Social Media Strategy
Companies need to embrace Social Media Strategy - the art of conversation (listening, learning and sharing) - you too! We can help you.
Social Media are forums and online communities such as Monster, blogs such as our News, social networks such as Facebook, multimedia sharing such as Youtube, social bookmarking such as del.ici.ous, RSS readers (less and less), microblogging such as Twitter.
Customers behave differently, so follow them! They meet in different places; social networks, blogs and forums. They share content and spread the voice. They influence, comment and advertise themselves.
Go where they are! People regroup on communities, word-of-mouth is stronger, people read blogs and consume more user generated content. People tend to take part in online conversations and are happy to communicate with brands.
Follow again! 41% of users read blogs, 47% of the time spend on the internet is spent looking at content and 33% spent communicating, 91% of users are likely to buy on recommendation, 330 million online video viewers, Twitter and Linked in has 10s of millions of users.
Why a social media strategy?
Conversations ... and conversations! Markets are conversations. Markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organised. People in networked markets have figured out what they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. Companies that assume online markets are the same markets used to watch their ads on TV are kidding themselves. Companies that don't realise their markets are now networked person-to-person, getting smarter as a results and deeply joined in conversation are missing their best opportunity.
Companies can now communicate with their markets directly. If they blow it, it could be their last chance.
With or without you the conversation will happen! For a better control of your brand, you must participate in the conversations. Once you trigger a conversation, you should not leave it.
The ultimate effect is a Brand Community. Build a non-marketing community outreach to deliver a voice for your organisation. Use the buzz power. Reach people where they regroup.
Reach the right people! Reach the small communities on the web. Reach the people where they are. Keep brand awareness to relay offline marketing campaigns. Generate more traffic. Enlarge the targeted segment.
The expected results are much more than before: leverage current marketing results, get better brand awareness, get better brand management, get better user stickiness, get better quality products, get more sales!
You can choose to do this all by yourself, there would be no costs (only opportunity losses if you could have done better with outside help).
Risks of not having a defined strategy is that you might lose control. People talk about you in a bad way. You don't know how to answer so you reply anonymous. An influent blogger realises this and buzz about it. The buzz increases. You lose control and decide to respond honestly... too late. You set up a bad image and now you have to deal with crisis management. The result is that you lost the opportunity to expresss yourself easily from the first time and you lost lot of time and credibility in one shot.
Some actions to undertake to start with: Go and meet users on the internet. Answer comments left by users on multiple blogs. Read what they say about your brand. Set up collaborative tools. Make sure you offer tools to your customers to share with you about your products (blogs, forums, online surveys). Connect with your customers. Be present on online social networks and create a profile for your brand. Replay offline campaigns on the internet. Post your last TV campaigns on youtube, announce your coming event on Twitter, post feeds on Facebook and Linkedin, blog about your brand.
Engage users in product testing. Create restricted communities who will be able to test the product and help in its development. Create user communities. Engage users to buzz. Share and present your products to bloggers in order to engage a viral wave. Trigger the conversation. Engage the conversation on your blog and over chat rooms. Post on other blogs. Develop an honest and viral state of mind. Be open, do not be afraid, be honest and share as much as you can.
Embrace transparency. Do not post with fake names. Do not delete critical comments. Do not be afraid and respond to them. Build trust. By showing you are truly listening. You do however need to build up a method to avoid spam.
Combine the tools. Use multiple tools and spread your presence! Leverage the effect by using multiple tools. One media or one profile is not enough to see the effects. It is the combination of multiple tools that will make you successful.
Be patient. You will only see small changes at the beginning. The strategy is powerful when users will see your engagement. One page on facebook is not going to create miracles but the combination of multiple tools might. Never release your presence because communities need to be animated.
- Facebook: Create a page for your brand.
- Linkedin: Create groups for your employees, for your products, for employment.
- Twitter: Create an account and share useful links.
- Google+: how the enterprise can use Google+
- Youtube: Post videos! Create viral spots like lip dubs. Post helpful content for users.
- Slideshare: Create useful presentations
- Blog: Blog on your corporate blog. Share with bloggers and keep them informed about your actuality - they are interested by news.
- Reply: Read all conversations that are done about your brand. Participate to these conversations by replying and commenting. Respond quickly for a stronger effect. Share quality content.
How to measure success?
Buzz! Responsiveness of a communication that should be lower than 24 hours. Number of quality blog posts. Number of meaningful comments. Quality of content shared.
Traffic and quality: Number of links from other sites to the brand's URL's. Number of posts quoting or linking to the brand.
Which tools for metrics?
Easy tools to set up now! Subscribe to Google Alerts for the URLs and words you want to monitor. Subscribe to Google Analytics for your corporate website.
