A lot of what you read about social media is theoretical. It’s all about clever people holding forth as to their opinions on what you should do with your business and why you should do it.
Well I thought it might be useful to share a real life example with you all as to what a social media strategy might look like. Real life, as in, mine! That is, the one I have designed over the last few weeks for my new employers.
There isn’t anything here that’s propriety information or top secret. There aren’t any numbers or business critical insights. It’s just a broad over view of what I have done and where I’ll be going with it over the next few months. I thought it might be useful to you, in terms of what you might want to do with your business.
Start at the start
The first thing I have done is have an overview of the social media inventory. As seems normal practice for a business there are any number of accounts out there that have been started up, utilised well, or on the other hand maybe abandoned or even forgotten about.
So I’ve stripped that back to just three. Given our audience, which is a general consumer. I have limited our efforts to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The latter due to the sheer amount of pictures we produce so it seems a no brainer to be there. The former as I would imagine the vast majority of our audience is on Facebook, so it’s a no brainer to be there. And Twitter as it’s a perfect forum for headlines! Which suits a lot of our messaging (obviously)
There are certainly other things that would seem to have a value for us as a newspaper business, such as Reddit for instance, but its important to get the basics right first.
And another thing
The other immediate change I’ve made is to stop our guys ‘broadcasting’. Up to this point, most of what we have done has basically been along the lines of ‘this is what is in the paper today / tomorrow’ which clearly has a value, but it not really scratching the surface of what the social web can do for us.
But now the focus is on engagement (more later) and driving our readers to the newly revamped websites.
Its actually important to note that lucky for me, lots of very clever people have spent an awful lot of time improving our websites before I had even arrived. So that there is now a decent product to send every one too in the first place!
Grow, Listen, Engage
And now to the plan for the future. Simply put, using the relationships and the fans we create through our social offering, we will drive more audience to our websites. The website itself is in shape, so now we need to promote it. And we’ll do that through the aforementioned social media platforms.
We need to build our fans and followers. Fans, or ‘Likes’ on Facebook of course, and followers on Twitter. The difference being that the people who work here with stuff to say, that is the journalists, are the ones that our audiences will be following on Twitter – not the brand itself.
The brand works well on Facebook I think. But Twitter is a P2P platform. Person to person. I want our readers to engage with and have conversation with, a real life person. Not a logo.
But generally, the bigger those audiences are, the better.
The time for broadcasting what we do is over. We need to listen to what the people in our respective markets are talking about. We have an opportunity like never before to be in tune with what our readers want from us. Ignoring that, or even worse not listening to it in the first place is business suicide in today’s world.
Are we pitching our stories correctly? Is what we are talking about important to the people that we publish for? If not, what is important to them? Never mind what we think, what do they think?
As the famous saying goes: Your brand isn’t what you think it is, it’s what they think it is.
It’s about time we understood what that actually means…
And finally, after taking the time to listen, we need to talk to people.
We aren’t some distant, ‘bigger than you’ sort of stand off-ish organisation. We are a local media. We are YOUR local media. Every single person living in our markets should be comfortable reaching out to us on social media and talking to us directly.
If you want to speak to the Editor, message him on Facebook, or send him a Tweet. And expect a response too. Straight away.
Got an idea for a story? Or want to blow the whistle on some wrong doing? Find us quickly and easily and get straight in touch.
Want to buy that picture of the school choir at Christmas time? Find it on Pinterest, and follow the easy online instructions and get it delivered straight to your door, at a click of the mouse.
These are the opportunities, but we have to move out of our offices and our buildings and move out onto the social web. Its not just about our websites. Its about all our online interactions. What we say and do in this space is critical.
The social web is where everyone is hanging out. It’s where they go looking for their news, their entertainment, where they are doing their shopping, where they are socialising with friends.
The point is this – Its entirely the natural place for your local media to be.
I believe the newspapers and magazines and more importantly the websites of your newspapers and magazines should have a huge presence on the social web.
And hopefully, in this post, I’ve given you some idea as to how we will do it.
Anyone got any thoughts they’d be willing to share? Or any ideas that they are willing to impart to help out? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!