When a company is smart about how they use social media, the results are tremendous. Organizations have managed to pay a few thousand dollars to make videos that end up going viral and creating far more exposure than even the most expensive commercial could have gotten for them. On the other hand, there are also companies that have fumbled in public by having members of their team post things that were foolish or offensive, alienating customers and potential customers in the process. Before you step out in front of the world with your new media strategy, you need to make sure that you have a good one.
The most important factor in deciding how to approach your audience is figuring out who they are. Sometimes it even makes sense to section off your market into smaller groups and to try to appeal to them separately. Big retail stores, for example, sometimes run separate social campaigns to promote their brand as being associated with health, or social action, or charitable giving. By separating these different factors, they can better target the details of the message on what is most likely going to interest the intended audience. This helps to keep the message from becoming too generic and generally a waste of everyone’s time.
It’s a good idea to bring in outside expertise if your company does not already have a lot of experience with social media. Companies have done serious damage to themselves by being insensitive about major natural disasters, trying to use terrorist attacks as a marketing angle, or offering overtly sexist special promotions. A professional in the field has a sense of what the expected standard of behavior is online and how a company can strike a balance between the need to be timely and interesting and the importance of not going so far over the line that the people who you were trying to win over begin to boycott you.
If you’re just getting started on defining your social strategy, you should use the Internet as a great resource for Tips for developing corporate social media strategy. A lot of people have been wrestling with this problem, and you can learn from their struggles and mistakes.