Jason Falls will be conducting a social media workshop (among others) at the 2017 CEDIA® Business Xchange, March 1-3 in San Antonio. Here's a preview.
Understanding social media strategy requires first that you understand what the possibilities are when using social media for your business. Erik Deckers and I identified the six major business drivers of social media in our book, No Bulls**t Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing
Those six drivers – or reasons – one might use social media marketing are: 1. Branding and Awareness.
Social media can make more people aware of who you are, what you do and how you can help them. 2. Protecting Your Reputation.
Social media can help you identify and resolve public relations crises, amplify positives about your company and help your ranking in search engines. 3. Building Community.
Social media can help you attract a community of fans and followers who are more apt to buy your products or services than others, giving you a built-in audience or army of advocates. 4. Facilitating Customer Service.
Social media can plug you into active customers who have concerns and questions to serve and resolve, and sometimes in very cost effective ways. 5. Performing Research and Development.
Listening to social media conversations can inform you about what they think about your product, your competitors and more, giving you consumer insight for product development, experience enhancements or even messaging and targeting. 6. Driving sales or leads.
Social media can be used to sell directly to social network users who may need your product or service
Once you know what the possibilities are, social media strategy is all about picking what you want to focus on. If you have a problem with name recognition, you can focus on Branding and Awareness. If you have challenges in customer service, social media can be used for that business function very easily. If you want to know more about your prospective customers, approaching social media with the strategic purpose of R&D is probably wise. Easy on the Sales Pitch
While it is very tempting to zero in on driving sales and leads – especially since that’s the bread and butter driver that will make it easier to financially support a social media effort – you have to consider the medium. Social media audiences are more apt to be turned off by direct sales. You can sell using social media, but you won’t be very successful doing so if that’s all you try to use it for.
Think of social media like a networking event. You enter the room, migrate around listening to the various conversations until you find a group of people talking about something you are interested in. You join their circle informally until they pause and recognize you for an introduction. You participate in the conversation, build some rapport and trust with them and then perhaps trade business cards. But you don’t move in for the sale quickly, or even at that event. You nurture that relationship over time and move in to close weeks or even months later.
Ultimately, you have to devote your time and resources to the strategic focal points that best support your business. But keep in mind that starting with “Branding and Awareness” or “Customer Service” will help you establish rapport and build relationships so that you can eventually turn on the ability to “Drive Sales or Leads.”
Social isn’t your strategy, but part of your strategy
Social media strategy should also be an extension of your overall marketing strategy. Communicating consistently across touch points – the way you talk to customers who call you on the phone, your radio advertisements, the flyers you circulate, the newspaper ads you run, the content you post on your Facebook page – they’re all important in establishing expectations of prospective customers and helping you deliver on that promise. Let your social media efforts flow from your overall marketing approach.
We’ll dive deeper into the various channels, content and more at the CEDIA Business XChange in March
. See you in San Antonio!