Fine-Tuning Your Social Media Strategy

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"The big mistake that some brands make when they think about social content is that they see it as an extension of their traditional advertising and communications plan, which is all about transmitting. Social media requires engagement; it is about understanding that, actually, sometimes it's valuable just to be part of the conversations. You can only do that if you've taken the time to build an authentic brand personality."

An article on Adobe's CMO site by Ben Kerr, chief strategy officer for Somethin' Else, gives five social strategies "to start building buzz and creating better conversations on your social channels."

Here they are, with some SIPA-fication.

1. Take a long-term view. "Advertising is all about bursts of activity, but social strategies should be at least 12-months long..."

"LinkedIn groups have been powerful for us [in building up the company]," said Sean Griffey, CEO of Industry Dive. Note: B2B audiences tend to see the most success with posting on LinkedIn on Tuesdays, according to a new report. If you are looking to appeal to candidates for hire, you'll want to target your posts just before candidates get off work. If you are looking to engage with industry peers, your posts can be spaced out more, while still focused on off hours, such as 11 am -1 pm and 4-7 pm on Tuesday – Thursday.

2. Build momentum. "To build momentum you always need to be offering some kind of new news–in the broadest sense of the word. You should be presenting an idea differently and trying to make that appeal to your audience."

In its SIPAward-winning website redesign, OPIS made social media a big part of its awareness campaign. "Social media is becoming [a major] part of Google rankings," said Ashlee Bovello, SEO and website marketing manager for OPIS. "Be sure to link back to your site [in your social postings]. Put social media icons in your footer not header. If it's in the header, it's easy for them to go off into social media land and forget why they're on your website to begin with."

3. Treat influencers with care. "Write them a brief and collaborate with them, but don't create the content yourself. Let them do their thing." Micro-influencers can be valuable ambassadors who can create and inspire authentic passion for a brand. So brands should systematize their use of influencers... Tomorrow's influencers will be more segmented, a trend that would benefit SIPA publishers. In a recent study, more than 50% of people 35 and under said they are influenced in their purchases by bloggers and vloggers (video bloggers).

4. Strike a balance between creation and amplification. "It's important to consider your ratio of budget spent on these two elements on a case-by-case basis. Too often, brands have a blanket rule that they will spend 15% to 20% on the creative and 80% to 85% on the distribution."

In increasing a webinar's revenue by 40% last year, HCPro ran photos of their Meet the Dream Team on Facebook posts. On the day of the webinar, Melissa Varnavas of HCPro posted a photo on Facebook of her and colleague Mary Ann Genovese, headphones on, ready to go. They also used Twitter to get their message out: "Learning to target metrics to move #outpatient #CDI efforts forward with @ACDIS Live!"

5. Consider the value of complementary channels. "Email is potentially one of the most valuable tools in a brand's toolkit, but many brands are too busy optimizing and selling to use it properly." One note here: Don't think of email as just a weekday thing anymore. OPIS pushed people to their site on weekends. "We started doing a weekly update version on Fridays much like The New York Times does," said Rick Wilkes, director of marketing. "'Here's what you missed all week.' And we're seeing a lot of people on the site on weekends now."

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…