A last thought about Strategy?
In the first post in the series, we spoke generally about the similarities between a social marketing campaign and seduction. Of finding, meeting and creating a world together with that “right” person. In this post I explore the very first steps between Social Marketing and Seduction.
You are about to attend that art exhibition. Now is the time to prepare yourself. Mental preparation as much as physical preparation. Dress appropriately, yes. But, mentally prepare as well. Read up on the topic. Learn a few of the phrases of the day so you can talk with confidence. Go to the event. Keep your eye (and your mind) open to opportunity. Not to the closing of the deal but to the exploration of the opportunity. Remember, you are not doing any real work yet. Think. Explore. Listen.
And how does that have relevance to the brand and embarking upon that social marketing campaign?
Think, only think deeply, widely, seriously, strategically. About your business or brand and the communication opportunity presented to it. Be honest with yourself. We are not doing anything yet. Of changing it? Of growing it? Not yet! Simply exploring the opportunity with an eye to being sustainable. Yes, it must address your target market needs. Yes, it must achieve the goals. But it must be sustainable. All too often a campaign is started and all the elements are put in place. The website. The social marketing platforms. And at first the content is great, and the community management is excellent. But before long the YouTube Channel’s last video is 6 months old. The Twitter replies are once a month after the Tweet is posted. And the campaign looks tired and forgotten. Sustainability is as important as anything else.
And look at your current company or brand
• What is bad and should be avoided at all costs
• What is poor but can quickly be fixed?
• What is great and must be exploited? Maximized?
Talk to others about your thinking. It will be a Social Campaign, after all! Do you have personal contacts you can talk to? Or join a networking group, LinkedIn or Meetup group? Find other people who are in a similar position to yourself and going through the same startup process. It is often good to talk to unknown people. With known people we get too personal and too defensive, too quickly.
Informally look at the communications of your business with a simple Google search. How do people see you now? And look at your competitors as well? What are they doing? Does it look and feel good to you as an outsider? What do you like? What do you expressly not like?
Take a honest look at your personal and company resources. Look at money, time and people. Here sustainable is key. Whatever you start you must maintain and finish.
Who is going to manage this social marketing process? Every project must have a clear and responsible leader.
• Are you the CEO, MD or owner going to manage it?
• You might need a Marketing Director or Manager? Think about a full time, a part time or freelance resource? Which will work best for your business?
• Do you have an internal team to manage the actions? You may have the people in place, but do they have the time or desire to manage the day to day actions?
• Or an external agency to do same? It may be you have worked with agencies in prior situation so you know the people to talk to. Do not let them impress you with technical skills or high profile campaigns that have worked on. Get to understand their character. You are going to be working intimately with these external people and you must like them, know them and be able to work with them. Both professionally and personally in a team work environment.
And do not forget you need content? Stories? Video? Pictures? Blogs and micro blogs. There are people in your team right now who can help. Identify them. Activate their thinking now.
What are the platforms you are thinking of? Facebook or LinkedIn? And include your current team in this discussion. That discussion alone will make them aware of your communication objectives, plans and requirements. It will start to build your team around the marketing communication and message. Each individual will become an ambassador for that message.
Some will like Facebook, some Twitter, some Instagram. That opens the discussion to which platforms are most suited to your objectives? What message? What content? What target people? What targeted regional interests?
And that discussion will give you a clear picture of who knows what. Who is an expert? Who is an intern? Who are the amateurs? Who is a self-proclaimed expert but knows nothing relevant?
And will also indicate the resource skills you have? Photographic? Video? Blogging? Microblogging? Headline writers? Body copy writers?
And throughout this process look out for the weaknesses. Not what you do know but what do you not know? What are the weak points that must be avoided? Strong points to be strengthened?
You must critically answer what do you want to achieve.
• You only need a website, Facebook and a LinkedIn page. And that is it?
• You desire a YouTube channel?
• Are B2B or B2C?
• You think an organic network sharing/posting/talking is the right thing?
• Perhaps a direct mail campaign is all you need?
• And the ultimate objective is: Brand awareness, network build or direct sales?
At the end of this process you will have great overall “picture” of the commitment you are entering into. Sustainability is the critical issue. Creativity plays a different role depending on objectives. Content is important. Technical innovation can be good to develop. Even cross channel activity has a role to play. You may even have to invest money in the social campaign. But critical that your campaign as a whole must remain fresh, vivid and interesting. It must be sustainable by design. No one buys fresh vegetables that have passed their “use by date”. Go in honestly, even if that results in a limited campaign. Better to deliver such that full but limited promise to the world than deliver for a week only and then let the daily chores interrupt the message!
Now you have the entire picture in your head. You know the message you want to communicate. You know the platforms that make sense to you. You know who is your team has a good view. And you know whom to ignore. You know who are the content supporters. And the you what you will use a success measure. You are now ready to take the next step!
A social marketing communication is not something to be jumped into. Of all the critical components you must decide upon it is the final success objective that you must detail. Consult as widely as you need in order to determine the measure of that. What is the written record that you will accept that details the successful conclusion of your campaign. It might be website metrics. It might be connections, visitors, new subscribers, followers or fans. It might be hits, comments, likes or tweets. It might be shares, applause or retweets. With paid advertising, reach, unique clicks, conversion tracking, audience demographic details, cost per click and other such analytics may be important. Or it might more simply be the number of promotional incentives taken up or actual sales converted. Whichever, it is critical to have a simple dashboard that will give the measure of the campaign you and you marketing team find relevant for your brand, your company and your position in the market. This both to evaluate the success of the current campaign but also to provide a benchmark for measure and/or improvement for the next campaign.
You have gone through a long process of strategy, of listening and of thinking. You decide to go ahead and mount a social marketing campaign. Now to the first “take action” steps. What are the priorities? What are the first items to take action on? That comes next!
About Garth Sutherland
Garth Sutherland has an extensive multicultural understanding.
He has worked with local brands (creating independent strategic positions) and international brands (integrating the international brand vision with the local demand to optimize the “on the ground” brand presence). His strengths include bringing a strong strategic focus into all aspects of marketing delivery, working with multi-agency perspectives, independent thinking & implementing with a consistent and practical teamwork focused delivery.
Garth is currently working for Six Degrees, a communication and events management consultancy that combines strategy with functional management, always ensuring that every event and every component of every event adds to the strategic value of the brand represented.
If you are participating in an event and want to maximize the strategic value of that participation, Garth (and Six degrees) is the ideal resource to task.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or +971 50 459 2536. Other posts of his can be read at https://www.linkedin.com/in/garthrsutherland/