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Social media is an essential element of the marketing mix for all brands – there are hundreds of articles out there on the web that tell us so. But do we actually use these platforms correctly, or do we just post on them because we think we have to?

Do we know the role of social media in the context of marketing? We all use it to keep an eye on what’s going on in the world, and to keep in contact with friends and family; but when it comes to marketing, do we approach social media as a valuable tool to build visibility of our brand, and to communicate and engage with our current and potential customers?

I recently put together the following top level rationale for using social media for a client pitch:

Using social media, we will generate awareness of your brand to target and establish ‘a following’ for the company. We will achieve this by creating a social media strategy and content plan that works alongside all other lead generation activities. As a general rule for social media, content posts should be split into 1/3 that promotes the brand, 1/3 that shares content and 1/3 audience interaction.

On Facebook, we will share all corporate updates, events, promotion, influencer, news, comment, opinion, blog content, with the objective of creating an engaged audience who clearly understand the offering provided.

We will use Twitter to push out news, comment, blog, influencer and event content, with the objective of driving relevant traffic to the website and other social channels; and positioning you as thought leaders in your space.

LinkedIn will be used as an extension of the websites to establish industry expertise and promote products, services and content with the objective of creating a network of professionals and businesses to grow the brand through word-of-mouth.

On Instagram, we will create a well-defined brand identity grounded in visual creativity. The objective is to offer customers and potential customers an insight into the culture of your company and encourage user generated content sharing.

Vimeo and YouTube will be key platforms for storing all high-quality video content that is produced, and this can supplement the feeds of the other channels.

When I wrote this as part of the proposal I did so with a clear thought that the client was social media savvy and would have clear objectives and goals related to their overall content marketing strategy and wider business goals in mind.

I was wrong. Giving them this overview of each channel and the type of content we would use was an ‘eye opener’ that helped them clarify what and how they should use each channel. It also became the catalyst for helping them devise a full content strategy, set goals and objectives for each of their social media channels, help identify the target audiences, rationalise the networks they use and help test, measure and analyse the effectiveness of social media activity in-line with the wider marketing strategy goals.