by Kenneth Rudich
Like any other marketing endeavor, a social media strategy should be carefully planned before it’s launched.
It should be based on achieving business objectives; aimed at targeting key audiences and stakeholders; and organized to remain operationally sound.
Addressing these three aspects can make the difference between just doing it…and doing it well.
based on business objectives
What do you hope to accomplish with the social media initiative? What will success look like? What expectations does upper management have for it? Will there be separate internal audience and external audience initiatives?
The answers to these questions are likely to fall into one of three categories:
- Improved Sales or Marketing Productivity: e.g., market share gains, percentage increase in sales, or other quantifiable revenue goals
- Increased Brand Engagement: e.g., transform customers into advocates, create buzz, garner customer participation, boost search engine rankings, customer generated content
- Improve/Protect/Preserve Brand Reputation/Loyalty: e.g., provide better customer service, reduce the cost for serving customers, gather ideas for product enhancements or new products, strengthen internal cross-functionality
In addition to establishing objectives, it is necessary to determine how each will be measured. The tools and techniques used for measurement can widely vary depending on what is deemed as relevant to meeting the objective. David Berkowitz, Senior Director of Emerging Media & Innovation at 360i, delivered a presentation titled, “100 Ways to Measure Social Media,” at the Promotion Marketing Association Conference 2010. For the purposes of this post, let’s take a more modest look at some of the possibilities.
Tracking the social media effect on sales or marketing productivity might involve analytical tools for monitoring such metrics as:
- percentage of click-throughs to a specific URL;
- percentage increase in conversion rates;
- percentage increase in conversions;
- percentage increase in revenue
For measuring brand engagement, the metrics might include:
- the number of click-throughs;
- time spent on the site;
- level of participation in polls, surveys or contests;
- amount of visitor generated content;
- time spent on a specific URL;
- search engine rankings;
- percentage of new arrivals;
- number of comments for posts;
- percentage of returning visitors;
- number of downloads;
- number of sessions that include more than five page views;
- percentage increase in subscriptions
Improving/Protecting/Preserving brand reputation/loyalty might involve surveys, content analysis, and relationship analysis. Possible metrics include:
- percentage of comments that might be considered an endorsement;
- tonality of comments;
- percentage and/or frequency of comments that might considered a criticism;
- improved response time to customer queries and concerns;
- willingness to stay signed up or do business again;
- are people talking about you or your competition at your competitors’ sites;
- percentage increase in subscription renewals
It is worth noting that web design, along with analytical tools for monitoring traffic and responses, must also be considered when deciding what to measure. You’ll need to mix and match what you want with the tools and techniques you’ll need.
target audience and stakeholders
Knowing the target audience is critical to creating the kind of community atmosphere you’re striving to assemble. Social media concentrates on cultivating relationships between people, products, and/or organizations. Listening overshadows pitching or selling; and engagement outweighs the dogged pursuit of merely gaining more eyeballs or impressions.
You’ll notice that the concepts of community and engagement are reflected in the metrics above. As mentioned in the video titled “Cultivating Customers with Social Media,” the focus is on having customers feel inclined to do business with you, as opposed to a competitor, when they’re ready to purchase the type of product or service you offer.
remaining operationally sound
The idea of remaining operationally sound centers on making sure you’re able to sustain a consistent flow of productive activity within the social media initiative. You must be certain the resources you invest in it – especially as it pertains to people and time – are sufficient to keep it from growing stale or just stumbling along.
Regularly tend to it like you would a garden. Be selective about what you choose to do or not do, with a distinct bias for staying within the bounds of what your resources realistically allow. The last thing you want is to spread yourself too thin and do none of it well.
social media marketing done well
If you stay on top of these three areas, you’ll greatly improve the odds for doing it and doing it well.