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A social strategy

Ah, social media. While many of us these days boast a personal social media presence that’s on point, the same can’t always be said for businesses and their social strategy.

Part of the problem is social media’s ever-changing landscape. It’s why some businesses have a hard time settling on an effective social media strategy — once they’ve decided what they want to do, the landscape’s already changed. Another problem is social media doesn’t subscribe to the age-old advertising and marketing strategies that older companies rode to success in the last century.

Still, there are things companies could — and should — be doing today to create an effective social strategy that can grow along with their business.

Lisa Anderson, account director, and Laura Kivlighan, senior social media manager, of Lindsay, Stone & Briggs note social media is not a static tactic with clear benchmarks.

“It’s constantly changing, it’s hard to measure, and new platforms continue to pop up that change the landscape,” says Anderson. “Most businesses — 80% of Fortune 500 brands — have a Facebook page, and with robust reporting and complex tracking tools and paid media it’s easy to see why. But younger audiences are starting to turn away from Facebook and move toward Instagram, SnapChat, and Twitter. When making the decision to focus on a platform with less robust analytics you must decide what metrics are important to your business and report on them consistently. If there are no benchmarks for performance, set your own and continually try to beat them.”

Kivlighan notes one of the advantages of social media is it now reaches across all demographics. “We have managed social media content and advertising targeted at young teens all the way through 65-plus years old,” she explains. “Social media has become a way people of all ages consume media and connect with each other. Social media is not just for kids anymore; the 65+ demographic is expected to see the largest increase in social media users from 2015-2016. While the majority of businesses have accepted that social media is a relevant communication channel, many still struggle with how to use it as an effective platform for engaging their audiences in two-way conversation rather than simply using it as another advertising medium.”

One of the ways a business can more easily reach consumers with their message is by being mobile-friendly.

Mobile is the here and now and a lot of businesses haven’t effectively implemented strategies and tactics to truly put mobile first, Anderson and Kivlighan note. They say businesses that are not implementing mobile tactics will fall behind as consumers continue to increase their mobile consumption.

The statistics appear to back them up. According to eMarketer, mobile digital media time in the U.S. is now significantly higher at 51% compared to desktop (42%).

Thankfully for businesses still struggling with social, or companies looking to improve upon their already solid social game, Kivlighan and Anderson are lending their expertise during the next IB Seminar Series presentation, from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18 at the Alliant Energy Center.

During their Social Media for Business presentation, Anderson and Kivlighan will walk attendees through a strategic approach to social media as a part of a larger marketing plan.

“It is not enough to say, ‘I hear all the kids are on SnapChat, let’s create a account,” says Anderson. “Social media is not a one-off strategy anymore. It must fit within a comprehensive communication and marketing plan. Goals and target audiences must be established to understand where your business fits in the landscape and how to most effectively use social media to reach your consumers.”

Kivlighan adds the pair will introduce attendees to exercises and approaches that will help them ask the right questions to ensure they are using social media as a strategic platform to improve their business results.

To register, visit

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