"Social media is a strategy, not a tactic". You cannot just jump on the social media bandwagon opening accounts here and there, without having a clear objective to reach and a specific path to follow. The result will be only more time spent on social media but no tangible results on your sales and marketing front. This is what Ravit Lichtenberg, founder and chief social media strategist of Ustrategy, recommends to her customers and readers. And this is also the reason why I decided to reach out for her and ask for a video interview in which to explore some of the key principles she utilizes in building successful social media marketing strategies for her customers and brands.
Photo credit: Robin Good
Here's Ravit's mantra: What's your social media strategy objective? Are you looking to increase the visibility of your company? Or are you trying to get more people to buy your products? What are you specifically after? No matter what your goal is, one of the key lessons Ravit strongly pushes is that you need to design a very precise strategy ahead of starting anything social. Just like you plan and organize great parties and events to the smallest details, so strategic actions inside social media require careful planning and lots of attention to details.
Another important factor to take into serious consideration when diving into the social media marketing ocean for the first time, is the importance of developing specific metrics to measure the ROI (return on investment) of your social media efforts. Otherwise how can you tell whether you are doing a good job or you are just wasting time (and money)?
As Ravit clearly explains in this video interview, most of the times setting up such metrics doesn't take big investments or knowing the formula to cold fusion. For example, if your organization wants to use social media to increase the number of incoming links to your site, you will need to learn how to setup a service that checks and tracks how many people actually click on the links you share on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and so on. On the other hand, if you are seeking to increase your online influence, you might measure how many people re-share the content you pass to them or comment on it positively.
Hopefully, after watching this video interview, you will feel less compelled to further use press releases or to adopt the superficial and self-serving social marketing tactics that most companies utilize to persuade themselves they are active and effective on the social media front.
The future is all about creating true value, sharing useful information and sincerely going out of your way to help others. That's what social media marketing is all about.
Hear, read and watch what Ravit Lichtenberg, a true paladin of the high-value social media marketing approach, say it.
Here is Part 1 (Part 2):
Duration: 2' 38''
Full English Text Transcription
Robin: Hello everyone, here is Robin Good from Rome, Italy.
Just outside a conference in a nice outside sunshine place, she was getting, sharing and giving out some very valuable internet marketing information.
I reached out for Ravit and I asked her if she would come in and share some information with you guys, and here she is.
Good morning Ravit!
Ravit Lichtenberg: Good morning Robin, ciao.
Robin Good: How are you doing and where are you connecting from?
Ravit Lichtenberg: I am good. I am in San Francisco, California.
Robin Good: All right, I am "Good" too, but I am Robin and you are Ravit!
Ravit is the chief strategiest and founder of a company that is called Ustrategy.
She is present on different social media, she will let us know about the different URLs at the end of these few questions.
I actually want to rapid-fire immediately at Ravit, because I sincerely like the point of view - that is not traditional mainstream view - on social media that she has and I think she has quite some important points to make.
First thing, Ravit, that you would suggest a new company, first thing to do when you are approaching social media - say the first three steps - what would they be from your point of view?
Ravit Lichtenberg: It is a good question Robin.
The first thing to understand is that social media is a strategy.
It is not a thing to do, it is not a tactic.
You have to have a very clear strategy. That is the foundation for everything you are going to do on social media.
Next thing to do is to understand your business objectives:
Your social media objectives should tie into your overall company objectives.
Second thing to do is to understand where your audience spends time.
The audience might be customers, partners.
You might be surprised to find out that your audience talks about a lot more than just your kind of product.
Thirdly, the last thing to understand is the metrics:
Robin Good: Excellent, very good.
Duration: 1' 52"
Robin Good: More and more, when I look at the emails coming from my readers, there is a specific question coming in, Ravit.
The question has to do with social media, but has also to do in general with communicating and marketing yourself or your company online.
People seem to have awaken to the idea that they need somewhat, not to just make blog posts, tweet or write another article, but to create or share value.
From your strategic point of view, what does it translate into and how do you achieve it in practical terms?
What is showing value to me, might be talking about myself, my company - I am sharing all this value. Is it this what we really need to do?
What is this sharing value all about?
Ravit Lichtenberg: This is a great question Robin, because is the number one complain that customers have online and the thing that companies think to keep doing despite that.
Companies today seem to write press releases, get them online and talk about their own products, their companies and what they are doing, forgetting there are people at the other end of the line that really do not want to read press releases.
When we talk about value, is about what customers would value.
For example: if you are in technology, customers would value additional information about other technologies, not just your own most likely.
If customers are very much into a product, would value trends in products.
What else is coming up that may or may not be what your company is doing?
If you want to create value for your customers, understand what is important to them and then deliver that kind of value, whether it is:
whatever that might be, deliver that in a way that resonates with your customers.
Robin Good: The way to go. I think.
Duration: 2' 36"
Robin Good: I have one more question that keeps coming in nowadays. It is about establishing yourself and your organization.
Organizations have a problem with this: "How can I establish myself if there is a guy there, a group, a team doing social media?
Should these guys use their names and appear as the company, or should the company have no name and have these people out there?
When it comes to establishing your thought leadership, your expertise in the field, how should people behave inside a company?
What is the best advice that you can give them on that aspect?
Ravit Lichtenberg: There is no one right answer, fortunately or unfortunately.
If you are a service provider, you may want to have yourself out, because what you are building it is your own credibility and your own services.
If you are a products company, you may want to start creating the credibility for the whole company, for the product and then start creating the personalized version of that.
It really depends.
When we start in larger enterprises with - say a product division -, we typically start with that product division as a business.
Here is the division manufacturing a new kind of a drink - just as an example.
Later, when you have created a certain critical mass on that and there is engagement in conversation, people obviously often want to know who am I talking with.
Just like any social engagement: you walk into the room, first is that room, event and then you want to know: "who am I talking with?".
Then you can insert the more personalized approach, where you have the little thumbnails of people who are actually tweeting, blogging, or whatever the channel might be and you can help your audiences know who that is.
I'll give you another example.
Contact was a such terrible customer service that they resolved to creating a link to customers to come and complain online using Twitter.
At that time they decided to use Twitter and it was the CEO who was online.
They took their front figure and said: "The situation is so bad, that the only way we can regain our credibility is by having an executive leading the conversation with customers".
Different situations, different objectives will resolve in different decisions for the company whether to go as the company or as a person or group of people.
End of Part 1
Video clips originally recorded by Robin Good for MasterNewMedia. First published on June 1st, 2010 as "Social Media Strategy: A Video Interview With Ravit Lichtenberg - Part 1".
About Ravit Lichtenberg
Ravit Lichtenberg is advisory board member at Quindi, founder and chief strategist at Ustrategy, LLC and founder at Ustrategy Women in Business. Before launching Ustrategy, Ravit worked as a customer experience strategist at Hewlett-Packard Co. She holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a Master in Human Factors and Applied Experimental Psychology, from California State University, Northridge. Ravit also holds a Master certification in Neurolinguistic Programming.
Originally written by Robin Good and first published on MasterNewMedia.Robin Good -