Your social media strategy should be as systematic as every part of your digital marketing. The initial and arguably most vital part of the process is ascertaining your company’s objectives when it comes to social media. All too often, a company will embark on a social media campaign without thinking what it is they want to achieve, and in many cases companies are confused as to what they stand to gain.
A simple way to find out if your are victim to poor social strategy is to ask yourself if you started your campaign by thinking “we should have a blog”, or “we should be Twittering with our customers”. Why? Because everyone else seems to be? While companies would hardly base their business strategy in other areas on such a whimsy, this is often the thinking behind corporate social media activity.
Of course, all sorts of companies employ social technologies to great effect, and your company can too, no matter what your industry. But only if your objectives are worthwhile and clear from the outset. Independent technology and market research company Forrester Research invented a handy acronym to help you do just that and called it The Post Method. The acronym stands for the following:
People – Forrester advise companies to “know the capabilities of your audience” and tailor their social media activity to that. Are your clients going to be spending much time on Twitter and Facebook or are they more likely to be checking Yahoo Questions or reading ratings and reviews?
Objectives – As we’ve highlighted, this is key to any successful campaign. Key questions to ask yourself include “do I want to listen to my clients or interact with them?”; “do I want to provide a formal information forum for them or regale them with my pithy one-liners to soften the company image?” You’ve thought about who your clients are and what they do when it comes to the online social arena; now think what you want to achieve from engaging with them there.
Strategy – Forrester identify strategy here as being focused on the end result. Once you’ve successfully entered into the social media arena and your campaign is a success in your view, what has happened? Just what is different now? Have you built up a community; do you have a new arena in which to showcase product launches; have you created a buzz about your brand, etc.? When you see the successful endpoint, you’ll know where and how to begin.
Technology – Quite simply this is choosing which social technology to use: a blog (or more than one); a Twitter account; a Wiki, etc. This is not too obvious to be included in the acronym as a surprising number of companies will choose a technology not on what’s right for their clients and therefore their company, but instead on what they conceive to be the most popular form, or what other (sometimes even unrelated) companies are doing.
Ensure that (as for your SEO and SEM) the objectives of your social media activities are clear and defined from the outset and you will reap the social rewards and protect yourself from brand damage. We can help you do just this; sometimes its easier for an experienced third party to shed light on what those objectives should be, after all, we have helped define social marketing strategy for household brand names and one-man bands alike.
You can find out more about Forrester Research at www.forrester.com.