Marriage à la Mode, William Hogarth, 1743-1745, National Gallery London (Source: Wikimedia)
Ideas for Leaders #111

Socially Aware, Media Savvy: Social Media Strategy

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Key Concept

Social media offers both great opportunities, and also challenges, to businesses. For those that embrace social media – by adopting the right strategy – risks can be averted and rewards unlocked. Using a simple framework to create an effective strategy for social media can enable your company to enjoy its benefits.

Idea Summary

Companies can no longer control their communications with their customers. Social media tools have enabled information to be generated from within the marketplace by consumers themselves. This shift of power presents significant challenges for companies that fail to come to terms with it. But for those that do embrace social media, the rewards can be great. Different methods of collaboration and innovation are becoming ever more prevalent and companies are increasingly realizing the commercial gains that can be achieved through these new business models.

A comprehensive six-stage framework will enable businesses to plan, run and improve their use of social media as part of their marketing strategy. This simple, but effective, framework covers most situations and can be deployed in most companies, whether operating in the business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) space. The six stages are:

  1. Plan: Identify what you want to achieve and how you should approach social media
  2. Monitor: Listen to the social media conversations taking place about your business and brand (using monitoring tools such as Google alerts) to gain insight into your customers’ perceptions
  3. Engage: Establish your company’s presence in the social media world (using blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc), because if you don’t start the social media conversations then someone else will
  4. Manage: Use social media to build and manage relationships that support the objectives of your business strategy. Use blogs, Facebook activity and responses to others, for example, to make announcements, resolve customer issues, launch new products, run campaigns, request ideas or feedback and recruit staff
  5. Measure: Understand the impact of your social media strategy and continually adapt it to improve outcomes
  6. Integrate: Tie your social media activities in with your other online and offline activities. Remember, social media is just another channel in the marketing mix.

Business Application

For most companies, embarking on a social media strategy can enable them to create a customer-centred environment, using technology to accelerate real-time interactions. But the successful implementation of a social media strategy will depend on you, as a business leader:

  • Considering all six stages of the social media framework in order to meet the needs of your company.
  • Integrating social media into the marketing strategy that underpins your company’s vision and goals. Social media represents another marketing channel – its activities do not exist in isolation.
  • Avoiding a corporate approach to social media. It does not work. As its name suggests, social media needs the personal touch.
  • Recognizing the challenge of managing content creation.
  • Developing a clear understanding of the new rules of engagement within the social media environment.
  • Managing those rules of engagement to deliver business benefits. For example, blogging can increase sales leads.
  • Thinking about how you will meet the challenge of gaining trust in the social media space.
  • Carefully selecting measurement metrics that are relevant to the business, to demonstrate the true value of social media activities.
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Authors

Institutions

Source

Idea conceived

  • 2011

Idea posted

  • March 2013

DOI number

10.13007/111

Subject

References

Developing a Social Media Strategy, Clark. M, Bryan. A, Shapiro. M, The Henley Centre for Customer Management. The full paper can be obtained via The Henley Centre for Customer Management.

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