Like a crisp blazer or your favorite LBD, there are a few elements of social media strategy that will never go out of style. You may be able to expand your audience with a shiny, new platform, but you’ll need to remain true to an essential, classic staple: your business plan.
By Lindsey Cook, Content Manager, PCI.
Social Media Style: Keep Up With Trends, But Stay True to a few Classics
Technology moves fast. It’s here. It’s now. It’s gone. It’s wait-a-second; you’re already behind. So, if you manage your company’s social media presence, you may find yourself a slave to keeping up with the latest online trends.
Like any devoted New York Fashion Week attendee, it’s important to keep up with trends. But, just as you may never again be able to make that fringe crop top or patchwork jacket happen, your organization may never be able to make Meerkat happen in a way that’s effective.
If you’re having a hard time determining which social media platforms will fit with your organization’s business plan, ask yourself the following questions.
Can I measure ROI?
Do you invest in a few quality fashion pieces because you know they can be worn season after season? The same goes from social media. Nobody has the bandwidth for something that doesn’t reap a return. So, define qualitative and quantitative goals for each of your social media platforms that fit your organization’s business plan. There are great tools like Salesforce Radian6, Twitter Analytics, or Quintly that can help you track engagement and conversions. If something’s not working, reassess your strategy or focus on improving the quality of your content on the platforms that are reaping return.
Can I reach my target audience?
It’s all about that data, baby. Just as you make different fashion choices for various occasions in life, you should customize your organization’s social media presence to fit your target audience. Check out resources like the Pew Research Center’s Internet, Science, & Tech reports for research on where your target audience is hanging out online. Many social media efforts are one-way conversations. It’s organizations that are able to break the barrier and create environments for robust engagement and dialogue, like GoPro on YouTube, Wells Fargo on LinkedIn, or Lowe’s on Vine, that are truly successful.
What’s the competition doing?
Even if you have a unique eye for fashion, someone has always worn an outfit similar to yours. So, scope out your competition. No thought is 100% original. I’m not endorsing intellectual property infringement, but all innovative ideas derive from a little inspiration. Are you considering a Vine account? The work has been done for you! Check out your competitor’s account, and do an analysis of what’s working and what’s not working. Wise people save time and resources by learning from the mistakes of others.
Can I differentiate my organization with quality content?
Does your audience do a double take when they see your organization’s social media platforms? I did when I checked out GE’s Instagram account. Have you ever seen energy look more exciting? So many big brands weave throughout our daily lives that we only passively engage with most of them. Just as fashion enables people to express there personality or mood, GE is taking Instagram by the horns and creating its own identity. And with over 183k followers, they must be doing something right!
The bottom line: Just because you’re jumping on the latest social media bandwagon, you shouldn’t ditch your business plan. Social media platforms should enhance your organization’s storytelling and enable you to engage your audience. I’m not saying you shouldn’t think outside the box, but you should marry your organization’s business plan with your social media strategy. If that’s not possible with a specific platform, it’s time to move on.