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We are entering the final quarter of the year. Nine months removed from the enthusiasm and focus of January. Between challenging clients and shifting deadlines, clarity can be evasive. Here are the five quotes that every entrepreneur and business owner should internalize to finish 2016 as strong as they started:

  1. “If you don’t pay the price for success, you’ll pay the price for failure.” – Zig Ziglar

Zig Zigler success quote

2. “Do not confuse having a good day with having good habits.” – Mikhail Bell

 

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3. “A business is just a context for doing interesting things.” – Tim O’Reilly

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4. “Legacy is greater than currency.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

Legacy vs Currency Gary Vaynerchuk quote ParkerMather

5. “One of the most supernatural things you can do is be consistent.” – Mikhail Bell

Motivation quote Mikhail Bell

You have just over 116 days between you and 2017. Make them count. Take action.

Onward,

Team ParkerMather

Twitter statistics, ParkerMather

Every day Twitter users send over 500 million tweets in over 35 languages. That is quite a bit of noise in which to become the signal. As you will see, from movie studios to brands are competing like mad for a mindshare (link) to eventually make you an advocate, customer, or both.

Why do brands adopt a human voice on social media? A well-placed response will resonate with your audience and have a reach that more is more

Also, Americans love to buy goods but seldom want to feel like a company is peddling said wares. It seems creepy and sends market share running for the hills in most verticals.

Here are two examples of brands hitting the right tone in their attempts to communicate with people communicate.

  1. Fox Home Entertainment and #WednesdayWisdom

The 20th Century Fox subsidiary monitored Twitter for recurring conversations and saw #WednesdayWisdom emerge as a newer hashtag to the washed up #MondayMotivation.

Next, they quoted a Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) from the cult film Fight Club. Drenched in nostalgia, sex appeal and anti-capitalist philosophy, this one is a keeper.

Fox Home Entertainment, Twitter, Fight Club, Brad Pitt, ParkerMather

Further reading: Fox’s Weak Home Video Sales Depress Revenues In December Quarter

2. Coca Cola and Spotify

Today, a clever ad from the storied American soda company with this smart advertising. Remember, last year, Coke’s Share  a Coke campaign won hearts and sparked conversation about more than their appearance in Mad Men’s final episode.

This is smart because Coke launched a Twitter handle around music. Think about the massive quantities American dole out out on food, sports, and music each year.

The ad also provides value as it offers music in exchange for attention. The brand is taking (by interrupting you) and giving (by giving Spotify listeners music).

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When you click the Spotify link, here is what you get:

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Notice the Coca-Cola plug (again) in the bottom left even though it is a Spotify page.

Remember brands don’t always want your money. Sometimes they want your attention. If you have a positive association with a brand, you are more likely to recommend it two others, use it yourself, and pay attention they next time you “see” them.

The Grand Budapest Hotel - Zero Mustafa and M. Gustave

This post is a 10,000-foot view of the purpose and process behind a social media strategy. Social media is versatile so its role in the overall business strategy looks different based on one’s industry and company. Ideally, a business will define the social media strategy its strategic plan or digital strategy.

What is a social media strategy?

Opening death letter Ed Norton - The Grand Budapest Hotel copy

Social media strategy is a compass for your communications activities. You may still see social media growth and interaction without a defined strategy. However, the meaning of the growth and interactions will be unclear.

The strategy should be shared with, created with and supported by decision makers in your business as it should complement business goals.

Examples of goals:

  • Serve as a secondary channel to address customer service issues
  • Increase jarware sales
  • Amplify share of voice among local pizza delivery customers

A weak social media strategy explains incongruous goals and what platforms will assist in reach them. It is produced.

A good social media strategy explains your related goals and actions that will help you reach them.

A great social media strategy explains related goals, target audience, related actions (by platform), and required resources.

[Further reading: Why most social media strategies fail (Forbes)]

How to write a social media strategy

Zero Mustafa Agatha and M. Gustave - The Grand Budapest Hotel

An effective social media strategy has four parts: Goals, Audience Analysis, Activities, and Capacity, or GAAC.

