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The Secret to Winning Social Media Strategies

August 15, 2015

You’ve likely encountered them in the news—social media strategies gone south—from misinterpreted hashtags or inappropriate photos, to poorly timed posts. The lack of a coherent social media strategy can lead companies to generating unwelcome headlines.

Social media puts a company’s brand and message in the customer’s hands 24/7. Plan ahead when crafting a social media strategy. Consider risks and opportunities, and determine how your company will respond to significant or immediate events—because it’s in those moments that a company can get in front of a story. A plan enables that flexibility.

Here are three things to consider when developing or revising a social media strategy:

> Be punchy and creative, but act with intention.
Many of the mishaps leading to Twitter-wide apologies involve companies that may have acted in haste—responding to a trending topic without fully understanding the scope. Consider if the timing and wording of posts are fail- and fool-proof. Run potential posts by someone from a different generation and gender. If a post doesn’t pass the test, reconsider or rework it.

> Weigh potential outcomes.
Some of the biggest social media flops have come from messages that result in unwelcome negative press. In one instance, a financial institution launched a seemingly innocent Q&A session without anticipating possible brand-damaging questions from unhappy customers. Build in safeguards and opportunities to review or flag issues.

> Consider non-traditional and creative connections.
Be strategic. Think through the possible outcomes of partnering with a mission, individual, or cause. Ensure it resonates with your company’s mission, brand values, and vision. Some of the most successful social media campaigns come from partnerships or digital-age product placement with well-received pop sensations or celebrities. Take the EOS (Evolution of Smooth) lip balm sensation, for example. The company became popular among young consumers after major celebrities posted photos of themselves using the product on social media, giving multi-billion-dollar brands a new rival.