Needless to re-emphasize the need for an effective social media strategy for today’s Organizations. It is a media you can never ignore as that is where your vast majority of customers and prospects meet, discuss and share in today’s world. If you ignore it is as bad as ignoring a prime plot of land available at dirt cheap prize in a busy central business district.
Social media is a place where you have to be
- To understand what your target prospects are looking for
- Share about your products / solutions that could meet their needs
- If you don’t have one, strategize on basis of their inputs to design / develop one that could be a game changer
- Address your existing customer’s concerns promptly and
- Engage with your customers / prospects and make them as your loyal advocate to tap into his / her friends, relative and influencer circle
Knowing the fact that it is such an enticing treasure trove, it is imperative that every Organization have a clear cut social media strategy in place to tap the hidden potential. Getting to any such treasure trove was never easier and it holds good for social media too.
One of the recent surveys done by IBM Institute for Business Value Analysis (2011), has some shocking revelations making it very difficult for the Organization to put an effective social media strategy. It says people in social media can be grouped into three different buckets.
- Engaged Authors – A small 5% of social media users who nearly always responds to others comments or author their own post
- Casual Participants – A large 75% of Social media users who respond or post their own content occasionally and
- The last 20% called as “Silent Observers” whose involvement in Social media is limited to only reading other’s post but they never engage / participate
It is a common sense that your prospect / customer base could very much be distributed (5%, 75% and 20%) in the same proportion and hence the basic Marketing 101 of having an effective strategy for each of the segments is an imperative need to strengthen your bad presence.
For engaged participants …
As far as engaged authors are concerned, the biggest plus point is if these authors are your happy customers they take complete in-charge of doing word of mouth marketing for your products / solutions in Social media. But on the other hand if they are either not aware or they are not satisfied with your products / solutions you have a difficult job in hand.
If they are not aware of your products, it is important that you do a targeted campaign to ensure you get their attention, make a purchase of your product and convert them into loyal customers. Organizations can very well go to the extent of offering free products / services to them as every penny spent on them is worth it.
On the other hand if they are not happy with your products, it is important that you have right tools in place to sense their “Sentiment” on your products promptly and convert them into their advocates by extending every possible support that you can do like addressing their issues with the product in a responsive manner, providing a replacement product or in worst case even refunding the purchase if you think they can never be satisfied with the product you offer.
For the Casual Participants and Silent Observers …
The second bucket of “Casual Participants” as well as the “Silent observers” is tough to crack as they would never come out and endorse your products explicitly even if they are very happy customers. The potential is huge as they are the biggest chunk (95%) and they could potentially play a key role in influencing their friends / relative to consider your products / solutions. The same IBM survey also reveals the fact, the top 3 reasons for people to interact with companies in Social Sites as
- To get Discounts (61%)
- To make a Purchase (55%)
- To do Reviews and Product Rankings (53%)
Knowing the fact that they are the key reasons to get them engaged, it is no-brainer to understand that we have to leverage the above to crack the tough segments of Casual Participants and Silent Observers.
Hence as a token of appreciation for sharing their personal info and time they spend in engaging with the brand in Social media provide them discount coupons that could push these prospective customers to buy your product as well as gives them the extra push to share some great words about you in their network.
Similarly knowing the fact that they come to Social media for Purchase after doing a review of multiple solutions on basis of feedbacks from friends / families / other influencers, providing them a quick buy option (Capitalizing the impulse purchase behaviour) in your Facebook fan page could be a great option to think about. Companies such as 1-800-FLOWERS.COM and Delta Airlines have implemented similar strategies in future.
The above are definite first steps to graduate your prospects from Casual / Silent Participants to Engaged Participants whereby they share their experience about your offerings to others to capitalize their level of influence on others ….
In net it is pretty clear that the basic 101 of segmenting, targeting and positioning very much holds good for Social media too and an effective strategy should very much address the above segments as well as segments by other dimensions in social space. Watch out for more such emerging segments to fine tune Social Media Strategy …