I talk with people all the time about social media for their business and it often moves into what they should do about Twitter, or Facebook or LinkedIn. The key, however, is not the individual tactics of what they want to do with these distribution mediums, but rather their overall communications strategy for generating and distributing their key messages to the right audience. There is a good Gartner post from analyst Scott Nelson addressing this issue titled “The Emphasis in A Social Media Strategy Should be the Strategy.” He had this to say:
“I pointed out that two years ago, if we were having this conversation, we would be talking about Second Life. Last year, we would be talking about MySpace. Next year? Possible XBox Live. The space is in flux and these sites come and go. Too much time worrying about one particular site is going to fail to set you up long term for this inevitable change.”
I agree that there is change taking place and that your company should focus on one site at your own risk. That said, your business shouldn’t wait. There are things your company can do now that will yield benefits to your company’s communications strategy. Here are some trends evolving that businesses would be wise to pay attention to.
- Social media strategy begins with content – Here you should channel Jim Rome and “Have a take and don’t suck!” If you want to be successful it all begins with producing quality content. In my opinion a social media strategy without a blog is like a car without gas. Your blogs are the fuel that keep that strategy going. The same can be said for white papers, contributed articles, and quality commentary on other sites, but nothing replaces the regular quality content of a blog.
- Establish connections with your customers and prospects – Social media is about connection and with a business that should be about getting a conversation going with key customers and prospects. In your communications with them you should invite them to connect with you. Always monitor your brand and respond to comments, both good and bad, on social sites. Look for opportunities to establish a more personal connection to your customers and they will be more likely to be good advocates.
- Coordinate your outreach efforts through multiple mediums – Link your recent tweets on your blog page. Cross post links to new content on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Reply on other blogs and especially if it links to your site.
With these basics, you should be prepared for whatever the popular social medium may be.