The thinking here is that to generate true return on investment then an external social media strategy needs to be coupled with an internally sound social business. Here’s a chart we’ve amended from one of David Armarno’s excellent posts & graphics.
If I can draw your eye to 12 o’clock…this is the external aspect of social. As we know lots of brands have not even got this right with many companies making the classic mistake of jumping onto a tool BEFORE putting any thought into the thinking or design that goes into effective monitoring and response. If we can put that sin to one side, for the moment, then the red stepping stones represent some key initiatives for a successful external programme.
It begins with the understanding that any initiative is dependant upon people. What resources do you have to listen, learn and manage? From appointing a Community Manager you can begin to develop a social media marketing platform and accept that the knock on effect of “social” goes way beyond just marketing, with customer service, amongst others, likely to benefit.
Identify your influencers and better understand what might drive them to care about your company. Begin to build events and campaigns which make you less reliant on increasingly expensive interruption/paid-for media. Generate your own content and develop a brand content plan at least 3-6 month out.
The net result is that you’ll be rewarding and engaging with customers in a way that will generate positive advocacy, the nirvana of all marketing.
So far so good but if you’re not acting like a social business internally (@ 6 o’clock) then ROI will continue to be elusive.
If your organization has spent money on tools or even people but haven’t figured out how to effectively communicate (internally), it’s a wasted investment. A process must be designed which connects multiple stakeholders together who can quickly get information and perhaps more importantly be able to connect with others on intepreting what it means.
Firstly your social strategy must be linked to your business metrics. What’s important to your business?
ROI can only come about if you link social’s performance to true metrics, not as a bolt on.
Value is predicated on willingness to connect SM to organisational objectives.
Without objectives and analysis, value is assumptive at best.
Knowledge then needs to be quickly shared in an open and collaborative manner….NOT in a silo based ‘need to know’ culture.
This is vital and can be a challenge for larger more culturally entrenched companies. Working towards a flat structure will entail policies and guidelines to adhere to as more employees become engaged with the socialisation of the business. Training and process then become part of the culture. The above chart is a demonstration of the kind of process that you can tailor to your company’s culture. Take this as a guide rather than absolutely follow it. Again thank you to Mr Armano.
Everything stems from conversations between your community and your community manager(s)…is it positive?, negative? or neutral?….so you listen, assess, engage and repeat the process.
Not too many companies are acting as social businesses let alone investing in a true social media strategy, so first mover advantage is there to be seized. There are not too many case histories out there because social strategy is still emerging but zappos can be held up as a good example of what can be.
At what stage is your company? Are you striving for balance internally and externally?