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)

Dave Fleet
Managing Director and Head of Global Digital Crisis at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.