10 things you didn’t consider when creating your social media strategy

Ask yourself these questions to pinpoint areas of improvement.

Developing a social media strategy is a never-ending project. Many people think all you have to do is set up Twitter and Facebook accounts, but that’s not enough. A social media strategy can have an endless number of moving parts.

There are a lot of critical issues companies often skip or don’t think through. What did you forget to consider when you built your social media strategy? Here are some possibilities:

1. Do you block social networks?

It’s pointless for a company to block services such as YouTube and Facebook in the office. Employees have smartphones, and can access any service you block.

In addition, many of those phones have their own hotspots. Employees could use their smartphone’s wifi to circumvent any blocking service you have. If you believe your employees use social services unproductively, it’s your job to train them to do otherwise.

2. Do you use too many links?

It’s not hard to overload on links. Often, sites try to point people to several places at the same time.

Nick Bilton of The New York Times conducted an interesting study in which he analyzed 98 of the most popular sites to see how many links they have on a page. The results were surprising. The Huffington Post had 720 links on one page. Other well-known sites had more than 400 links on a page.

It’s impossible to put all your social media profiles on everything, and different people are more involved on different sites. Some people spend more time on Twitter, while others spend time on discussion boards, LinkedIn or Facebook.

Direct people to where you want them to go with fewer links in more obvious locations.

3. Do you make blogging fun?

Have you ever tried to convince an office of non-bloggers to start blogging? It never works. Your corporate blog won’t get many visitors initially, and it’s hard to motivate people to blog when it seems futile.

While your corporate blog is in its early stages, turn blogging into a game. Give out awards and badges for small accomplishments. Who is the first person to get five retweets, publish three posts in a week, or get a comment from someone who isn’t a co-worker?

4. Do you make time for your social strategy?

Build time into your strategy, Web developer Tom Belknap advises. “The biggest mistake people make in getting into social networking is the thought that, well, we post a few updates on Facebook and we’re all set,” he says. Your social strategy will take time. Plan on it.

5. Do you have one identity across all social services?

A successful social media presence has a consistent identity. Often, organizations don’t plan what their social identity will be. If your Web address is “CompanyX.com,” then you should be “Company X” on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Pick one name and use it across all the services. Use KnowEm to see if the name you want is available on the services you want to use.

6. Do you use existing content?

A successful blogger can spot private conversations that should be in a blog post. We have private conversations in emails, over the phone, and at professional events. If you know what you should make public, blogging will be a lot easier. For more, read my article, “Blogging advice for people who ‘have no time to blog.'”

7. Do you engage your top customers?

You learn the most from your biggest supporters. Communicate with your fans a lot.

“Ask them if they had to replace you as their supplier, how would they go about finding someone else?” Phil Lauterjung, Duct Tape Marketing consultant says. “What keywords would they enter into the search bar, what social media sources would they pay attention to and consider to be authoritative?”

8. Do you have an offline social strategy?

You make your strongest social media connections in real life, but most people have very poor follow-up skills. For example, one in 20 people that I give my business card to actually follows up.

Follow up with someone via email, but also connect with them on social networks to more seamlessly maintain a relationship.

9. Do you integrate all communication efforts?

When it comes to customer relations, you will get completely different service depending on how you contact the organization. I noticed that the more publicly I discuss an issue—complain on Twitter, write a blog post about a poor product experience, etc.—the better service a company gives me.

Conversely, if I call a company, I wait a long time and may or may not get the service I need. The trick is to train all employees simultaneously so you are prepared no matter what medium the public uses to connect with you.

10. Do you help others?

Almost everyone who joins social media does it to get attention. If you ask yourself, “How can my social media strategy allow others to express themselves and their interests?” you will have a lot more success.

This list is far from comprehensive. What is your advice for someone creating a social media strategy?

David Spark is a journalist, producer, speaker and owner of the custom publishing and social media firm Spark Media Solutions. A version of this article originally ran on his blog, Spark Minute, as a report for Intertainment Media.

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