There’s a running joke in the blogosphere that three forbidden words in any brainstorm about social media strategy are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. That’s because some marketers naively assume that simply creating a digital presence via an existing social network is all it takes to connect with key audiences. However, as with all communications, organizations that map their tactics before determining how their business objectives should drive social media strategy can find themselves on a path to nowhere.
Typically, organizations utilizing social media tools fall into one of three categories of usage –
assessment, engagement or influence.
Organizations that are fuzzy on what chatter is prevalent (and where) on social networks usually start with an “assessment” social media program, which is essentially a listening strategy. The goal of this phase is to determine if there are opportunities to execute a proactive social media program to reach target stakeholders and, if so, what kind of program should be developed. This stage is sometimes appropriate for online reputation monitoring in times of crisis.
An “engagement” program involves proactive interaction with stakeholders by way of active participation in social networks. Examples include posting comments on industry blogs and forums, creating and populating a Facebook fan page, and adding interactive content to an online newsroom or investor site.
At the “influence” stage, most organizations are interested in measuring their clout in the social media space and how resulting activities drive business performance. Organizations at this juncture take their engagement efforts to the next level by determining not just what people are saying, but how they can influence behavior and demonstrate the impact on the bottom line.
If you'd like to learn more about this subject, please contact Lisa Zone at 216-241-4629 or firstname.lastname@example.org.