In our view the answer is almost always no – or at least not all of it. Why? Because no one understands your brand like you do. However this does not mean that organisations should wake up one day and start “doing social media”.
Over a number of posts we are going to take you through a process we believe all business should follow when developing their social media strategy and deciding whether to outsource or manage in house. This process is based on the strong belief that social media is not a “techie” activity that stands alone on the outskirts of your business (although an understanding of the various social media platforms is needed) but a core part of any organisations marketing and communication plan.
Where to start? You have decided you want to use social media how do you (or your agency) know what to say, who you should be saying it to and therefore which are the most effective platforms for you to be using?
It all starts with your communication plan. Ideally you already have one for your organisation. If not the first step is to put this in place.
A good communications plan should cover the following items:
- Clear definition of what your brand stands for
- Overview of your key business challenges
- Outline of the benefits of using / buying from your organisation
- Identification of your clients and their needs
- Clear understanding of who you should be talking to
- What your communication plan aims to achieve
- Identification of the most appropriate media for your messaging.
Having a clear communication plan in place means that you reduce the risk of having your social media manager / agency pushing content which is not relevant to your organisations objectives or your client group. One of the clearest examples of where the lack of a communications strategy impact on a brand is Facebook advertising. To demonstrate results social media managers focus on growing likes. The social media manager appears to have done this very effectively with 1,230 new followers in a month until you look at the statistics. The companies target client group is in Kisumu however all the new followers are in Brazil and India and none of them have visited the company website page to check out the latest offer hosted there. This is an opportunity missed and money badly spent. This may be an exaggeration to demonstrate the point but we see versions of this all the time.
Your communications plan also needs to recognise that the results of social media activities are rarely seen overnight. It takes time to build up a loyal and engaged community and this can only be done with consistency of messaging to a clearly defined audience.
Only once you have a communications plan in place can you start to assess whether your current social media is meeting it’s objectives through an audit. You can then also ensure that your social media communications and promotions for example are integrated with all of your other marketing activities.
Whether you use an agency or manage your social media in house a communications plan is the only way to ensure that everyone is clear on who is being targeted and the type of messaging they should be receiving.