It’s important for social media implementation to be directly intertwined with the actual business strategy of an organization. In order to fulfill its (amazing) potential as an awareness-builder and a marketing “partner,” this direct link is crucial. Social media outreach can be a powerful business tool if it is properly understood, appropriately integrated and vigorously managed and measured (as all marketing and communications tools should be).
Here are some interesting statistics we recently uncovered:
• Only 34% of businesses (in a national research study) felt that their social strategy is connected to their business outcomes.
• Just 28% of the companies that participated in this study felt that their organizations have a “holistic approach” or a common vision relative to social media’s role in communications. Many expressed that they consider it an “add-on” rather than a core strategy.
• Only half believe their top executives are truly aligned and engaged with their companies’ social strategy.
All of this points to the conclusion that many businesses don’t truly understand the difference between social media and social media strategy:
• Social media are the channels where information and people are digitally connected in two-way platforms.
• Social media strategy encompasses defined programs that are specific to these various channels and are purposefully aligned with business objectives. Constant measurement against sales and growth goals is critical to the true success of a social media program.
Therefore, before you embark upon a social media campaign, you need to discuss and define the following:
• Determine your overall business goals on the front end. What are you specifically trying to accomplish (beyond “visibility” and “clicks”)?
• Establish your long-term vision and the value that an effective social media strategy will bring to your organization.
• Get executive support for your plan, rather than letting it exist only in its own “marketing silo.”
• Define a specific roadmap for how you want to proceed, thereby creating clarity throughout your organization in this regard.
• Invest in the technology platforms that support your particular goals (not just the latest “shiny object”).
A social media plan that truly supports your business goals and aligns with your organization’s desired marketplace positioning is critical.
Cathy Ackermann, founder and president of Ackermann Marketing and PR, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For the online version of this column, please visitwww.thinkackermann.com/.