Social media strategy: What really matters

So, I’m developing a social media strategy for really distinctive and exciting online brand.  And not for the first time in this particular process, I have been hugely thankful for the opportunity to revisit social media and what it’s really all about for businesses.

What I mean specifically in this case is the ‘why’ in the strategy – what will social media do for this organisation?  Because if we don’t identify it now and determinedly pursue it, the chances are that they will end up somewhere totally different…and more than a few man-hours down.

In this case – as with many – it’s all about building rapport, communities, trust, advocacy and connection.  And the eternal measurement question comes in here.

We all know that social media ROI is enigmatic to say the least.  A little like the Loch Ness monster.  Some people claim to have seen it, an awful lot of people have looked fruitlessly for it (and without knowing exactly what they’re looking for) and quite a few have imagined they’ve seen it too.

So let’s be pragmatic.  My abbreviated advice in this instance, and to any interested bystanders will be this:

Size isn’t everything

For goodness’ sakes, let’s not get caught up in a numbers game of how many followers / subscribers / friends / clicks.  Social media engagement is organic and cannot be forced (it can be bought, but to me that’s super-phoney).

How much does it really matter?   First of all, everyone you engage with has a whole network beyond you to engage with – so by degrees your audience is always much bigger (albeit pretty much immeasurable) than you know.  Second, I’m a firm believer that it’s quality not quantity that counts.  Which leads neatly to…

Make sure you’re connecting with the right people

Follow and engage with a variety of people who:

  • Interest and inspire you
  • Interest and inspire your network / audience
  • Are challenging, original, real
  • Are engaged with other interesting people who you may not be aware of
  • Showcase best social media practice – who do you aspire to be like, and what can you learn from them?
  • Aim to get from social media what you aim to get – information, dialogue, updates, humour, etc

Be clear about what you most want out of this

Social media is about humans.  Humans who are dependent on our trusty machines and devices, granted, but it’s really the manifestation of human behaviour online.  We share, we show off, we preen, we make fun of ourselves, we annoy people, we apologise, we spectate, we get involved, we argue, we agree, some of us even flirt (but I wouldn’t dream of it). The point is – it’s not about control – who knows what will happen with a given conversation?

HOWEVER: if you know you want to be a thought leader, or become closer to your target audience, or learn about a new market you can do it here.  But you need to adapt your online behaviour accordingly, while remaining totally authentic.  It’s a tricky balance between profession and personality.  So what I’m really trying to say is, don’t get totally carried away. It’s easily done.

Revisit your strategy every few months

The world is changing fast and social media is changing with it.  Or maybe it’s the other way round. Anyway, technology and trends drive social media use forwards and in new directions:

  • Customer behaviours and expectations change and your strategy must adapt with it – quickly
  • We’re constantly learning – there will be good things and bad things that happen online.  Make these situations valuable by learning from them.
  • Keep remembering what you set out to do – what was the primary aim? How much have you learned?  Which new relationships have evolved? What has changed?  If you’re doing it right, the answer to the last 3 questions should be ‘plenty’.

Kate Spiers is director and founder of Wisdom London

She opines, shares, occasionally shows off and never flirts @wisdomlondon


One Response to “Social media strategy: What really matters”

  1. Very refreshing view – not everything can be turned into numbers for ROI. Good email was invented before everything had to show a financial ROI

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