As we're wrapping up 2013, we look back at the strategies that are working for the business and brands. Businesses have invested in social media management programs and have been seeing returns for their investment in the form of branded social media channels, consistent social media content, community engagement, and increased reach of their communities.
The challenge now for social media and digital agencies like us is to make sure that brands understand the need to keep up with the changes on social media platforms, adjusting their strategies to make sure that it stays relevant to their community, and that social media management reaches their business goals - the main purpose of using social media in the first place.
Facebook, for example, shows low organic reach for posts as users are fans of at least 200 pages already. It pushes brands to invest in social ads on top of PPC campaigns for search engine marketing (Adwords). Brands that look at social media as an end-all solution to their sales had better look the other way as social media's strength is on brand awareness, community engagement, and eventually, lead generation.
Looking forward for 2014, it's time to take a look at other strategies that might be good to incorporate in your social media planning for 2014.
Here are some items to take note of and consider in your social media management program:
1. Collaboration and Co-Creation
Find ways to collaborate with other businesses, influencers, and communities to reach your intended audience. If you have a solid base of core brand advocates make an article or video series with them. For example, highlighting how the brand has helped them improve their lives. This gives the brand an extended reach through real stories and real people.
2. Customer Service Team
Opening up social media as a channel for customer service has to be done with correct planning. On and off kind of customer service leaves customers frustrated as inquiries and concerns are left unanswered after starting an initial campaign. The solution then is to improve your social media customer service team and install workflows to handle customer concerns. There's no turning back once you get started. Make sure you're ready.
3. Training for In-House Marketing Team
Transitioning a social media program from outsourced to in-house might take some planning for a company or brand. If you've started with an initial program and want to move it in-house, the challenge is to make sure that you actually have staff that has the expertise (and the time!) to handle the program. Simply adding the workload for social media management to your overloaded marketing team might not be very helpful and you'll still end up putting the program on hold. If in case you need help, look for the expertise of a social media consultant so your team does not grope in the dark making strategies and workflows that don't work at all.
Content that matters is still the core of social media management. Strategize, implement, review, adjust - these should be a constant activity to improve your content plan. All of these tidbits of content should revolve around the story that you want to tell about your brand. It's not enough to continually promote your products, services, and offers. People are on social media for a reason. And it doesn't involve being bombarded with marketing messages from brands. Stories will make you relevant.
5. Brand Advocacy and Generosity
Give to get. Generosity brings you very far when you start to transform into a social business. The more you give, the more people (and advocates) will remember you. Consider relevance during crisis and disaster response for example: Brands that show compassion are remembered for their generosity. Create campaigns that help solve the pain points of your target audience.
When doing your planning for 2014 social media management, consider the listed items above and see where you can improve your program. Cheers and have a great 2014!