Social: The Plan and the Review…not just the Do

Posted in: Advice and ideas- Jul 24, 2013 Comments Off

DoReviewPlanFive very useful resources around Social media strategy and measurement have come across my desk this last week that I thought they were worth collecting.  But perhaps at the pointiest end was the comment in an article by Brian (@brianSolis) Solis: “Social media has a problem and it needs to be addressed now.”  I found that confronting because it probably hits at the heart of where many organisations are going wrong at the moment.  Social might not be seen to be delivering because no one knows the answers to the following questions:

  1. what is Social Media supposed to be delivering?
  2. why?
  3. how would we know anyway?

Alignment

“The truth is that a majority of social media strategies employed by some of the best brands out there aren’t linking activity to business goals and results. “

Mr Solis has hit the nail on the head I think.  I see a lot of Social Media begun the exact opposite way to how most organisations do almost anything else.  It begins very tactically and in the more junior ends of the marketing department – for the most part.  Sometimes it reminds me of how corporate use of the web took off in the mid-1990s: Chief Executives would play golf, exchange business cards and one would have “www” on their’s but the other did not.  Invariably, corporate use of the web was being driven by arbitrary one-upmanship on the 18th hole – with the deadline being their next golf game.  In Social media, activity is usually driven by the off-the-hand question at a senior level, “what are we doing with Social Media?”  Very quickly a Facebook page is started merely so the answer “something” can be used to answer that question.

Measurement

Social Media is terrific for generating no end of data to track – Likes, Followers, Pins, Retweets, Comments – but the question should always be, what should we track?  Whatever this is it needs to be inexorably tied to the business goals identified in the strategy development.  Too often it is easy to get drawn off track by the Social Media monster.  Activity can end up following the crowd or being driven by the conversation or just what is fun and easy to do, instead of being focussed on the overall outcome.  Too many organisations are chasing vanity statistics like “Likes” on their Facebook page for the sense of validation it gives, instead of determining if they are the right “Like”s, or even if the activity producing the “Like” is even delivering any return.  If you determine what the desired outcome is, then measure activity against it, a much more defensible argument can be made to justify the campaign back to senior management.  Senior leadership will resist more budget if a seemingly very successful Social Media campaign in the wrong channel delivers nothing measurable of any worth.  (I wrote more on this  challenge earlier this month in “Making Social Count“.)

So many companies – particularly in the B2B space have been begun Social activity with not enough thought as to why, what it might achieve and how would it be measured.  A strategy that aligns very closely with business goals and delivers measurable return against those goals is key.  In any other part of the business this 101-type statement would be filed in the “bleedin’ obvious” draw; but when it comes to Social Media it too often appears a revelation.

Anyway, here are some very valuable, bookmark-worthy resources to help attack this problem:

Artechulate develops Social Strategy Blueprints for clients that align Social Strategy with the overall business and marketing strategies, and align overall corporate value proposition and messaging with the Social content strategy – and identifies measurement criteria in order to track success.  If you are interested in assistance with Strategy development, please get in touch here.

Picture Credit: Greenway’s Reflective Model

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