One of the sections in my recently updated free social media primer highlights some questions that I think need answering before diving head first into the social media landscape. There’s probably many more questions that I could add to this list. Please feel free to add what you think is missing…
Why do you want to use social media? While I think that many companies should exploit the numerous benefits that social media marketing (dubbed relations) affords them, there are equally as many companies who should stay clear from the medium. Determine what the underlying goal is and why social media should be used to achieve same before you continue.
Which department will social media become a vertical to? Often it’s the technical department that gets the thumbs up. But think carefully. The Marketing and PR departments are generally the creative, content–driven folk who hold the key to any company’s target market. This is at the soul of any social media strategy! Also, I think that a well executed social media strategy is a result of an integrated approach.
Is the company ready for social media engagement? Often so much blue tape exists within corporate society that we forget that it’s not conducive to the pace–of–lightning speed that social media is. Determine beforehand what processes need to be in place for your engagement to be real and timely.
Is your company ready for the honest feedback that exists on the Internet about your company or brand, and if so is the business ready to make positive changes to the business as a result thereof? This includes having access to senior management — even Exco level — so that they’re aware of what’s happening in the space.
What part of the bottom line are you hoping to improve on with social media? This is a biggie. You see, I’m all for brand positioning. It’s important. But it generally costs a lot of money and on its own does very little to a business’ profit margins. Social media, like any other online marketing channel, needs to be used for the purpose of generating leads. Sure, the approach may be different but there needs to be a financial target. It’s that simple. Anything less is fluff.
Have you got access to target social media communities that you can rely on to launch a blogger or social network seed campaign? Being able to reach out to influential online networkers with a large following is important to accelerating a campaign and its message into the social media community.
Speaking of bloggers, are you aware that social media goes beyond bloggers and blogging? Often a company will jump on the blog bandwagon not realising that other social media channels do exist that could offer far more value to both your business and customers. Do the research. Call someone in. Make informed decisions.
Have you experimented and ideally succeeded with a SEO campaign? Because search is the lifeblood of online traffic, it is important to understand the fundamentals of search and optimisation to reap the benefits across online marketing disciplines, including social media. Similarly, it’s important to be able to make sense of quantitative and qualitative metrics.