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Social Media in Marketing – Assignment 4<br />SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY<br />There is a lot of literature about “effective and successful” social media strategies. The good thing is that most sources agree to each other and are not total contrary in their opinions concerning this topic. In this short report I would like to sum up my findings and give a short explanation to the different steps in a social media strategy.<br />To begin with the term “strategy” was originally Greek and is said to be a “method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem” and to be the “art and science of planning and marshalling resources for their most efficient and effective use”. (Business Dictionary)<br />Many companies have detected the use of social media for themselves: Due to a survey conducted by Burson-Marsteller in February 2011, 84% of Fortune 100 firms are using at least one of the four most popular social media platforms – Twitter (77%), Facebook (61%), YouTube (57%) or a corporate blog (36%). But only a few have actually detected and understood the opportunities and possibilities social media brings along and use it in an efficient and effective way. Those few make use of social media in order to build a stronger and more personal relationship with their customers by “listening, responding, conversing and learning”. In addition, the number of companies who use social media as a communication tool within their company to communicate with the own employees also increases. The aim is to improve not only internal communication but also collaboration, corporate knowledge management and the chance to have a better and easier access to fresh ideas and talents.<br />(Mortleman, 2011, p.8)<br />In order to achieve all of that, companies have to have a proper social media strategy. There are several steps to be considered which will be discussed in the following.<br />Determine Goals: <br />Determining goals and objectives is always a good start: If a company decides to use social media as part of their marketing and communication and in order to strengthen their relationship with their customers, it is important to decide what should be achieved by using it. Companies should identify their goals and furthermore should try to have a clear vision about where they want to go and how they are going to get there. <br />Do Research:<br />Doing research can be the major key to success: A company should probably start with finding out what capacity and resources there are currently available within its network. That can include knowledge of the staff, experience with the different social media tools or previous work experience of the business´ employees with the topic.<br />Moreover benchmarking is very essential. To look at competitor´s social media actions can be very helpful and revealing and can give the company some hints and impulse for their own social media usage in the future.<br />Last but not least, doing research about the future visitors and users (= customers) is of major importance. To attract the customers and therefore be a successful social media user, the company should be aware of who actually is going to be its audience - the market which should be targeted - and subsequently should find out about its audience´s preferences and habits when it comes to social media use. In addition to that, determining the kind of relationship the company aims to have with its audience should be done before doing any further implementation steps.<br />Identify Technologies:<br />Using the appropriate technologies is another essential step of a social media´s success. On the one hand that decision depends on the kind of audience the company is striving for. On the other hand the company should chose platforms and other social channels which fit to the company´s culture.<br />Identify what Success will look like:<br />Before businesses start using social media for beneficial purposes, they might decide on the question what success would actually mean to them. They should really think about this important term beforehand in order to describe and characterize it properly. If a company does not know exactly what demands it has as to be satisfied, its social media use is not going to be successful.<br />Marketing:<br />What is the point in trying to build a social media relationship with the company´s customers if nobody actually knows about it? In order to make people know about your social media actions, a business should create a proper marketing concept.<br />Further Implementation:<br />The platform used should always reflect the brand identity and should be designed unique and special, but not overloaded or too complex. If the company has the intention to be active in more than one social media channels, all of those have to be aligned into one workflow even though every platform, tool or action should have its own identity and goal.<br />Decide on how the company is going to handle the social media platform used by scheduling and doing resource management. Sometimes even extra staff is needed in order to run the company´s social media platforms successfully. It is always good to have a plan B and C. Think about proper reactions to success, or in case of negative development, also consider plans for failures. A well-thought-out and mature response to negative comments and feedback is of great importance.<br />Develop Relationships and Involvement:<br />Once a business company started using social media, it should really spend time on it. That does not only mean keeping the different platforms updated on a regular basis, but also means dealing with the comments and opinions the audience might give. Try to join as many conversations as possible and give feedback to other´s posts. Be patient with negative feedback and take it as a chance to improve your company. Be thankful for all the feedback you get and take the chance to learn from the audience in order to make it better. Always listen, report what you hear and then reply to it. If a company keeps these few simple steps in mind, it will be able to easily develop – and strengthen relationships with its customers. The more traffic a company has on its different social media channels like blogs and websites, the better the company is off. So make sure that your audience keeps growing constantly.<br />Measure and evaluate Results and then improve through them:<br />
In order to fully benefit from social media actions, a business should not only seriously consider – but also track, monitor and measure everything what the company itself, and the users and visitors do on the social web. With help of that, measurements can be made and results can be drawn and evaluated. It is important that companies find the appropriate measures for the feedback they receive so that they have the chance to entirely improve from it. After the evaluation process the business should try to adapt the innovations in an efficient way.
Sources<br />Baer, J. 2009. Convince&Convert. Social Media Strategy in 7 Steps: The 7 Steps to Creating a Social Media Strategy. URL: http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-marketing/develop-a-social-media-strategy-in-7-steps/. Quoted: 8.10.2011.<br />Business Dictionary. URL: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/strategy.html.<br />Quoted: 7.10.2011.<br />Circle, A. 2011. Library Journal: 6 Steps to Build A Social Media Strategy. URL: http://blog.libraryjournal.com/bubbleroom/2011/02/17/6-steps-to-build-a-social-media-strategy/. Quoted: 8.10.2011.<br />Falls, J. 2011. Social Media Explorer: Social Media Strategy in Four Steps. URL: http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy-in-four-steps/. Quoted: 8.10.2011.<br />Garcia, I. 2010. socialmediatoday: Implementing a Social Media Strategy Step-By-Step. URL: http://socialmediatoday.com/isra-garcia/253773/implementing-social-media-strategy-step-step-diagram. Quoted: 8.10.2011.<br />Lübcke, B. 2009. Slideshare: Erste Schritte für Ihre Social Media Strategie. URL: http://www.slideshare.net/bluebcke/erste-schritte-fr-ihre-social-media-strategie. Quoted: 8.10.2011.<br />Mortleman, J. 2011. Computer Fraud & Security: Social Media Strategies. Vol. 2011, No. 5., pp. 8-11.<br />Schock, W. 2010. Marketing in Communitys and Social Networks: Social Media Strategie – Bestandteile und Prozesse. URL: http://www.i-marketing-net.com/social-networks/social-media-strategie-bestandteile-und-prozesse/. Quoted: 8.10.2011.<br />Shin, N. 2010. Social Media Examiner: 7 Steps For a Successful Social Media Strategy. URL: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/7-steps-for-a-successful-social-media-strategy/. Quoted: 8.10.2011.<br />Ward, A. S. 2009. Socialbrite: 5 steps to a successful social media strategy. URL: http://www.socialbrite.org/2009/08/20/5-steps-to-a-successful-social-media-strategy/. Quoted: 8.10.2011.<br />