Brands need to be as versatile as they are relevant to succeed in today’s competitive global marketplace. As social media and other digital communication technologies evolve at an exponential pace, it can be difficult for companies to determine how best to proceed with business communications. That’s where creating a social media blueprint can help companies of all sizes determine their approach to reaching their target audiences in the 21st century.
Out of the nearly 7.5 billion people in the world, half use the internet, 37% use social media, and 2.5 billion use social media on their mobile device.* Walden University faculty member Dr. Allana Da Graca says that as more people consume social media, they may not scared about using it personally—but they have apprehension when making the transition to using it for business.
“There are concerns about confidentiality and positioning,” she says, as well as feelings of being overwhelmed when deciding which platform to use and how to be authentic in an unfamiliar space. Still, says Dr. Da Graca, “adaptation is necessary for survival.” In fact, social media has the power to produce up to a 70% return on investment for small businesses.†
Companies that build a digital blueprint will be better prepared for entering the social media space, not just for connecting with consumers but also in case of crises such as disaster management and for cultivating interconnectedness across borders. Here are the three phases:
- Focus. With so many social networking platforms out there, it can be difficult to decide where to start. Understanding who your target market is and knowing where they are will be very helpful, but it’s equally important to figure out which platform best suits your marketing objectives, whether it’s engagement, conversion, storytelling, lead generation, or SEO. For example, some companies use social media to engage with their internal community, while others use it to help deliver on their unique selling propositions, or USPs. After you establish your objectives and platforms, determine the main theme that each video, post, or photo will support.
- Nurture. Social media is an opportunity to build brands by pushing out and receiving information. There is a crucial listening process that requires strategic goal-setting. To continually inform your social media strategy, define engagement goals, how often you will survey your audience, and which key performance indicators to look for when analyzing data and feedback. Regardless of how much you prepare, social media involves taking risks with your messages and being patient to discover what builds tractions and what doesn’t resonate. Going viral is often a corporate goal, but it rarely happens overnight; instead, it’s based on the hard work of nurturing messages and various platforms over time until there’s a tipping point.
- Test. You won’t know until you try. Each social media platform has unique ways to help brands shine, and some work best for certain industries. Test your message and media for each platform and analyze which will help your brand cut through the immense clutter among the internet of things. Then mix things up and test again, understanding that sometimes an effort may not work initially but can still be valuable at a later time.
Social media allows companies to engage with their consumers and build business. Companies are hiring professionals with key digital marketing and communication skillsets, including social. Effective communicators who can engage audiences, build relationships, and drive results in today’s fast-paced, consumer-driven global economy are in high demand around the world. Businesses are seeking employees who know how to craft compelling messages for local, national, and global audiences and translate that messaging into different media. Walden University offers a BS in Communication and an MS in Communication that prepare students to take action by effectively developing, executing, and measuring integrated communication strategies using both traditional and innovative channels.
Learn more about building a social media blueprint from Dr. Da Graca in this on-demand webinar from Walden University, an accredited institution offering online communication degree programs. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
*We Are Social, Digital in 2017: Global Overview, on the internet at https://wearesocial.com/special-reports/digital-in-2017-global-overview.
†V. Satpaul, Why Should Small Businesses Gear Up for Social Media Marketing in 2017, Boost Blog, on the internet at www.boostability.com/gear-up-for-social-media-marketing-2017.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.