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Put the Social in Your Social Network Strategy

September 21, 2010 | By | No Comments

outsource social media

Put the social in your social network strategy

There’s one in every neighborhood. A man strolls past your house. You’ve seen him for years. You nod and say “hello” and, if it’s a good day, he might even return the acknowledgement. But you don’t really know him, do you?

Social media works much the same way. The power of the platform lies in its ability to help businesses tap into the voice of the customer (VOC) to create the kind of experience that not only keeps them coming back to you again and again but also sparks that oh-so-valuable word of mouth referral.

But there’s more to engagement than typing a short reply to positive comment. A “Thanks for your post” is an important part of acknowledging a consumer who’s taken valuable time to share their opinion, but it’s the face-to-face equivalent of that simple head nod. It’s an acknowledgment and nothing more. The only way to get value out of a social media strategy is to implement a customer engagement plan.

For example, BusinessWeek’s Shirley Brady says that the publication makes a concerted effort to increase real and active participation, which includes encouraging readers to collaborate and connect with each other as well as the journalists. The group’s social media initiatives have included soliciting reader participation for special issues and incorporating user-generated content (UGC), such as suggestions and opinion pieces.

Cindy Kim on Social Web School recommends appointing an in-house social media go-to person to manage the in-depth conversation that’s key to successful customer engagement. If you’re outsourcing social media initiatives, that person’s role will be to integrate the service with your brand objectives and ensure its execution is on-target. As you shop for an outsourced online listening and customer engagement firm, you’ll want to ask questions like:

  • Does the outsourced staff make an effort to engage customers in actual conversation or are they simply recycling a dozen versions of “Thanks for your support”?
  • Can they communicate in a way that’s consistent with your brand image?
  • Do they have the analysis know-how to transform online listening analytics into a strategy that generates customer engagement results?
  • What strategies will they use to turn a somewhat interested consumer into a loud and loyal fan?

When it’s time to put the social into your social media strategy, you need more than a nod and a “hello.” Ask the questions above to the analysts at Social Strategy1. They have the answers you’re looking for—and they will put those answers into action for your brand.

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