Build Your Social Media Strategy With Rocks and Sand

Social media is taking off right now. It’s all over the traditional media; there are books on it being released in every direction, and everyone seems to be on at least one of the various social networks, be it Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace or any other.

Meanwhile, from a business perspective it feels like every company we talk to is at least including social media in its plans; in many cases it’s front and centre.

Some of those companies immediately look for the “quick wins” – campaigns that will get them immediate bang for their buck. In those cases. it can be difficult to explain what I believe to be the truth:

Quick wins are difficult in social media and it’s often ill-advised to seek them. Social media works best as a long-term initiative.

Can of stonesWe occasionally use (and wreck) a ‘rocks and sand’ metaphor when thinking about social media. You can have a jar full of rocks in it, but there are lots of gaps. To truly full it, you need sand to fill them. Social media is similar – you can have lots of big campaigns, but for your efforts to truly pay off you need the ‘sand’ – the long-term foundation that keeps everything in place.

What is that foundation? It’s the infrastructure you build – the policies, training and workflow that keeps things running smoothly. It’s the executive support that lets you move beyond a publicity-based approach. It’s the listening program that lets you identify issues early and learn from ongoing conversation. It’s the ongoing presence that gives you the credibility to maximize those short-term pushes.

Bottom line: it’s the fundamentals.

Try to push ahead with your ‘big rocks’ without the ‘sand’ and you’ll come up short, with holes in your plans.

(Image: Shutterstock)

30 Responses toBuild Your Social Media Strategy With Rocks and Sand

  • Dead on. Social Media is like all other forms of networking. It’s a long-term investment. Traditional networking takes time to build trust. Its online cousins are no different.

  • Dave –
    Absolutely. It’s not just about creating a clever gimmick to gain a zillion Twitter or Facebook followers. It’s a process of building meaningful connections, conversations and long term benefits both for the company and for the customer. I think by the nature of social media, that the medium itself is so fast and instantaneous, some companies think that’s how their social media campaigns should be built.

  • Dave. Great Metaphor. I have been speaking to a lot of companies lately big and small alike. I often tell them that they need a gluestick.

    I am seeing everything from poor internal and external communications as well as multiple social media initiatives that are going on from department to department and the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing. This is a really big problem because consumers, users, fans (whatever you want to call them) are getting confused. When the very people you are trying to attract are confused by the number of “experiments” you are trying you’ll ultimately wind up losing them all together. If you have 3-4-5 departments that want to get involved in Social then those 3-4-5 divisions need to collaborate. Heck do it internally first!

    Either way! Social media can act as a gluestick binding initiatives together. You just need someone at the helm that understands that.


  • great metaphor dave!
    dead on and easy to understand.

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