It´s clear: we need to add Social Media in our Marketing Mix strategy. But this is not only about finding the right way to exist in the online galaxy, but finding the best way to integrate digital tools to our traditional way of developing our business.
Internet gives us the bravest challenge every day: to adapt to changes. This is the main reason why in the beginning, companies used to fail in their strategy since they started their online performance. They had in mind it was just another publicity channel. In other words: companies fell into the temptation of giving Social Media offline expectations.
You need to have a clear understanding of the main idea: Online and offline strategies complement each other, not oppose each other. Once this is clear for you, it´s important that you have a well-defined understanding of the real function of Social Media. Without a clear idea of what we expect from it, Social Media just won´t work neither in a short nor in a long term. So, let´s begin by answering this short and useful questionnaire checklist:
Think – Act
- Do I know exactly the type of audience I wish to attract in order to develop my on-line strategy?
- Am I aware that I will have to pay to play in the social media field? It is an investment, not a waste.
- Am I vaccinated against the “Like Virus”? That means I understand clearly that everything is about building engagement with my audience and not just searching more Likes from my on-line followers. I need them to take action!
- Am I ready to understand Social media metrics and/or to ask about them? Remember that Social Media is about Data and how you use this powerful business tool to gain higher profits.
- Do you already know that Social Media is the king of content (and of course, that Big Data is the queen)? So, you will need to work hard in creating and co-creating the best content for your audience (check point number one)
I hope all your answers are a big Yes! If that is the case, then I welcome you to the Social Media world. Let´s take a look at statistics: according to Burson-Marsteller, one of the biggest Public Relations agency in the world, 79 percent of the top 100 companies from the Fortune 500 magazine already use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and corporate internet blogs to communicate with their customers. So, let´s get it on and begin from the starting point.
To whom am I talking to
The first question is: Who are my users? This is the starting point to build our audience and the key in this introduction phase. Similar to what happens in the off-line world, once we identify a customer target for our products and services, this target is also divided in sub-targets or little groups. These sub-targets have their well-defined characteristics and a holistic framework. This same process happens in the online strategy. So, when we talk about our audience in our online strategy we cannot refer to only one group.
As a B2B business, we would like to propose a useful classification that will help you design a step-by-step route map:
Internal users: This audience consists of all the individuals within the company, that is all employees.
External users: These are all social media users that are not internal. External users can be divided into sub-categories which are:
- Corporate Users: These are other companies and enterprises.
- Customers: These are the regular customers, current or potential, that need our professional services.
- Professional Users: These are any other users that are not a current nor potential customer. We can call them stakeholders as they somehow affect companies in direct and indirect ways.
- Civilians: Citizens that use Social Media and are not necessarily connected to the company.
I hope this classification helps you out with the kick-off of your Social Media Plan. Remember, don`t be selfish! In Social Media is always better to first think about the others.
Start from the inside
First audience that we need to build is our internal. We need to reach out to our people and the best way to get to know them is by talking to them. So, what can we do, or what actions can we take in order to listen, identify and co-create with them powerful content for our Social Media strategy.
In 2007, Atlas Copco Peru started to develop workshops and seminars to discuss with its colleagues the way to identify the most relevant contents for our external audience, to know the way they perceive Atlas Copco image through Social Media and which ways they have available to promote the brand in Social Media. Also, Atlas Copco tries to get them acquainted with the company`s Social Media guidelines. We call this program “Atlas Copco Ambassadors”:
- At least 20 employees that were active in Social Media were identified.
- We did not just promote discussion forums, but we also trained them in Social Media, SEM and SEO.
- Employee participation increased in 10%.
On the other hand, there are other specialized tools that work under an algorithm basis, such as LinkedIn Elevator. This is a paid program that lets the company identify the group of promoters within that Social Media channel. LinkedIn Elevator guarantees enhancing and optimizing the influence that these promoters might have, by guaranteeing that the corporate content that goes viral increases. Finally, LinkedIn develops a program to stimulate those potential employees that might eventually become promoters.
Bonus Track: The 5 Golden Rules of Social Media
- The secret is engagement and participation. It´s not about Likes in Facebook.
- Positive e- word of mouth is highly interactive and immediate, but negative word of mouth can make some severe damage. So, we need to take responsibility.
- Are you trying to put in order your content strategy? Start with a basic classification such as:
- Information / Instruction
- Entertainment / Amenities
- Promotion / Advertising
- Inspiration / Motivation
- Don’t focus only to “SELL SELL SELL” in your Social Media approach. It is also about brand image & awareness, it is employer promotion to attract employees, it is about presence in digital world.
- Although Content is the king, remember that Big Data is the queen. Don´t be afraid of the Social Media metrics. If you don`t feel ready and comfortable about reading these metrics, you can attend a statistics training. This will ease your Social Media metrics reading.
- Guillermo Armelini, Julián Villanueva, (2011). “Adding Social Media to the Marketing Mix.”
- Lauri Huotari Pauliina Ulkuniemi Saila Saraniemi Minna Mäläskä, (2015),” Analysis of content creation in social media by B2B companies “, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 30 Iss 6 pp. 761 – 770
- Laurel Mintz, (2017). “What to expect with Social Media Marketing” [https://www.inc.com/laurel-mintz/8-things-you-need-to-understand-about-social-media.html]