I just read The Key to Creating a Social Strategy written by Josh Bernoff with Charlene Li, Cynthia Pflaum, and Scott Wright and published through Forrester Research and I highly recommend it for at least some light reading. It delves into the whole concept of a “systematic approach to social strategy” and something that many people don’t often think about when putting together an online campaign. Known as the POST method, this four-step process when used and tracked apparently will result in a high success for any company.
What’s the basis of POST, you might ask? Well how often do you develop a web program to promote the latest campaign and your boss comes up to you and says to you: “Go ahead and post something on Flickr, blog about it, or create a page on Facebook.”? Well what POST is suggesting is that you don’t do it for the sake of doing it, but you need to sit back and realize why you should do it. One thing I took away from this is that if something is out there, it doesn’t mean that you should use it. If Facebook isn’t where your audience is, then does it make sense to waste time putting together a Facebook product page when you should probably focus on other aspects, like e-mail marketing, blogging, Twitter, etc.?
Since Forrester Research published this, I’m not surprised that one critical element of this is method is to know thy audience. That’s right, know who your audience is and how you can reach out to them. If a lot of your customers have a “social technographic profile” of being obsessed with reviews and spreading their thoughts word of mouth, then you might want to aim for forums like TripAdvisor or similar product forum sites. Researching where your audience is coming from or where they’re hiding is extremely crucial to any marketing plan and simply executing a program and hoping that you’ll strike gold is futile. Anyone can develop a web campaign or e-mail marketing, but when you want to move into Web 2.0 marketing, you’ll need to examine this widely broad marketplace.
The next step of this POST method is to figure out an objective. This would potentially be a good idea, right? Figure out why are you even doing a social marketing program? What do you want to get out of it. Obviously you don’t want it to simply do word-of-mouth or viral marketing, but you’ll want to truly figure out if what the ROI is that you’ll want to achieve.
The last two parts are to strategize and then deploy technologies for execution of your social marketing programs. Now that you’ve developed a fictitious profile of a typical customer and dug deep to figure out that you’re not doing this simply to hope that someone will come across and be interested in your marketing efforts, you’ll need to develop a long-term strategy and then measure its success. Don’t let the program run by itself and hope for the best. You’ll need to monitor it and measure any useful data to see if your program is working. Try and figure out whether it’s successful and learn all you can from it to help enhance it the next time you have a social marketing campaign.
The complete book of The Key to Creating a Social Strategy is set to be on Amazon.com and for those of us in the Internet Marketing arena, it is a great read thus far and is a must read.