The answer to this question has been forever changing over the last several years. Brands are fickle. Some hop on social media right away and ride it out for a while and then get darn right sick of it. Some think they aren’t seeing any ROI so they peace out. Some have no idea what ROI means with social media so they pretty much have no strategy, fail, and peace out. Some partake in social media simply because they think that’s what you are supposed to do in 2012. Other brands love social media and are locked in for sticking it out. The latter are typically the brands that know what they’re doing, or, have a community manager that knows what they’re doing.
So, should your brand be social?
This is kind of a trick question because I believe that any brand can utilize social media to their benefit in some way, shape, or form. So, the answer is yes.
There are a few things brands need to remember when building out a social strategy to make sure this works for their brand:
- What platform(s) make the most sense? Brands don’t need to be on 14 different social media channels simply because they think that makes them look cooler or more “with it” or whatever their reasoning might be. Different platforms have different fan-bases, tools, resources, conversations, and methods for connecting with fans. Some are all visual, some are information-based, some do several different things. Take a look at the socialsphere and determine that for your brand, with who you are trying to talk to and connect with, what are the best ways to do this?
- What is your goal for social media? Over the last few years the main version of ROI has always been “how much revenue are you producing through your social channels?” Not anymore. That is still definitely a component to some social ROI strategies, but it’s not the only one by any means. Maybe you are really going after connecting with new demographics and fan-bases, or you just want to build brand awareness. Or, the engagement piece driven through conversations is #1 on your list. Figure out by prioritizing – what are your goals? Revenue? Engagement? Brand awareness? Put your pieces in order and build out from there.
- What kind of content will you be putting out there? Have an idea in place for what kind of awesome stuff you want your fans to see. And make sure these aren’t the same across all social platforms. Again, different platforms have different fans, conversations and uses – don’t be lazy and auto post from one account to all of your accounts. That is the opposite of social media. That is robot media. Do you have great photos to put out there? Funny videos making your brand and products look more human? Will you do some contests or sweepstakes? Embrace your community and you’ll gradually find out what they like as you go.
- Know your voice. This is an element that perfects over time. You don’t just kick off a new social media presence and have an amazing voice that everyone loves, however, you can know certain elements. Short and sweet? Witty but friendly? Robotic and sales-pitchy (hope not!)? Helpful and approachable? Quick to respond? And probably the most important: human. You’ll get a feel for how to respond, how to deal with negative posts, and how to put new content out there as you go. Voice can be tricky, but finding it and sticking to it is huge. Fans will come to expect the voice you land on, they’ll get to know it, and this will become and extension of your brand and public relations arm.
These four items above are key components and very important when building out a social strategy, however, they are the tip of the iceberg. Social community management and strategy can get very, very deep. Anything beyond what I say above needs to be discussed over beers, however.