Most people naturally assume that social media is all about marketing. Therefore, it should be the preserve of the marketing department.
Given the increasing importance and volume of big data, the reality today is that multiple business departments are affected by social media, including sales, human resources, IT, finance and legal.
Many leading organisations and their advisors are beginning to understand this and are already in the process of restructuring their business models to meet the challenges and opportunities proposed by platforms such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
The diagram below outlines a six-step process on how to design a ‘social’ business, to maximise the success of your company:
First of all (and most importantly), you need to implement some form of business strategy. To do this, you will need to revisit your initial business objectives, the vision for your company, your target market, key messages and the performance of your sales and marketing activities.
With the cementation of your business strategy, you can then begin to consider which social media platforms you will utilise. By integrating social media channels into your marketing strategy, you can begin to ascertain how they will address your business goals.
We are all now operating in an age of digital content marketing. In essence, this requires a steady supply of interesting content that will engage your audience and if you are struggling to generate this, it may be time to rethink your strategy – or you may need to consider external help.
However, posting content is only one element of social media. A business should be prepared to listen, respond, engage, analyse and report. In the future, businesses will have to really be social, instead of simply claiming that they are. Community management is key.
Understanding the role of paid-for advertising on social media is the fourth step to becoming a social-savvy business. For example, Facebook offers a huge array of advertising opportunities, Twitter has recently introduced promoted tweets and YouTube has video AdWords, which are closely connected to Google. Paid online advertising is a helpful tool for reaching wider, targeted audiences – which in turn will help you achieve your strategic business objectives.
Implementing a social listening/measurement strategy will really help you to determine the success and reach of your social media content. New tools such as Tweet Reach, AVE and Google Analytics will help you measure the activity of consumer engagement on your posts. If your posts have a particularly low engagement level, it may be time to change tactic.
The sixth and final phase can prove to be problematic – creating a social ‘culture’ within your business. Achieving the correct balance in your organisation can involve major disruption and possible restructuring. During this process, your social strategy will need to be devised along with a set of guidelines outlining what staff can and cannot do online.
Here’s a brief recap of Katie’s top tips for social business success:
- Prepare a proper social media business strategy aligned with your OBJECTIVES
- Identify which objectives will be met through social media and which channels you will use
- Create a steady supply of interesting and relevant content
- Be prepared to actively engage with your followers by responding to comments
- Use social listening tools to analyse the success of your content
- Create a social culture within your organisation