Creating A Social Media Strategy Using The 4 C’s

Photograph by Sue Langford. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Photograph by Sue Langford. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.”
― Alvin Toffler

While the 7 building blocks of social media that we touched on in the last post look at the different elements that come together to shape each form of social media, they don’t provide any guidelines for firms wanting to develop their social media strategy.

This is where the 4 C’s come into play. These make up a guide put forth by Kietzmann et al. to help firms wanting to develop strategies for monitoring, understanding, and responding to different social media activities.

They are:

Cognize Companies need to understand how social media works and the different elements that influence it. This is where the 7 functional building blocks are useful.

This involves knowing where conversations that are being held about the company are happening and how. It’s also important to recognize who the key influencers in this arena.

CongruityStrategies need to be holistic and appropriate for the firm. If you’re talking to me to like I’m a smart, sarcastic woman who refuses to choose between social consciousness and style (a.k.a if you’re The Reformation) in other forms of media, then I need you to talk to me like this on social media, too.  A social media presence should be an extension of other marketing strategies. It should reflect the tone and feel of the brand, rather than confuse the consumer. No multiple personality disorders here, please.

Shannon Whitehead really hits this point on the head in her tips for building brand exposure – “Know your target market (know them so well you talk like them)” and “Have one clear, memorable message” both show how important clarity and consistency are in this world of information overload. If I’m confused, I’m walking away (or unfollowing, as the case may be).

Curate – This is a question of how much and when to share, and Boy. Has. It. Been. Discussed. Google “What time should I tweet” and you’ll end up down a rabbit hole that never ends. For every person that says 2 pm on a Tuesday, there’s ten others that say 7 am on a Thursday.

This is often a case of experimentation and and observation via analytics. It’s also a case of crafting emotionally appropriate content for your consumers – see point above.

Chase – Scanning the environment to check out competitors and new forms of social media on a broader level and individual conversations on an individual level are both key. This can be time consuming, but it’s also essential to be aware of any changes that might affect the companies current and future position in the market. No-one likes to be left behind.



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.


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