The past few years I have had the opportunity to teach some classes around social media. In fact, it’s been about nine glorious social media classes in different formats, each multiple times. From online to face-to-face, graduate to undergraduate and each at various levels of depth, focus and even time frames. My happiest time in life has honestly been when I was teaching social media every day. True story.
What I have found is that the one thing that stays constant within social media is the theoretical framework that really backs social media. Since social media is always changing, it’s important to understand the concepts that drive social media to determine the right tactics.
Interestingly, a lot of brands still don’t know how to maneuver and how to capitalize really on so many various individuals having a voice on social media. Now, if you follow the true definition of social media presented by the grandfathers of social media in academics, it is
User Generated Content on the Web 2.0
Yes, academics came up with this simple definition. The definition has created a foundation to develop more complex models. What is most interesting about the definition is that it is vague because let’s face it, social media channels are constantly changing.
But how do you actually learn all of the tactics for each channel?
The following tactics are important despite which channel you are opting to use for your social media strategy.
User generated branding: One constant is the idea of user-generated content and the need to leverage user generated content for user generated branding.
Social Strategy: The next constant is this idea of social strategy. The world is social today, and everyone has a voice. Learn how to create a positive brand and be social.
Customer Experience Management: It is extremely valuable to empower the people that have a voice in social media. Listening and then enlisting everyone to create content, especially the employees of your company.
Social Listening and SWOC (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Challenges): Always listen to what people are saying about your brand. Use tools like Hootsuite and Google Alerts to understand the sentiment around your brand.
Competitive Analysis: It’s vital to monitor your competitors on social media to understand the voids in the industry. Also, to capitalize on situations that your competitors miss out on.
Data Analysis: Today, we are inundated with data. You have the data, so understand it and use it. Always understand what the numbers say and take the emotion out of it!
The complexity of social media comes from the many social media channels. The technologies change, you move from Facebook to MySpace to Twitter to Pinterest to Snapchat. The amount of time for marketers’ to learn between new channels has dramatically changed from the time between traditional channels.
Your ability to maneuver through the channels is based on your flexibility and understanding of social media theories and framework. For instance, it’s important to understand really how to develop your message, how to find your target audience, who to target, how to create user-generated branding.
User Generated Branding
User generating branding is an idea of really incorporating the user’s, the various types of users to help generate your brand. How its been found is that user generated branding has four different voices of the brand: the consumer, the brand, brand advocates, influencers. Now by capitalizing on the brand advocates and the influencers and really engaging the consumers you can help your brand by creating a user generated brand.
A lot of companies are still falling behind and not realizing that it’s not the company that you need to create the message anymore. The the ones that are creating the message is everyone else. Why not embrace the other voices and enlist them to create an exceptional message? Ask them to help spread the message? Be efficient in social media. Leverage what you have and focus on areas of your company that need to be strengthened.