A social media marketing strategy is only as successful as its foundation. The foundation must be built upon solid goals and values and follow an overall commitment to the initiative. The goals can be determined based on the company business goals and the values must be part of the core. When it comes to social media, there are values that exist that will either make or break a social strategy.
The general commitment of a successful strategy is that a company and/or person must agree to be:
Being honest means being straight forward and promoting reality. A social media outlet should never promote something that does not exist at a company, such as a fabricated internal environment or a false perception.
Relevant means keeping up to date with current trends and pop culture and using those ideas to leverage campaigns or updates.
Being valuable refers to providing great content users will be inclined to read, share and that will prompt them to engage through your intended outlets.
Committed is just that–a commitment to being social must be a priority so the existence in the social space does not go stale. There is no drifting in the world of social media. Being, doing, creating…that is what it is all about.
I find that most companies, with some strategic guidance are able to stick to the first four… it is the last one that gives them trouble.
Good old transparency… So what does it mean to be transparent? The definition I find most fitting is “free from guile; candid or open” (dictionary.com). So companies must make a commitment to be candid and open, which is the gift and the curse of social media.
If a company lacks transparency and has a loyal following, there is no doubt that the loyal followers will find flaws in the company messaging and realize something is being hidden from them. No one likes feeling “played” or like there is something they don’t know.
So how can you be sure you are being transparent?
Have nothing to hide. Transparency is the hardest for companies that cannot be honest due to a dishonest infrastructure. A social media is set on the core values so evaluate your company’s core values before making the commitment.
Decide to disclose all information (and decide which details need to be tweaked). Some good PR control over a company and their external communications will solve the problem of how to say things the right way and what not to say. A company should always be honest when it comes to the larger concepts, but small details might not necessarily need to be general knowledge.
Have a crisis social strategy ready. Be prepared to respond to any crisis issues with not only a traditional crisis plan, but also a social media crisis plan. Since social media is the best way to relay information real-time, it will be your quickest channel to respond to a crisis.
Have fun. Loosen up. Social media is all about sharing information with your users and allowing them to engage and interact. You are opening the doors of knowledge, so be obliging and let the communication flow and share about your company without being nervous users are going to know something they shouldn’t.
Being clear about your social media strategy from the beginning will allow for transparency. Be sure to plan well, follow the values and stop hiding…because if you try to hide, I guarantee they will find you.