Social Media Strategy 4th Ed. New Social Media Insights, Case Studies, Templates, Examples, Graphics for Ad, PR, Marketing Profs & Pros.

Social Media Strategy Fourth Edition Keith A. Quesenberry
Social Media Strategy Fourth Edition Keith A. Quesenberry
The latest and best edition is updated with stats, content and so much more.

In 2011, I created my first dedicated social media marketing course. I had just left a 17-year copywriter/creative director career first focused on traditional media, but later integrated digital and social media even winning a PRSA Bronze Anvil for a social media focused campaign.

There weren’t a lot of materials for a social media only course. The professional discipline was still forming. In piecing together those early classes I learned that what was missing in teaching and professional practice of social media was a solid strategic approach.

Piecemeal Articles Don’t Make A Strategic Process.

I needed something more than the up-to-the-minute news and tips in the trade press and blogs. They’re great for the latest developments, but together don’t provide enough to fully teach a strategic, integrated approach to social media.

Each business has unique challenges, opportunities, and objectives that can’t apply the same “Top 10 tips and tricks for social media success.” I was looking for a solid blueprint with a consistent voice and process upon which to build a course and a social media plan for clients.

An Approach Beyond Yesterday’s Silos.

This text has been taught in marketing, advertising and public relations programs.

I also needed an integrated approach. All a consumer’s varied needs and insights go through social media. All marcom disciplines must use it and must work together through it. With social media academic disciplines and business units can’t afford to be siloed.

Social media is too big for one corporate or college department. I needed a cohesive and inclusive process for marketing, advertising, communications, and public relations pros and academics that can be used in classes for all these programs in communications and business schools.

An Approach Beyond Today’s Hype.

I wanted a strategic approach that’s relevant beyond this month’s hyped-up social media platform, feature, or algorithm change. A strategy isn’t built on Meerkat, Facebook, Vine, or TikTok. Platforms come and go, trends and algorithms change, and user demographics shift.

Our original research into social media strategy for an AdAge academic partnership.

In 2013, I partnered with Advertising Age and my co-author Michael Coolsen on a How To Integrate Social Media Into Your Marketing Strategy research report. I also conducted social media academic studies, led conference social media sessions, and continued freelance projects for clients.

In 2015, this knowledge, insight, and experience created Social Media Strategy’s First Edition. Each edition has improved, but the strategic process remains. Nearly 10 years later I’m most proud of this Fourth Edition with updates in content, examples, templates, insights, graphics, and readability.

What’s New In The Fourth Edition?

In each edition, important concepts and subjects have been added while updating key stats. A few social platforms have been removed and some added over the years. As strategies and templates are needed like social advertising and influencer marketing they’ve been added.

This edition also revised the overall structure. I rethought how it communicates based on my teaching experience, comments from students, and requests from instructors. The result is a more approachable and more versatile text for a variety of disciplines and a variety of course formats.

Clear, Concise Reading Structure.

An example chapter with more managable sections and detailed subheadings.

Text copy has been condensed and chunked into smaller sections making material more manageable for students and busy professional attention spans. Numbered sub-chapter sections (1.1, 1.2 …) have additional subheadings each with pull quotes and boxes to break up dense text.

Unneeded sections have been removed. Each chapter is shorter. One chapter has been removed to fit within a semester more easily. Writing is more conversational and approachable.

Learning objectives have been added to each chapter to focus reading and studying. All chapter notes have been moved to the end of the book to be less distracting and chapters more succinct.

Visually Focused Infographics.

More graphics have been added throughout. A consistent infographic design style with icons has been applied across all graphs, tables, and figures. Concepts are illustrated with more figures. Information and stats are presented in more tables and graphs.

An example of the new consistent design for infographics, tables, and templates.

Instead of platform stats given in paragraph text, each social media platform now has a Fact Sheet in an easy-to-skim table including monthly and daily active users, user demographics, advertising CPC and CPM and top content information.

