Last week, I was contacted by a prospect searching for a social media manager for his start-up business. He informed me that he’s been working with a company for a few weeks, but was not happy with the strategy they formulated. I asked him if he could share any details on the strategy they created so I could piece together the possible disconnect between their strategy and his social media goals.
His response is one that makes me shudder – and one that, unfortunately, I hear too often. “No social media strategy was formulated or delivered. I was given the assurance that they are ‘experts,’” he said.
I have no idea which company he hired, but if they are anything like the companies I’ve encountered in the past, I’ll save you the rant about some of the pseudo experts who can tweet or utilize a fancy automated software and claim to be social media professionals. And it goes without saying that a business must have a social media strategy in place in order to actualize results. What are we measuring if there are no concrete social media goals or methodology for reaching them?
When we work with clients for the first time, we first establish clear social media goals. Then, it’s mandatory that we create a social media strategy that serves as our roadmap for managing their efforts. This strategy outlines a few keys areas critical to their success, including: selecting channels that include their target audience, expanding online and word-of-mouth reach, formulating a content game plan, integrating social media with business operations and other marketing efforts, and providing a method of evaluation.
One of the most important – yet overlooked – elements among these would be selecting the appropriate channels. Too often I see businesses that are not sure why they chose the channels they did or if these channels are appropriate for reaching their target audience. I also see a lot of folks who feel the need to be everywhere and do everything. This is dangerous for a small business owner who will likely spin their wheels and waste valuable time on channels that are unlikely to give them a return on their time and financial investment.
If I had to select another overlooked, but important component it would be integrating efforts. Bridging the gap with social and operations as well as outside marketing can really help move the needle. Relying on social media alone, especially for small businesses, is a risky venture. The more a business can synergize, the better chance it has for achieving great results. Period.
Flailing around with your social media efforts? Re-focus with a clear, goal-driven social media strategy.