Are You Behind When It Comes To Building A Corporate Social Media Strategy?
By Shelby Jacobs, Social Media Project Manager, PRIME Research
Recently, I attended a conference on traditional and social media best practices for PR and other media professionals. I went with an idea in mind that these social media presentations would have evolved since the sessions I attended on the same topic nearly four years ago; that fellow professionals from well-known corporations in the audience would be far beyond the ‘get on Facebook, get onTwitter’s stage and ready for more advanced social media measurement techniques spanning all available social channels.
To my surprise, and frankly to my relief, many companies continue towork towards the inauguration of strategic social media profiles –from established channels such as Facebook and Twitter, to sites like Pinterest, LinkedIn andWeibo. With that said,the rest of this post relates two key questions for you to consider before jumping onto every social network.
1) To Blog or Not to Blog?
This should not be a question. Every single industry expert (from small organizations to large) continues to express to their audiences the importance of starting and maintaining a blog.
· SEO – drive traffic to your website by using relevant keywords and adding fresh content often; understand and craft content that will boost your search rankings on search engines like Bing and Google.
· Expertise – craft content containing non-salesy messaging which can be shared with customers and relevant influencers to prove credibility and build relationships. In addition, by writing and publishing strong, valuable content, your readers are more likely to share and link back to your blog (also leading to more power for your website in the ‘eyes’ of search engines).
· Audience Management – collect contact information from your readers by enabling a subscription option to receive new posts or a weekly newsletter.
· Unique Content –going to drill this point home, if you are producing unique content, you will have something interesting and new to share across your social media profiles.
If you are wondering how to fit blogging into your schedule, take a look at this post from blogger and digital marketing professional, Heidi Cohen.
Recommended platforms for blogging: WordPress.com, Tumblr.com
2) Which social channels will best meet your marketing and communication objectives?
With so many social channels being touted on a daily basis, which one(s) can bring your audience the most value?
Top Social Channels:
· Facebook – a top social network. Facebook can be used for several reasons including: serving as a basic company information platform, testimonial generation, customer service, connecting with your audience on daily basis, hosting contests and promotions, sharing brand produced content. Facebook also offers a Facebook page analytics platform so you can gather data about your audience and engagement efforts.
· Twitter –also a top social network; recently launched basic Twitter follower and timeline analytics. A key strength of twitter is its advanced search capability which allows you to find and connect with users based on specific topics/keyword criteria; great for influencer research. Twitter is also known for its strong public interaction capabilities; e.g. customer service, highly accessible influencers, efficient Q&A with target audiences.
· Pinterest –fastest growing social network; Pinterest is currently known to cater more to a female audience, but there is definitely many opportunities to target the male audience with the right strategy. This network offers the ability to search and uncover your target audience’s world – typically via images, sometimes video. Uncover user hobbies, shopping interests, travel dreams, topics they seek more education on and more. Pinterest is being lauded as a reliable traffic driver to websites –of course this works best if your brand’s pins (a.k.a. shared content) on Pinterest truly does resonate with your audience and tells a story they want to associate themselves with.
· LinkedIn –popular network with a more professional atmosphere; LinkedIn offers not only a platform for recruiting but also a more formal community for initiating and nurturing relationships with individuals of interest; join niche groups to connect with key people on a regular basis (post engaging questions; share and interact with content). LinkedIn company profiles enable users to quickly find information about your company, products and employees.
· Instagram –popular application that is based on user generated photography, optional filters and follower ‘likes’; an engaging app for visual storytelling. Instagram offers brand’s the ability to crowd source branded/company-related captioned images using the search feature as well as the opportunity to take a peek into the lives of your audiences.
· YouTube –top video sharing network; YouTube allows users to upload and store video content (similar site to check out: Vimeo). When a user posts a video with strong keyword descriptions, they gain SEO power which will ultimately drive traffic to their content. YouTube provides its users with analytics to track video success. When developing video content, it is important to test for high audio and picture quality and keep the video brief, around 30 seconds long if possible. Strategize content carefully – really think about what would be of the most value for the audience you are trying to reach. Is there an interview with a person of interest you could publish? Do you have a how-to you could present?
Other social media channels to consider (but not limited to): FourSquare, Flickr, Yelp, Google+, Bebo,Orkut, Tagged, Meetup, Vine, Sonico (Latin America), Zing, (Vietnam), Cyworld (Korea), Mixi (Japan),Sina Weibo/QZone/RenRen (China).
Where can your audience find you across social media? Are you still trying to figure out objectives and how you will monitor your efforts? Or are you ready to take your current efforts to the next level?
Questions? Thoughts? Connect with PRIME Research Social Media Project Manager, Shelby Jacobs at Jacobs@prime-research.com or on Twitter @ShelbyJac or Linkedin.
About Shelby Jacobs
As a Social Media Project Manager at PRIME Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Shelby Jacobs provides social media management, analytics and actionable insights to some of the world’s most recognizable and socially active companies. PRIME Research is an award-winning global provider of social and traditional media monitoring, engagement, analytics and consultation. Learn more at www.prime-research.com.