Before you go up a roller coaster you usually need to pass the height test. If you’re shorter than the sign, sorry kid, you can’t board the ride. This should be the same for brands wanting to board the social media roller coaster. Before boarding they need to take a test to check their readiness to join the conversation.
But as the buzz around social media grows, many brands will be rushing to use tools they know very little about. The buzz dealers forget to mention a few social media fundamentals like the the long term investment, the organizational shift and the lack of short term gain. Before starting to build your own social network or create a twitter account ask yourself: Is your organization ready for the social media play? what resources do you have and which ones you will need to acquire? Who’s going to manage your community? Who’s going to write your blog? Create your content?
Some brands will try to take a short cut. If this is you please read Tom Smith’s post on Mashable: “Why Big Brands Struggle With Social Media“and Michael Chui, Andy Miller, and Roger P. Roberts on The Mckinsey Quarterly: “Six ways to make Web 2.0 work” which sums it up nicely here: “Acceptance of Web 2.0 technologies in business is growing. Encouraging participation calls for new approaches that break with the methods used to deploy IT in the past. Company leaders first need to survey their current practices. Once they feel comfortable with some level of controlled disruption, they can begin testing the new participatory tools“.
At FRANk we have placed a mandatory immersion stage to all brands who want to join the social media play. This process helps us to develop a sustainable strategy that is suited to the organization social level. It helps our clients understand the space, the process and the expected outcomes. During immersion we take into consideration business & marketing objectives, internal resources and customer service mechanism. We also include a qualitative survey, usually face to face with the end user which help us get the stories, experiences and insights. To wrap it all up we will also assess your online profile, competitors, industry and trends. Only after doing that we can come up with a strategy that will allow the brand to enjoy the ride.