After what felt like the hundredth conversation on social media which started with “so I’ve created a Twitter ID, Facebook fan page and LinkedIn group”, I started to despair. Why is it so difficult for people to identify their objectives before they launch in with the tools?
And let’s face it, setting up the tools is the easy part! Whilst there are a number of agencies out there who have been touting their services to create these groups, all they really require is a little time and effort to get started. The hard part – the REALLY time consuming part, is identifying why the hell you’re creating them in the first place, and how you’re going to measure your success.
So I thought I’d jot down some potential objectives:
1. Research/market intelligence – generally the listening phase of a social media project is to establish what’s being said about your company/product/service on the web, who’s saying it, where are people congregating, how are they talking about you, how are they talking about you in relation to your competition, what’s the tone being used online, do people know you exist… etc.
This information can provide valuable insights that can shape your messages, tone of voice, product development, customer service strategies, etc.
And something to remember when agencies tout listening services, the real insights come when you can apply them to your organisation’s strategies and MI. Otherwise you will receive reports with some pretty graphics, but little actionable insight.
2. Engaging in conversations – to demonstrate thought leadership, build relationships with customers/partners/employees, to share knowledge, to obtain feedback, to facilitate customer service, to promote upcoming events/offers/white papers/etc.
3. Empowering consumer advocacy – enabling your brand advocates to spread your message, thus reducing your need to constantly promote your brand usual traditional methods such as advertising, PR, events, etc. Ensure that your content is easily accessible and shareable.
Remember to think about your audience and what’s of interest/value to them – whether it be insights, discounts, special sneak peaks, games, competitions, training, etc. Create special offers/content to target influencers.
Include internal as well as external audiences – extend the reach of your marketing activities by enabling ALL employees to spread your messages to their networks.
4. Enable your customers to support each other – e.g. via communities, forums, social networking groups, etc. Act as a facilitator of the conversation, not the owner of it. Tap into existing communities and networks for product/service/solution ideas and reward your brand advocates.
Jeremiah Owyang breaks each of these down into specific tactics that you can execute to deliver against your objectives.