Devising a Social Media Strategy

You’ve noticed the trend, businesses around the globe are embracing social media. Now, you want to harness that same power for your business. First, you need a social business strategy that makes sense for your business. In order to do that, you must consider the fact that times have changed. No longer can an organization get by on catering to market needs alone.

The business world today is much more empowered; empowered to act and react to dynamic changes often the moment they occur. For your organization to reap the benefits of the social media phenomenon, you must adapt and become more flexible in how you engage your customers, partners and community. To do so involves cultivating social connections that focus on solving business and customer challenges rather than the traditional PR techniques of selling your prospects on just how great you are.

Now that you’ve established the need for a social strategy there are a few things that should be done before you actually devise the strategy.

A) Help the CEO formulate a social media strategy team that will include internal leaders and managers spanning the entire organization.

The social team’s job will be to help create the strategy and oversee its implementation. As internal buy-in is critical to overall strategy success, the choices made in team selection are extremely crucial. Remember, you can’t build success on a rocky foundation.

Once the team is assembled, it wouldn’t hurt to…

B) Conduct a session with your company’s executive team where you explore social tech’s ability to and success in transforming organizations.

Be sure to fully explore how the same and more can be realized by your organization. Once the seeds have been planted and the bosses are on board, you can start building out your strategy. And because you’re building on a solid foundation, you should really be able to maximize your competitive advantage by following sound principles catered to your unique value position. Does this guarantee you’ll be the next Facebook or Twitter? No, but it will guarantee a much better fate than just blindly approaching the socialsphere, hoping for the best.

Based on a recently published Forrester Research report, Social Business Strategy, there are four key ingredients to a successful social business strategy:

#1 Know Thy Neighbor
There’s no way that you can create value through social engagement if you don’t truly understand who your employees and customers are, as well as, how they use social technology. According to Forrester, 62 million US adults visited a social networking site at least monthly between 2007 – 2010 representing a 50% increase in social networking usage.

#2 Define Your Goals
What do you expect to achieve by becoming more social? Do you want to improve customer perception? Increase customer sat? Increase sales? Whatever the case may be, get specific, associate each goal with a strategy and detail the steps to achieve the goal. Once that’s established, review what emerging social technology trends make the most sense in support of accomplishing your goals.

#3 Weigh the Pros and Cons
Determine which of your goals has the greatest output (return) for the least input (investment). Don’t get caught up in ego. Realistically assess the risk, effort and complexity of each goal/strategy so you can formulate the clearest picture of which ones should be pursued and which ones to abandon. If a project requires a high investment with very little return, it should be tossed. On the other hand, if you discover a gem of a project that essentially costs nothing to implement but yields untold riches, be smart and fast-track that one.

#4 Pick the Right Tool for the Job
You’ll likely need a myriad of services to support your golden social strategy so choose wisely. Explore all your options whether it be SaaS, PaaS or even IaaS. Determine which ones integrate with your existing infrastructure the best. You ultimately want your technology selection to be the icing on your well baked plan.

I’ve personally found success with this approach and feel that it can effectively be applied to a variety of operational/strategical models. How about you?

RELATED RESOURCES
http://www.forrester.com/rb/Research/social_business_strategy/q/id/57541/t/2

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