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Have You Got the Right Social Media Strategy?

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Have You Got the Right Social Media Strategy?

This article was first published in Real Business Magazine, 8 May 2014.  

In the past few years, business leaders seem to have accepted that social media is one of the most important channels in terms of communicating with your target audience. Recent data revealed that as much as 77% of Fortune 500 companies were active on Twitter in 2013 and 70% had Facebook pages. Now it seems most Managing Directors are coming round to the idea that if their target audience is going social, maybe they should too.

However, while it is important to make regular contact with your customer base, this is unlikely to be effective if the content you’re producing is not in itself engaging. For example, if you are using your Twitter and Facebook accounts simply to post details about the company that aren’t necessarily relevant to your customers, after a while you may find that this content is ignored, no matter how regularly it’s updated.

So how do we achieve this?
The solution largely falls down to the people strategy of your communications department. For example, it has been known for businesses to react to the rise of social media by hiring graduates and placing them in charge of social media on the basis that they, as members of Generation Y or ‘digital natives’, are the most proficient with social media. While this may be successful in terms of producing a high quantity of material, if you delegate this role purely to someone who is relatively removed from the corporate world, you will find it harder to get your corporate messages across.

In order to produce the most effective content, your social media strategy needs to be driven by an experienced senior communications professional, who can combine business acumen with an understanding of the online world. In effect, it is vital that your digital strategy is aligned with your corporate objectives in order to get the best results.

If social media really is such an important channel, as many businesses are now discovering, then it is vital that this is managed by a professional who knows the business inside out. The rise of social media allows us to project our messages further, but it is becoming a more competitive space. Therefore, it is even more important that we get this message right, and it is extremely difficult to get this across without a genuine understanding of the company’s wider corporate strategy.

Julia Meighan, Chief Executive, VMA GROUP