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Arkansas State University

Social Media and Strategic Communications

If you are thinking about pursuing a social media degree, it is important to know how social media fits into strategic communications. Strategic communications, within a corporate communications strategy, are determined by an organization’s objectives. If a business needs to create brand awareness or increase sales, for example, a social media manager develops strategies to fulfill those goals.

An organization can achieve brand awareness with a strategic campaign that establishes a presence on every social media platform. Companies can create plans to increase sales by establishing metrics to monitor how often visitors go to a company’s web site and if they purchase one of its products while there. Social media managers can establish these metrics, monitor the data, and work with sales and marketing teams to optimize the conversion rate.

As these examples of strategic communications strategy show, social media managers are engaged with developing content and establishing metrics to measure the return on investment (ROI). ROI allows a company to make strategic decisions about spending in particular categories.

Although 93 percent of businesses use social media, only 12 percent feel that they use it for maximum effectiveness. Coursework in a social media degree can provide you with a deep understanding of content and ROI strategies that can make you a valuable asset in strategic communications as businesses optimize their use of social media in both content and metrics.

Content Strategies

Working in strategic communications as a social media manager involves developing action plans to meet your organization’s goals, creating content calendars, and developing visual design and web content strategy.

An organization with goals of establishing brand awareness, for example, might need to draw in the 25- to 35-year-old age group, who are significant users of social media and make buying decisions based on their findings. The social media team might develop a spokesperson for this age group who tweets daily to create awareness of the brand. The campaign strategy might include the spokesperson urging the audience to engage with promotions on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest. These channels will need coordinated campaigns. For the brand to remain consistent, their message, logo and tag line should be the same or similar across all channels. Though consistency is key, the content on those channels may need to be differentiated enough to engage users of each platform.

ROI Strategy

While pursuing your social media degree, you will most likely learn how to measure consumer behavior and adjust content strategy accordingly. Businesses need to monitor ROI to ensure that their spending is generating sufficient profit.

In general, ROI needs to be monitored in five areas.

  1. Brand awareness.
  2. Website traffic.
  3. Customer retention.
  4. Online reputation of the company and brand.

Social media professionals can create and monitor the metrics that provide valuable information to businesses on key performance indicators (KPIs). Some common KPIs are:

  • Content reach.
  • Engagement by content type.
  • Engagement of audience.
  • Growth in audience.
  • Profile of audience.
  • Leads.
  • Response rate and quality.
  • Negative feedback.

As a social media manager, you may be asked to set up metrics for each of these categories and to adjust the company’s strategy based on the results. Are the tweets and blogs establishing a broad enough content reach? If not, is a different mix of social media needed? Is the engagement on Facebook high? Is it higher on Snapchat or Pinterest? Does the content on either platform need a new campaign to drive further engagement? Is the audience engaged enough to click through to purchase? If not, what content or platform might drive more engagement?

The metrics also allow you to monitor the growth and characteristics of the audience. These metrics, in turn, allow you to fine tune your strategy.

Social media teams are often asked to develop strategies to drive sales leads higher. A Facebook campaign, for example, might offer users a free e-book on a subject of interest to them. The users will be directed to a site where they must enter their email to download the e-book. The emails are given to the sales force as leads. People who have entered their email are already interested in the products the company is engaged in, so they are prime sales targets.

Social media managers may also be asked to devise a strategy to counteract a poor online reputation. For example, bad customer experience reviews about a restaurant can hurt traffic and sales. Because one of the unique characteristics of social media is its ability to facilitate conversation not only from a company, but to a company from its customers, a social media manager is well positioned to respond to these reviews. Social media managers can develop content for customers and establish metrics to monitor all user experience reviews, so that customer contentment and retention are optimized.

Learn more about the A-State online BS in Strategic Communications — Social Media Management program.


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