Before jumping into the social media environment to build relationships one should understand the “Five Ws+H+E”. This includes understanding:
- Who the brand is,
- What is being said online,
- When opportunities appear,
- Where your customers are participating online,
- How to enter the community,
- Why you should participate, and
- To what Extent you should participate by incorporating influential individuals
Below is an interview featuring Brian Solis where he emphasizes that business objectives should not be forgotten when creating a social media plan.
He discusses three steps that businesses should do to analyze their social media strategy. These steps include:
- Understand your business objectives
- Why would social networks help you reach your business objectives?
- Look at your current social media strategy
It is very important to have a purpose and a plan when using social media. I have learned from my reading that just using social media tools is not effective. A social media plan should be in place in order to understand your objectives, audience, social media tools, Key Performance Indicators (KPI), and Return on Investment (ROI).
Engage! highlights the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Optimization (SMO). These are vital in creating a searchable and connected brand. I would recommend that my client invests in SEO and SMO. Understanding items such as, tags, titles, keywords, descriptions, and links can enable a company to position themselves where people can find them. Below is a graphic which shows different elements of SEO, SMO, and Search Engine Marking (SEM).
My client should utilize SMO practices when creating and posting videos. Educational videos about my client’s products and solutions, much like the Home Depot example included in the book, would help to inform their audience. My client can create a YouTube channel to share their videos in addition to posting them on their website. To make the videos easy to find my client should incorporate SMO practices when creating and posting videos. They can tag their videos with keywords, title the video properly, and add a detailed description. By utilizing SMO practices my client can increase their videos’ prominence.
Engage! discusses blogs which is a form of social media that my client can benefit from. The example of Dell’s blog, Direct2Dell further supports that a technical company can create and maintain a successful blog. Dell’s blog has a clean user interface. Also, the blog is not pushing Dell’s products. Dell’s blog educates and informs their visitors. For example, one blogpost discusses IT Healthcare Trends in 2013. This blogpost is not trying to sell Dell’s products, but rather informing readers of trends that Dell is looking into. This blog is an example that my client should research further when creating their own blog.
Direct2Dell is also microblogging on Twitter @Direct2Dell. The tweets contain links to the Direct2Dell blog. My client could benefit from a microblog. Twitter uses listed in Engage! such as, conversation marketing, focus groups, curation, ideation, research, intelligence, and events.
In addition to posting events on Twitter, my client should start using social calendars. This would be a great way to stay connected with customers. My client could use a tool like Twtvite to inform people of events. Keeping customers informed about trade shows and other relevant events through a social calendar enables them to stay involved and aware of the company’s activities.
Groundswell & Engage!
Groundswell with Engage! contain many similarities. In fact, Engage! includes Groundswell’s information from Forrester Research Inc. about the Social Technographic Profile. The peer-to-peer influence in social networks is highlighted through the Social Technographic Profile. In Engage!, the importance of thoroughly researching your target audience and their psychographics profile is made clear. Psychographics provide an in depth view of people and their interests. This is important to note because demographics do not provide much insight into a person’s lifestyle. Researching and understanding your target audience is important when creating a social media strategy. Information from these two books will be invaluable to me as I create a social media plan for my client.