THE THREE STEP PROCESS
"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.
Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat".
- Sun Tzu
Step 1 - Review of your overall goals and objectives
It is absolutely necessary, to start out with defining the clear goals and objectives of your organization, to answer the core question of "why" are you engaging with your audience? Is this effort consistent with your corporate culture, your core values? Is there a good fit with your overall marketing objectives? Are you committed to a different style of communication, of open dialog with your customers? Marketing on the social web is about giving first to get later. Knowing what your audience expects is key in reaching your organization’s goals because to be successful, you’re going to have to give it to them. As part of this process we will be reviewing these key questions:
What are your reasons for becoming active on the social web:
- Build awareness
- Brand advocacy
- Generate leads
- Increase sales
- Customer service / CRM
All are valid but focus first on one aspect. At this point you need to keep in mind that without awareness you will not generate sales or gain brand advocates, especially not in the short term.
Step 2 - Determine your key audience before you engage and develop the right strategy
In this next step, we are going to find answers about your audience:
- What types of social networks, media sharing and social tools do they use?
- How do they communicate/interact on the social web?
- What is their purpose for doing so, their goals ?
- Where do you stand with your potential audience today?
A - Nowhere
B - Aware
C - One-time customer
D - Repeat customer
E - Advocates or fans.
Focus on two adjacent criteria to begin with. Build your strategy around these two – how will you move them from A to B, B to C, or C to D? It is an ongoing process and you can't go from A to E in the short term without being involved.
The Strategic Plan to engage your audience addresses the following issues:
- What approach will you take to meet the needs and interests of your audience in order to meet your own?
- Will you engage influencers, will you energize brand advocates or will you create demand by offering non-branded resources?
- How should you nurture your social media participation real-time?
Social media networking is all about developing people relationships with the goal of garnering brand advocates that will contribute to ultimately increase revenue. Your persona plays a vital role here. Give them a human face, or multiple faces, to interact with. People prefer to communicate with people not with brands!
Step 3 - Decide on the message and the tools to deliver it
In this step we deal with the tactics that flow from the previous two and address the following questions:
- What is your compelling message, the story that needs to be communicated using the most effective tools that are available?
- What is your USP (unique selling proposition)?
This does not mean product features. This means benefits - the one thing that makes your organization, your product, your service unique’. Define it and coin a word that speaks volumes, and draws attention.
Only now, are you finally able evaluate these key elements to complete the overall process:
– What social media marketing tactics and corresponding technologies should you use to implement the plan?
Blogging, microblogging, social networks, video posts, forums, blogger outreach.
– What specific tools should you use to efficiently monitor, communicate, create and promote social content?
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, WordPress, TypePad, Blogger etc.
– What tracking tool(s) should you use?
Keeping track of all online conversations about you or your brand is vital. Invest in one of the many tracking tools available online. Tracking web traffic, conversions, and repeat buyers are all part of the monitoring process. Set up your key metrics to measure your success. Also keeping track of your competitors is part of a successful strategy and the same tools will be used for that purpose. The dashboard will provide the insights required to produce your own social content.
– How should you measure success according to the objectives you’ve identified?
What tools will you employ and at what point will you take benchmark measurements as well as interval measurements? Who will you report results to in the organization and will there be success metrics that you can share with the community you’re engaging?
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