How an Effective Social Media Strategy can Boost Business Performance
A lot has been discussed about the role of social media in developing small to medium scale businesses. Today, social media platforms serve as a channel for interaction between customers and employees and are tools for expansion of the company’s web presence.
To propel business forward, enterprises need to establish an efficient social media marketing strategy that places assessment of the company’s social media usage on top spot. However, the intricacy is in engaging various departments of an organization as they extend the applications of social media.
Talking of big companies, their brand extensions should be considered a separate brand in itself. For example, customers generally do not look out on the web for tea brands of Associated British Foods but they simply search ‘Twinnings’. While fragmentation of a business has its own benefits, it also poses the challenge of developing meaningful social capabilities for each of the trade names and the main brand as a whole.
A detailed social media strategy should necessarily cover the following aspects among others:
• Assessing whether the social media promotions are focused solely on company’s managed accounts, or is every employee a brand ambassador when it comes to Facebook, Twitter and the like.
• Understanding how company manages the number of social media impressions including likes, shares, retweets and comments, and engages its brand followers.
This is probably the weightiest segment in the entire social media strategy planning. The primary goal for any brand would be to gain market foothold, expand client network and to generate sales qualifying leads. However, these goals are general and not particularly confined to social media marketing.
Addressing the audience on social media platforms requires a secondary set of goals as well. It may include but is not limited to creating a wide outreach, generating buzz, answering client enquiries and optimizing content. Social media marketing is not just a way to advertise products or services but is a powerful tool to identify potential clients and connect to them.
This involves refining the content to be published and determining the most appropriate social media platform to share the message. Some companies may prefer to establish connections on LinkedIn, while some may focus more on Facebook or Twitter for a direct interaction with customers. Choosing the platform for brand building should be coupled with a detailed analysis of the social media interests of target audience.
Companies should never delay the process of analyzing their results. The first evaluation meeting should be scheduled within two to three months from start date. This will not only identify the weak spots but will also help in coming up with innovative ideas.
Who will manage the social media presence?
Large firms may have dedicated teams for managing and distributing social media messages. But small businesses often rely on a single professional who assists them in social media tasks. His role would be to publish the content on different platforms and help syndicate it to different accounts. In some other cases, companies team up with virtual assistants who aid them in specific activities on social networks.
It is also essential to track the progress in a meaningful way. A proven fact is that, social media trends are not easily tracked unless systems have been deployed to quantify engagement and connection. There are a number of tools that will help in preparing metrics of the outcomes. The data so collected will greatly contribute in the success of the overall social media campaign.
Assessment of processes
It will help gauge the business practices that social media tools allow, thereby enabling the research team of an organization to come up with better managing techniques. Three important things to be kept in mind during this phase are: the tools used; its outcomes; and people affected.
Social Media Governance
It is about understanding and mitigating the risks that any social networking platform may pose towards an organization. The new challenge for many of the firms is to provide the unrestricted social media experience within sensible limits. A properly implemented governance strategy will ensure that a company is managing social media risks and at the same time enjoying benefits through proper monitoring and guidance.