Does your social media strategy feel like an itchy coat that doesn’t quite fit your brand? Do the buzzwords “content marketing” feel like some mystical thing like Captain Kirk and the Klingons sharing a laugh? The reality is that social media is no different from anything you’ve been doing as a marketing or communications professional. To fully understand how we got here, let’s look at how social media strategy has evolved over the years.

    1. In the beginning (like 2007ish) – It was about getting buzz and acquiring legions of friends, fans, and followers.
    2. WHOOPS – It’s not about mass following and buzz, but QUALITY friends, fans, and followers! Dang it!!! We’ve got a million followers who we basically bought through a giveaway/coupon/sweepstakes, but they aren’t our target audience, whatever will we do?
    3. 1:1 (2009ish) – Let’s build deep, meaningful relationships with our constituents. Let’s pretend we’re having afternoon tea and crumpets, and ask them how many bars of soap they use every month to hone our marketing and drive more engagement, which will surely lead to more sales, right?
    4. PUT A HASHTAG ON IT! (2011ish) – Let’s link all of our new friends’ conversations with unique hashtags that highlight how cool we are. Now anyone can join the conversation, and we’ll even tag our TV spots and print ads with it so we have what is called… INTEGRATED MARKETING! (yay)
    5. STORYTELLING (2012) – Social media is not about reaching a mass audience, nor is it about developing intimate relationships with our consumers, but rather about telling an inspiring, cohesive story across our channels both traditional and social. Oh, and mobile mobile mobile, video video video, and #instagram it.
    6. CONTENT (now) – I am no longer a social media expert, I am a content specialist.

The moral of the story, folks, is that this is not about something new, but rather something tried and true. The tools might get sexier and way more star trekky, but the concepts are the same. The brand messages may get shorter, but the strategy and communications purpose remains true as ever—sell more things, get more donations, provide better services. In closing, should you find yourself stuck with an itchy coat or not sure how to turn your tried and true marketing into a social media program, give us a ring. And we’ll help you rise above all this one-to-one, storytelling, content marketing, hashtag-filled blah blah.

ABOUT RENEE: Please give a warm Bro-welcome to our new Director of Digital & Social Media Strategy, Renee Alexander. Read more about Renee.