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Does a Social Media Multi-Channel Strategy Make Sense / Cents for Your Business? by Adam Metz

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Running a multi-channel social business program, even for a small company, can be a huge investment in time and resources, as many as 500 per year.  And for larger companies, social media teams of 40 to 50 full time employees, are not uncommon.

There are many factors to consider before diving into social feet first.   Will a multi-channel social media initiative broaden your reach and measurably increase your revenues?  How long will it take?

Does multi-channel mean that you’ll be using both Facebook and Twitter? No! Facebook and Twitter are not channels. They’re two different social media services, on two different social platforms. Facebook is a social network (probably the second largest in the world, after China’s Tencent QQ).  Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service.  Whether or not you engage Facebook and Twitter as part of your multi-channel strategy depends on the nature of your company and your objectives.

According to the American Marketing Association, a marketing channel is a set of activities you need to execute to move goods from the point of production (your office) to the point of consumption (when your customer buys or downloads your product).    A social channel is different because the social channels that your customers are using are constantly evolving, as technologies, and customer preferences on technology uses change, from month to month.

Here are some suggestions for successfully engaging the social customer using social channels:

Consider deploying a methodology called l-P-O-S-T-m, partly developed by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in their book, Groundswell, l-P-O-S-T-m stands for listen, people, objectives, strategy, tools and measure. (I added the "L" and "M").

The “l” stands for listen. For the first few weeks, you’ll just want to “listen” wherever your customers gather, on-line. If you’re a B2B brand, Facebook and Twitter may or may not be on that list.   It all depends on where your customers are gathering online as to what tools make sense for your business.

Recently a big customs brokerage company was having trouble making a list of “watering holes” because there were only a couple of relevant spots in their industry.  Our recommendation was to call 250 of their current customers and 250 of their lapsed customers, and ask them six simple questions:
  • Have you ever used the social web to search for information on our industry? (YouTube, blogs, forums, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Where do you go to find information on our industry?
  • Where do you find videos to help you learn the tactics of our industry?
  • Have you ever created original content on the Internet?
  • What kind of content?
  • Have you ever posted a review of a business that you’ve worked with?
Once you obtain this data, you can assess if social makes sense for your business. 

If it does, dive a little deeper into the People, i.e. the “P” in your strategy. Obviously, you’re going for current and prospective customers, but now, you have some data on where they actually hang out, and which social tools might be worth using, to reach them. Most critical, in the first half of your social strategy development, is picking the single business objective upon which to hang the strategy. Too many companies try to hit multiple objectives in their first engagement, and fail.

Next up, devise the strategy to reach these individuals – this is actually the hard part. If you’ve never written strategy before, I strongly recommend using the Four Actions Framework, from the book Blue Ocean Strategy. Picking the tools should be done last,  not until a strategy is set.

You’ll know a lot about which tools (channels) your customers and prospects are using by “listening.”  If you’re still wondering about the latest social tools read the top social media blog Mashable.

How do you tell if your multi-channel strategy actually works? That’s where the “M”– measurement – comes in. Be sure to select the measurements that connect directly to your business objective first.   And put a premium on all measurements that can be automatically measured by your social media monitoring system, or marketing automation systems.  These types of measures are highly indicative of future revenue, but don’t take lots of man-hours to complete.

About the Author

Adam Metz is the Director of Social Business at The Pedowitz Group, a burgeoning social demand generation firm.  He is also the author of social strategy book There Is No Secret Sauce and the forthcoming book on social business, The Social Customer (McGraw-Hill Business, September 2011).

To obtain a complimentary copy of There Is No Secret Sauce, email: adam@pedowitzgroup.com, or break into the office of any successful marketer!




Blogger Phil Hollows said...

Thanks Adam; great tips for businesses still unsure about whether and how to dive in to social media as part of their sales and marketing mix.

For readers looking for tips on how to use Twitter for sales and customer service, see these two articles on the FeedBlitz blog:

Customer Service via Twitter: http://blog.feedblitz.com/2010/10/three-tips-for-stellar-real-time.html
Growing Revenues via Twitter: http://blog.feedblitz.com/2010/09/6-sales-tips-for-growing-revenues-with.html

8:51 AM, March 29, 2011  
Anonymous Jesse from seo strategy said...

Thanks alot Adam, An out’n'out great post, help for newbie. Love those points and the thought. Thanks for sharing, love to see more from you. Regards,

8:26 AM, July 04, 2011  

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