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Do you have a social media strategy?

Author's avatar By Rhian Harris 14 May, 2013
Essential Essential topic

Signs that you need an integrated social media strategy...

The CEO wants 'a Facebook', 'a Twitter' and 'a blog'?

The reason? Because they saw competitor becoming more active. Sound familiar?

This request is perhaps less common than it was 5 years ago, but on the whole there is still a distinct lack of social media marketing strategy with plenty of examples of under-resourced social network pages or poor customer service delivery by social media - a problem when nearly half of adults now use the web to share grievances with brands.

The key to social media success is understanding the full scope and impact of social media, defining exactly what you are looking to achieve and then creating an integrated social media strategy to maximise results.  In this blog post, I review some of these issues which are covered in more detail in our Social media marketing strategy – 7 Steps to Success Guide which I have recently been involved in updating.

Defining the scope of how social media can contribute to your organisation

Firstly, does your business even know the true scope of social media marketing? If you've been asked about what the company is doing on Facebook or Google+, then the likely answer is likely 'no'! The scope should be a lot wider, as shown in this post from Dave Chaffey introducing Social CRM which explains the potential for social media to transform customer relationships across these different touchpoints defined by the Altimeter Group.

So start by getting colleagues to think more broadly about where social media should be integrated into the business. Perhaps talking about what Social business can offer will explain the wider impact of social media - see this post by Jim Hamill What is Social Business?

So, establishing the role of social media marketing in your business and getting agreement from the top has to be the absolute starting point. What is it that you are trying to achieve? Is your social media channel for customer service, to reinvigorate the image of your brand, to encourage new contacts and sales, or to present your brand values?

Likely, it will involve many of these different types of aims and given this context will determine how you use social media channels, this needs to be clear from the onset.

What are our strategies to achieve our social media marketing goals?

Without goals how will you ever know what direction to take or whether your social media channel is a success?

Critical questions we ask when setting the basis of a strategy are:

  • Do you know which platform you should use, and is your audience engaged?
  • What does success look like and how will you measure it?
  • Who is responsible for social media marketing?
  • Have training, budget and resource been planned appropriately?
  • How will your social media activities be optimised for ongoing performance?

These and more are all aspects we tackle in the guide to safeguard against mistakes if social media strategy is absent.

Listening and planning engagement

Whether you are involved with them or not, your customers will already be talking about your brand or product.

Using social media monitoring tools to understand the type of conversation, the environments, and the tone of brand mentions will help to identify potential consumers, powerful influencers and allow you to proactively lead and direct dialogue.

Without a consistent method of listening, your brand could miss out on potential opportunities that your competitors spot!

Social listening on Twitter

Example of social listening

Define how social media will support your content and communications plans

If you fail to plan, you'll plan to fail. Define who will produce your social content, how often will it be posted, is there platform specific content, what type of content works best, does it address the original goals, how does it link to other customer communications, does it convey our value proposition..?

With so many other things to do, the importance of planning content and communications via your social media presence becomes even more important. Without this element of your social media marketing strategy, your business could fail to retain ongoing engagement with your audience.


Most social platforms can be set up in minutes, but without adequate thought, preparation and planning, it'll be a short-term achievement. To really get the level of interaction and engagement that your CEO can see from your competitors, the social media marketing strategy needs to be outlined and adopted throughout the culture of the organisation. Use our guide to build the confidence of a more structured, proactive rather than reactive approach.

Author's avatar

By Rhian Harris

Rhian Harris is a copywriter and blogger helping businesses with content for their marketing collateral. Starting out in the shiny new digital world in 2004, Rhian gained experience in all areas of digital media and e-commerce, working in utilities, travel, charity and retail sectors. IDM qualified, Rhian is an online marketing all-rounder with a passion for words. She is a regular expert commentator for Smart Insights as well as other expert sites, as well as her own business Sparkly Content and her online community, Warwickshire Kids. You can follow Rhian on LinkedIn.

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