No, this is not a turnabout in stance. I really want you to know why? What are you looking to accomplish? You need to be able to articulate what success looks like in order to achieve it.
Every company and brand that gets involved with social media must know what they are looking to (measurably) gain and not be lured by the hype. I have defined and offered two models that help organizations define THEIR own objectives.
Social Media Marketing Funnel
The first one is the social media marketing funnel. I originally mentioned this model in an article “Social Media Conversion and the Social Media Marketing Funnel” and then later added measurement parameters to this model in “Measuring the Stages of the Cyclic Social Media Marketing Funnel.”
It starts with a traditional sales funnel …
You identify a target market and perform endeavors that first increase their awareness for your brand, then their interest, and a subset of those interested purchase your offering.
The Social Media Marketing Funnel expands the traditional model …
It adds two additional states, loyalty and advocacy, plus it segments target groups for each funnel state and identifies their “psycho-demographic” (their state of mind) for each of the funnel states. This approach is dramatically different than marketing to “standard demographics” like age, sex, geography, etc. Thus your marketing efforts vary for the different psycho-demographics. Check out the two reference articles if you what to dive into the social media marketing funnel more.
The other model I introduced was the A-Path. This approach was first introduced over two years ago in the post “Using the Social Media ‘A-path’ to Capture Ultimate Customers” and I later provided an example of an A-Path game plan implementation in “How You Can Execute Social Media Successfully.”
The A-Path takes the perspective that brands must focus on relationship building, and similar to personal relationships, they take on different stages over time. Think about your relationship with a significant-other and how it has involved. From a brand-target-market relationship point of view, this means taking sequential steps: Attention > Attraction > Affinity > Audience > Advocate. Once again, from a marketing angle, you implement different strategies for each of these states of a relationship. Check out the referenced articles for more information.
Models Lead to Objectives
The reason why I bring up these models again, is that I want you to have a bases of why you are doing social media. What are you looking to accomplish? This must be a conscious decision – don’t just do it. Write it down; be prepared to tweak as you travel and learn; but always have a vision of what success looks like.
Social Media Performance
If one of the models I defined resonates with you, you should measure your performance at each stage. For example, are you increasing your awareness, consideration, sales, loyalty, and/or advocacy? (Yes, everyone wants to ultimately increase sales, but it is really activities in the four other stages of the funnel that leads to increasing sales . If your social media objective and actions are simply to sell – you will fail.) You might elect to focus on one stage of the funnel … that’s okay. But know what you are setting out to do. Same is true if you use the A-Path. If your performance is good, you should be increasing the number of people that give you attention, attraction, build affinity for you, become your audience and/or advocate. Each of these areas in both models have distinct parameters to measure and some of these parameters to quantify are mentioned in the referenced articles.
Measure objectives weekly, monthly. Look at variations. Determine rational attributes to performance. Modify initiatives to optimize. This is what social media performance is about. I always recommend looking at performance on a 12-month, month to month sliding scale. Look at the normalized curve of these statistics. Do you see sustainable measurable growth? 10% month to month on the normalized curve? What is your social media performance.
Much of what I described here has been my approach for the last four years. There needs to be a methodology that sets objectives and measures results in relationship to established overarching business objectives. I have done this with a number of big name and small name brands. I’ve shared my approach and experiences with many of you via this blog and twitter (and will continue to do so).
For me, it is time for my next chapter, to, as I always say, “Make It Happen” with greater impact. This week I accepted an offer from a “performance marketing agency” to head up their social practice. Performance Marketing recognizes that the world and customer behavior are constantly evolving. Practices need to change while capturing and integrating traditional winning models. This is why I got involved in social media in the first place.
In the coming weeks, I will fill you in on more details about my new gig, but for now, start to think more seriously about why you are doing social media and what you look to accomplish. And if you truly focus and execute in this manner, I guarantee you your social media performance will be successful, impactful, and recognized.
Make It Happen!