Home' The Franchise Review : June 2017 Contents THE FRANCHISE REVIEW
Regardless of how many social media channels you are
currently using, how often you are using them and to
what effect, this article will map out some key strategic
considerations to help you plan, implement and measure your
social media marketing efforts.
Social media strategies
The biggest psychological adjustment that needs to be made
with social media marketing is attitudinal. As business owners
and managers, we have had copious amounts of experience
with sales promotion and receiving a tangible outcome almost
immediately as a result. Social media plays by a different set
of guiding principles. It is a gradual process that builds slowly,
and not an event. It is based on customer engagement and
ongoing interaction as a basis for building both relationships
and trust. From this starting point, you can, over time,
commercialise the network, but you need to earn the right to
advance to that stage.
The point is that the conversation will continue with or without
you. So, it follows that you do need to be involved and your
strategy needs to follow the same simple steps. Namely:
Confucius put it best when he said: 'Seek first to understand,
then to be understood'. This is timeless wisdom that is perfectly
aligned with the role and function of social media marketing.
Unfortunately, organisations and businesses are still more used
to talking at customers and not with them, and subsequently
continue to use social media purely as a surrogate form of
banal advertising that is mostly overlooked by, and largely
offensive to, most social media enthusiasts.
Thankfully, with the plethora of social media--monitoring
applications based on search engine technology -- which are
able to track the internet, and accurately identify and report
on conversational trends relevant to you, your brand, your
firm and your specific area of interest -- even the most vocal of
businesses can quickly reform themselves and begin the game
changing act of listening.
There are several tools available, but some of the key options
• Google Analytics -- A free web analytics tool that provides
website owners with great insight into the specific details
of their website traffic, and includes statistical data on key
metrics, such as the total number of visitors to the site.
• Google Alerts -- These notify you by email on a preselected
time frame (i.e. real time, daily or weekly) each time Google
matches your nominated topic, word or phrase with citations
on the net. Again, this is a free service.
• Blogsearchengine.org -- A portal that is set up to search out
blogs. If you search for a particular word or term, it will list
all relevant findings.
• Trackur -- This search is not a free service, but at $95 per
month with a free 10 day trial period, it is well positioned
as a quality low cost option. It allows for online reputation
management and conversation trending facilities, email
alerts, and a functional and easy to understand dashboard.
• Twitter Search -- If you merely search for a word or term,
Twitter will list all relevant discussion threads that relate to
that search parameter.
There are, of course, many social media platforms available,
including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, as shown above in
Figure 1. You should also keep business networking sites, such
as LinkedIn, in mind.
Based on your monitoring activities, and having determined
which social media sites will have the greatest potential for your
business, you should start by going to those sites if you have
not already done so, and start an account with each, which will
then allow you to create your own business profile that will be
visible to others on that network.
Remember that people on social media interact and engage
with individuals and not businesses per se, so it is a vital step
to humanise the business and bring the people communicating
out into the open. From this, you are then able to connect to
the various communities and join in the conversation.
Most importantly, your primary aim should be to listen to
what is being said. The goal here is to gain insight -- to better
understand how people are feeling; what their concerns, fears,
aspirations and needs are; and which of these needs are
being met, and which aren't and why. This is a difficult task to
accomplish if your goal is to talk about what products you have
on special that week.
To help you to achieve this, many of the sites allow groups
to be set up, such as Google Groups and LinkedIn Groups.
These are collectives that attract individuals who are looking
to discuss their issues and perspectives related to any and all
possible areas of interest. Join the group, and listen intently to
it over days, weeks and even months to ultimately gain a real
understanding of the issues faced by its members.
Only by developing true empathy with what the customer faces
will you then be able to consider solutions and answers.
Top 10 visited multi-platform social-networking
websites and forums, December 2016
Market share of visits
Yahoo! Answers 0.8%
Figure 1. Top 10 Social Networking Websites and Forums (Source: Hitwise:
A Division of Connexity)
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