Using The Pieces Of The Social Media Puzzle To Create A Strategy

Photograph by Alan Nakkash. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Photograph by Alan Nakkash. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

” `Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’

`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.

`I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice.

`Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat. “

Defining the goals of a social media plan is an essential element of it’s success. What is your company hoping to get out of it’s social media presence? Attracting new customers into physical stores? Gauging customers reactions to a new product? Increasing online sales?

This is where everything begins.

This clear definition of goals is so important because from it flow the areas a business should focus on in order to maximize success. The 7 functional building blocks of social media put forth by Kietzmann et al. are one model that explains the different elements of social media and how they interact, allowing businesses to work out which social media tools are best suited to their marketing plan. Social media can suck up a lot of time, and questions of R.O.I often begin to surface for businesses. Targeting your presence ensure you’re reaching the right people in the right way.

The seven elements are:

  • Identity – how much of their identities are users sharing?
  • Conversation – how actively are users communicating with each other?
  • Sharing – how much do users exchange, distribute or receive content?
  • Presence – do users know if other users are accessible?
  • Relationships – how can users associate with others?
  • Reputation – how can users establish the standing of themselves and others in the context?
  • Groups – can users form communities and sub-communities in the social media setting?

Different social media tools focus on different areas, and businesses should consider this before choosing to invest in a social media strategy. Youtube, for example, focuses heavily on sharing and has little emphasis on identity. Facebook, on the other hand, has a stronger emphasis on identity. A company seeking out more information on the demographic of their consumers would do better to invest in a Facebook strategy than on establishing a presence on Youtube.



Cook, N.  (2008).  Enterprise 2.0:  How social software will change the future of work.  Hampshire:  Gower Publishing Ltd.

Kietzmann, J. H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I. P. & Silvestre, B. S. (2011). Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons, 54, 241-251.

Cisco Social Media Playbook



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