Six essential shifts in social media strategy

We’ve reached a critical point in the evolution of social media as a business tool. Gone are the days when the GMOOT (Get Me One Of Those) approach will get you anywhere – simply having a Twitter account, or a Facebook Page, isn’t enough. We’re at the point of social media saturation, and something’s got to give.

So began the session description for my recent presentation at BlogWorld New York. The crux: that the days of social media as an experiment are over – it’s time for a more mature approach to social media within companies in order for social media to be viewed as a sustainable communications and business function.

Unfortunately, we’re also at a point where pursuit of the shiny object has reached an extreme, and that this pursuit is conducted within an increasingly transparent fishbowl while armchair critics circle, waiting for the next “fail” from companies.

In this environment, where transparency and scrutiny are paired up with a shift in focus from experimentation to results, and yet where the allure of “the next big thing” persists, companies need to structure and approach social media differently.

My presentation focused on six essential shifts that I see in how many businesses approach social media strategy. Of course, not all companies are in the same situation. Some with mature programs have evolved beyond this stage; some face just a few of these shifts; others face them all:

  1. Moving away from shiny objects and towards social business
    1. Asking “why” to understand demands
    2. Building a social media infrastructure to support the social brand
    3. Taking baby steps in implementation – from crawl, to walk, to run, to fly
  2. Setting better objectives for social media
    1. Setting SMART objectives
    2. Tying back to broader business goals
    3. Staying clear of the “how” and “what” when setting objectives
  3. Measuring effectively against those objectives
    1. Focusing on the right numbers for the audience
    2. Understanding what numbers really mean
    3. Avoiding made-up numbers
    4. Measuring to drive insights alongside determining results
  4. Breaking down silos and integrating across functions
    1. Approaching social media as an integrated function
    2. Breaking-down silos through day-to-day tactics
    3. Integrating through reporting structures, governance and social media organizational models
  5. Planning and executing content more strategically
    1. Considering content objectives
    2. Identifying appropriate content sources
    3. Fine-tuning execution via appropriate content volume, mix and format
  6. Engaging effectively to build relationships and communities of interest
    1. Embracing negative and neutral conversations
    2. Establishing processes to minimize risk

How about you – have you seen companies needing to make these improvements to their social media strategy?

For more on the topic, check out this excellent write-up of my presentation over at SmartBlog for Social Media.

Thanks once again to Rick, Dave, Deb, Shane and the rest of the BlogWorld team for the invitation to speak. This was my fifth BlogWorld presentation, and I always enjoy it. 

  • kevrichard

    Big thumbs up on the measurement piece Dave! The race still continues to reach massive fan counts while people still don’t understand what having these fan bases will do for their business. Moving the industry away from this mind set is going to be a massive up hill battle but something that needs to be done. 

    •  @kevrichard Hi Kev, I agree. Especially with Facebook’s continued focus on engagement over absolute reach, companies need to focus on engaging the people who have opted-in alongside (and perhaps above) growing their fan base. The reality that Facebook won’t let you reach more than a fraction of your fan base without paying really shines a spotlight on that on that platform in particular.
       
      Hope you’re well 🙂

  • Dave’s slides are terrific but it was really special to hear him present as well. I highly recommend the BlogWorld virtual ticket which will give you an audio combo for these slides. I hope to see your sixth BlogWorld presentation in January in Las Vegas Dave.

    •  @LindaSherman Thanks so much, Linda. Really appreciate your kind words, and it was great to see you in New York.

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  • Murrayiz

    Well said. We’ve been talking about this for a long time now; most people are still just focusing on the wrong things. I especially like the ‘Measuring’ section – I’m doing an entire presentation on effective measuring and reporting at Social Media Strategies Summit Miami this week, and it’s not  what people are going to be expecting. 

    •  @Murrayiz Thanks! Are you planning on posting your slides from the Social Media Strategies Summit?

      • Murrayiz

         @davefleet Yes, I am, but my presentations usually have mostly images with little text.  I think they are videoing it, so if I can get a copy I can post that also.

  • jspepper

    Well, there’s the necessary and the reality. Agencies have no vested interest in breaking down silos. 

    •  @jspepper I disagree – my life would be SO much easier if silos were to disappear.
       
      For one, integrated briefs would result in programs that generate better results (hence prolong client relationships). That alone would make it worthwhile. 
       
      As I mentioned during the presentation in New York (but not clearly in the deck), too, integration in measurement also makes it easier to demonstrate the impact of your own programs. 
       
      There are a plethora of reasons why integration makes sense. Yes, there are also reasons why some would like to avoid it, but frankly I wouldn’t want to work for those agencies.

      • jspepper

         @davefleet You work in a rarefied agency, though, where they actually encourage risk taking, outside thinking, blogging and other stuff. And are an independent that doesn’t have to worry about a holding company.
         
        But I think other agencies are still in dog fights and pissing matches with advertising, marketing, SM firms for the budgets. I meant silos in that instance.

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  • I like the point you are making about stepping away from the shiny object. We’ve found that following the next big social media fad isn’t that effective for us (with the limited resources of a VC funded tech startup). Rather, focusing on LinkedIn has garnered us leads every single week. 

    •  @McKay That’s awesome. I’ll take effective over shiny, every time.

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  • Thank you Dave. Good slides and good information. Slide 15 really gives direction. By the way, the slide with the fish in the fish bowl is nice.

    •  @Omni Chaparala – DFW Realties Thanks – glad you like it!

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  • GaryEdgar

    I want to get slide 25 made into a T-shirt and wear it to every “social media-type” convention! It’s glorious.

    •  @GaryEdgar Slide 33 is my favorite 🙂

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  • andreibuspro

    Nice. The slides tell its own story. I like slide 17 and 50.  Geez,thanks for sharing.

    •  @andreibuspro You’re welcome! Glad you like the presentation – thanks

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  • Developing the skill to engage negative social media conversations in a diplomatic manner is one of the harder things to do with the platform. This is especially crucial during times when the brand is dealing with large-scale negative publicity.

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    For me the measurement slides rang true, too often so many have fabricated numbers, inflated them, without being able to show the ROI. The links needs to be shown.