There isn’t so much of a debate now as there was when social media really began hitting the scene and becoming an integral part of small businesses and even large corporations. The choice whether to opt for a long-term strategy over a short-term has had mounds of data and statistical analysis showing that in truth, the long-term strategy wins out (keyword here Strategy not Tactics).
In the long term social strategy, the benefits are widely accounted to be a factor of the:
- Overall Strategy
- Goals Defined Within The Strategy
- Earned Media not Paid Media
By defining an overall strategy a company looks as to what the general marketing goals are, these aren’t the goals set aside just for the aspect of what is to be done in social media, but the entire goals of the marketing campaign as it fits into the company’s long-term goals. Should it be increased sales or an increased market share, this will naturally be a fluctuating variable. As this objective gets more clearly defined, the goals of just the social strategy become a huge player in the game.
I tend to believe that yes, numbers do not matter, but you must take that with a grain of salt. It’s not the number of Twitter followers you have, but how the followers that you do have are passing on the message and enhancing the brand online relating to your parent goals. Very Official Blog makes a great note of this noting,
Defining the Scope of Conversation
Note, Shannon Paul here uses conversation as one of the leading factors in long-success of a social media strategy. In addition to the questions she poses I give you these:
Is what you find valuable to your customers or following base?
This was proposed to me by a contact at prAna. Is what you’re giving to your customers, whether through a blog, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube video beneficial to what their interests are? How will they use this to their benefit and later on bring them to being a part of your community? Being able to give quality work, whether your own or otherwise, shows that you care about who you are reaching out to. Building this base through true content and things that matter to them will be key for a long-term following.
Should you be arrogant or share the wealth?
This relates in a way to the question above. I tend to see a huge gathering of, especially Twitter, users pushing out/retweeting/@ replying information, blog posts, and generally content on just themselves or their brand. I personally think this is absolute BS. There is a reason these networks are called, “Social Networks”. We are here to help out, whether it is a competitor, enhancing product, etc. the true benefit of social media comes from it’s virility and ability to reach out to hit the notes that get to our clients, this goes both for B2B as well as B2C.
Are you a creator, enhancer, or listener?
Where do you lie within these three? As a long-term strategy, the key is to embrace all three. As an example, Hubspot does an excellent job at this, both curating content, and absorbing content for later research, example: Must Watch: 12 Awesome Social Media Tutorials. This a prime example, by both combining top-notch content that is being enhanced through a widely view agency, brought in by listening carefully to the their sources to give it right back out again to their client base.
As time comes into the factor, Social Media Examiner often conducts their own research. Most recently, their main question asked was, “Just HOW MUCH time is needed to see solid success?” – the result?
When drilling down to the actual hours spent using social media tools, the largest group was in the 1 to 5 hours per week range. Of that group, 43% are spending 4 to 5 hours each week on social media activities. A significant 56% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more each week and 30% for 11 or more hours weekly. It’s interesting to note that 12.5% of marketers spend more than 20 hours each week on social media.
The most notable being,
The more user experience one has with social media marketing, the more valuable every minute spent on social media sites becomes. The time spent on social sites is not as important as the actual results. What we really should be looking at is what kind of results are you getting for that 1 hour, 4 hours, even 12 hours per week?
So as your strategy becomes further and further refined and enhanced, the time you need to spend online becomes less and less, hence the left handed offset in the average hours/week used online.
Finally Scalability – I ask you to read a post I wrote a while back – Ignore Scalability: Until You Can’t
Stick around for Part 2 – How Short Term Fits Into The Long Term
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