Social Media 101: social strategy

September 21, 2011

Let the lesson begin

we are social media

The above image illustrates how social media has evolved. We start with the development of marketing and public relations industry. The internet makes its presence known and the world embraced the internet. The global community evolution continued with the creation of social networking. Then we went to talking about the social networks and social media. Now we are dealing with branding oneself through social media.

Studying social media as a brand has made reevaluate my views of my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blog and now Google plus accounts. On all these social media vehicles, I have created a virtual me online which now I can utilize to my advantage.  An advantage of understanding social media would make me marketable to potential employers.  Branding is not only important for myself but for companies to reach their clients in the digital age.  Brian Solis mentions in his book Engage! that we are all brand advocates and managers and on some level we are becoming brand managers.

Brian Solis also talks about how companies have created brand employee accounts. The employee aligns their character and behavior with that of the brand/company they represent.  A good example of this is Will Scroggin from Cox Communication. He is one of the social media face and voice at Cox Communication with a twitter handle of @Cox_will.  Scroggin and Mike Beauchamp (@myz06vette) from TGW.com came into my social media class to give insights from their experience at TGW.com and Cox Communication on branding on behalf of their employers.  Both these companies are proactive in their use of social media and have allowed them to reach clients in a unique way.  Both Beauchamp and Scroggin would be considered first generation pioneers in the industry of branding social media.

When a company starts to look into utilizing social media, according to Beauchamp and Scroggin, explained that the most important concept is creating a strategy. Having an action plan that includes all departments and analyzing its implication throughout the organization is the first step.  In creating the social media campaign the following questions need to be answered:

  • What is the reason for using social media?
  • What departments will have direct involvement in your social efforts?
  • What kind of budget you have to work with?
  • Which social media are to your advantage?
  • How often will you post to each of your social channels?

Establishing the plan makes you and your company business savvy. Beauchamp showed how knowing the companies demographics, when they posted something on Facebook helps with prioritize in rollout objective. They also explained about learning through the results when to expand and invest accordingly. Online companies like Facebook allows you to track and measure results. This will let you know when to increase social initiatives like coupons or special promotions. Never stop listing to what your customer are saying and learn. Beauchamp said the people chime in when you ask questions through social media.  I would like to highlight that social media is great at letting you get the instant feedback which traditional media is harder to monitor. Also don’t be afraid to see how other companies are thriving on social media.

This concept was reinforced when I stumbled across this article, http://mashable.com/2011/09/21/social-media-architecture-business/, published to educate business on how to thrive in social media. More articles are being available to teach the generation that has not grown up in the digital age.

Building Blocks (http://www.slideshare.net/myz06vette/abcs-of-social-strategy?from=share_email)

Key points I thought were insight from the ABC’s of social strategy are as follows:

  • Get authority. The earlier you have the power to make the decision the easier your job becomes when using social media explained Scoggin. Open communication between departments is also essential.  The company cultural also needs to be on board with the idea. You have to completely trust the people on social media. Company culture has to be ready to take on social media.
  • Have a crisis plan. After taking a class in crisis communication, having an active crisis plan is crucial. The plan needs to be in a place where everyone in the company understands the policy and procedures. In media, it doesn’t take long for a small issue to evolve into a crisis, just ask Netflix.  
  • Knowledge. Knowing your company, your industry, your competitor, and everything you can about all of them. Your customers do
  • Measurement. Everything you do online can be measured and tracked. Understand what the key metrics that will assist in determining the success and opportunities available.
  • Promotions and discount. Customers who find and interact with you in the social space have come to expect deals and discounts. Make sure you have some sort of plan from the beginning.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new strategies. If at first you don’t succeed try again.

One thing which Lou Heldman pointed out is when speaking to customer on the companies behalf is to be real and truthful. Not being afraid to become the voice of the company. Customers don’t want to pre-recorded voice.

I believe social media branding has just started to take over as a public relations, marketing and sales tool. I strongly recommend the individuals in this industry don’t forget to invest in other options like television and/or radio. Social media branding is a developing tool and we still don’t know what the next big “thing” is going to be.

With that note I say class is dismissed!

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One Response to “Social Media 101: social strategy”

  1. CJ Schoch said

    This was a useful and really complete version of the Scroggins/Beauchamp presentation. I have to say, I’m wondering what you thought about application of these things or criticisms you might have. I think, and anyone reading thinks, its not out of the ordinary to have opinions. Use your experience and subjectivity (it’s not always bad) to tell me more than just the highlights. Unless you’re just hiding the good stuff from me!

    I loved the mashable article about how to navigate the social net. Do those authors disagree with Scroggins and Beauchamp? Whom do you concur with?

    I get the point of the building blocks, but watch the formatting. If you can hide that URL, it will make your post look more professional. Also play with the sizing. Thumbnails typically have an original somewhere that is much bigger (and I believe that is just a shrunken version of a large picture, by the look). Overall, your blog looks really good, formatting-wise.

    I really hope to be more engaged by your next blog!

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