Mark Cameron Columnist

Mark is CEO and head strategist at Working Three, a strategic digital consultancy that specialises in commercialising social media activity. He works with some of Australia's, and the world's, largest and most innovative companies to create a clear picture of the new market forces, and business model disruption, being driven by social media.

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Four essential social media strategies

Published 30 October 2012 06:17, Updated 21 November 2012 08:44

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Four essential social media strategies

While many businesses are still grappling with the longer term implications others are forging ahead with developing social business strategies which are beginning to change the way businesses operate.

An MIT Sloan Management survey of global business executives shows that 86 per cent of managers think “social business” strategies and tactics will be vital in the next few years. The findings show the areas of greatest change would be in “managing customer relationships” and “innovating for competitive differentiation”.

With the rise of social CRM (customer relationship management) and the feverish talk around big data, there is little argument that social media offers unprecedented access to market data. What’s more, the space is still immature so the full impact of social media communication combined with marketing automation is yet to be fully realised.

While many businesses are still grappling with the longer-term implications, others are developing social business strategies. As a result best practice principles are starting to emerge.

  1. Go “social first” – Social media platforms give companies new ways of engaging and surprising their markets and stakeholders. Because of the data that can be generated in the process, qualified leads can be nurtured. Marketing may lead the drive but a holistic strategy will look at all internal and external e-communication channels and techniques. With this in mind, it is vital to get the big picture of your brand’s digital strategy tied down early. Attempting to add social media as an after thought simply won’t work – and with the pace of change in this area mistakes can be costly.
  2. Find and distribute amazing content – The core is the content. Great social media content is unique and should invite the viewer to engage. Focus on the quality of what you create before addressing the frequency.
  3. Make data real-time and accessible – Activity can create enormous quantities of data through which you can develop deep insights. But if you want your staff to take action they need to be able to see the information that is vital to their jobs in as near to real time as possible.
  4. Develop a social culture – Probably the most important factor for success is to develop a culture that embraces social media and digital innovation. Embrace collaboration and interaction. Look for the stars in your business and encourage the “digital natives” to spend time teaching those who are less comfortable communicating online.

It’s now essential to get a well formed social media strategy in place. Focus on best practice techniques, and ensure metrics are aligned with broader business objectives, and a return on that effort can be assured.