The eternal debate in marketing: Strategy before tactics vs. Tactics to develop strategy.
So many companies have become comfortable reacting to industry trends and competitors with tactics, that they end up with wasted effort, poor performance and plenty of frustration. This is especially true in the world of social media marketing as companies roll out social media tactics only to be left wondering in 6 months what the ROI is.
Answering Why, for Who and with What tactics is essential for any marketing initiative. A confident and clear sense of purpose is highly motivating and inspires more meaningful and effective marketing.
I’ve always put stock in taking what you know (data, experience, research) and developing a hypothesis about how you will achieve business objectives for a certain audience using a set of tactics. Then conduct proof of concept experiments while you roll out the larger strategy. The data you collect will help optimize the larger strategy as well as the effectiveness of your tactics.
But that’s just me. What about other social media marketers? What do they think about social media strategy? Here are strategic perspectives from 5 social media smarties you’ll really want to listen to that are presenting at this week’s Social Media Marketing World conference:
Mark Schaefer @markwschaefer
Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions
Where is Social Media Going?
We can debate the pressures on platforms, distribution of content, and the resources needed to keep up with the latest technology, but I think there is something very simple, something very fundamental, that will set a chosen few apart:
Are you human?
Isn’t that the essence of how this online world started, why we love social media, and what people expect if you are going to build trust and loyalty? And yet, this is getting increasingly lost in a world preoccupied with traffic, search rankings and automated marketing software.
Can you make a real connection that will stand out in an increasingly noisy world? That is a key to business success in the future, as it always has been in the past.
Matt Gentile @mattgentile
Global Director, Social Media, Century 21
Learn & Manage Your Brand Voice
How do you learn the voice of a brand and how do you manage it?
It starts by understanding the culture, history, mission and vision of the company. It is the people who make up the brand’s voice from the mailroom to the boardroom. To do it well, it requires commitment, time and the ability to listen. Today’s consumer demands authenticity, you can’t fake it.
Understanding your audience is key to managing the brand voice. If you understand your audience, then you will understand what your message means to your audience on each social network where you engage.
Use a social media management platform to optimize your efforts and empower everyone in the organization to use it.
Justin Levy @justinlevy
Director, Social Marketing, Citrix
Guide Your Social Foundation
Don’t forget about social media guidelines.
These guidelines provide the foundation for your employees as they engage through social media channels. They shouldn’t be too long or hard to understand.
There are a number of great examples, including from respected brands such as Coca-Cola and Intel, that you can use as the basis for developing your guidelines.
If you represent a global company, consideration will need to be provided for how these guidelines are received in various regions.
Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi
CEO, Content Marketing Institute
Find Your Purpose
For true success in social media, find your higher purpose.
First, ask “why” you are using the channel, whether it be Facebook, Twitter or SlideShare.
Second, find your sweet spot – the intersection between what you know as a company and what your prospects and customers need to know.
Once you find your purpose, this becomes 100% of the content you create and share with social media tools. It will, over time, position you as the leading informational resource over that particular area.
You will be a true helper and make real impact in your customers’ lives and jobs.
Marcus Sheridan @thesaleslion
President, The Sales Lion
What Customers Care About
In every industry (It doesn’t matter what you sell), there are 5 subjects that move the needle, as they are the 5 subjects consumers are most concerned with. They are:
- Cost/Price questions
- Problems/Issues questions
- Vs/Comparison questions
- Review-based questions
- Best of questions
When consumers research, these are the 5 subjects they care about, yet most companies are afraid to address them.
The moral: Don’t be afraid to address topics that consumer truly care about as eventually they’ll move the needle more than any other content you could produce.
There’s no doubt, that developing a social media strategy, or how social media fits in your overall marketing and business strategy is essential for the success of modern businesses. If you follow the advice of these 5 smart marketers, I think you’ll find yourself far ahead of the competition still debating Pinterest vs. Instagram or Snapchat vs. Texting.
What strategic approach do you take to social media marketing? Which of the above perspectives resonates most with you?
Get even more social media smarts from our latest conference eBook featuring 38 of the speakers from Social Media Marketing World: