Many argue that social media strategy is a buzz word with no real
The skeptics say that you don’t need a social media strategy.
They argue that social media is part of any company’s traditional
marketing mix. Skeptics point to the fact that all marketing channels should be
integrated meaning that your message on television should be the same as
Facebook or Twitter.
The social media experts say…NO! Social media
strategy is real, and is crucial to success not only on social media channels
but also as a compliment to a company’s bought and owned channels.
If you are a believer like myself, then what you need to start
asking yourself is which social media strategy fits your business?
Social media strategy falls into three formats:
This approach confines usage to a specific area, such as customer
service. It works well for businesses seeking to avoid uncertainty and to
deliver results that can be measured with established tools.
For three years the banking industry was reluctant to jump into
Bank of America chose to engage users by choosing one specific
path, customer service. The Bank of America Help Twitter account focused on
aiding customers with problems and issues via Twitter. It turned out to be a
very successful channel that allowed BOA to understand their customers while
learning how to expand their social media presence.
Companies taking this approach embrace uncertainty, using
small-scale tests to find ways to improve discrete functions and practices.
They aim to learn by listening to customers and employees on platforms such as
Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes they use proprietary technologies to conduct
Texas Instruments created an internal blog community that
leveraged the intellectual capital of their engineers. They wanted to see if
there was enough interest in order to take social media tactics like contests,
blogs and promotions to an external audience.
After two years of a successful
internal social media strategy they moved their tactics to Twitter and Google+.
Now they have a community of over 12,000 followers on Google+.
Social media champion
This involves large initiatives designed for predictable results.
It may depend on close collaboration across multiple functions and levels and
include external parties.
Consider Ford’s 2009 Fiesta Movement campaign, used
to prepare for the car’s reintroduction
in the U.S. It required joint efforts among marketing, communications, and the
Ford decided to lend 100 Fiestas for six months to recipients who
would use social media to discuss their experiences with the cars in an
authentic, direct way. It held an online contest to select candidates,
carefully choosing drivers with large social media followings. A very
successful social media initiative but also carefully planned.
I could list numerous companies that employ the social media
champion strategy. Almost every Fortune 500 company aims for the ‘Big
Bang’ when it comes to social media. Most champion strategies
focus on a promotion utilizing various traditional channels in order to amplify
the message. A champion strategy is either boom or bust with the most crucial
element being that internal business units participate.
Can you name a company that tried a social media champion
strategy and failed?