Goals (What you want to accomplish)

Identify 2-5 business related goals. For simple goals, think in terms of a 12-month cycle. For multi-stage goals, plan along a 12- to 36- month timeline. Account for implementation challenges and make sure your team can collect information to assess what is working.

Audience Analysis (Who you want to reach)

This is one of the most challenging steps because it requires specificity. Here are characteristics that can help you identify your target audience:

  • Profession: Each year, Americans spend around 2,000 hours at work. That impacts when we wake, sleep and how we spend our income.
  • Income: What you make impacts how you live. Consider how this may impact the way the audience searches for, talks about, and interacts with a product/business.
  • Age: Think about these groups in 10-20 year windows, e.g. 15-25 or 35-55, to find your core audience(s).
  • Location: Is your audience local, spread across a few states or a few countries? This inform how you create content.
  • Gender: Is your audience predominantly male or female? This will affect your tone, colors, fonts, and messaging.

Personas are a helpful way to think about your target audience. Here is a useful HubSpot article to guide this exercise.

[Further reading: Buyer Persona Template (HubSpot)]

Activities (What you are doing)

Describe relevant social media platforms and activities. Be clear about how many times you will create content each week, i.e. 3-5 times on Facebook, or each day, i.e. 2-3 posts on Twitter.

Social media platforms are large enough now that a be-everywhere strategy is not optimal. For example, according to VaynerMedia’s Gary Vaynerchuk, the fastest growing demographic on Instagram is women over 40. If your target audience is in middle or high school, plan to incorporate Yik Yak, Snapchat, or Tumblr.

Finally, set growth goals with soft deadlines and review periods, such as a semi-annual review. You will need to look at your business’s past performance and competitors to determine reliable growth goals.

Capacity (What you need for success)

Small and medium businesses are investing more in social media but are typically understaffed in the area of communication. Explaining what you need to be successful aligns expectations with goals and goals with necessary resources.

Be transparent about the number of weekly hours to implement, budget for advertising, analytics or management tools, training and additional staff support.

If you are requesting financial support to implement the strategy, state this. As Warren Buffett says, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

Final Thoughts

Inspector Ed Norton - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Developing and implementing a social media strategy can be a fun or laborious process but involves teamwork. Here are few tips to improve the experience:

  • Celebrate milestones
  • Involve a team of decision makers because they can support the plan
  • Keep management updated about progress
  • Ask for feedback about your strategy from others who have done the same
  • Schedule regular check-ins to discuss updates

Additional Resources

Social Media Usage: 2005-2015 (Pew)

Social Media Campaign Strategy (Hootsuite)

Understanding Social Media Analytics (Deloitte Digital)

Thank you for taking the time to read this. This blog post will also appear on Medium and LinkedIn. Please share your comments wherever this appears. 

Kate Middleton, Duchess of  Cambridge, ParkerMather, Strategy, Wednesday Word
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, usually has a strategy for public mishaps.

Business is a rough and tumble game that devours the faint of heart. When one loses his muster, a strategy – the foundational document of an organization or guide for wayward situations – is essential to avoid collapsing the midst of uncertainty. 

A strategy is clear, concise, and compelling. It must be clear so anyone with sufficient access can effectively execute the plan. It must be concise because time is limited and every word must earn its place within such an important document. It must be compelling as vision is usually the first thing to fade when the going gets tough. 

A good strategy manages these tensions. A great strategy summarily eliminates them. 

Best, 

Mikhail 

Google logo
You increasingly handcuffed to personal data shared on search engines.

This Week in Social Media (TWSM) is back with a Google-themed round-up. Now Google is not  the favorite search engine but the company it still the favorite, according to market share data. Enjoy your Monday morning water cooler chat. Here are the chosen few among this week’s round-up:

Google to Hone Translation Services (Daily Mail)

Is Ivy Ross the Isaac Mizrahi for Google Glass? (eCommerce Times)

Google Buys Quest Visual (Best Techie)

Criminals Stealing away Personal Data from Google (The Times)

USMNT’s Beasley Changing Clubs? (Pro Soccer Talk)

Best,

Mikhail