When a company or individual first contacts me about creating their social media brand and design their campaign there are several components that are constant, no matter if a one person "brand" such as a musician, author or athelete or a multi-national publicly traded conglomerate. What's your social media strategy? How does it fit into your organization's overall customer engagement approach? These are the kinds of questions you need to answer on the very front end of your experience with social media. Like any other communications initiative, social media should be approached with a well-researched and well-drafted strategy before you begin. The first thing I look at is the existing corporate identity; logos, stationary, business cards, websites, print ads etc.....I see how effectively they visually convey what they want to convey, if all identity componants are in sync with each other and are they compatible with today's publishing platforms or adaptable to be. If I think all is in order I recommend to keep the existing corporate identity or at least the basic concept with some fine tuning perhaps but if a logo has had public exposure and acceptance over a long period of time there is great value in that so I disagree with many of my contemporaries who want to change everything but in my opinion throwing out what could be one of the most valuable marketing assets the client owns so I've very careful about making major changes there. Then I query the client on who their existing customer base is and what if any new demographics they hope to attract. Once those things are known then and only then do I begin to map out a basic social media map for the customer.
To recap what steps I take leading up to beginning to map out a social media strategy for a client I follow these steps:
- Evaluate the existing corporate logo and identity and make any changes felt needed.
- Identify and evaluate the existing customer base demographics.
- Identify and evaluate potential new demographic market segments.
- Decide on the new overall customer demographic profile
With those steps completed you will then be able to conduct market research to begin to formulate a social media strategy. You will know basic demographics of your updated target market and you will have updated and fine tuned corporate identity and promotional materials designed for your target market and the last thing you need to map out is what methods and distribution channels will you need to utilize to get those materials and information in front of you target market, In the upcoming segments I will discuss how to map out a social media sfrategy as well as how to implement the strategy into action then how to measure it's effectiveness.