Here are seven key points to consider…
#1: Determine Your Goals and Objectives
Determine who owns social media. Whether it’s marketing, PR, or communications is irrelevant. In a perfect social media world for businesses, social media instills a collaborative approach and breaks down silos.
What’s important is to understand your social media goals and objectives and how they tie into your overall company goals.
Keep it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, and Timely (aka be SMART!).
#2: Research, Research, and Research Some More
Rather than jumping into the social media pool with both feet, do the equivalent of the “splash-water-on-self” maneuver so you know what to expect. Step two of creating an effective social media strategy is research.
- Develop a list of social media sites where you can potentially engage with people. The list will most likely start off with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a few select blogs and forums.
- Check out each of the social media sites on your list and do additional research to determine relevancy by searching for your brand name, your competitors, and your target keywords. Listen to what’s out there, identify, and understand your target audience.
#3: Create a Digital Rolodex of Contacts and Content
When social media is done correctly, relationships will build naturally. Begin making connections by following the conversation. You can do this by subscribing to blogs in your industry and by making a list of influencers who are relevant to your business.
This becomes handy when it’s time to provide content on your social networks. Here are some pointers on a social media content strategy.
#4: Join the Conversation to Develop Relationships
Now it’s time to start making use of all the research you’ve done. You can start joining the conversation by posting comments on blogs and forums, answering questions on Yahoo! and LinkedIn, joining groups related to your industry and joining Twitter chats.
Begin developing relationships by following and friending influencers and those in your industry. Don’t just look for people with thousands of followers; you’ll be surprised by the value that someone with only a couple of hundred followers provides.
#5: Strengthen Relationships
It’s easy to hide behind your avatar or profile picture, but face-to-face is incredibly powerful. I think more people are now realizing how underrated the in-person interaction really is because of how far social media has come, allowing so many people to “hide.”
Attend offline events related to your industry—not only to strengthen your knowledge base but also to network and strengthen relationships with those you might have conversed with via social media but never met in person. A popular offline event is known as a tweetup.
#6: Measure Results
You have goals and objectives, right? That means you should be able to measure your success.
Remember, what you measure will tie into the goals and objectives of your social media strategy.
Let’s take the four commonly used objectives:
- Improve brand presence across social channels—The measurement goal here is an increase in the number of followers on Twitter, number of fans on Facebook, number of comments, number of times your brand is mentioned in blogs and forums and so on.
- Increase positive sentiment about your brand—The goal here is to convert the number of positive mentions while taking note of negative mentions. Has the ratio of positive to negative comments improved? With the good comes the bad in social media. Get used to it!
- Develop relationships for future partnership opportunities—This goal is to keep track of those with whom you’ve connected. For example, if you met a potential speaker for your webinar, include that person into your digital Rolodex. If a vendor contacts you through your blog, capture that lead and take note.
- Increase traffic to your website—Keep track of visitors to your website who come from each of your social media sites. If you’re promoting an event using social media, consider using a unique code to track the campaign.
Measuring social media is a never-ending debate. What metrics do you use to measure social media? What objective are you measuring those metrics for?
#7: Analyze, Adapt, and Improve
Your social media strategy doesn’t end with measurement; it goes beyond that. You need to analyze your social media campaigns, adapt any new findings into your current processes, and improve your efforts.
Testing and experimentation will perfect your social media efforts.
As you dive deeper into the never-ending pool of social media, you’ll quickly understand what works and what doesn’t.
More specifically, you’ll develop favorite tools to use, realize that there are certain days and times where it doesn’t pay to be active in social media, and come to the conclusion that you still have lots to learn. It’s a wonderful new world and I hope many of you are as thrilled to be part of it as I am.
How Asymptotix can help you
- Asymptotix has several years' experience in marketing strategy and in particular in the last 3 years we have been working with Social Media Strategy for several smaller and medium sized companies that thought that it was about time to embrace all these new technologies and get more business.
- Asymptotix can help you from scratch: setting up a Social Media Strategy, upgrading the corporate website in Drupal so that it can embrace the Web 2.0 technologies and be more interactive and conversational. We help you set up your corporate brand pages on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Linkedin and integrate them with your corporate website. We make sure to use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques so that your clients will find you and Google Analytic so that you can measure visitor trends.
- Asymptotix can also help you set up your e-commerce using Ubercart or Magento technology. Perhaps you would like to sell your recommendations and reports, why not make an online store? It is not expensive and we start it up quickly for you!
- Asymptotix also engage in Drupal development / Integration of Drupal with Predicitve analytic solution architectures (for Financial Services propositions, particularly Asset Management or Economics Research).