What is social media? Is it a strategy or a tactic?
You cannot just gather fans on Facebook one day, send messages on Twitter the next and start commenting on YouTube and Linkedin in between, hoping that this is the way you can get social media to help your marketing efforts. What you are going to end up with is a lot more time spent on social media, the opportunity to brag about the number of friends, contacts and followers you now have, and no time left to think what to do next and why. The social media flow is so fast and intense you don't even have time to think about it.
But, if you look beyond, friends, followers, chats and comments, your true ybottom line, your subscribers, customers and revenues, are not changing much. Why? Simple: Firing comments, videos, images and other content across as many social media networks as possible, is an activity, NOT a strategy.
Photo credit: Robin Good
Rule one: To build an effective social media strategy you must have a clear, specific marketing objective you want to realize.
Social media networks are a new venue to carry out a conversational, value-sharing propositions that can help you reach that specific goal.
Traditional approaches to marketing campaigns cannot be replicated on social media platforms and understanding the key differences between old-style marketing and social media-based value-sharing and conversational approaches is critical in being able to leverage the social media marketing power to its fullest.
If you are still struggling to realize the value of social media for your business, this video interview with Ravit Lichtenberg will help you understand which are the practical steps that any small or medium-sized company must take to develop a social media strategy that really works (...and if you missed it, here is Part 1 of my video interview with Ravit).
Here is Ravit unique insight on how to bring effective social media strategy to your table:
Duration: 2' 13''
Full English Text Transcription
Robin Good: We just forget to listen and we keep working at creating value for our customers and fans with a traditional mindset of: "What can be a nice idea... This is a nice idea... Let's go give it to them...", while instead we should just be engaging:
"Hey, what are you doing? I would like to know what kind of problems you are running into, because I am frustrated myself, do you have this problem? Do you have that one, how would you go about it?"
And then follow their interests, their leads, into what frustrations they have to really serve their needs. I can fully emphatize with your take.
As a matter of fact, I read something that you must have written about strategy and tactic.
Can you go a little deeper into this point?
Ravit Lichtenberg: Yes, absolutely. That is one of those things that I keep telling my clients.
I keep telling people that Facebook Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging is not a strategy. That is when you hear the gasp: "What do you mean: 'Not a strategy' "?
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, forums are tools, channels, delivery mechanism, but they are tactic.
Your strategy should be just as about as your marketing strategy, as your product strategy.
There is a marketing strategy, there is a social media strategy - and the two should be alligned. They have to do again with the objectives:
Take that through the filter of what you are able to do in the organization and only then, decide on the right tools and channels to implement on that strategy.
Otherwise what you will see is what we are seeing with a lot of companies: A lot of time spent ,a lot of resources spent on twittering, on being on Facebook, on creating groups that are tendent to sort of just a reactive mechanism, rather than a strategic mechanism, with very little return after that initial spike - which then sends us back to the drawing table.
To avoid that, make sure you have a strategy first, before you start implementing on those tools.
Duration: 2' 34"
Robin Good: Let's assume I am not the United Nations, but a small or medium-sized company, having this strategy means what?
If tomorrow and the next day, Saturday and Sunday, I want to sit down and build that strategy, you are not going to be there. What can you leave me of your experience so that I can do something practically effective for myself?
Ravit Lichtenberg: Very good question. Let's put this into practical terms.
You start with the first step: understanding your business objectives as a company.
For example, if you are in the service industry:
Whatever are your business objectives, set that in place.
Once you have done that, figure out where customers are spending time right now, and you can do that by using keywords to track where they are.
If you are a service provider, use:
Go look for these customers, see what they are saying, try to engage in a conversation with them, see what is valuable to them.
For example, if you are a service company and you want to reduce support cost:
That is a very hard metric that you can measure against. You want to do that, make sure you take your benchmark metrics though, so you know where you are starting from.
What if your company, for example, has a product and has inventory that wants to get rid of? See how fast you can get rid of that inventory or additional inventory that you can sell using online media.
If you want to create awareness, look at how many people come to your website, or order from you as a result of your online media activities.
Set those in place and then - and only then - asses the resources that you have in place, how much time you can allocate to that, look at the channels that those customers spend time on and start creating your campaign around those specific objectives.
Do it very small, because you can always grow, but if you start too big, you will stretch to thin.
Start that way and then test how that went and iterate from what you have learned.
Duration: 1' 38"
Robin Good: You use the term "campaign" and I want to understand whether that is because the tradition of the industries is to use that term or because we really still need somewhat to campaign.
Has the term campaining for your companies and customers changed in some way or shall they associate to the term the same thing that they associated before?
Ravit Lichtenberg: This is such a good question Robin. I am so happy you brought up, because there is a use of traditional term to mean actually something new.
It is really good that we help people understand the difference.
When we talk about the traditional campaign, we are often talking about large enterprises bringing in the advertisement firms and the creative firms to these big campaigns.
Campaigns on social media do not have to be these big things. What it means is narrow things down, it means focus.
If you want to increase awareness, call an awareness campaign, that is all you are going to do.
If you want to focus on reducing support costs, you will call that a support campaign, for example. It helps you focus on one thing that you are going to do, because you are going to want to measure the performance on these separately, from all your other campaigns or other efforts that you are going to do.
We are using the word basically to mean: "We have narrowed down focus and here are the three top areas that we are going to focus on or campaign around."
There are still some elements of the campaign that you want to have. You want to have engagement, you want to have budgets and so on.
It helps us as the world is evolving, just like people's behaviors and psycoloygy is evolving on social media.
Duration: 2' 39"
Robin Good: Ravit, that was indeed insightful and I really appreciate your generous time today.
Ravit Lichtenberg: My pleasure.
Robin Good: I want to leave you by asking you a crazy question.
Do you think that this change in marketing strategies - being so much focused and pivoting so much around the ability to do what appear to be better human qualities: Listening, trying to help and so on - may be a driver also for a better world somehow?
The world of marketing used to be something that I wanted to stay away so much, because I hated those people pushing me things, trying to sell and just pushing things to just making money for a company.
I am having a glimpse - I do not want to sound like marketing - but I am having a dream that this new way of marketing may actually change the way we are as human beings, because it forces us to open up, to be honest, to put up a real voice and to really, seriously, truly go out and help other people.
Do you feel the same, or am I just having an unforecasted resurrection of psychedelic substances I took when I was too young?
Ravit Lichtenberg: If that's what it is, then I think it is just as cool as it was back then, but because it was only a few years' back!
I think that the technologies that are brought up by web 2.0 and what the web has enabled us to do, which is eliminate barriers and get through to other people, other nations, oher cultures in ways that were not possible before.
We were so separeted before, instead we did it. This ability now to connect with anyone in the world - almost - is remarkable.
I would really like to believe like you that it is going to also, help us understand what else we can do that goes beyond ourselves, for the greater good.
I am with with you on this, I would love to see that manifesting as well.
Robin Good: From San Francisco, California, on the left side was fantastic Ravit Lichtenberg.
Thank you very much and please leave my fans and your listeners right now with your URL and social media posts where people can find you.
Thank you Ravit.
Ravit Lichtenberg: Thank you. Sure, you can find me at Ustrategy.com.
Robin Good: Ciao Ravit, thank you!
Ravit Lichtenberg: Ciao!
End of Part 2
Video clips originally recorded by Robin Good for MasterNewMedia. First published on June 10th, 2010 as "Social Media Strategy: A Video Interview With Ravit Lichtenberg - Part 2".
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 -