• Michael J Lis

Approach social media like a CHAMPION!

Many argue that social media strategy is a buzz word with no real merit.

The skeptics say that you don't need a social media strategy. They argue that social media is part of any company’s traditional marketing mix. Skeptics point to the fact that all marketing channels should be integrated meaning that your message on television should be the same as Facebook or Twitter.

The social media experts say…NO! Social media strategy is real, and is crucial to success not only on social media channels but also as a compliment to a company’s bought and owned channels.

If you are a believer like myself, then what you need to start asking yourself is which social media strategy fits your business?

Social media strategy falls into three formats:

Practitioner strategy

This approach confines usage to a specific area, such as customer service. It works well for businesses seeking to avoid uncertainty and to deliver results that can be measured with established tools.

For years the banking industry was reluctant to jump into social media. Bank of America chose to engage users by choosing one specific path, customer service. The Bank of America Help Twitter account focused on aiding customers with problems and issues via Twitter. It turned out to be a very successful channel that allowed BOA to understand their customers while learning how to expand their social media presence.

Experimenter strategy

Companies taking this approach embrace uncertainty, using small-scale tests to find ways to improve discrete functions and practices. They aim to learn by listening to customers and employees on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes they use proprietary technologies to conduct internal tests.

Texas Instruments created an internal blog community that leveraged the intellectual capital of their engineers. They wanted to see if there was enough interest in order to take social media tactics like contests, blogs and promotions to an external audience. After 2 years of a successful internal social media strategy they moved their tactics to Twitter and Google+. Now they have a community of over 12,000 followers on Google+.


This involves large initiatives designed for predictable results. It may depend on close collaboration across multiple functions and levels and include external parties.

Consider Ford’s 2009 Fiesta Movement campaign, used to prepare for the car’s reintroduction in the U.S. It required joint efforts among marketing, communications, and the C-suite. Ford decided to lend 100 Fiestas for six months to recipients who would use social media to discuss their experiences with the cars in an authentic, direct way. It held an online contest to select candidates, carefully choosing drivers with large social media followings. A very successful social media initiative but also carefully planned.

I could list numerous companies that employ the social media champion strategy. Almost every Fortune 500 company aims for the ‘Big Bang’ when it comes to social media. Most champion strategies focus on a promotion utilizing various traditional channels in order to amplify the message. A champion strategy is either boom or bust with the most crucial element being that internal business units participate.

Can you name a company that has tried a social media champion strategy and failed?

#socialmediastrategy #businessmarketing

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