Keen to be seen as cutting edge, some website owners are diving headlong into the social web to find they’re only bog snorkelling in the shallow end of real audience engagement. Fixated on their five new portions per day of Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, YouTube and LinkedIn, businesses can blunder hopelessly at the edges of the buzz and too soon, give up the ghost on grasping the zeitgeist!
It’s not rocket science! They have no defined strategy as to what specific goal they want social media methods to achieve. Nor selected the requisite channels best suited for reaching the desired outcome and sustaining meaningful engagement to the long game aim of customer conversion.
Too often, it’s about quickly getting the accounts set up, with those shiny buttons on the home page and asking some of the boys and girls in marketing to put out the latest product offers, ten tweets a time every day. More an extension of good old online ma- throw enough out there and see what visitor traffic cares to click back in!
While social media, like organic rankings, is obviously not like the click mechanics of SEO paid search where ROI is measurable, its equivalent of outcome forecasting to prepare resource needs is essential before hitting the enter key! Neither should traditional thinking be applied over rigidly selecting a social medium as a ‘better use’ of company time and resources.
The key approach is aiming to discover where potential audiences are located and actively engaging in the social networks, media sharing sites or blogging communities via preferred platforms. Developing a social media strategy requires a purposive, yet open-ended approach with cumulative successes at homing in on overall goals, whether simply to first establish credible brand identity, better engage with enquiries, deliver improved customer support or drawing pre-qualified traffic to site pages.
It’s crucial for a company to understand their audience preferences and behaviours to constantly fine tune the right tactical mix, which can be implemented in an ongoing relationship. Just launching into the blogosphere or leaping off the tweetdeck without knowing who they want to engage with and why, is always going to lead to disillusion with negative results leading to early abandonment. The smart, consumer savvy and the well researched always neatly integrate social media into their overall communications mix and marketing strategies.
Social media is fast becoming familiar practice and features such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs are being included as a standard, key interactive website experiences for user participation. The shift to social commerce is only likely to accelerate as smartphone usage continues to grow and its intrinsic, fast functionality demands instant target results which include extended locations, products or services.
It is vital that businesses begin by building a loyal community and consumer relationships. The emphasis is on listening, responding and to be seen to be creating real engagement value. As feedback aggregates and response levels develop, those companies who have listened well will see opportunities to implement social commerce further with ever refined precision.
Daren Bach is founder of Provoke Online Marketing & Web Design
We can help our clients understand their target audiences and work with them to make sure that all their marketing material delivers results.
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