Overall data and information are presented less in paragraphs and more in tables and more template worksheets have been added across the text. Bolded lists appear throughout each chapter and section to highlight key stats, concepts, and processes. Color has been added to the eBook.

New And More Examples.

The main chapter case studies are all updated. More recent smaller case examples have been added throughout. Links to videos and podcasts are provided with cases, examples, and strategies when available to provide additional information and context in a video and audio format.

A consistent fictitious business College Cupcakes has been added to explain and illustrate the strategic process. This example includes a completed social media audit, content planning worksheet, social media research worksheet plus guidance to create an example content calendar.

College Cupcakes provides examples of key strategic tools like the social media audit.

Other added strategic examples include a SWOT graphic and SMART objectives for a sports apparel business. There’s also a new sample buyer persona for a fitness brand target audience.

Writing and design best practices are illustrated with example copy and design for the launch of a new running shoe. There are example objectives and metrics for varied clients and goals. The content calendar includes a new emphasis on determining optimal posting times and frequencies.

Focused Appendix On Concise Updates.

The appendix includes a more succinct list of practical resources for use in creating social media strategies and for updates between editions. Most of the resources are evergreen links to articles and reports that are regularly updated with the latest stats, strategies, algorithms, and examples.

The appendix provides one place to view all recommended professional certifications versus being spread out in the text. The recommended professional certifications have been updated and narrowed to only the most relevant to social media strategy and professions.

Reordered Sections Designed To Fit A Variety of Course Formats.

The content creation section has been moved to Chapter 3 with new infographics.

Previous editions were ordered more for an end-of-term social media plan project. Yet, I and other professors teach social media courses in different formats. Students who work with real clients or use a social media simulation need to create social posts earlier in the semester.

Content planning and creation sections have been moved earlier. Advocates/brand ambassadors are in Chapter 2. Social media content creation/marketing is in Chapter 3. Social media advertising is in Chapter 5. Influencer marketing/social media analytics are in Chapter 6.

New Template Worksheets.

There’s the new social media audit example, buyer persona template, and a buyer persona example. There’s a new social media advertising template, a new template for how to create social media ad posts, and a new template explains how to analyze social media ad results.

One of the new templates to help with developing an influencer marketing strategy.

An influencer marketing planning template has been added. There’s a new social media content planning template and a social media content planning example. A new social media research planning template has been added along with a social media research planning template example.

Some Topics Have Been Removed.

Some platforms have shut down or become less relevant. Tumblr, Forums, Blogger, Foursquare, Digg, and Yahoo! Answers have been removed. The Geosocial and Live Video sections are gone as they’re no longer new features. Instead, those features are now covered under each platform.

The former Chapter 12 on Content Marketing and Influencer Marketing has been removed. Those topics are now covered in earlier Chapters as mentioned above. Theoretically Speaking sections were removed, but the most relevant theories were kept and discussed in the main text.

New Topics Have Been Added.

Emerging topics relevant to social media have been added such as Web3 and the metaverse. Each social platform now has a section addressing the platform’s algorithm. Wix was added to replace Blogger as the second most popular blogging platform. The new platform Threads has been added.

Both older and newer forms of artificial intelligence are explained and considered.

Previous editions included AI but new sections address generative AI. Implications of new AI text and image generators and integration into popular software platforms are discussed. Ideas for acceptable uses of generative AI are given along with cautions.

A new section addresses the rising evidence of the negative effects of social media on mental health and society has been added to the Appendix. It includes concepts, research, and exercises.

New Focus On Social Media Plans.

With content creation moved into early chapters, the focus of chapter 13 (formally chapter 14) has been updated. It now emphasizes how a social media plan report and presentation is unique from social media strategy and social media management.

A social media plan outline follows an engaging storytelling pyramid framework.

A story framework guides the structure for social media plan development to sell to management or clients. An outline is given for a social media plan report and best practices are shared for plan presentation pitches. The budget section includes new social media spending by economic sector.

