Organisations regularly come to me for advice on setting up or maintaining a presence on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter; however, when it comes down to it, I always explain it should be the last thing on their mind.
It’s not that I think that Facebook or Twitter is the wrong choice for a business, more that the technology employed as part of a social media strategy is really the last consideration in a much wider process.
The first question I ask is “What was your reason for selecting Facebook over any other site?” closely followed by “…and what do you hope to achieve by using it?” More often than not the answer received relates to what the competition is doing, or an expectation they feel placed on them by all the hype and coverage surrounding social networks. It is seldom related back to achieving specific objectives for the business.
This is not confined to my one to one dealings with clients either. In my presentations to businesses I am often asked why I do not spend more time on the practical elements of using Twitter or Facebook. Why do I spend so much time on the theory, the ideas, rather than specific guidance on using particular services?
When it comes down to it, it’s all a matter of strategy.
Now a strategy all sounds very ‘blue-sky’, but in reality it’s just a name given to the process of assessing a market opportunity and putting forward a clear roadmap for delivering on a set of organisational objectives, using the resources available. It takes into consideration aspects such as the competition, the organisation’s market position and any existing relationship with consumers and wider stakeholders.
There are those who say you don’t need a strategy to use social media for your business, they’re of course right. You only need a strategy if you would like to achieve a specified set of organisational objectives through the use of social media services. Using them is relatively easy, getting the results you want can be a different matter.
The process I follow with clients builds upon the Forrester POST method, widely accepted as the industry standard, and takes a customer through the various stages necessary to develop a comprehensive set of actions for implementation. At the very end of this process is any decision to use Facebook, Twitter, or indeed any other social media service.
The decision to use one platform over another follows consideration of all the different factors: community, aims and objectives and resources. Prior to selecting the specific platforms a general approach is defined. Once these elements are in place the decision to use Facebook or Twitter is a relatively simple one. More importantly, the impetus for a client to allocate resources to their upkeep is a simple one.
On the other hand, those who start with the technology up-front, often find themselves dedicating a lot of time and energy to their Facebook or Twitter accounts in the early stages, only to find the results disappointing. This leads them to question whether their customers are really using these sites, whether there is any business to be done and whether dedicating time and energy into this activity is really worth it.
So before you rush to setup your Twitter, Facebook or other account, think: What would you like to achieve? What is the value of achieving that aim for your business? What resources are you willing to dedicate to achieving it? Define your approach first, add the technology later.
Do you agree or disagree, let me know by posting a comment in the box below. If you would like help in developing your own social media strategy please get in touch.
- If I were you, I wouldn’t start from here. ( January 7, 2019 )
- Remarketing as a strategy and not a tactic ( August 31, 2016 )
- Proactive or reactive. Which best describes your marketing? ( August 17, 2016 )
- Are your social media efforts a waste of money? ( July 23, 2016 )
- Conversion Tracking: The Key to Measuring Your Results on Facebook ( July 14, 2016 )