I help companies develop a strategic approach to social media engagement, with a clear objective of establishing measurable customer advocacy for the brand.
My approach is collaborative and geared to building in-house capability.
Asking “why (social media) strategy?” might seem to some business people an unnecessary question. However, my experience and observation indicate that many companies become more or less engaged with social media on an ad hoc or strictly tactical basis, without having a thought-through strategy.
Businesses set up a Facebook fan page, some executives open LinkedIn accounts, someone adds a blog to the company website, a Twitter account is set up and someone assigned to manage it.
These are tactics, not strategy.
The tactical approach can work for a while, but for long term effectiveness there needs to be a point at which the engagement is subjected to some serious strategic analysis and planning. If a strategy is developed at the outset, the process becomes much more manageable and measurable than will be the case with a more ad hoc approach.
For any serious commitment to social media engagement, there are implications for:
- resources allocation or re-allocation
- legal and governance issues
- brand reputation management
- suitability of internal systems
- corporate culture
These and other issues will be managed much more effectively within a corporate social media strategy.
No smoke and mirrors
Fundamental to my approach in applying those methodologies is that I work with my client and involve the client in the process at every step.
I have a strong commitment to sharing what I know and helping my clients develop in-house skills and expertise in this field, through direct involvement of executives and staff in the strategy development process.
Three phase, sequential approach
The social media strategy process has three phases.
The process followed applies the methodologies of S3 Academy (formerly Social Media Academy)
This is where I help your company assess its position and its brand’s position in the social media eco-system, relative to customers, channel partners, and competitors.
This phase includes a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) from a social media engagement perspective.
The assessment phase is crucial for the success of any social media strategy.
With the assessment, including the SWOT analysis, completed, a strategy is then developed.
Unlike traditional “top down” and usually strictly “done under wraps” corporate strategy processes, my approach envisages engaging with core constituencies through the process itself – especially channel partners and customers.
The strategy process examines and cross-references six key elements (hexagon):
Given that the company has been involved from the outset in the Assessment and Strategy stages, in principle the company will be able to take the process from here into full implementation. In practice, we all have areas we focus on and the company may wish to use my services to support the implementation.
Typically I would be helping by way of continuing retained consultancy, and possibly executive coaching and staff training for greater social media effectiveness.
Some of the more routine elements of a social media engagement – such as some parts of the monitoring and measuring processes – can be outsourced and I can help with that, either by providing the support through my strategic partnerships, or by way of advice on selecting a suitably company for the outsourcing.
I don’t provide directly a fully outsourced social media engagement service. Some companies endeavor to outsource the whole of their social media engagement. I understand the thinking – we all want to focus on what we are best at – but frankly I think that approach is a contradiction in terms. As a colleague of mine puts it rather colorfully but accurately, “How exactly can you outsource your love for your customers?”
One of the beauties of the S3 Academy social media strategy framework is that it is scalable. It can work for the smallest company and the largest, transnational enterprise.
As part of a global S3 Academy alumni group, I am able to put together strategy project teams to develop strategies for companies of any size.
For more information about my social media strategy services, please get in touch via one of the options on my Contact page here.