Optus recently released a Future of Business Report; the document is intended to give an overview of what aspects of digital will become more important to businesses over the coming years.
Social media is right up there in the list of priorities, both internally and externally, with 68% of organisations currently owning or building a social media strategy and 81% currently owning a digital marketing strategy.
50% of all businesses surveyed are looking at implementing or further growing their digital/ social offering in the next few years.
The major social media takeaway was enforced twice within the analysis document. It provided the following the following comment:
Writing a social media strategy in isolation is the biggest mistake you can make. Companies need to figure out how to use it in context, as another channel through which they can communicate, service, and engage with customers. … Our [Westpac] app gives clients the service they want. However, it has also enabled us to build our brand, and start customer conversations, leading ultimately to higher sales.”
-Carly Loder, Chief Marketing Officer, BT Financial Group
I’ll start off by saying that creating any kind of strategy in a vacuum is cheating yourself. Nor should social media be perceived as stand alone solution to marketing. But instead of looking at the issues, I want to examine the supercharged power a social strategy has within the canvas of context.
What happens when we combine a social media tactics with an organisations strategic goals or better yet, a communications strategy?
Well firstly, these strategies take significantly less time to write. A good strategic plan will provide a point of reference as to where the organisation wants to move and how they intend to get there. A communications strategy will take the next step and examine the role of communication in achieving these goals. We’ll also know exactly what the organisation’s key messages are and how they want to be perceived.
If your building a social media strategy on the foundations of one or more of these documents, you only need to look at the existing goals and look at how the tools available through social might be harnessed towards achieving them.
For example :
An organisation might want to invest a greater portion of time towards building up a particular product within their offering.
To inform the target audience groups as to the selling points of this product through promotional content that resonates with them.
Social Media Tactics:
- Direct inquiries towards social media
- Provide tailored responses to individual inquires
- Capture and analyse the most common inquires
- Use this information to develop high-quality content that manages these typical inquiries pre-emptively.
Better still, if the communications strategy provides a series of key messages, we will have n even better idea of how to dress up our content.
Whilst the above is a pretty general example, it illustrates the advantage of being able to join the strategic dots. Additionally, whilst every strategy is going to have different tactics that will work towards achieving their goals, knowing what these goals are, and what tactics already exist will allow you to incorporate a social media strategy that complement them.
Strategies work best when all of the pieces work together, and social media is simply one tool within a much broader palette of communications tools available to you: public relations, digital media, advertising, hardcopy promotional material. They are probably all going to have an element of overlap in terms of what they communicate (not to mention who within the organisations owns them), but It’s when these tools begin to work together, leveraging off one another that you unlock the real value of each.
If you have developed social media strategy on it’s own, it doesn’t quite represent critical failure. For many organisations, social may be one of the view promotional methods that can be afforded. But if you have other communications tactics that have been implemented, you owe it to yourself to connect your strategy to it, even if only slightly. As your arsenal of tools grow, more puzzle pieces can be slotted in, and around, adding to the strength of the bigger picture.