MAD Perspectives Blog

 A Social Media Plan to Ensure Brand Consistency

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, May 04, 2011

This is the fourth blog in our 6 week series, with our colleagues from Taylor O'Brien, on branding and social media. 

Your brand strategy has a unique vision and identity.  You identified this strategy by aligning your brand with your business goals, accounting for both cultural identity and customer knowledge.  As you define a social media plan to support your brand strategy, don’t forget that social media is a means of communication.  It brings with it a high degree of immediacy and interactivity.  It allows you to communicate more directly with your customers.

Social media reinforces a need to be responsible, understandable, reliable and genuine.  This is why a social media plan is so important.  You are serving your customers with the information and content they need.  Here are 6 key components of social media plan that supports your brand.

  1. Objectives – What do you want to achieve and how will social media help you fulfill those goals?  How are these objectives related to your business strategy? Are they focused on sales, market awareness, customer service or other core business topics? Defining objectives will help you determine what content is needed and which social platforms to use. 
  2. Customers – Who are they?  Where are they?  What content do they need or want?  Depending on your customers role (i.e., buyer, influencer, executive, technologist) they will crave different types of content.  Any plan must consider the customer’s need and supply the content needed to the relevant platform and device. 
  3. Integrate – How will social media support or expand your overall marketing strategy?  Social media is not a stand alone marketing effort.  It must be aligned with other online and offline activities.  An integrated plan will identify resources (people, content and time) needed to achieve your objectives.   Social media can draw attention to events, reinforce messaging, personalize your brand, capture customer insight or input, create stronger customer bonds, manage your reputation and drive sales.  Social media, perhaps more than other forms of marketing, becomes your online voice.  It must reflect your brand and your culture. 
  4. Metrics – How will you measure success of your social media strategy?  All other aspects of your marketing plan have goals and metrics – social media is no different.  Your metrics must support your objectives and can also be tied to your overall marketing plan.  Early stage metrics are usually related to followers and web traffic.  Later stage metrics can include measures of influence, leads, sales, product development or support.
  5. Policy – Who will engage in your brand’s social media efforts?  How will they engage?  A policy can be considered the “rules of engagement”.  It is your opportunity to remind employees on how you want to represent your brand.  It is also the means of communicating your goals for social media.  A critical element of any plan or policy is to determine how your brand will address negative comments.  They are bound to occur and it is important to establish guidelines to help your social media constituents understand how to address them.
  6. Engage! – Most importantly interact, share, communicate and respond!  Social media is a customer engagement medium.  Be informative and be informed!

Social Media has the ability to expand and personalize your brand in ways not previously available.  It is an opportunity for all brands, be they consumer or business centric, to communicate frequently and openly.  It is also an opportunity for customers to express their likes or dislikes.  Be prepared for both the positive and the negative.  Understand your brand voice, align your social media efforts with your brand strategy, educate your employees on your goals and engage with your customers like never before!

What’s your perspective?