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Beat the Inc 500 in Social Media Strategy

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The Inc 500–companies with top net sales growth in the last five years–are changing the way they use social media. The Center for Marketing Research at U Mass Dartmouth has come out with a great study to dig at the how and why.  Some interesting trends…

-Facebook use is down

-Linked In use is up, surpassing Facebook use (possible correlation: up-tick in using social to drive down cost of finding new hires)

-More use of Pinterest and FourSquare

-Inc 500’s are blogging more than their counterparts in the Fortune 500

-Almost 2/3 of Inc 500 CEO’s are contributing some kind of content for social platforms

-This almost directly matches the % of CEO’s who believe social platforms have contributed to their company’s growth (does that mean they see the connection because they are contributing content? or does it mean they have big egos and can’t imagine that their content isn’t having an impact? or are they actually measuring their impact?)

-Inc 500’s aren’t increasing social media spending (but they’re not decreasing it either)

But here’s the one stat that really grabbed me: 35% of these companies aren’t monitoring their brand in the social space.  And almost a quarter of them don’t have a social media Plan. Huuuunnh?  It’s truly hard to imagine a company not monitoring the impact of its advertising dollars or its investments in manufacturing tools, so it’s truly astonishing that companies spend time and money on social but don’t try to figure out what conversations are happening there related to their brands.  Is it that they don’t understand how to do it? That they don’t have the resources to do it? Or that they are still evolving a Plan to do it? Or…they’re not sure who should be managing this entire monitoring/planning process?

So if you want to put your company or nonprofit ahead of the fastest growing companies in America, here’s how to do it:

1. Develop a Plan for Using Social Media and

2. Monitor How Your Brand is Doing in Social Spaces.

If you can develop a list of goals as part of accomplishing #1, then you will have something to measure against when you are attempting #2.  To accomplish the first task, you may need your marketing and communications teams to build social media goals and strategies into existing communications plans.  To accomplish the second task, you may want to consider assigning–perhaps on a rotational basis–someone who’s your Chief Listening Officer. That person can begin to monitor conversations and get a sense of where your Plan is working, and where it isn’t.

Using more social platforms can be effective. Imagine how much more effective if you know your goals and your impact.