With Web 2.0 here to stay, many companies – small and large – are still coming to grips with how to take the first critical steps towards active participation in the world of consumer-driven media. The prospect of implementing a social media strategy for a brand may seem daunting, but it’s not as difficult as you think.
Social media is not a concept anymore; it’s reality. A power shift has taken place. Traditional print and television media no longer have exclusive control over how and when your message is delivered.
Once you get buy-in for a social media strategy, the place to begin is the same place you begin for traditional communication strategies – planning.
This is a good place to start if you’re just becoming acquainted with the social media world so as to have a more holistic approach to managing and reporting conversations once dialogue takes off and becomes numerous.
With any outreach effort, understanding what moves, motivates and irks your target audience is critical. Listening helps do this.
Communications outreach planning – including social media engagement planning – also has to contribute to meeting a company’s bottom line objectives. If your company is not already using its website to engage stakeholders, the initial strategy can start small.
If you have already begun to engage in social media outreach:
– Find ways to provide your blog with more exposure, such as posting useful comments to other’s blogs, and including links back to your own.
– Integrate technologies onto your blog and website that encourage that sharing of your content, such as social bookmarking widgets.
– Publish content frequently, so your audience has a reason to keep coming back for more.
– Optimize your blog posts with key phrases related to your topic, to help generate new traffic from search engines.
– Use social media to drive traffic to your content. Try feeding your blog posts to Twitter via RSS, or using social media releases to encourage commenting and sharing of your materials.
The whole company has to get behind how social media contributions will be managed and organized by choosing a model, where representatives from all areas of the business mobilize to manage social media interactions together. This cross-functional team shares resources and cross-functional communication with those at the edge of the organization.
Regardless of the social media engagement model being used, anyone participating in social media activities – particularly those who will be posting responses – must be clear on their guidelines for interaction.
4. Jump in
The key to getting started is with an understanding you don’t have to be everywhere at once. Here are simple ways to ease into the vast social media setting:
– Start posting, sharing and tweeting relevant contents to your company’s pages, and start engaging in the conversation.
– Consider re-tweeting any of the interesting post/tweets and add in anything else that you think people might find of interest. Leave your own comments on interesting posts or pictures of fans tagged to your page. By commenting regularly, you will establish a reputation for your brand.
– Make your company’s website more ‘social’. Ensure there are sharing options on the relevant pages of your site.
– Create a comments section below news releases or posted news items and make your media room more social and interactive.
– Listen every day and stay involved.
Measuring communication activities is critical, yet challenging. Measuring ROI with social media engagement could be qualitative or quantitative. Qualitative metrics refers to conversations, corporate reputation or customer satisfaction while quantitative metrics involves online buzz, web traffic, or search engine ranking.
There are tools to help accurately track and manage improvements in such metrics. Some of the recommended tools include:
– Media monitoring: dna13 for online and social media monitoring, and Google alerts for online monitoring
– Blog and website analytics: Hubspot.com and Google Analytics
– Twitter management: Salesforce.com to track tweets
For companies who monitors what is being said across online multiple platforms, it will be a revelation – not just for communications and marketing, but for sales and customer services.
Only then will you have harvested the true power of social media.
Article sourced from dna13