Social media: Keeping up with the Joneses
CANASA staff and I have been exploring tools and strategies to help members approach social media.Ideally, we are looking for a professionally recognized method that can be customized to suit diverse businesses and their unique needs.
The Forrester Social Marketing Playbook stood out among the social strategies we reviewed. This resource is an accessible starting point that, importantly, can be tailored to start or improve any business’s social presence in only four foundational stages: discover, plan, act and optimize.
According to Forrester, you need to begin by asking and answering questions about your company, brand, and/or product. Ideally, this stage requires a time of reflection to uncover a vision, identify competitors, and to develop a social mission statement. Have you searched for your competitor’s social media account(s)?
Planning entails assessments and a strategy. Assessments often include determining who you are intending to reach online. This stage stresses you can have better results if you target a more narrowly defined demographic. Be as specific as possible. This is especially useful when promoting posts on Facebook. Here, you can “boost” your posts and “create” your audience by entering demographic details like age range and region.
The acting stage entails first deciding which platforms best suit your needs. Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are popular social platforms. It is also important to make note of who is invested in seeing you succeed online (i.e. your internal and external stakeholders). How can their strengths be used to benefit your social content?
The last part of the playbook discusses the optimize stage. Here, you are required to create benchmarks to evaluate your success and modify your approach accordingly. You are encouraged to monitor your “community” responses. This can be through the number of followers you have or by recording how many people were engaged with a post. Now, Business Facebook and Business Instagram accounts automatically collect this information (referred to as “insights”). This stage is also a reminder to use social media to listen for feedback.
The Forrester Social Marketing Playbook is but one resource to help you develop a social media presence. Each provides tools that may or may not suit your needs. Finding the right approach and applying it to your business, however, is absolutely necessary.
J. David Ritter is the executive director of CANASA (www.canasa.org).
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