As more and more consumers are making their way online, they’re creating conversations about the products and services they’ve been using for years. Consequently, more and more businesses are discovering the importance of being a part of the conversations that are already happening about and around them. However, a lot of businesses aren’t sure where to start. I find it’s always important to start with the basics, and frankly it doesn’t get more basic than the 6 W’s (or 5W’s and an H if you really want to get technical about it) – Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.
However, I can’t just let you off that easy. You’re going to ask these questions in 2 rounds. In the first round, you’re going to consider a few questions that will help you hone in on your target audience and learn what they are already talking about.The second round is focused on you, your business goals and the way that you’re going to reach your audience.
Now keep in mind that though these questions are simple, they’re not all going to be easy to answer PLUS there are a lot of questions to consider. It may all seem overwhelming at first, and that’s totally okay! There are tons of approaches to finding the answers to many of these questions, so leave comments or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for an in-depth explanation.
Round 1: Ask about your audience.
Who is talking about you?
Are they clients? Are they peers in your industry? Are they potential clients? You want to know who is already talking about you and figure out if these are members of your target audience or if perhaps they should be.
What are people saying?
Is it good? Is it bad? Are they simply curious about who you are or what you do? It’s crucial to keep up with the buzz surrounding your brand because this will determine how you will connect with your audience.
When are they mentioning you?
Is it when you post new content? Are they responding to major events like new product launches or big announcements? This is one way of figuring out what drives traffic best for your business.
Where are people talking about you?
Which platforms are the members of your audience using? There are tons of platforms available, but trying to spread your time and resources is inefficient and could ultimately be ineffective. Work smart, not hard. Narrow down the platforms that are most important to your business based on the platforms your audience is using.
Why are they talking about you?
Are they responding to your great customer support? Are they complaining about a defective product? Do they have questions about how you do things? Figure out why there is buzz about you – hopefully it’s a good reason. However, if it’s not, take it as an opportunity to right a wrong and rectify some poor feedback.
How are your clients or potential clients using social web?
Are they broadcasting to make recommendations and evangelize? Do they simply rant or rave to their close friends? Or are they simply lurking and keeping watch? The way your audience is using the social web will help you decide what kind of approach to take with a campaign.
Treat all of this information as your data. This is the starting point to the success of your social media campaign, because this information is going to guide your answers for round 2 and ultimately, these answers will guide your social media efforts.
Round 2: Ask yourselves about your business and endeavor goals
These questions are a bit more straightforward, so they’re in a bit of a lightning round format. Ready?
Who is your target market?
Are you a Business to Business or Business to Consumer type of service or product? What is your target demographic?
What are your campaign goals?
Are you trying to increase your brand recognition? Are you working to enhance and improve the customer experience? Are you working to build authority in your field?
When is the push most important?
Do you get the most buzz when you have just launched a new blog post or product? Or do you generate buzz by discussing upcoming announcements, products, service changes or deals?
Where are you going to join the conversation?
Which platforms are you going to use? Note that these should be the same ones your audience is using..
Why are you going to engage with others?
ORM? Product feedback? Lead development?
How are you going to connect and encourage engagement?
Are you going to launch viral campaigns? Are you going to incentivize current clients to join you online? Are you going to include your social media links and handles in your traditional marketing materials?
BONUS ROUND: Metrics and Application!
Now these questions are the ones that are going to take a lot more discussion and research, perhaps even professional consultation.
Who in your organization is going to manage your efforts?
Are you going to have a single team member or dedicated team for your social media campaign (like Kodak)? Are you going to have multiple team members from various departments on board (like Zappos)?
What are you going to measure?
Buzz? Leads? The number of customer support issues resolved? Site traffic and conversions?
How are you going to measure?
Are you going to create a budget for social media monitoring tools (like Radian 6)? Are you going to create a makeshift dashboard of free tools (like Addictomatic and Twitter Search)?
So now what?
I’m sure that by now your head is swimming with ideas and questions, and perhaps right now you’re a bit confused.
Okay, maybe you’re a lot confused.
Don’t fret! Remember, these questions are a frameworks and guide to your approach from the start. Additionally, these are questions you can always check back with if you feel like you’re missing the mark or getting off-track. Keep in mind that sometimes, things might change. You may have to go into crisis/emergency repair mode, but by having a firm grasp on the buzz around you, you’ll already be a step ahead of the game.
What questions guide YOUR social media efforts?
**Special thanks to Drew Skwarcan for sharing his editing skills in this post (and for being awesome)! Make sure to check him out – DrewSkwarcan.com