A few days ago, a company called to solve an issue they considered a problem. Their social media plan was not working up to the expectations they had set when they began. They wanted us to take a look at it. What was asked before even looking at what they had done was: “Can you give us your social media strategies?” to which blank stares were reflected back into the SKYPE conference screen as if entering the world of “Oh, oh!”
Do you know what is the most common problem with corporate social media strategies? It is a failure to plan. So many times, businesses fail to strategically set goals about their social media marketing. As Jacob Wells in iMedia Connection.com wrote, “They simply do not know what they are trying to accomplish. Instead, businesses just start doing social media.”
In most instances, businesses know they should be doing some sort of social media marketing. They think they need to post to Facebook, Twitter and Google +. They know they need to have a presence on these platforms but they never actually stop to consider the most important question: Why?
Exactly why do you need a social media strategy? Why do you need to be on social media at all? Most businesses never really ask these questions. This is not the way to approach the problem. Solutions are never guessed at. They are planned.
If you find your business in the same position as our friends of a couple of days ago were in, here are some questions to ask. What is your social media goal? Do you want to raise awareness for your business or your brand? Do you want to build a community? Perhaps your only goal is to create a following? Or, is your primary goal to create leads and customers from social media?
Do you know the answers to these questions? If so, write them down. Research from Chief Marketer and other sources show that most businesses do not have social media goals. Most businesses do not know what they are trying to accomplish with a social media strategy. They take the Nike approach… they just do it.
That may be good for the sport shoe business but it is not an approach to take in social media strategy. By following this approach, the business is destined to fail in reaching its goals. It is like hiring an employee and not giving that employee any direction, responsibilities or tasks. If you never tell them what their job is or what they are trying to accomplish, the chance for success is nil. The employee will fail and never get anything done. You don’t need to change the world with your social media campaign.
It is perfectly acceptable to decide that you are going to use social media to get more newsletter subscribers or gain more exposure and registrants for your brand following. But you need some kind of goal to give your campaign shape and direction. Point is, social media can work for you. But you have to plan for that. It is all part of how we communicate with one another.
We live in a new DNAge. It’s all about planning for success.
Lance Hanish is Co-Founding Partner in CNA | Sophis Integrated Marketing Communications.
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