The Geometry of Social Media Strategy

Is your socia media strategy in good shape? Just what shape is it in?

Social media is no longer optional for businesses, but there are plenty of options for organizing your social media. Here are some of the possibilities:

Organic

One company can have lots of people who might do some social media. Some shine at the blog, others at LinkedIn, still others at Twitter, all growing their audiences by their own methods. All staff members may not be connected to one another, and some may not participate at all.

While this can be a lively, interesting approach, it can lead to bursts of activity rather than the consistent content provision that results in long-term success, and it’s hard to achieve a consistent voice. This approach can also leave your company open to social media disasters — if a team member uploads a funny video related to your company or posts a political rant on Facebook, your company can suffer.

If you choose this approach to your company social media, you need to have a plan for the possibility that one of your team may become popular, be strongly associated with your company through social media, and then leave your company. You might also think about having a social media policy, since the social activity of any team member will reflect on your company.

Centralized

You may instead have one person or a social media team in charge of all social media, or choose a company like Haden Interactive to manage your social media. This gives you a consistent message, regular content provision, and simplicity.

If you choose this route, it’s good to make some decisions upfront about how organic elements can fit in. That is, if your team members have their own blogs where they might talk about your company, can that additional content be leveraged to your advantage — or will you use a social media policy to avoid problems? Can team members jump in and post with company social media accounts when they feel like it, or do you want the central social media management team to maintain control and responsibility?

Either way can work, but it’s good to know ahead of time.

Hub and spoke

With the hub and spoke model, you may have a marketing person who provides leadership for your social media team, one or more bloggers, a social media management company, and so on. This approach can give you some of the advantages of the centralized system — a consistent voice and oversight — with the variety and broad reach of a more organic arrangement.

If this is the approach that will work best for you, you may want to use an editorial calendar and a style guide to keep everyone on track. You should also have someone with central responsibility for the initiative, if only to have someone to go to if an issue arises. Depending on the size of your organization, you might have a structure that looks more like a tree or one that looks more like a dandelion.

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