Many company leaders understand that to survive in today’s business world, their companies must have a social media presence. But to the detriment of many organizations, strategy is lagging (way) behind. In fact, a 2013 survey showed that creating a social media strategy is still a major concern of 83 percent of marketers.
And when no strategy is present, says social media strategy consultant Neal Schaffer, here’s what happens: Individuals from different departments tweet at will, using the company’s official handle. Some of these 140-character messages are loaded down with cumbersome language from the company’s Web copy guidelines; others are peppered with abbreviations like “u,” “r,” and “2.” On Facebook, users who “like” the company’s page find that their newsfeeds are bombarded with promotions, surveys, and so called “news.” Meanwhile, clients are posting positive and negative feedback on both sites. Sometimes these comments receive responses; sometimes they don’t. (And that’s not even taking into account LinkedIn, Pinterest, the company’s blog, and more!)
“In using such a scattershot approach to social media, these organizations are missing out on major opportunities to engage with potential and current customers, manage their reputations, and more—and they may be alienating social media users in the process,” says Schaffer, author of Maximize Your Social: A One-Stop Guide to Building a Social Media Strategy for Marketing and Business Success. “Without a social media strategy, how do you know what you’re trying to achieve, what you should be doing, how well you’re doing, what you should be measuring, and what the ROI of your social media program is?
“If your company is going to enter the social media world, you need a strategy because it standardizes messaging, determines how resources are used, defines which tactics you will and won’t pursue, serves as a road map, and will still carry on its purpose through personnel changes,” Schaffer explains. “When formulating a strategy, be sure to look at the implications it will have on all of your internal stakeholders and include them in the planning.”
Here, Schaffer shares 11 essential components of a comprehensive social media strategy: