Does it bother you when someone asks about your social media strategy? It bothers me because the connection between "social media" and "strategy" confuses me.
Strategy should be connected to larger, overarching ideas: the markets we target, the portfolio of our solutions (products and services), our growth objectives and our acquisition of talent. A more appropriate topic of discussion is how you integrate social media with your customer engagement strategy.
Social media includes forums and online communities, social networks, blogs, media sharing and RSS feeds. It seems as though each day offers a new platform or technology, and it’s challenging to keep up.
Marketers—especially technology marketers—have a tendency to become so overwhelmed in the latest tactics that we let them take on a larger role than necessary.
Can you imagine someone asking you, "What is your e-mail marketing strategy?" Not anymore, but 10 years ago, this discussion was much more common.
As business-to-business marketers, we need to keep our focus on developing a comprehensive customer engagement strategy. To do so, we must determine how our diverse set of customers (decision makers, users, influencers, etc.) would like to engage with us as they learn, shop, acquire, utilize and provide feedback on our products and services.
Social media platforms provide a wonderful way for us to listen to our customers, learn from them, observe how they interact with one another and become engaged in a meaningful way as a member of our community. But social media is also just one component of the overall plan.
Since these "social marketing" methods make it much easier for customers to tune out, and, in certain cases, "lock" us out (think about getting "unfriended"), we must ensure not to use these platforms as another way to project our voice and create more noise.
Instead, we should consider how to use these tools to build a community and participate in other relevant communities. An important caveat is to avoid falling into the trap of thinking that we can manage these communities. Customers and communities do not want to be managed. Instead, they want to engage in a meaningful and collaborative way.
So, next time someone asks about your social media strategy, I encourage you to instead steer the discussion to how social media fits seamlessly in your customer engagement strategy.
This blog originally appeared on the Tech Journal South website. To view the original post, click here.