Where is the Social Media “beef”???

front page, Perry & Banks on March 17th, 2011 Comments Off on Where is the Social Media “beef”???

Yes we know all the social media statistics. They include millions of users or members, massive growth and new outlets springing up on an almost daily basis. But as a CXO I would want to know a lot more before I committed company resources to a social media strategy.

In all the hype that I read on-line, I’m reminded of the 80’s Wendy’s advertising campaign, “where’s the beef”? All too often as an agency, we’re seeing companies careening headlong down the social media path without considering WHY they need a social media strategy or constructing a clear strategy and framework – where they are today, how social media can “interoperate” as a channel, and how the investment in social media relates to achieving company goals and objectives.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aISkVvi5iI8

Finding the Beef – Building a Successful Social Media Channel

From our perspective, the starting point is pretty clear. And one of the most important things to understand is that mobile, social media and on-line channels are becoming almost inseparable. But what we find consistently is that companies are engaging in a social media strategy without having a fully baked (or even partially baked) strategy and understanding of the medium and, what is required to be successful. Or perhaps they are paralyzed because they lack understanding of this new channel and don’t know how to assess cost or viability. So for those wondering what the next steps are, or who are feeling left behind and not sure how to proceed, we have the following tips. It’s really just another business case….

Start by asking some basic questions:

 What are the elements that will ultimately support a social media strategy? A basic SWOT analysis. An inventory of products and services; features and benefits; your value proposition. Market position assessment (versus your competition). Stakeholder messaging.

 What do you want to accomplish with a social media strategy? Do you want to build a sales pipeline (awareness, interest, evaluation). Do you want to drive sales? Drive traffic to your web site or sales micro sites? Is your goal to develop a stronger brand? Or do you want to build a loyal community of users? Followers?

 Who are your customers? Prospects? Other stakeholders? Where do they go to get their information? How do they make decisions? Are they on-line? What are they searching for? Who are the industry influencers?

 How are your products and services segmented today? How are they differentiated? Do you have an ongoing source of product development, market intelligence and customer service feedback? With traditional communities? Using on-line communities?

 What do your sales channels look like? Affiliates of agents? Direct sales? Call Centers? E-Commerce?

 How will you measure success of your social media plan? And how will it fit into your overall channel strategy and work with other tactics? SEO. SEM. Public Relations. Sales. Demand Generation. Web. Etc. And if you are driving traffic to websites or a call center – how do you measure the source of that traffic today? And how will it change by adding a social media channel?

 Do you have an active or potentially active user community? Customer service opportunity?

 And probably most important… Do you have a rich source of content today? Experts? Buyers Guides? White Papers? Checklists? PR Forum and blog topics? Published articles? Educational articles? Pictures? Multi-media PowerPoint, Keynote, Video, Animation? Viral content?

If you can answer these questions you’ll be well informed to take the next step in building a successful social media strategy that compliments your other marketing channels, with a budget that is tailored to meet your goals and objectives.

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