16.9 Social media strategy

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    Social media strategy is not a marketing technique. It involves a completely new way of communicating for increasing engagement with all stakeholders.

    Working with social media has to be ingrained in the company’s DNA. It is all about creating moments of contact (attention) with stakeholders to secure the start of a next moment of contact, and to exchange as much information as possible. Stakeholders need to experience that they have one-to-one contact with other stakeholders.

    Organizations can use existing social networks, or build one of their own. For the time being, the best choice seems to be a combination of both: specific and generic, inside out and outside in, linked to the brand and public. Perhaps social media strategies are too new; maybe they are too dynamic; it is a fact that the success of these strategies cannot always be predicted, and it can definitely not always be measured with the classic return on investment approach.
    According to computer manufacturer Lenovo, the number of phone calls to their service centers has decreased by 20% since the implementation of social media as a communication and engagement tool. Blendtec, a once unknown producer of blenders and mixers, has become a classic example. The president of this company made a series of YouTube videos entitled “Will it Blend?” In these videos, he throws various objects in his blender to demonstrate the quality of the product. The videos were a huge success and went viral, resulting in a 500% rise in sales .

    At Seats2meet.com, the community has taken over our commercial communication process: stakeholders inform other stakeholders about our services and products. They have become our ambassadors, and since these fans are online 24/7, we can say that, “at Seats2meet.com, we have the largest help desk in The Netherlands, consisting of more than 40,000 people, and we serve our stakeholders 24/7.” They are not “our” people, as in employees, but somehow they are our people. As a result, we no longer employ sales and marketing people, and we do not operate a help-desk ourselves. It simply works great!

    As an organization that wants to built its own Mesh, the first step is to engage in a dialogue with your stakeholders in existing networks. Ask yourself the following questions:
    – Where on the Web are our stakeholders active? On which social networks can they be found: LinkedIn, Baidu, Orkutt, or Facebook?
    – What do your stakeholders do on these platforms? By answering this question, you can customize your approach, for example, by posting blogs or writing reviews.
    – What kind of social information do you find? Are a lot of photos posted, or are books discussed?
    – Who are the key players? Identify them and follow them closely.

    Now that you have mapped out your social relationships, a follow-up answer is posed immediately: Who can do what for the organization? Do we set up centrally, or do we delegate? The same rule applies here as well: not or-or, but and-and! So, certain issues are set up centrally and other tasks are delegated to the people who are most visible in the organization, obviously facilitated by knowledge (the corporate story) and means (time and skills).

    Do not try to plan everything beforehand, but experiment.

    A summary of the practical points of interest in the social media strategy of Organization 3.0:
    – The corporate website is the starting point of all communication activities, although in some cases it may be no bigger than a couple (landing) pages. We call this the hub. This is the place to show where you are active. The connections between the corporate website and the different social networks are the spokes.
    – Illustrate for your organization how the hub and spokes are applied in your organization.
    – De-centralize the flow of communication, and, by doing so, decentralize your network.
    – Ensure that your internal processes are up to standard. These processes also include actively maintaining a social media presence and assigning corresponding tasks and responsibilities to employees.
    – Keep everything transparent, so you can stay abreast of the situation in your organization. Monitor this continuously.

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