Social Media Strategy (or not)

We’ve been having a lot of discussions recently with clients about their ‘social media strategy’. It’s an odd one, because, well, really I’m not sure that exists. If you have a ‘social media strategy’, that probably means that you just want to have some accounts on Twitter, Facebook etc, and want someone to post on them for you. Doesn’t really work like that.

For example, would you have a telephone strategy? Employ an agency to answer your phone for you, because that person was a ‘telephone expert’? (I’m aware that large call centres exist which do just that, but that’s a slightly different situation, and don’t be picky, alright? Good.) Social media shouldn’t exist for its own sake – it should be there to support your existing business objectives, whether that be sales, market research, competitor analysis, complaint handling, etc – all these things can accommodate social media easily. You already have objectives for these – see how SM can fit in with these existing objectives rather than seeing it as an end in and of itself.

The problem with it not having objectives and targets tied into social media, is that it’s very hard to justify spending money on it. I’ve been talking to clients this week who want to spend a few hundred quid, and for that they want someone to post on twitter for them a few times a week. All well and good, but what happens when someone replies? When a customer has a question, or a complaint, or wants to talk to you about something? That’s when it falls down, because then all of a sudden they need to spend more money for us to manage that account, and if they’ve nothing tied into it (for example, cutting down on calls into a call centre) then there’s nothing to point to and say ‘this is why you’re spending the money’. So I spend a lot of time pushing back on these, and asking for objectives from them first.

So if you want to talk to someone about how you can use digital, or social media, technologies to help your business – first start to think about which of your objectives are the most important to you, or which could do with a boost right now. Then instead of thinking that you have to pay extra for that, think instead about paying less on the current strategy, and carving a percentage of that out for a different approach. Have targets and measurements, create a strategy and tactics – initiate, test, measure and adjust if necessary. Don’t just set up a twitter account. Please don’t. God kills kittens when you do.

Oh, and if you do want to talk to someone – email me here.

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