April 4, 2012

The Social Medium: 5 Essentials for Any Social Media Strategy

On Cordova St.

1) Engagement is everything.

Having lots of followers is nice if not overrated, seriously. Sure, it's good and high numbers are appealing, but they can be very misleading. You need to directly access and talk to your followers and audience. Engagement is the true measure of value and success online.

If you have a small following, but it is dedicated and engaged then you're well on your way. Optics and numbers can be unreliable. Engagement means adding value and meaningful content. There are tons of ways to artificially inflate your stats or game and cheat systems. The real value in the amount of overall reach you have

2) Think longterm.

Social media is full of flash in the pans. Here today, gone tomorrow. Sometimes, things just catch fire and there's nothing you can do about it. Hopefully, it's positive and you can just watch the good press come in. If not, you have to go into damage control.

Far too often, folks don't think how ideas, plans, and strategies will look in the long haul. Sure, it's impossible to predict for sure how anything can go (especially online where things move quickly), but you should have a reasonable idea, and thought out expectations.

A ton of hits, press, and value fast and furious is great, but you always want a long lasting, sustained, positive presence and campaign moving forward. Social media is about reliability and consistency.

3) Have substance.

Sufficed to say, if you are going on a media blitz promoting something or constantly selling something, make sure it's good and worth putting in front of an audience and promoting.

Whatever is on the other side of your campaign or strategy should be good. No matter how brilliant an online marketing strategy of campaign, if your product, service, content, or whatever sucks. Well, it just sucks. More eyeballs won't make it better or necessarily more popular.

4) Be thoughtful and thorough.

Make sure you think things through and have some sobre second thought and perspective on your plans. It doesn't need to be flawless or over thought, but it should be thoughtfully planned out.

Expectations are everything. You can usually see possible flaws, hiccups, or missteps and have a plan of action to address them. I usually anticipate complaints or drawbacks and weigh them with the expected positives to judge accurately expected outcomes.

5) Keep it fun and interesting.

Why should anyone actually follow your campaign? Hopefully, because it adds value or gives them incentives. Making things fun and interesting are the easiest and best ways to do this and ensure mentions, hits, reposts, follows, etc. There needs to be something in it for the audience.

They should want to voluntarily share or pass along your message with basic but not exploitive incentives. Entertainment is usually a solid objective. Contests and prizes are overplayed, unless particularly special, and only benefit any winner. Nobody cares afterwards. Furthermore, you're not really engaged if you're only in it for purely monetary reasons.

Give value to those who engage and keep them happy. It's much easier to keep followers, customers, etc. than to attract new ones.

Photo | Jianwei Yang

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