As I consult with more clients on social media strategy, I am always amazed after I do a competitive analysis to find out that most American companies that I run across don’t seem like they know what they are doing on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. I’m not talking about the big consumer brands like Starbucks and Coca Cola that have gathered lots of Facebook Fans and are truly engaging with their customers. I’m talking about most B2B companies as well as those B2C brands that don’t necessarily fall into the Fortune 500. According to Hubspot, 72% of businesses have a social media strategy. Really? Here’s 5 reasons why that might not be the case:
1) Is Your “Strategy” Too Broad?
A mentor that I respect from a previous company once told me that “A strategy is almost about deciding what not to do as it is what to do.” If a business wants to get strategic about social media, you can’t be everywhere and do everything at once. If your strategy dictates that you need to have a YouTube channel, host a Podcast, create a SlideShare channel, launch several Twitter accounts and multiple LinkedIn groups, and create a compelling Facebook Page on top of all of that, consider 1) what exactly your objective is and 2) where your target audience is. From there, do some strategic analysis and you should figure out what things you don’t necessarily need to be doing.
2) Isn’t That Campaign Just a Tactic?
I’ll say it straight out: Social media is a commitment, not a campaign. I met with a local business reporter who lamented about the fact that most brands that he covers approach social media, through their digital agencies or PR firms, as just another channel to launch a campaign on. What happens after the campaign ends and the buzz on the Facebook Page or Twitter hashtag tweets continue? Nothing. The consumer is left hanging. I do believe there is a role for campaigns as part of a social media strategy. But campaigns are the means, not the end. Start thinking long-term in your use of campaigns. Please.
3) What are You Going to Tweet?
Let’s face it: Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter were made for people, not businesses. In this scenario, what will your business share in social media? It really comes down to the content of your conversations. What will they be? In other words, just launching a Facebook Page and importing the RSS feed of your blogs and press releases is not a strategy in itself. It is a tactic. And a poor one at that. You need to have a content strategy, which often includes curation of 3rd party content, if you really want to engage with your potential customers and business partners in a meaningful way. Sorry, but without a content strategy you really don’t have a social media strategy.
4) Is Social Media Just about Marketing?
If your business is only thinking about applying social media to marketing, you are not thinking about it in a strategic way. Social media will overlap every part of your organization and needs to be thought of, in itself, strategically. Take the case study of my experience with Virgin America: You can do a social media marketing campaign, but do your Customer Support people actually use Twitter? What happens when other parts of your organization aren’t ready for your campaign? And what happens when people start communicating with your Facebook Page outside of the scope of the organization that is in charge of running it? You get the picture.
5) Does Your Business Blog?
A blog is the best way for your business to be sharing your unique and resourceful information with the public. Every company, whether you are B2B or B2C, has endless amount of things to blog about. If getting found on the Internet is part of a social media strategy, which it probably is, why don’t more companies blog? There are many reasons why every business should have a blog, but I won’t bore you with them in this post. Suffice to say, before thinking about utilizing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube, look in your own backyard and start crafting some stories that can be used as, yes, part of your content strategy!
Do YOU think 72% of businesses really have a social media strategy?
By the way, if you are interested at hearing me speak about the topic of social media strategy, please join me later this month in San Diego at LavaCon 2:0 The Conference on Digital Media and Content Strategies.