Numerous articles are surfacing indicating that a majority of companies jumped into the social media frenzy without a cohesive game plan or measurement in place. Being a classically trained marketer, I am a strong advocate of strategic planning, but when it comes to social media, I recommend toddler steps.
Back in June, Digital Brand Expressions released findings of a study they conducted among 100 companies – 49% were less than 100 employees, 32% had 50 to 999 employees and the remainder, 19% had more than 1,000 employees. Key Learning: 78% of the respondents indicated that they were utilizing social media; only 41% had a strategic plan in place. If my math is correct, 68% of the business universe does not have a social media plan. What resulted were a plethora of articles providing tips of “how to” formulate the perfect plan. Blogger Parissa Behnia said it best in her piece titled Cosmopolitan and Social Media; we are always reading how to articles to be more successful.
Over the remainder of the summer, all the social media gurus began addressing the need to listen and find your community, engage with your community, find the right content to deliver to your community, find the right platforms, etc. What I did not read were two basic building blocks for the foundation of a solid social media plan that would require toddler steps:
· Culture – Famous adage; "Culture Trumps Strategy." Your entire company has to embrace the need and commitment for social media. Otherwise, you can develop the most brilliant strategy, but if your corporate culture is composed of tree huggers that insist on doing it the same old way, culture will trump strategy every time.
· Resources – How are you going to manage the process? Best practices address that it should be internal, an inner voice, thus the responsibility of a PR department. Not every company can afford these resources, thus need to implement a team approach. Responsibilities and time commitment need to be clearly defined.
Referencing ancient Chinese philosopher Lau Tzu: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Remember when it comes to social media, the journey begins with toddler steps.