Most companies and businesses, large and small, are developing and executing social media in the wrong way and they have been doing it from the beginning. The key to success is to stop everything we understand today as social media strategy and tactics and to reconstruct the plan around the next job. Social media from scratch and well done, it’s possible.
Executing social media better than the majority (how to)
These are the seven strategies I’ll choose for executing social media very effectively:
1. Create and measure a new definition of “word of mouth”
One single person who recommends your brand based on your current consumer experience is gold; a customer who clicks on the “heart” button in a very nice photo published by your brand is not included (and alike bought is a stain on the soul of your brand). Now is the time to realize that not all interactions with the consumer are equal and successful. Brands must generate a “word of mouth” that matters – not the activities that are easy to manipulate, but those that are difficult, complex and significant.
If you want to start social media from scratch, forget the false “word of mouth” strategies created by the “brand to consumer” content spread on social channels and focus on the “word of mouth” forged with stories, recommendation, and prescription “audience to audience.” The false “word of mouth” is what leads the community to “like” something that the brand published; The real “word of mouth” makes the community tell other members inside and outside of it why they should trust, try and buy your product or use your service.
2. Throw your current social media report in the trash
The first step to refocus your social media activities on what matters is to change what is measured. Stop the rewards for engaging employees or agencies that fail to deliver a business result and start measuring what matters – changes in customer loyalty or consideration, confident and authentic “word of mouth,” incoming traffic that converts, qualified leads of acquisition and satisfaction of the client.
3. Reconsider who should lead your social media
Once you have reconsidered the metrics that matter, the next question is who, within the organization, is better equipped and trained to enforce those metrics. If organic social media is not being an active marketing channel, should your marketing team be responsible for the creation of content, advertising campaigns and the direction of calendars, campaigns, and social media plans? You tell me. If the response ratio and “one to one” engagement are the new objectives, which department is better prepared to deliver what the brand needs and expects in social media? These are vital questions, because whatever the department that runs social media is, they will wait for the results and will use the metrics that they think are most important.
A recent study in Econsultancy exemplifies the case: amongst all forms of financial services, only 38% see social media as a channel for customer retention; most see it linked to cross-selling and acquisition. That means that most of these organizations are using social media to pursue marketing strategies that generate sales (an approach that we know will fail). While the minority develops social media strategies designed to improve customer satisfaction, reputation, loyalty, and retention – objectives not usually associated with marketing but with public relations and customer service departments.
4. Stop what doesn’t work
Objectively evaluate the feedback that your brand generates on social channels with content marketing, and stop what doesn’t work if you want to start social media from scratch. If today you are not validating positive feedback due to content marketing published on social channels, you certainly will not do so in the future, nor will it be an organic reach. The marketers continue to act as if the content marketing was destined to work and what happens is that they utterly fail to find the content marketing strategy that does work.
The analysis and data tell us: customers and potentials are being flooded with marketing messages, little credible brand content and protected behind paid advertising and provided with adblocking software in which they are not interested or available to receive the output of that content. Content is essential and has its place in marketing strategies, but now is the time to rebalance the investment that the brand is making to fit in with the feedback it receives and can expect.
5. Human Media
It’s not about starting executing social media from scratch, and that’s it. Stop talking to your audience to tell them what you want them to hear. Start listening to that audience and answer them with what they want and need. The idea of your brand is more evident than your content, and actions speak louder than words.
If the best thing your organization can do to talk about itself with this wonderful “one on one” relationship channel, you have no right to be disappointed when your clients perceive and punish your organization for their self-interest. The brands that win in the new social media era will not be better at storytelling (forget those unfortunate and illusory workshops and courses). But those that use social media to listen, help, educate, incite, encourage, pave, connect and respond to their clients, audience, and potentials as individuals (Human Media), as precious as possible.
6. From customer service to guest experience
There is no excuse to fail in service experience to your client. Be sure to create a management system for executing social media, listen to the needs of your customers in each appropriate social channel, manage incoming messages, answer each question, anticipate your claims, handle each complaint and help each of those people at that moment in time. Self-service and “peer-to-peer” are useful tools, but there is no substitute for those “one-on-one” guest experience response techniques in a growing (and very public) channel of preference for many of your customers.
7. Connect with each other
Your brand is disappearing from your clients’ news feeds (if not for a while), but “friends” always see the content of the people they know, trust and care about. Stop trying to maximize engagement using fun, smart, trendsetting, innovative or inspirational content, and stop acting as if a human engagement could be purchased by paying “influencers” who send tweets about your brand.
Find ways for people to connect with each other about real experiences with your organization and what it offers. Create resonance with your happy customers and help them share their experiences. That’s to say:
- Intercept clients in their moments of truth to encourage them to share.
- Create ratings and assistance within each mobile or web experience-
- Connect people with others in a meaningful way; and more than anything.
- Provide those kinds of products or services in which people want to share the story with their friends because they find them worthy of attention and consideration.
Stand out by doing social media from scratch
Grab the fire extinguisher, burn your previous social media plan and start executing social media from scratch. Do it now, and this year and the next could be the years where your brand finally excels on digital platforms.
Photo credit: mdmvillaespesa.