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19 Jun

Strategic social media

Posted by Paul Harrigan

Social media has disrupted, first our societies, and now our economies. This disruption is irreversible. It is also significant, in that it has changed the way people interact with each other, with organisations, and with those in power. In the face of such disruption, it should become obvious that social media is not just another tool for marketing or public relations purposes.

Rather, to adopt it and achieve return on investment, an organisation must disrupt itself. It must actually want to engage with customers, educating them with carefully created or sourced content that their audience finds interesting, and responding to questions and comments immediately and purposefully. It also must appreciate the wealth of market and customer data that exists on social media, and utilise this data to drive not only marketing efforts, but ultimately the product and service offerings of the organisation.

The irony is that most organisations find it all too tempting to set up a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page, or an Instagram account; all of which are free and relatively easy to use. This false economy leads most organisations to fail at social media. That is because once the social media page is set up, and the first few introductory posts are up there, then what? What to post, to whom, and when? 10 likes, 2 comments, and 1 share is a frustratingly common level of engagement. That’s bad, by the way. For any organisation.


What managers need to understand is the ‘social’ in social media. They need to understand the cultural shift necessary to be social, they need to understand what goals social media can achieve, they need to understand how to build personas that they can tailor content for, they need to understand how to curate and create content, how to post it and connect it to industry influencers. This is strategic social media.

Understanding all of this will lead to the return on investment necessary to fund future efforts in social media, which will ultimately lead to the survival of the organisation. No organisation can go on surviving without using social media for at least some purpose, whether that is pure marketing, public relations, or stakeholder engagement. Return on investment is not measured by likes, comments, and shares; it is measured by brand awareness, brand advocacy, customer loyalty, or employee productivity. This is strategic social media.

For more information please see check out the Australian Institute of Managment WA at: