I am firm believer that the only social media strategies worth considering – are those that will yield a measurable business return. While fans, followers and other social analytics can be part of this process – they should never be the end game.
But how do you get started, here’s how:
The foundation to any effective online/social engagement strategy will be based on traditional business metrics:
- customer service improvements,
- new products development,
- new services etc.
This is a very critical first step!
First, Identify (if you don’t know, already) the goals or targets for your business – your social channels and engagement plan should be treated as an extension of these .
Decide what social can contribute in real business terms – the further you go to define this in black and white business terms, the better.
- 500 new customers,
- 10 new clients in China,
- increasing customer service efficiency by 20% etc.
It’s perfectly reasonable to be ambitious here! but this ambition must also come with the realisation that big results – require more creative strategies and more significant investment (time and money)
# 2. Develop an engagement strategy based on research
Research your competitors, your industry and beyond – to investigate for ideas, campaigns and social innovations that are proven. When tailored, these will also work for your business.
This is not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t come up with your own ideas – but new ideas need to be grounded in existing social logic. The best social campaigns are improvements on what’s gone before.
Before you run any social engagement strategy, you will need to ensure that your business and its people are ready for social.
This will require you to develop:
- a social policy
- and crisis management plan and team.
You will also need to ensure that people have the necessary knowledge and skills to execute your strategy.
You will need to investigate and identify the most suitable social channels for your brand, your business goals and your engagement strategy.
- Where do the people I want to engage with hang out?
- Are some channels more suitable than others for particular tasks?
- Facebook is not going to tell you how many fans also become customers.
- Twitter is not to going to let you know how many followers decided to e-mail you requesting a quote.
While these are some of the metrics that will ultimately decide the success of your engagement strategy – it remains up to you to build campaigns and solutions that allow you to measure them. This requires investment and building applications.
Remember, without doing so – your strategy remains entirely limited in that you may never know whether it’s delivering a return.
You will need to create a listening station in to monitor for mentions of your brand and deliver social insights to the relevant people within your organisation. Your listening station will also alert you:
- if your brand has been attacked/criticized
- and will allow your team to monitor your engagement strategy and its reach as you go.
Of course, these are just the starting blocks towards building a great social business engagement strategy, because every business is different – your engagement approach will be unique to your business, it’s ambitions, goals and challenges.
None the less, these are critical first steps and unfortunately, steps – that many businesses continue to pass by.
Thanks for reading,