Thursday, 15 December 2016

A Framework for Developing Your Company‟s Social Media Strategy

Just like every startup should have some form of a business plan, every company embarking into the world of social media should have some form of a social media strategy. While the tools used to achieve results on social media are important, they are merely objects in a toolkit. Ultimately, tricks and hacks for various social media tools are merely tactics to achieve a strategy; that‟s why we start with the strategy and then dive into the tools.

The framework for developing a social media strategy consists of threepotential functions: public relations and marketing, sales, and customer services.


Social media can be used to further goals within just one of these three functions, two these functions, or a company could use social media to satisfy the needs of all three of these functions. Thesethree functions feed each other in a cycle, and companies can create a fairly comprehensive social media strategy by taking each into consideration.

Public Relations and Marketing

This section talks specifically about using social media to build brand awareness and as a viral marketing tool. In this section, you‟ll find answers to questions like:

How do I find my audience?

How do I get the word out?

What is a viral marketing campaign?

What are the components of a viral marketing campaign?

What are some tricks that help sites, posts, and videos go viral?

Brand Awareness

If your company is small, brand awareness is one of the most important and difficult things you can do. The only way to create brand awareness on social media is to find your audience and get the word out!

Find your audience

Very few social media tools will work for every company; however, if your company is just starting out with social media, you can find plenty of people by sticking to the biggest social media sites. Generally, the strategy for finding an audience is looking for groups of people with similar interests to keywords that make sense for your company. The following places are a great place to start looking for your audience:

Facebook and MySpace (and any social networking sites) – Look for your audience by searching for groups that are directly related to your product or service. You can also look for fan pages that are related to your competitors‟ products or services. For

example, if your company sold vampire teeth, you might look at fans of the Twilight series. The same techniques you use for Facebook also work for MySpace, except MySpace uses groups and does not have fan pages.

Twitter (and any social messaging utilities) – Look up each of your competitors on Twitter – the people following your competitors are likely going to be interested in your Twitter feed as well. Similarly, people following anyone with the same topics as you are potential followers. For example, if you are marketing sports products, a company that sells college recruiting services to athletes would be a good audience. You can also use keyword searches at to find people who are tweeting about your keywords.

Google and Yahoo groups (and any email list groups) – Google groups is a wonderful place to find your audience. Furthermore, each of Google‟s groups comes with an email list and you can send emails and messages to the members of the group. Yahoo has a similar service with similar features.

Ning or MeetUp (and any user-created social networking sites) – Ning is an underutilized resource for finding an audience. Often, you can find fan sites or sites built around products and services that are similar to yours. Furthermore, Ning is a great place for companies to create a presence around their products. MeetUp is slightly different in that it allows people to network with people in their area that they meet online. MeetUp is wonderful tool for finding an audience locally, or by location, and/or organizing company-sponsored events.

LinkedIn (and any professional networking sites) – LinkedIn is a great resource for individuals marketing services or companies that market primarily B2B. You can find groups and subgroups based around interests, professional function, and/or companies. There is also LinkedIn Answers where you can answer questions from potential clients and build a following that way.

StumbleUpon, Digg, and (and any social bookmarking sites) –You can find an audience on StumbleUpon by looking for people who are subscribed to your keywords. Digg also divides its link submissions into categories, which can be found at the top of every page. is a bookmarking site that allows users to create their own tagging system, so you can find people by searching tags for your keywords.

AllTop and Technorati (and any blog tracking sites) – AllTop has a search function that allows you to find topical pages that list all the blogs within that topic. Technorati sorts blogs by user-defined tags as well. Search for your keywords on these two sites to find all the bloggers who write about your topic – each will have build a community of people around their blogs.

Get the word out

When it‟s time to get the word out, your company must communicate clearly what it‟s all about. Here are some questions to consider:

How will your product or service help the end-consumer?

What are the features of your product or service?

What are the benefits of using your product or service?

How is your product an improvement over other solutions or ways of doing things?

How is your product or service different from direct competitors?

What can the end-consumer gain by connecting with your company via social media?

Too often, companies believe that everyone understands what their product or service does, when really that‟s not the case. Social media is a medium where you may encounter people who are not in your industry or have never seen your product, especially if it‟s a new invention. If your company can find a way to answer these questions on social media, the company will get much higher brand awareness because people are more likely to share information that they understand.