We believe that there are four critical components to developing and maintaining a successful social media program: WHO, WHAT, WHY and HOW. My previous post covered the WHO; that is, the resources required. This post touches on the WHAT, meaning the things involved in successful social networking for a brand.

As a strategic integrated marketing agency, we are tasked with helping our clients develop long-term branding efforts through which customers enjoy a seamless experience with their products and services. It’s far from easy. But establishing and running a consistent integrated marketing program is one of the best ways to meet your business goals, and social media can be a critical aspect of your plan. Since social media can impact the target audience in so many different ways, it can be one of the most difficult marketing tactics to manage.

So before you launch into a social media program, we would caution you about the following WHAT factors:

  1. Social media is hard, especially at first
  2. Planning out content in advance is crucial
  3. Obtaining followers doesn’t happen magically
  4. You must promote your social media pages elsewhere
  5. You’re going to make mistakes, but that’s okay
  6. It’s okay to learn from other brands

It’s important to create a solid strategic plan (in advance) for content development and audience-building. But it’s also important that this plan be flexible, allowing for improvisation and optimization along the way. “Finding your groove” in social media takes time, so don’t get discouraged and don’t be afraid to look to others for inspiration.

Remember, before you focus on the WHAT aspects of social media, you need to address the WHO, which you can read more about here. Coming soon: cautionary statements about the WHY and HOW of social marketing.

Author: Emily Griebel, an Integration Architect at McKee Wallwork Cleveland. Emily leads our Integration Architecture practice and is responsible for ensuring our clients’ marketing plans are seamlessly interwoven.  If you’re interested in an audit of your marketing plan, you can reach Emily at [email protected], or @MWCemily on Twitter.