Social media channels, strategy and art

By Henry Glass

Senior Advisory Group


Social media should be done right, with some intelligence, strategy, statistics and art.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right, and that goes for social media, too. I often use the cocktail party allegory to help illustrate how social media is sensitive.

Social media is much like a cocktail party. Say someone introduces himself or herself to you, and you start conversing. Halfway through the conversation, you just walk away. This would be the equivalent to not checking your Facebook page or not responding to someone’s comments, tweets, messages, etc. That being said, social media should be done right, with some intelligence, strategy, statistics and art.

Choosing a channel

Many people don’t know what channels are most appropriate for their practice. I get questions all the time about using one channel over another. Utilize the channels that make the most sense for your particular needs.1

Here is one way you could determine the most appropriate channels to pursue for your external social media efforts. Start by making a list of 30 random clients (30 is the statistical magic number). Do some research and find out what social channels those 30 individuals are using. How you research this is up to you. You may want to ask clients directly, have them fill out a survey or look them up on Facebook. Make yourself a chart that looks something like this:
    Facebook [  ]%

    Twitter [  ]%

    YouTube [  ]%

    LinkedIn [  ]%

    Blog [  ]%

    Etc.

The [  ]% represents the percentage of your sample that use that particular communication channel. Take the top two and focus on those areas. If you have more time or resources dedicated to more than two channels, I would highly recommend that you leverage more. The majority of advisors out there simply don’t have time to focus on more than two at a time and that is why I recommend only the top two.

Choosing a strategy

The Harvard Business Review sought out distinct social media strategies and came up with four unique methods from a pool of over 1,500 industries.2 Among those strategies, one concentrated on research and development using social media to ask questions for product and service development. Content was similar to what you would see on a Facebook poll. A question would be asked and viewers had the opportunity to respond.

Another strategy was to focus internally on how employees were using social media to find expertise within a network of experts. This method saves time and money by leveraging professional opinions and relationships.

A third approach was to expose that network of information to external stakeholders, allowing that community in on the action. This approach uses video heavily and its transparency with the public often leads to long-term investment.
Lastly, some companies utilized groundbreaking techniques like those of the Ford Fiesta. This requires marketing efforts like sweepstakes and offers to incite user-generated content.

Choosing a message

The key to invoking advocacy through social media is added value and relationship building. Ensure that every touch adds value or has a value proposition. The more personalized, the better. I had an advisor that was asking about recent articles on social media that would make good reads for a new employee. At the time, I sent him a few links. A few weeks later, I came across some even better articles so I sent those as well via Facebook. By listening to one of my advisors, assessing his needs, and interacting on the basis of valuable content, I built that relationship up using social media. This is the type of interaction you want to utilize.

It’s always important to keep in mind that social media is science and art in the sense that each relationship is personalized or could become more personalized. What works for one relationship may not for another. Social media is quickly replacing mass media for that exact reason. One size does not fit all.


1Kidwai, S., & Imperatore, C. (2011). How to Use Social Media as an Advocacy Tool. Techniques: Connecting Education And Careers, 86(6), 36-39.

2Wilson, H., Guinan, P. J., Parise, S., & Weinberg, B. D. (2011). What's Your Social Media Strategy?. Harvard Business Review, 89(7/8), 23-25.