6-point framework for Social Media Marketing strategy

Social Media Marketing Strategy is the buzz-phrase of all marketers these days.

However, we recently found out that all the “strategy” related buzz flowing around actually boils down to the TOOLs used – and not the STRATEGY. In a previous post we briefly outlined the 3 foundations on which SMM strategy should be built upon. This post will focus upon developing a framework for developing SMM campaign strategy.

Like any strategy, the framework for SMM campaign can be simply depicted as a closed loop system (see figure).

6-point closed-loop strategy framework

Where are we?

To know this, we need to gain intelligence on our competitors and customers. We need to monitor and listen to the buzz around our industry and category, utilizing independent resources and tools available online.

Secondly, even though social-media knowledge is high among most customers and industries, we still need to assess the current level of social-media readiness of our customer universe. An understanding of this will make a difference in deciding the tools we’d like to employ during the later stages.

Thirdly, we also need to identify our digital assets and our available content, which should give a fair indication of the level of resource allocation needed for our campaign.

Who are with us?

Analysis involved in the above steps will specify the target audience we need to address and their social-technographic profile. We need to identify which social media clusters or combination of these would work for us.

Where do we want to go?

Our Analysis would also give an indication about our realistic Goals / Objectives for the campaign. These objectives must be aligned with the target audience clusters and the metrics we’d employ to monitor / measure our campaign. From this, we’d have targeted and measurable objectives.

While setting objectives we also need to gain a balance between “effectiveness” and ‘impact” of the campaign. Broadly, the objectives could be:

  1. Listening – Researching to gain customer understanding
  2. Talking – Spreading Co. messages
  3. Energising – Powered buzz created by enthusiastic customers
  4. Supporting – Helping customers support each-other
  5. Embracing – Integrating customers into the business (e.g. participating in design process) – though applicable in case any of 4 other objectives has already been met.

How can we go there?

The processes involved in achieving our objectives need to be carefully formulated. The need and current level of social-media readiness will lead to employable tactics from an ever increasing universe of tools available; e.g. blogging, micro-blogging, multimedia sharing, bookmarking, etc. From this we’d get an idea of the share of investments needed out of overall online budgets.

Secondly, we need to integrate the social media tools with other online tools and tactics employed (e.g. SEM, PPC, SEO, SMO, etc.). Monitoring and management of tactics and resources is crucial at this stage. We need to select SM platforms based on tactical effectiveness and architectural fitness.

Are we ready to go?

Once the processes have been formulated, we need to develop SM architecture in order to map out the multiple activity levels. For any SM campaign, the Blog acts as the hub, while the communities (e.e. Facebook, Youtube), forums, outposts (e.g. Twitter) act as the spokes of the structure.

Taken as a whole, the SM architecture acts as an interface of the SM campaign for the target audience, as well as acts as a dashboard to control campaign implementation.

What’s our progress?

Once implemented, we need to constantly monitor the campaign for its effectiveness, based on the metrics set at the 3rd stage and take steps to amend tactics as we go along.

Last but not the least, we must not forget that the above framework has been developed within the 3 foundations of SM campaign planning, discussed in a previous post.

Resources:

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How to simplify design, yet maintain functionality?

  • How can you bring simplicity into the design of products – taking out complexity while not compromising capabilities? Question by: Hitesh Parashar;

Well… frankly, I’m not a designer; but I guess any profession involves some kind of “design” – e.g. the day-to-day life is also some sort of “design” formulated by the creator of all! I feel that following approach is quite universal, regardless the field or profession you are in:

1st step – Forget you’re designing!!! Think you’re solving a problem!
2nd step – Once a solution is found, don’t stop… look for more solutions – at least 5 more!
3rd step – Apply logic and reason to see if the solutions are different and address the problem fully
4th step – If yes, see if they’re simple enough for applying in reality, and go ahead!

In daily life, we see problems and try to solve them – not just see if the solution was easy, difficult, looked good or satisfied my peers, etc.

Hence the first step always is to stop thinking you’re designing. Good Designs born out of the Philosophy of “Simplicity”.

Some useful links: Google’s Simplicity; Maeda’s Simplicity; Ikea’s Simplicity;

Also Look for Other answers;

Note: This post was originally created on 3rd April 2009 @09:28 am. It is also posted under Answers@LinkedIn page

Which recruitment agency to use?

I suppose for this kind of situations, which could be true even in case of hiring for an ad agency, the answer lie within the following universal check-lists / principles:

  1. Does the agency have at least 2 detailed preliminary meetings with you to discuss your requirements? (this will show that they have patience and interest in giving you the best service)
  2. Once done, do they come up with their view of your requirements, not fearing to give you some market insights which you didn’t know, or you’ve never accepted yourself? (this will show that they just don’t want to get business)
  3. Once insights are shared, do they come up with a plan of action to source out the best available in the market? (this will show that they are not just internet searchers, and really do give you value for the money they charge)
  4. Once approach has been agreed upon, do they screen candidates before sending them to you? Do they share the screening questionnaire and method of screening to you? (this will again show that they value your involvement in the process)
  5. When the candidates are sent, they usually give details which are NOT included in the CV – usually based on their screening interviews. They also provide info. and recommendations about min and max salary this candidate is worth.
  6. Finally, they also give you commitment that the candidate would not leave within the probation period; and the same is expected out of you too!

Many would point out that the above is too idealistic way of looking at a recruitment service provider agency. However, once you’re in the industry, you’d definitely utilize your network to gain information about any recruitment agency you call-in to brief. The above points can be probed into EVEN BEFORE you call for briefing – from the people you get references about the agency (LinkedIn could be one source)

Also look for Other Answers

Note: This post was originally created on 8th April 2009 @09:16 am. It is also posted under Answers@LinkedIn page

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