Success Factors for a Social Business Strategy
Social media is becoming indispensable to many companies who use it both to gain exposure and promote their business and/or products. Ironically, all too often company’s social media strategies are simply not being linked to their business objectives and vision. Charging ahead with a social media plan without considering your businesses’ priorities and goals can create dissonance among team members and decision makers, and in the future, it will become more difficult to stand by your social media strategy.
According to a recent survey, only 12% of companies have a plan that they can work with after the next year and only half of their top company executives were aligned, engaged or informed on their companies’ social media strategy. Here are some tips that will help you prioritize your social media planning to benefit your business and ensure all parties are on board.
Define Your Company’s Overall Goals
Explore how a strategy for social media can create an ancillary or direct impact on your business objectives. Understanding what its purpose is and what goals you are trying to achieve is paramount.
Establish a Vision for the Long-Term
Define a vision for how you can become a successful social business. What values you want to promote to your customers and the general public? What opportunities do you want to create? What problems can and will you solve for them? Is your vision to educate, engage or entertain your audiences? Every company will have a different vision for what they hope to accomplish with their social media outreach, so it is important for you to give a great deal of consideration to yours, and how you envision it playing out over the long-term.
Ensure Support from Key Executives
To scale your social media efforts effectively, you will need to ensure you have both the buy-in and support of senior executives. If they haven’t yet realized the impact a successful social network can have on their business, you must communicate the value it can add to their existing customer and stakeholder engagement programs. By outlining how your social media plans will improve consumer experiences and relationships, you can identify opportunities for growth while ensuring alignment with your company’s business priorities and values.
Define a Roadmap for the Strategy and Identify Key Initiatives
Once you have solidified your vision and you have ensured alignment to the company’s business goals, you need a strategy that will bring your vision to life. A social media strategy should look three years into the future and support your goals with the key initiatives that you have identified to be successful.
Establish Guidelines and Governance
Next, you must determine who is going to take day-to-day responsibility for your social media strategy and take the lead in the development of the infrastructure and the staff that will support it. You cannot do it alone, so take help from another senior manager. Form a functional group to assign roles and responsibilities, prioritize the initiatives, tackle the creation of your tactics, and establish working guidelines that will form the basis of your social media plan.
Secure Resources, Staff and Funding
Analyze your resources and what your staffing needs will be over the next 3 years. Cross-train your employees on your purpose behind each initiative, the business value your social media plan is designed to enhance, as well as the key metrics, reporting process and program budget to ensure that you are taking a uniform approach to your social media growth across the various platforms you have identified.
Make Smart Investments in Technology to Support Your Objectives and Vision
Many businesses suffer from ‘shiny object’ syndrome; making investments in new technologies without analyzing how it will optimize or impede their business. There are many great social media management software’s on the market today and any number of them could be integral to your operations, especially from a reporting standpoint. However, resist making any significant investments until you have a better understanding of whether your social technology of choice is enabling or hindering your roadmap to success.
There is a vast difference between social media activity and a deliberate business strategy for social media. Social media is simply an assortment of channels that connects people with information, and people with others, through a two-way platform. On the other hand, a social media strategy is specific to a well-defined audience or network, and corresponds to planned and calculated activity around and within that network. A successful social media strategy should always align with the strategic goals of the business and improve the complete customer and employee experience.