In the opening paragraphs of this article, Jeff Bullas states that ”90% of buying decisions start with an online search. Despite this, the marketing budget for digital media as a share of overall advertising spend is only 8%”.
This statement alone should prompt most organisations to seriously rethink their social media marketing strategies and associated marketing budget allocation!
The Three Essential Steps to a Socially Engaged Enterprise
Social media is democratizing marketing and is enabling the aspirational brands to challenge major brands for global mind and market share.
The gap between how companies market with media and how customers consume media is significant. In some industries, especially technology, up to 90% of buying decisions start with an online search. Despite this, the marketing budget for digital media as a share of overall advertising spend is only 8%.
The CEO in most organisations has been raised on a diet of mass media and traditional marketing. Their paradigm in the past has often been to stick with the known because it was safe.
The CEO and the Socially Engaged Enterprise
Slowly but surely the “C-Suite” generation is realizing that digital media is where their audience hangs out and social media is much more than just having a Facebook page.
They are starting to wake up to the fact that a well planned and resourced social media marketingt strategy can lead to closer engagement with customers that is changing customer service and how the business sells and markets its brand.
To be a socially engaged business is no longer an option, it is essential, just like the website was initially perceived in the 1990′s.
A study by PulsePoint Group in conjunction with “The Economist” Intelligence Unit titled “The Economics of the Socially Engaged Enterprise” has revealed that the socially engaged companies have a 400% greater impact.
The study also outlined the steps that are essential to becoming a socially engaged business.
Step One: Plan It
There are two phases to this step.
1. Get Executives Sold and Comitted
This requires getting the C-suite on board so that the time, money and resources can be allocated to ensure that is done properly. The CEO and the executives will need to be convinced that there will be a return on investment to be a socially engaged enterprise before committing the budget required.
This was hard in the past as there was no case studies or leading examples of businesses reaping a reward from investing in the selection, design and development of the platforms and tools needed to start listening online to feedback from customers and prospects and then acting on it.
2. Develop a Strategy
Developing a strategy that is clear on its goals and audience is the next phase. It includes weaving the strategy into the existing marketing plans so that they are synergistic and relevant.
Step Two: Build It
Essentially there are four phases to step two.
1. Select your SWAT Team
This could be internal or a mix of internal and external staff that are passionate and skilled about teaching, training and evangelizing employees on an ongoing basis. This team will also need to choose the technologies required to achieve the strategic goals. In most enterprises the Marketing and Communications departments are seen as responsible for the project for becoming socially engaged.
2. Create a Social Media Command and Listening Center
Obtaining real time information that provides feedback from your customers on Facebook and Twitter and other social networks will assist you with determining if your products and services are resonating with your market. Essentially negative feedback means remove or change and positive means do more of the same thing that elicited that response!
3. Integrate Social Engagement into every Department
Listening and then acting on what you are hearing is vital right across the organisation including sales, customer service and product development. A socially engaged company will make rapid changes to its products and customer service approach as feedback and comments that are monitored on the command center are received, taken on board and then acted on.
4. Create a Publishing Plan and Schedule for your Content
You will need to plan your blog posts, Facebook updates, YouTube videos and other updates to your social network outposts that will be relevant for your audience, goals and brand message.
Step Three: Drive It
This is going to take time and commit to spend the next 12 months making sure that the team is acting on the strategy plan. This will involve three phases
1. Keep the Technology Up to Date
Social media is a fast moving and ever evolving technology, ensuring that the technology platforms are up to date and are providing the right tools to be efficient is vital. Upgrades to your blog, Facebook, analytics and measurement technologies will bee needed to ensure that you are not left behind as new tools and tactics emerge.
2. Learn from Your Mistakes and Celebrate your Wins
You will make mistakes as the socially engaged enterprise is still a new and and emerging marketing displine. Make adjustments quickly and move on. Celebrate wins with the team regularly to reinforce a success culture.
3. Assess Regularly
As with all proper business practice, develop a weekly management process that ensures that assessment of progress is made and the appropriate adjustments implemented. This will ensure long term success.