Before you join the hordes of social media neophytes who dive into the medium with no method in the madness, it’s important to step back and create an overarching social media strategy into which all of your social media initiatives synchronize, including a plan for each social media outlet (Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.). While this might sound like a daunting task, it’s as easy as 1-2-3:
- Objective – What is it that you’re looking to accomplish by employing this specific tool or medium in your social media outreach efforts? Why do you feel this is an appropriate use of your resources? (Chances are it is – it’s just vital to understand the specifics of why before “running with scissors,” so to speak.)
- Audience – Who is it that you expect to reach by using this social media channel? What are their concerns? If you cater to a varied audience, then it may be wise to create multiple presences in the mediums to speak to those niche customer concerns. What interests a 30-something soccer mom likely will not be the same as what worries a 20-something professional, a middle-aged executive, or a “silver surfer” grandmother.
- Content – How are you planning to use this medium of communication? The “how” varies widely by channels. YouTube is wonderful for visual storytelling, while Twitter is preferable for interacting with individuals. Facebook is a great way to spread information to your core audience and to build a platform through which they can interact with one another. A company or CEO blog is a wonderful way to let the company’s personality shine and to discuss the latest happenings. Each medium has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s advised to get into the nitty-gritty details of what you plan to broadcast so that you select the channel that will best meet those content needs.
Armed with this simple-yet-specific strategy, you’ll be able to understand – and to explain to others – why each medium works for your plan and to decide which to ramp up first. Social media channels are nothing more than a new, online way of communicating and broadcasting information. By understanding how each plays into your plan – and how they interact and overlap with one another – you’ll be able to build a cohesive strategy that gets real results.