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Building a Social Media Machine and Strategy

Business and media worldwide are working hard in the questions and challenges that Social Media brought with it. Web evolved from a close network of IPs into a web wide open system where Search and Social Media environment have overthrown almost everything and it is irreversible to have a strategy and to create a social media machine if you are a business. And this bring a lot of concerns how to manage a social media strategy and how to behave on a Social media world.

The first question to ask: does having a social media strategy make sense for your business? I do recommend you ask this seriously before getting into any type of social media strategy and even deeper before you create any kind of activity. Social media strategy is worthless unless it’s accompanied by a committed company culture. Social Media is not just having a Twitter or a Facebook fan page. It is about brand strategy, messaging content, customer service, consumer relation, product placement, sales, marketing, communication and PR. So it is something that deals with the whole strategy of any business.

Social Media can only be successful or a strong set of tools when a company is committed in a clear internal corporative social responsibility. Only then a company can figure out how to engage with their customers and employees. Becoming a player in Social Media is different from being a leader in social media use. It implies being innovative and avoiding prejudice or mis judgement. Most of all it deals with a lot of sensible area so think, research, discuss how to manage it.

Industries such as the financial services, banking, pharmaceutics, have been facing incredible challenges and some flaws. And they need to move faster if they want to understand and engage with their customers. Independent of a business being a small or a big corporation, it is key to acknowledge the implications of social media. Web 2.0 and social media encourage interaction, collaboration, and engagement.

For many consumers it’s now an expected part of the communication, branding and marketing mix. If a business is not in the social media arena it is not in any place. That business simple does or will not exist. The challenge thus is to adapt corporative cultures, communication, PR and marketing strategies to meet the needs of the users, the prosumers who are completely engaged online and in social media as a natural thing. This is the key engage, rather than simple provide the closed one way communication service offerings designed as in the past.

ESOC's Control Room
Image via Wikipedia

Any web, social and online media strategy has to consider business objectives, organizational readiness, consumer online habits, IT infrastructure and messaging. And, social media needs to be an integrated part of a given company entire service offering. Social media strategy only makes sense when it is holistic. Thus it must interplay with all other channels in order to add value.

Some specific advice for those just getting into social media:

  1. Map your target audience and see what they are saying and tweeting about.
  2. Know exactly what you want to message about your corporation, your employees, your policies, your products, you brand, you management, your competitors
  3. Use web trend tools and social media platforms that are specific to your industry.
  4. Visualize your process over the short, medium and long term.
  5. Get your legal, compliance, corporate communications, top management department involved in your company’s social media strategy.
  6. Develop an internal social media policy to guide your company efforts. Be prepared and have a plan.
  7. Be intelligent about how you behave online as actions are saved for eternity.
  8. Remember that consumers are now prosumers and stay where they find trust. You can build trust through social media.
  9. Use technologies that engage and adapt to a changing environment.
  10. Content is key to engage people and it is going to be most critical going forward.
  11. Incorporate video, new media. This is underused and is a great way to communicate your messages.

Social media has real advantages for your business. Use it and you can create an amazing viral impact, generate huge opportunities and achieve your internal and external goals. But as anything be wise and do your homework!

Some links and resources for your research:

Jeremiah Owyang SF, Silicon Valley, Industry Analyst Altimeter Group one of my favorite analysts that has been writing and researching about social media strategy. Follow him, research his blog and you will find a substantial amount of exceptional resources.
List of Corporate Social Strategists for 2011

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