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Is a Social Media Communication Plan Best For Your Customers?

May 01, 2017

Social media is becoming an important business tool with many potential benefits. A social media program can also be used internally, for collaboration and idea sharing. Instead of making any unilateral decisions, key players from IT, marketing, HR, legal, product development and other departments should be involved in defining a strategy for deploying internal and/or external social media software. Because social media has so many uses, team members need to define how their departments will use it and create guidelines and plans for employees. Teams should be made responsible for document repository applications and unified communications, as well as security and compliance. More than three quarters of organizations are using social media and more than half consider social media technology critical to their success, according to a recent survey.

Organizations interested in launching a social media strategy, either to enable collaboration within the enterprise or to facilitate meaningful relationships with customers, need to begin by examining their current and potential use of social media tools. The key to the plan is to determine if incorporating social media into existing business processes and aligns with the company's overall business strategy. Some of the basic steps in developing a social media strategy include the following:

  • Establishing a timeline for the release of social media incorporation;

  • Determining social media priorities on a per department basis;

  • Considering social media platforms like blogs, Twitter, Facebook and others, as tactics that tie into the social media strategy;

  • Creating a communications plan to keep employees, partners and/or customers informed;

  • Implementing a training program; and

  • Planning for measurements towards attainment of goals.

The key is to outline a social media strategy then support the strategy with tactics.  There is a difference between implementing social media, using it correctly and optimizing it for the needs and goals of the business. Once an enterprise has established a social media strategy, whether internal or external, it is important to measure for success. This is becoming easier today with commercial analytic tools, like Google Analytics.

Some of the main goals of a social media communication plan include:

  • Creating and discovering new audiences: for internal social media communication, get employees to buy into to new processes and team topics. For external or customer-based social media communication, use on-line hangouts, geo-target audiences and create valuable information pieces.

  • Keeping a community engaged: for internal teams, use tactics to keep ideas fresh, provide search tools and knowledge bases. For external communications, encourage contributions, use specialized search tools like language-based tools and continuously monitor communications with intelligent tools.

  • Nurturing key clients: for internal social media communication, make it easy for teams to locate important information by using knowledge bases, news feeds and project-based software. For external customer-based social communication, personalize social media messages and select, organize and present information using professional or expert knowledge.

Social media communication plans are important for both internal and external audiences. VARs can be instrumental in guiding enterprises in developing social media communication plans and in demonstrating the tools available to make these plans effective.  

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