Business of Metalforming
A Social Media Strategy, Part 2: Setting Targets
This month we continue our discussion on implementing a social-media (SM) strategy, turning our focus to establishing targets. When beginning to set targets, remember that most SM outlets are tuned to a business-to-consumer (B2C) audience, which is very different than your business-to-business (B2B) focus. In essence, with B2B you’re communicating with individuals who make decisions within an enterprise or business setting. This is vastly different to how companies deal with individual consumers. Aside from this critical difference, the steps toward creating an SM strategy are similar in nature and follow a fundamental marketing process.
Define your Target Audience
Who are you trying to reach via social media, and why and what do you expect the engagement to achieve? You’ll need to be specific when answering these questions; don’t muddy up the profile by trying to group different profiles into a single campaign. Be selective, because if you try to serve too many needs, you’ll not serve any of them very well, and will likely fail to develop a solid following.
Start the process by identifying the companies you feel would be your best SM targets. Draw from your current customer mix, and identify the key influencers within those businesses. Build a profile that creates a set of attributes you can use to compare against others within the industry, to best understand what might interest them and how they either fit within or outside of your SM objectives.
While looking for those individuals who have a positive impact on your business, don’t discount flipping the approach to find influencers who have a negative impact. For example, consider connecting with segments of your customer set that, by the nature of their involvement in their day-to-day activities, look for reasons to eliminate your product from their operation. How could you learn from them or shift their way of thinking if you were able to engage them in a way that delivered educational information in an informal way?
Within the profile, determine how you might best engage these individuals—Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Your strategy must clearly identify for your execution team who the audience is, and what actions you intend to invoke via your SM feeds.
You also should determine the value of your followers, in terms of dollars. SM requires an investment—in real dollars, time and resources—that could be used in other areas of the business. So, attracting followers must result in connections that create value for your company. Try to determine the ROI for each SM effort, and focus on attracting followers that bring value.
Outline a Unique Deliverable
To put social media into context, consider that there are an average of 190 million Twitter ‘tweets’ per day. In addition, more than 10 percent of the Earth’s population uses Facebook, and the average Facebook user spends more than 15 hr./month on the site.
To take advantage of this medium, you must cut through the SM clutter, understand what your competitors are doing with SM, and avoid mimicking them. Use your industry expertise to create unique content that will be viewed by your target audience as valuable.
A great example of how to use YouTube to creatively engage business comes from Dassault Systems, with its e-series of videos on robotics called Robot Whisperers. Here, Dassault has defined a unique way to deliver information, packaged in a very entertaining way. Check it out at www.3ds.com/therobotwhisperers.
Articulate, Engage and Define
Your SM strategy must clearly articulate to your execution team why the strategy uniquely addresses your target audiences, and how it aligns with your business objectives and brand. If you achieve this, then you’ll likely receive a favorable ROI on your SM investment.Defining who your social initiatives are intended to serve and developing a strategy that aligns with your business objectives will enhance your opportunity for success. Don’t let a few bumps along the way discourage you. With all new initiatives comes a learning curve, and finding the sweet spot that serves your audience while meeting your business objectives may take some fine-tuning. MF
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