The Core Of The Text Remains.

With the improvements in content, structure, and order, the core strategic process and principles remain. Those who have used the text in the past will be able to easily adjust existing courses whether designed for final projects, or for real clients and simulations.

Core definitions, explanations, and examples remain. Each chapter ends on key terms for review. Chapter checklists are included along with chapter key questions and exercises. The basic order of chapters and parts remains.

It Is 100% Human Created.

While generative AI has been added as a topic, generative AI was not used in writing. Early drafts were checked for spelling and grammar correctness by Grammarly, but the text was not written with GrammarlyGo, ChatGPT, or other text generators.

Endorsements from the back cover for the fourth and previous editions.

All copy was human written by the author, photos were by human photographers, and graphics were by a human designer. Thank you Anna Brock for the great graphics! A human proofer and editor were used.

Learn more on the publisher’s website. Instructors can request an eExam copy and access to teaching support materials: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538180112/. Also, explore on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Social-Media-Strategy-Advertising-Revolution/dp/1538167093.

Are Ethics and Etiquette Outdated in 2024? An Updated Look at My 2016 Social Media Etiquette & Ethics Guide.

It’s a great time for reflection as we look back on last year and forward to 2024. A colleague recently shared on LinkedIn Pew Research Center’s “Striking findings from 2023.” What stood out to me was the significant increase in calls for restricting false information on social media – 55% believe government and 65% believe tech companies should (up from just 39% and 56% in 2018).

In 2022 Pew Research found 65% believe social media makes us more informed on current events, but 85% were concerned with how easily social media can manipulate people with false information.

In 2015, the year the first edition of Social Media Strategy was published social was fairly new. I didn’t have a chapter on law or ethics. A professor asked that I cover law, ethics, and etiquette in the next edition.

I created a Social Media Ethics & Etiquette Guide on this blog in 2016.

In creating the guide I found social media needs a unique approach as it brings our personal, professional, and working lives together in ways mass media could not. Social media is highly interactive, easily scalable, nearly real-time, and blurs the lines between personal and professional.

This is where ethics and etiquette become important. Ethics studies ideas about good and bad behavior and Etiquette is the proper way to behave. Both are important in Professionalism, or the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior expected from a person trained to do a job.

I found it useful to look at actions from three perspectives: Personal (as an individual), Professional (as an employee or perspective employee), and Brand (as a social media manager). I created questions to consider for each category in the 2016 Social Media Etiquette and Ethics Guide.

What to Consider for Personal Posting.

  • Is it all about me? No one likes someone who only talks about themselves.
  • Am I stalking someone? Be driven and persistent but not too aggressive.
  • Am I spamming them? Don’t make everything self-serving.
  • Am I venting or ranting? Don’t post negative comments or gossip. It doesn’t look or feel good.
  • Did I ask before I tagged? People have different comfort levels so check before you tag.
  • Did I read before commenting or sharing? Don’t assume – fully review posts, people, and articles.
  • Am I grateful and respectful? Respond and thank those who engage with you.
  • Is this the right medium for the message? Consider people’s feelings before saying it on social.
  • Am I on the right account? Don’t post personal information on brand accounts.

What To Consider For Professional Posting.

  • Does it meet the social media policy? Know and follow employer or client policy requirements.
  • Does it hurt my company’s reputation? Certain content/behavior may have a negative impact.
  • Does it help my company’s marketing? Have a positive impact and consider employee advocacy.
  • Would my boss/client be happy to see it? Even private accounts are never fully private and could be shared.
  • Am I being open about who I work for? Be transparent about financial connections when sharing opinions.
  • Am I being fair and accurate? Constructive criticism is best and so is opinion backed by evidence.
  • Am I being respectful and not malicious? Don’t post what you wouldn’t say to someone in person.
  • Does it respect intellectual property? Not everything on the internet or social media is free.
  • Is this confidential information? Ensure you don’t disclose nonpublic company or client information.

