It's the first question we ask but one of the last things we should answer before execution. But that's pretty tough. Budgets need to be allocated, management needs to be bought in and a plan needs to be in place before anything can move forward. It's a difficult situation.
It's difficult, but that's the commitment required for social media marketing success. It's the difference between approaching social media like a broadcast channel or an engagement platform, another thing to cross off the checklist or action that delivers on business objectives and executing only to find that you need to pause because someone wasn't brought in or moving forward strategically and showing success across the organization.
Brands often jump into social media marketing blind and try to figure it out as they go, but that's the most effective way to spend a lot of time going nowhere. Before too long, they’ll find themselves questioning whether or not this social media thing is really worth it after all.
The answer is that it probably is. The approach is the issue. Social media marketing success, like any other form of marketing, is the outcome of taking a deliberate approach and taking the time upfront for planning. It should never be off-the-cuff.
Social Media Isn't Cookie Cutter
No brand comes to social media with the same baggage, same assets or same customers. Every brand is different, unique and needs to approach social media with that mindset. Brands that take the time to understand where they are and where they should go will discover the unique benefits social media can deliver for them, instead of just trying to do the same thing as everyone else.
This understanding starts by assessing the social ecosystem to discover who's talking, why they're talking, what they're saying and where they're saying it. This could unlock a great deal of insight that can be used to understand where the brand can go. This can also help focus the brand on its vision for social media, goals and how social media can deliver on overall business objectives. It also helps brands understand the existing threats and opportunities in the space, so they can properly prepare and leverage what they already have.
Social Media Is for the Long-Term
No brand will enter its first foray into social media and see immediate short-term results. The best case studies out there occur after the brand has done the work upfront and started to invest. The value of social media is not in the short-term. It comes over weeks, months and years after the brand has proven itself as a resource for its customers.
There's no point in getting caught up with "turning on social media" right now because the big payoff won't occur right now. Take the time to invest and set-up for long-term success.
Social Media's About Being Relevant, Not Present
Your customers don't care if you’re using social media. They couldn't care less. What they do care about is whether or not your brand is relevant to them and their lives. Brands consumers want to connect with through social channels deliver value beyond being present. They enrich their customers’ lives in one way or another. Take the time upfront to understand the story your brand has to tell, the people who are going to care and the channels best positioned to convey that story.