As digital strategist people often times come to me to ask advice about some social media matter that concerns their campaign. The thing is often they have already decided on the solution before meeting with me. Why is this a problem? Well, most of the times they do not even know why they should be building a website or launching a new social profile. They have simply decided that this is the answer without considering exactly what the problem is they are trying to solve.
This is not an uncommon issue. There are countless times when I have come into departments that have started using a social media platform with little understanding of how they intend to use it and they subsequently found themselves trying to think of how they can use these tools. The existence of the social media tool has become a problem that needs resolving rather than a solution to an existing problem.
What are your goals?
The potential uses of social media are wide and varied. When you decide to use a platform you should create a compelling vision. Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and create a compelling story to support the page. It’s up to you to “sell” your vision to get others to pay attention. Without a clear goal you will have no direction or clear understanding of how to use social media and no way of measuring the impact and determining your success.
Who is your audience?
Determining your goals will help you to better define your audience and enable you to target your communications and select the right social media platform to reach these individuals, communicate the issues and influence them.
Understand the investment of time
People will join you because they want to feel like they are part of the cause. If you don’t create that community, your fans will have no reason to stick around.
If you’re not going to interact with others, there’s no need to be on Facebook. From a user perspective, the site was built for people to see and interact. You have to be willing to regularly devote time to moderating comments, answering questions and updating content if you want your page, cause or campaign to be a success.
Most departments have limited capacity to engage with traditional media itself and since social media demands a deeper and constant interaction, availability of such resources is even more limited. When you are considering using social media you should consider carefully if you have the resources to properly manage and deliver content.
Who will manage and engage
An associated question is that of authority. Since using social media is a resource intensive exercise, it is important to ensure that roles and responsibilities are clearly marked out very early. Blogs that haven’t been updated in months can make your agency look incompetent and disorganised. The same can be said of Facebook and Twitter accounts that don’t get updated. So it is important to assign responsibilities and distribute the workload among the community manager who has overall responsibility for the social media account, and content creators and curators, account administrators, and content providers with expert knowledge about issues.
A closely related subject is that of content planning. This is quite obvious, but without valuable content you will never be able to persuade visitors to share your content. It can be helpful to consider what types of content you plan to share and identify opportunities such as events or activities that you plan to publish through social media.
Creating good content can be time consuming, but hopefully your organisation already produces fantastic content for you to share, but it is also important to offer content on your social sites that is not available elsewhere.
Creating a content schedule will enable you to plan your content delivery and will help to ensure that a variety of quality content will be dispersed through all channels in a controlled and organised way.