What to Consider for Brand Posting.

  • Does it speak to my target market? Focus on your target audience’s wants and needs, not yours.
  • Does it add value? Make your content educational, insightful, or entertaining to grab audience interest.
  • Does it fit the social channel? Don’t post content ideal for Twitter/X on Instagram, Reddit or Pinterest.
  • Is it authentic and transparent? Don’t trick people into clicking or hide important relevant information.
  • Is it real and unique? Don’t use canned responses, create spam, or pass off AI content as your own.
  • Is it positive and respectful? Don’t belittle competitors or customers (unless you’re Wendy’s and roasting is your brand).
  • Does it meet codes of conduct? Consider AMA’s, AAAA’s, or PRSA’s Code of Ethics.
  • Does it meet all laws and regulations? See the FTC and other government guides on social media requirements.
  • Does it meet the social media policy? Ensure you follow company and client policy standards.

Do I listen twice as much as I talk? Make sure you fully understand what you’re commenting and posting about.

(Click on the template image to download a PDF)

Are social media ethics and etiquette outdated today?

Much has changed in 7 years, and I sometimes wonder if some of these questions may appear naïve or outdated. After all, clients want results and increasingly studies tell us lies and negativity raise engagement which typically leads to sales.

Research in the journal Science on Twitter/X found falsehoods were 70% more likely to be retweeted/reposted than the truth. Verified truth posts took 6 times longer to reach 1,500 people than verified false posts.

In the journal Nature research found negative words in headlines increased consumption. Each additional negative word increased the click-through rate by 2.3%.

The Wall Street Journal reports companies frequently use fake reviews to sell more products fooling even seasoned shoppers. And it looks like Sports Illustrated may have been publishing AI-generated articles by fake writers to keep up with content and engagement demands.

Are lies and negativity simply the way you do business on social media?

I believe Advertising Hall of Fame member Bill Bernbach would disagree. He understood the power of media and the responsibility of those who create it.

Bernbach said, “All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.”

Social media marketing only works if it’s seen as credible.

When we abuse our professions by not following the law, by being unethical, or by not following good etiquette, credibility is lost. Once you lose credibility, people stop listening. If people stop listening, we won’t have a profession.

This past semester a colleague wrote about an ethical situation a student faced. An internship employer wanted social media customer questions and responses to highlight company products as solutions, but they didn’t have any real customer questions.

The possible future employer asked the student to create the questions and fake customers to ask them. The solutions would be real, but the customers and questions would be lies. Is this okay?

Unfortunately, ethical dilemmas aren’t rare. A 2020 survey published in Harvard Business Review found 23% of U.S. employees feel pressure to do things they know are wrong. More witness unethical behavior like rule violations (29%) and lying (27%). Employees describe ethically questionable actions as being specifically demanded of them or implied to meet time pressures, productivity goals, or make the company look better.

Perhaps we need a “we’re lying” disclaimer on social media.

I used to teach a law and ethics course required for students in an advertising program. An example I used in class was the famous Joe Isuzu ads from the late 1980’s and early 2000’s. The brand spokesperson gave false claims about Isuzu’s car and trucks.

The false information was okay because everyone knew he was lying. It was done as a joke with outlandish claims such as the Impulse Turbo was as fast as a speeding bullet (915 mph). The ads even told you in big bold type “Sounds like a lie,” and “He’s lying.” No one truly believed it.

Should we add “we’re lying” to some of our social media content like the Joe Isuzu ads?

Just because you can or because others are doesn’t mean you should.

As a social media professional, we can’t restrict false information on social media. We also don’t control the algorithms that may emphasize negative posts. But we do have a choice to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

What are our professional responsibilities in using social media? If current incentives are to vulgarize and brutalize it, should we follow? Or should we follow Bernbach’s advice and strive to lift it onto a higher level?