Crafting Your Social Media Strategy

Understanding the true difference between « SOCIAL MEDIA and NEW MEDIA » by Ariel Robinson
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* Yoni Elmalem

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NEW YORK - April 8, 2015 - PRLog -- Any communication strategist from any field will tell you: “the exponential increase of the interconnectedness of our global community is a game changer.” Never before have so many people been able to share news, thoughts, images, videos, and other content this quickly and broadly.

While the inherent value of this “Social Media” phenomenon seems to be universally understood, the actual nuances underlying the platforms and their users is much less obvious.

Many think that the different fora—Facebook, Twitter, blogs, RSS feeds, etc.—are equivalent.But they’re not. The most effective strategy must be nuanced and tailored to each platform. It takes a lot of work to build your network and reach your members, but once you do, all of these online outreach tools can prove invaluable.

One incredibly common yet fundamental error in “social media” messaging is the conflation of true Social Media (SM) with New Media (NM)—not everything that involves a network and posts and updates counts as social media.

So can be described as Social Media? Social media are platforms that were designed to serve as social networks, such as Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, LinkedIn, and so on. These are platforms upon which users carefully (although not necessarily intentionally) craft an image/message that they want to project to others. New media platforms include things like RSS feeds and Twitter: they are tools primarily designed to disseminate information, more than to interact socially.

The differences are pretty clear: on Twitter, you can only use 140 characters; social media platforms provide almost four times that amount of space for posts (depending on how you use the platform). It can be easier to share multimedia on social media platforms rather as opposed to new media platforms. There are many more options to help you tailor your social media presence to how you want to be perceived; this is much harder on platforms like Twitter. On Twitter, users are “limited” to 1,000 Tweets per day. Facebook has no such limitations.

The audiences and their purposes for use of social media vs. new media are also different. Many people think that Twitter is the way to go to reach “younger folks” these days, but that is not always the case. In fact, between 2013 and 2014, the only demographic of Twitter users that experienced a statistically significant increase was the age group over 65. There are many reasons why understanding them—and revising your strategies appropriately—is key to successfully reaching your audience.

Many who are new to SM/NM messaging struggle to understand how effective SM/NM communications work. First and foremost, SM/NM strategies should be thought of as investments. It can take months—even years—to begin to see any ‘ROI’ per say. Frequently, you might not be able to tell that something you’re doing is not working until you try something else: SM/NM strategies are experimental and ever-evolving. And, as with all things, you (eventually) get out of it what you put into it.

Of course you can go online and “Answer 10 Questions to find YOUR social media strategy!”, but that’s not going to get you very far, and you still have to put in the time to push content and monitor what’s being said elsewhere, etc. There is no “easy answer” or universal solution to effective SM/NM communications, only best practices. What’s best for you will probably not be what’s best for someone else; everything depends on your target audience and your individual goals.

That fact embodies an incredibly interesting and challenging thing about SM/NM—the multitude of options put before you: free platforms and content vs. paid, or “promoted” content; free, freemium, or paid analytics—and analysts; automatic vs. human implementers; do you keep SM/NM communications in-house or do you outsource; which platforms should you focus on; etc.

In part because of this, many SM/NM strategists offer tiered pricing for a wide array of different deliverables. There are “one-off’s,” like an audit, general workshop, or training. Then there are longer-term deliverables: strategy development, implementation, monitoring and evaluating, and modifying.
Again, all of these choices and options can be overwhelming. To start, ask yourself these basic questions:

1.       What are my goals with an SM/NM strategy?

2.       What kindof strategy do I want?

3.       How much am I willing to pay for help?

There are other questions any good SM/NM strategy consultant worth her salt will ask you and guide you through: Who is my audience? How do they use SM/NM? What behavioral outcomes am I trying to achieve? What is the best way to achieve those outcomes?

The early stages of SM/NM strategy and execution are tough, but they are foundational in today’s increasingly mobile and interconnected world.

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About Inbox America

Inbox is a global consulting firm that specializes in predictive analytics and that provides customized solutions for data-intensive organizations. Inbox employs marketing and research professionals to design solutions to advise both private and public sector clients on how to meet the complex changing needs of their customers.

Ariel Robinson
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Tags:Social Media, Tweeter, Hootsuite, Inbox America, Yoni Elmalem
Industry:Advertising, Multimedia
Location:New York City - New York - United States
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Page Updated Last on: May 14, 2015
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