I often hear colleagues using the term “Social Media Strategy” without ever explaining to what they are actually referring. In any given agency meeting, whether PR/Marketing/Digital Media, etc, you can set your clock’s second hand by the amount of times “Social Media Strategy” is tossed around the room. The next time you attend one of these gatherings, step up to the plate and ask, “What, exactly, are you referring to when you mention a ‘Social Media Strategy’?”
I’ve made it a point to pose this question to my team (and myself!) early, often, and loudly… however annoying it may be. The initial results consisted of far too many industry anecdotes (some that I, myself, coined!).
- “Engagement creates Revenue!”
- “Likes and Follows don’t mean a thing without traffic!”
- “Organically-sourced brand advocates are super-effective at growing the overall page success and engagement through protection, representation, and word-of-mouth marketing activities!”
Yuk. However true, we need to be careful confusing these anecdotes with actual strategy, which they are not.
The next phase of questioning ultimately rooted out the big problem: tactics are not strategy. Tactics are the workouts to your exercise regimen. This includes platform-specific items (Instagram is not a strategy!!!), as their purposes for meeting your business goals are completely different. Examples:
- Facebook Ads are not a strategy, they are used as tactics used to grow, engage, prompt clicks, etc.
- Using a Hashtag is not a strategy, it is a tactic to join larger conversations, categorize tweet content, or create an ongoing group conversation.
- Posting an image is not a strategy; it is a tactic to increase engagement from your social audience and can be used to accomplish a slew of different business goals.
Wait, STAHP, Hold the phone—did I hear “goals”? Yes, let’s talk about goals!
This is where the strategy conversation should always start—defining your social media goals based on your business goals. Different goals require different tactics, platforms, and resources. Without knowledge and interpretation of your business goals to social media goals, there is no “Social Media Strategy”, there is only good and bad luck. Your executives may read a Huff Post article about “Twitter for Biz” one day and decide that you need to be on Twitter all of the sudden, even when your target demographic can’t even pronounce “Twitter” correctly. This is where your agency’s strategy comes into play (and it will save you 25 hours of your week trying to get more than 87 Followers).
So we have our goals defined, now what? Well, we have to figure out a few things before creating a holistic strategy:
- What is the current social media state of affairs for the brand?
- What are your competitors doing in social, good or bad?
- What is your industry doing in social, good or bad?
We now know where we want to go (point “B”), and we know where we are (point “A”). Now we need to figure out how to get from point “A” to point “B”, or as we like to call it ‘round Intrapromote way: the Social Media Strategy.
Merging accounts, Advertising, Growth here, there, everywhere, focus points for Q2 and Q3, Creating a channel here, ensuring the branding is consistent across the channels, creating traffic funnels, buying a CRM license or two, etc. These are the meat and potato tactics of the Social Media Strategy, yes, but we can’t speak about these things independent of their effect on the business goals and how they improve the current state of affairs.
Great stuff—but this all sounds very cerebral; is there a practical application that came from this mental exercise?
Yes – we have developed a product here at Intrapromote that takes your existing business goals, translates them to social, takes into account the current operations of your social media marketing, and gives an actionable strategy with tactics to employ; we call it the Social Media Audit.
Specifically, our Social Media Audit accomplishes the following:
- What are your business goals? How do your business goals translate to social media?
- Where is the business currently on social media?
- Where are your competitors and industry on social media?
- How do we move your business from point “A” to “B” efficiently?
- Here is a prioritized list of specific recommendations to implement throughout the strategy.
Upcoming Social Media Strategy Events:
- Part two of this social media strategy blog series, A Social Media Audit Overview
- Webinar: 4 Ways to Tell If you Actually Have a Social Media Strategy, January 15th, 2014, 3pm EST | Register Here
Just in time for the holidays, Schema.org has added some item types specially devoted to orders and deliveries.
Before I get into those, however, the CreativeWork type has added a few new properties, highlighted here in yellow (in all cases, click the image for a larger version):
As always, we’re eager to see these used in the wild and hear how you’re using them. Note that it’s been less than three weeks since Schema.org’s last big push, which added types for broadcasting and additional intangibles.
Like most social networks today, Pinterest is not one to lean back and relax and just let things be as they are… they like to change things and add functionality that enhances the user experience. This week, Pinterest announced a new feature on their network called “Place Pins.” Here’s the skinny so you can get up to date in no time flat.
What are Place Pins anyway?
Place Pins are a new feature on Pinterest boards (both new and existing) that uses map technology to enhance pin data. It’s another visual layer that Pinterest has launched to “combine the beautiful imagery of a travel magazine with the utility of a map online so you can share it with friends.”
Um, ok… How does it work?
Ok, let’s keep this really simple, shall we? Let’s say I find a great bunk bed that my daughters can share in their room while I was hunting around online. I pin an image of the bunk bed set from the website and note that there is a local store where I can purchase it on a board that I’ve created called “Ideas for the Kids’ Rooms.” I’ve enabled the map setting on that board, so I can map the pin now that it is live by clicking on that option from the pin itself.
Once I’ve done that, I can then enter the location information from the data set that is powered by Foursquare:
Once I’ve selected the location, the pin gets mapped:
I can also search the map by location and find pins and images by keyword:
And I can repin those mapped pins to my board:
Got it. So, what does this mean?
This functionality is another example of a social media platform working to tie the online world to the offline world. Let’s say someone makes a board that is a great city guide for somewhere you are traveling to in the near future. You can use their board as a walking tour guide because of the map function. You can even get directions based on your current location.
So Who Is Going to Benefit From This?
Right now, the biggest beneficiary is the travel industry. But, since Pinterest is so visually based, other industries that are currently booming on the site can also take advantage of the functions with a little creativity:
- Create a virtual wedding show with other local vendors
- Highlight local craft classes & shows that your store or group is sponsoring
- Travel-based events like yarn tours can also take advantage of the new feature by using Pinterest not only as a map of the event, but also for pinning images of projects that can be made with the products
- Citywide food shows (i.e. Taste of Cleveland) can attract users with their mapping system as well as displaying appealing imagery of the dishes you can sample
Honestly? At this point, the possibilities are endless.
What Do Businesses Need To Do?
If your business is a prime target for Pinterest users and you have a brick and mortar location, there are a couple of fundamental things you can and should do:
- First and foremost, make sure your site is Pinterest-friendly. Ensure that images are “pinable” and can be viewed rather than hiding them in a carousel that doesn’t allow users to pin your images. Make sure those images are optimized with accurate, keyword-rich information (but don’t overdo it and follow the rules. No one likes spam).
- Secondly, check your listing information in Foursquare and make sure it’s up to date and accurate. If you’re not in there, consider claiming or starting a listing for your business.
- Third, get on Pinterest! Set up an account, create a couple boards and starting pinning! Engage with other users, provide value to your customers, be creative and do all the other fun stuff you should do on Pinterest to gain followers.
Pinterest has taken the world by storm in the last two years and this evolution of the network is the next step in a SoLoMo (social / local / mobile) strategy.
Anyone care to guess what the next step for Pinterest is? Leave your idea in the comments below!