Who is your social media programme designed for? Honestly speaking, is it a programme with activities that truly are designed around your customers (or prospects), or is it merely a show off to your shareholders (or your line manager)?
Whilst a Pinterest profile (replace this with any new social network that may come within the next 6 months) might make you look good in front of your colleagues, is that really what your customers are expecting from you today?
I’ve spent more than 3 years working with various projects involving social media tools & technologies. I was Head of Social Media for the Betclic Everest Group for almost 2 years where I designed and setup a companywide Center of Excellence in charge of all social media activities.
Why this background story? Well, I think I’ve come across and experienced most possible hurdles in running a social media programme, but there’s one big thing that keeps coming back, and I think most of you social media folks agree with me here; Brands want one thing, customers another. And it’s not possible to achieve any kind of success having this disconnect.
This disconnect is usually driven by a couple of internal corporate forces such as:
- Shareholders demands quick return on investments
- The notion of “the more people we can bug the more people we can sell”
- Non transacting customers are costly
- Over promise and you under deliver
If you’re stuck with these corporate forces, then it’s here you need to start you social media efforts. Launching a Facebook page or monitoring blogs or doing any other tactics just for the sake of it won’t take you anywhere. Because you will promise things that aren’t true, you will spam people, you think your fans are costly and you will be bored after 3 months when you didn’t get as many fans as you had hoped for.
Really, a Facebook page won’t make a difference unless the strategy of your brand is aligned with goals that matter is a connected world.
How does a company look like that will take advantage of social media?
It’s certainly not your typical Parisian outlet where you get thrown out of the store if you take a photo for you 4sq check-in (at the same time the brand manager for the store is busy setting up a Facebook page)… do you you see the disconnect?
A smart company will first look at how his playground has changed when his customers and prospects are all connected via social media channels. He will do this granular analysis before even thinking about what social media profiles he could setup himself.
Typical insights that would come from this analysis are:
- It’s really expensive having my customers complain about my products in social media
- At the same time, happy customers seems to be doing the marketing for me
- People really seems to be researching the purchases
- The store is never closed and with mobile it’s everywhere
The above isn’t rocket science, but it sort of wraps up a few big things that describes today’s online world. Google even has a name for this, the call it the Zero Moment of Truth.
In a digital and socially connected world, there are a couple of strategies that will benefit companies:
- Become customer centric and invest in your current customers
- Only invest in permission based communication
- Build communication programmes that provides value to your prospects and customers. Value is not flashy photos but customer service, insights, free stuff and other genuinely good things
- Under promise and over deliver, there’s no better way of constantly creating a positive buzz