There are many questions that need answers: “Should we develop a strategy first before engaging?”, “Should we experiment and develop a strategy as we go?”, “Will it ever be OK to ask customers if they want to buy directly within social channels or will it always have to tiptoe around the subject?”
Here are a few considerations to help answer those questions and establish the framework for a sustainable and successful social media marketing program.
Social Media Strategy: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Having some idea of what measurable goals and business outcome after an essential planning resources and forecasting outcomes. This is true with any kind of marketing and is certainly the case with social media.
The formation of a social media strategy is a ripe opportunity for creativity and certainly shouldn’t get in the way of getting started. A strategy that calls for experimentation with iterative improvement in the context of overall goals, approach, tactics, audience and an effort to measure success is more likely to be implemented and gain support.
Social Media Marketing Tactics: The best mix of tactics needs to tie into the plan for reaching business goals. Whether it’s “better engage with our customers” to “filling the top of the sales funnel”, an understanding of audience preferences and behaviours will lead to the right tactical mix.
What the marketer might want to ask is, “Where does social networking vs. blogging vs. micro content vs. media sharing fit in the context of social media goals?” Then do the research and implement a listening program to discover which social networks, media sharing sites or blogging communities the target audience is present and participating in. That homework will answer the question about Facebook vs. LinkedIn and any other social communities where customers spend time.
Social Media Process: “Companies who starts with implementation are at risk”, is a great quote from Jeremiah Owyang in his recent post, “A Pragmatic Approach to Social Business”. Jumping into tactics can send a company in a very unproductive direction. Working through a strategy, tactics and developing processes leads to efficiencies, scalability and social engagement that are true to the business goals.
Process with social media marketing is important for a variety of reasons ranging from a quality assurance to accountability. How can an organization scale its social media efforts without some kind of processes in place? Redundant processes can often be automated by software. Processes also outlive internal social media subject matter experts who move on to other opportunities.
Social Commerce: Social Media that Lead to Sales: Question- What’s the ROI of Social Media? Answer- What’s the ROI of having phone system in an office? That phone systems facilities communications for a wide variety of reasons that are important to the functioning of the business from product/service inquiries to hiring new employees to customer service.
Social media in a business sense is technology that facilitates communications, sharing and connecting brands with customers. For the most part, people buy from those they like and social media helps build, maintain and improve those relationships.