When using Social Media it’s critical that you reflect your business objectives. Business objectives are (or should be) linked to your overall business strategy. So, when clients ask me “how can I use Social Media for my business?” I respond with the following question:
“What are your business objectives?”
Everything hinges on that question. When it comes to social media businesses don’t find it easy to articulate their business objectives. In most cases they’ve heard that they should be “into Social Media” and are looking for ways to do just that – immediately. Unfortunately that generally means getting the latest Social Media tool and looking to tack Social Media on to somewhere or treat it as a separate activity. It should be integrated with your other marketing programs.
Conversations are driven by experiences
The Social Web is chiefly driven by conversations. A close look at these conversations will show that they are influenced by experiences. Those experiences are which are in turn affected by company processes and policies.
Take customer service for example – or in some cases, the lack thereof. A poor customer experience at one of your touch-points can get people talking. If you’re aware of what’s being said when people experience your service or product you can use these conversations to make improvements. If people talk about services that need improvements, chances are that they will also talk about the actual improvements.
Three things to do before starting your social media program
1. Meet with your entire team, not just the marketing team. Include:
- Product managers
- Business unit managers
- Operational teams
- Customer service teams
2. Review customer service calls:
- Look for trends
- Talk to customer service reps and other frontline staff – and listen to their input
- Identify the key issues – what’s driving them?
3. Tie social media objectives into objectives that drive improvement
If your objective is product development objectives need to be those that drive the product development process.
Align success metrics to each objective
Your metrics will depend on your objectives and business culture. For example if your company is driven primarily by sales conversions, ensure your metrics include your sales conversion, purchase channels and how conversations impact these.
If, on the other hand, your company is driven by visibility, relate your metrics to what drives or influences your presence on the web.
At this point you can define the social media channels you will use.
Once you’ve decided on your objectives and which channels to use you can then apply your social media marketing tactics and tools to achieve those objectives using your specific metrics.
Don’t forget to consider the activities your audience engages in, because these will guide what activities you offer them and how well you can measure them. For example, while your audience may read blogs, this doesn’t mean they actively blog.
What do you think? How do your business objectives influence your social media programs?