by Kenneth Rudich
A well executed social media marketing strategy strives to leverage the potential for three key dividends.
To most organizations, social media offers another platform for expanding the effort to create awareness, interest, and action. It can stir a wholesome combination of real and virtual word-of-mouth promotion among people who trust one another, and it can do it in numbers that continually swell with each passing day.
The critical aspect to making this work is to be absolutely certain your product or service claims match with the customer experience. Be careful about crafting expectations. It’s better to have the actual experience exceed the customer’s expectations than the other way around. The former will build trust while the latter will erode it. Trust begets trust and that will enhance the sphere of influence engendered by the social media marketing strategy.
gathering customer, marketing intelligence
Actively following and listening to your customers and prospects is a good way to gather insightful intelligence about them. Commercial social media monitoring tools can furnish reports that help you to assess the nature, tone, impact, trends, and key influencers of the topics that you care about most.
You can also gather intelligence by monitoring the chatter in your own social media sites, as well as follow people who become fans to learn more about their other interests (and/or keywords) for use in future communications with them.
Be aware that this process offers the internal opportunity to exploit the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach to assessing the current value of your brand, and also for creating new value. A diverse group of people from within your organization, representing multiple functions and disciplines, should be encouraged to participate in the intelligence gathering process, and then share their insights and perspectives among themselves. The goal is to uncover all the angles and intricacies associated with any joint knowledge that comes to light. This means bringing in people from all across the value chain, like product developers, R&D, distribution, finance, and so forth.
customer, prospect interaction
A unique attribute of social media revolves around the ease with which you can interact with customers and prospects. Anything that motivates them from a passive mode to an active mode, to interact with you or your products, will fuel the process for coaxing them further along the engagement path.
There’s a broad array of opportunities for doing this. Surveys, contests, getting them involved in product development, giving or loaning them some products to evaluate and critique, sending them to a web site that encourages clicking or navigating through it based on something of interest or intrigue, are just a few examples.
When doing this, consider the different stages of customer cultivation so as to design the interactions in relation to the individual stages, with the idea that most or all of the stages will be separately represented in one way or another. For example, one activity might be geared toward arousing interest, another might seek to stimulate greater advocacy among the already established advocates.
the big bang
The big bang is to have all three working in your favor. Then you’ll be harvesting from your social media marketing strategy more than you’ll ever have to put into it.
Social Media & Marketing