I came across the following social media spectrum of participation in the toolbox.com White Paper, “5 Social Media Marketing Best Practices for B2B” (and apologies for the grainy picture!). It outlines a Basic to Advanced Roadmap for social media that enables companies to identify where there efforts currently lie, and where they can aim to get to.
1. At the most basic level, companies are using social media as a push medium to directly advertise or promote your company/products/solutions to your target audience. Social media allows you to better target your audience, but at this stage companies aren’t looking for two-way engagement.
2. By engaging in listening practices, companies are able to tailor there advertising messages to there target audience. Listening serves as a form of market intelligence to help companies shape their propositions. Listening tools also allow companies to identify where their target audience is congregating so that can target specific groups of people, or even specific individuals. Based on learnings from these activities, companies can optimise their value propositions/tactics.
3. Building upon the listening activity in phase 2, and the tailored and targeting advertising, companies are starting to participate in conversations with their customers, prospects, partners and influencers on an adhoc basis. The objective at this stage is to act as a trusted advisor, adding value to the community/ies you are participating in. This is not a quick win approach – building and developing relationships requires a significant investments of time.
4. At the most advanced level, companies are utilising social media to advertise and promote themselves, as well as engaging in two-way conversations with customers and prospects to develop and grow relationships.
Working through each of these stages allows companies to familiarise themselves with the various social media vehicles out there, to develop some expertise with each of the chosen vehicles and an authentic voice, and to set SMART objectives for the reasons they are participating and the benefits they hope to gain.