, but I continue to remind brands that other platforms are important, so the key word here is ‘integration’!
In the grand scheme of things, the world is discussing connected devices, the Internet of things and machine-to-machine communication – so really, social media is just a section of the marketing forest. Once you realize this, everything falls into perspective.
Jagdish Singh Malhi is an ex-banker turned marketing and communications specialist with a deep interest in brands using technology and data to meet business objectives, and has been on both sides of the client/ agency divide.
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