Social Media Strategy Is More Than Just Signing Up

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Currently at the Graziadio Business Report we are in the process of revamping our website – having reached the upper limits of the current platform.  Tackling the usual web development project activities – planning, executing, monitoring – we’re now confronted with the task of developing our social media implementation.  Though our initial impulse was to approach social media as any other marketing medium, we soon realized it’s not that simple.

With all the buzz around leveraging social media in business these days, it’s hard not to get caught up in the hype.  The most common misstep is starting out any social media discussion with, “Should we be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or all three?” Failing to see the forest through the trees, social media is simply a broad description of communication channels, not a jumping-off point.  Without initially defining the strategy, a social media campaign will prove no more effective than sending a direct mailer the wrong address.

In developing the GBR’s strategy, the initial focus was on the who, what and why: leaving the how, and lastly where, to be explored at a later time.  We first asked ourselves what is the ultimate goal?  Who is it that we are trying to reach?  And why use social media?  In the end we decided that our goal was to offer increased value to our readers, but we first needed to understand what that value was in the context of social media.

Exploring these questions, the discussion became less about social media, and more about what Hugh MacLeod calls “social objects.”  These social objects can be anything from the church attended by two parishioners who share their faith on Sundays, to the proverbial community water cooler in the lunchroom instigating office gossip.  As such, social media takes the concept of the social object virtual, leveraging the extensibility of Web 2.0 technologies to allow people to develop relationships in ways like never before.

Determining  that we could deliver increased value to our readers employing different social media vehicles, the discussion turned to that relationship – the content, frequency, and connectivity offered – rather than the limited Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube discussion.  We deliberated whether we wanted to go out and find our readers, or develop content to bring them to us?  How often do we post blogs, write on walls, or tweet?  Now we’re deciding how we want to communicate – networking, broadcasting, and messaging – allowing our purpose to drive our practice.

Having decided how to communicate with our audience, we then asked the where. Where can we connect to align the internal goals with the external?   Does Twitter fit in with our resolutions on content and frequency (140 characters is much shorter than you’d think)?  Do our readers want to view our office Flickr photos?  The where is about choosing the best vehicle(s) for delivering content that will help us achieve our goals.

Topic: Communication, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Management, Marketing, Media Industry, Strategy, Web 2.0


Janice Tuck

March 8, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Absolutely – a social media strategy is much more than just “signing up”. At our company we use it extensively to communicate with our clients – infact we develop our music lesson plans in consultation with our clients through facebook and twitter.

Senior Wii Guy

March 16, 2010 at 4:09 AM

Honestly, I don’t see the value of twitter. I read one market research document that says nearly half of all tweets was “unnecessary babble.” Only 9% had “pass-along value.” Perhaps only 4% was “news.” Okay, I am a senior citizen, but I get Instant Messaging. I get MySpace, FaceBook and Friendster. Heck, I even get an unexpected rap song, in case the beat and melody are just suitable. But this SMS for the internet seems a tiny bit too thinly clever — a bit too much fad and flash in the pan, for my tastes. Probably there’s a Zen side to that. Any person care to Enlighten me?

Loan Modification

March 20, 2010 at 10:57 AM

Makes you wonder which social media giant will be the first casualty…perhaps myspace? People either get addicted or they burn out from all this virtual socialization. Enjoyable article, thank you.

John Cellulitis

March 23, 2010 at 12:18 AM

Very nice post Jeremy, indeed!
Agree that social media implementation is very important in today’s project developing process. In this process of getting our readers strategy is crucial, we don’t want to loose our goals in forest. You asking right questions and setting primary goal wouldn’t be so hard if we use these questions.

Manual Traffic Exchange

February 5, 2011 at 8:18 PM

Twitter is a trendy sort of thing that will likely not be around within five years. It is my experience with a manual traffic exchange website that Twitter has little to no value. We have noted that website users enjoy the interaction, but the limited space of a Twitter comment allows insufficient space to really convey meaningful concepts and interact in a way that has mutually beneficial aspects to both parties. While dumping Twitter like short comments in an RSS feed may drive traffic, we view the value added to be limited and decided not to implement such strategies.

Michael Croel

May 16, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Very nice post Jeremy, indeed!