There have been a number of occasions over the last couple of years when I’ve spoken to individuals or companies who are considering using social media as part of their marketing efforts.
However, on nearly every occasion I’ve found that the people I’ve spoken to have rarely got a clear idea as to how it will fit into an overall plan or strategy.
Create a roadmap for implementation
Now that we’re finally moving out of the early adopter phase, it’s clear that social media can be a very valuable part of a company’s marketing tool kit.
But as with any other tactic or communication channel, social media needs to be integrated into the overall business or marketing strategy effectively – with clear goals, objectives and milestones in place.
Creating a one-off Google+ Page or Twitter handle without an endgame in mind is simply using social media as an ‘add on’, separated from from the core values, personality and image the brand is aiming to convey.
Consistency is key and social media plays a vital role in generating brand awareness across both the traditional and social web.
Unless you are prepared to commit to social media properly and use it as a genuine part of your marketing plan then I would recommend that social media isn’t used at all.
To some this may sound drastic – that not participating in any social media channels would be a backwards step. However, the consequences of poor social media implementation has the potential to be much more damaging, with the possibility of frustrating followers or even customers through inconsistent participation and tone of voice.
Keep it simple – but effective
A social media strategy doesn’t have to be a big, weighty tome. Yet it does have to coherently map out why you want to use social media, how you are going to use it and with whom.
If you’re not prepared to take the time to put a simple plan together, I doubt you’ll have the time to consistently engage with communities using social media.
It’s much better to focus on the channels you can use really well (whether they be online or offline) and add value, rather than spread yourself – and your brand – thin across a variety of social media sites where you rarely turn up and join in.