Let’s say three months ago you convinced your boss to let you put up a page for the business on Facebook. Then a couple of weeks later, the boss gave you the go-ahead on spending a few minutes a day on Twitter.
But that was three months ago. And you’ve been spending more and more time on Facebook and Twitter, and the boss is noticing. So tomorrow, the boss is going to mention all this to you, how he’s noticing that the 5 mins a day you used to spend on Facebook has ballooned into an hour a day.
He’s going to ask you the logical business question: What are we getting for that hour a day you spend on Facebook and Twitter?
Choose your next words VERY carefully. The natural thought process may be to tell the boss that the company has X number of Likes on Facebook, and X number of Twitter followers. But the problem is, your boss doesn’t care about the conversation.
If you want to be successful at social media, you pick the strategy first, then the tactics. You can’t pick the tactics first, then the strategy.
Here’s some examples of strategies for companies that want to use social media:
- Establish thought leadership
- Build brand awareness
- Generate sales
- Lower customer service costs
And here are some examples of social media tactics:
- A blog
- A Facebook page
- A Twitter presence
- A YouTube channel
See how the strategy has to come first? The tactics flow from the strategy.
Now comes the fun part: “Mack this is great information that I wish I’d had 3 months ago. Now I have a Facebook page and I think we should have launched a blog. What should we do?”
First, let’s start with this: How are you measuring the impact of your social media efforts? How are you ‘moving the needle’? Your strategy will tell you what you should be measuring. Let’s go back to the strategies, then look at the metrics you could be measuring:
- Establish thought leadership (Inbound links, Search Traffic, Coverage on Industry Sites/Blogs)
- Build brand awareness (Online mentions, Search Traffic, Comments)
- Generate sales (Sales, Calls/Emails about Products, Email Newsletter subscribers)
- Lower customer service costs (Customer Service issues resolved via social media, Volume of customer service calls/emails)
And here’s a tip: Make sure the metric you measure is helping you reach your goals. For example, a lot of companies think traffic is a good metric to measure. But traffic only indicates people that have visited your blog (for example). You still need for these people to perform an ACTION. So you don’t measure metrics associated with the people (such as traffic), you measure metrics associated with the actions you want the people to take. Such as signing up for an email newsletter, leaving a comment, or emailing you about a product.
So to review:
1 – Pick the strategy for what you want to accomplish via social media
2 – Pick social media tactics based on the strategy you have chosen
3 – Measure your efforts by choosing metrics that tie back to the desired outcomes, based on your strategy. BONUS: Baseline your metrics if at all possible. For example, if you decide that you want to use social media to build brand awareness and you want to measure online mentions. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know what your volume of online mentions was when you LAUNCHED your social media strategy? Then 3 months later you could look at the CHANGE in online mentions, and report back to your boss that your strategy to build brand awareness via social media had netted a 27% increase in online mentions.
4 – Don’t be afraid to tweak, adjust, or outright change your strategy. You should constantly track, measure and study your efforts, and the results you are seeing. As you start to execute your strategy, you might see that you need to shift gears and move in a slightly different direction. There’s no harm in changing, all you’re really doing is improving your efforts.
Does this help? What did I miss? Have some questions about how your company can fix its social media strategy? Please ask in the comments, or if you want, email me.