It is not a question of “to be or not to be.” Rather “how to be.” My emphasis lately is highlighting the “how” of social media more so than the “if”. I lived through a number of “how to go about social media” preparations this week as I have been preparing for three presentations on social media strategy for three different brands. Two of the presentations are for brands at Hachette Filipacchi Media (www.hfmus.com), where I work, and the other is to kickoff a film festival, WilliFest. Each offering (and thus each social game plan) were very different. Even the two at Hachette – different industries, audiences and objectives. One size does not fit all!
No matter what the product or content offering is, you want to provide something compelling and of value to your audience via your social media activities. You do not want to be selling to your audience but rather traversing them through a loyalty path as suggested in my A-Path approach. If you think in terms of achieving Attention-Attraction-Affinity-Audience-Advocates as a sequential process and design execution stages to accomplish this, while being sensitive to building relationships as opposed to selling, you’ll begin to appreciate the difference of social media implementations for any brand or person. The use and selection of onsite and offsite social channels will vary. (I’ll probably write an article about this shortly.)
For starters, think about what you need to decide before starting with your social media initiative. Well over a year ago, I provided a high level primer to help you structure these prerequisites. Also, recognize that your emphasis is on building relationships, not sales. People like to buy things from people (or brands) they feel comfortable with. This requires what I have termed the LCR Mentality – Listen-Conversations-Relationships.
Now at the end of the day, we all need to be accountable to driving revenue. After all, we’re not going to get a pay check if there is no revenue. And while I continually evangelize that social media is about awareness and lead generation as opposed to sales, I am not foolish enough to ignore sales. Social media needs to be INTEGRATED into as sales function. Social media is NOT a stand-alone thing. I like to use the traditional sales/marketing funnel approach. Know where the hand-offs are between sales, marketing, and social media.
So while it has been a challenging couple of weeks pulling together social media strategy and plans for numerous brands, the guidelines that I have been sharing with you for the past two years are really what I use myself. I thought it was important to review, re-emphasize, and share these foundations with you.
Try it out. Let me know if it works for you or not.
Make It Happen!
PS – If you are still questioning if social media is good for some business and not others, read “Is Social Media Right for Every Business” by Mitch Joel … great stuff.