5 Phases of Strategic Approach to Social Media

According to Social Computing Journal, a strategic approach has 5 phases:

Phase 1 – Discovery

In this phase, we explore three variables:

1.    People: Who are your prospects and customers, and how do they feel about your brand, service and products online?

2.    Competition: What are your competitors doing online? Where can we overtake them? What is their online reputation?

3.    Spiders: How easy is it for you to be found by an average  Web user who may be searching for your products online?

Phase 2 – Strategy

In this phase, we explore the opportunities and establish the objectives of a social media plan – based on the lessons we’ve learned in the Discovery phase. Ask yourself:

  • What do you want your prospects and customers to think of you, and how do you want them to experience you, once you’ve begun your dialogue?

This Phase is usually highly collaborative; and involves key players from around an organization, not just the marketing folks.

Phase 3 – Skills

Once you have developed a Strategy, review your organization’s internal resources to identify gaps. Whose skills need building? How can you best train participants?

Phase 4 – Execution

As you prepare to implement your strategy, determine which tools to use, how they interface with your existing infrastructure, and ensure the processes and platforms are properly tied together. Explore the following:

  • Are your systems all operating together as desired?
  • Are your company policies updated for blogging, texting and IM and other social media tools?
  • Will your CRM system interface with your social media tools? How will you move people into your sales process?

Phase 5 - Maintenance

After the launch, Maintenance becomes the key in social media success, that a company’s commitment to social media approach becomes evident.

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10 Keys to Social Media Success

  • Experiment different platforms.
  • Experiment different platforms personally before doing it professionally
  • Try a variety of social media tools
  • Be yourself, make some friends, and share your content
  • Device a strategic approach to social Media (more on this in the next segment)

  • Research and Listen
  • Find out where your audience is engaged in  and identify the influencers
  • Read industry blogs (including comments)
  • Google your company name & your competition
  • Find tools that can help you ‘listen’
  • Be open, transparent and honest.
  • Avoid puffery. (people will ignore it)
  • Avoid evasion and lying (people won’t ignore it)
  • Companies have watched their biggest screw-up rise to the top 10 of a Google search
  • Admit your mistakes right away
  • Share your content freely
  • Don’t be afraid to share. Corporations, like people, need to share information to get the value out of social media
  • Make your content easy to share
  • Incorporate tools that promote sharing: Share This, RSS feeds, Email a friend
  • Be personal and act like a person:
  • Don’t shout. Don’t broadcast. Don’t brag.
  • Speak like yourself – not a corporate marketing script or press secretary
  • Personify your brand – give people something they can relate to.
  • Contribute in a meaningful way
  • Think like a contributor, not a marketer
  • Consider what is relevant to the community before contributing
  • Don’t promote your product on every post
  • Win friends by promoting other people’s content if it interests you

  • See every crisis and criticism as an opportunity to communicate your brand
  • Don’t try to delete or remove criticism (it will just make it worse)
  • Listen to your detractors
  • Admit your shortcomings
  • Work openly towards an explanation and legitimate solution
  • Be pro active
  • Don’t wait until you have a campaign to launch – start planning and listening now
  • Build relationships so they’re ready when you need them

  • Realise that you cannot do everything yourself
  • You need buy in from everyone in the organization
  • Convince your CEO that social media is relevant to your organization
  • Get your communications team together, discuss the options, then divide and conquer
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The Return on Investment (ROI) of Social Media: Is it Measurable?

  • The ROI of Social Media must be measured from your online presence.
  • Firstly, in order to measure ROI in Social media, your brand needs to create its own fan base.
  • Next, your company website must act as a portal where customers give feedback and obtain latest information.
  • Thirdly, you must leverage on other social media platform like Facebook using Open ID sign up or Facebook Connect.
  • Offer latest information dissemination through Ready Simple Syndication, or RSS feed.
  • Lastly, with the rise of Mobile devices like the I Phone and Blackberry, users will require your website to be mobile-enabled; to have a simplified version.
  • Using Google analytics you are able to track the following:

i.    Reach

1.    Website visits / views

2.    volume of reviews  and comments

3.    Incoming links

ii.    Action & Insight

1.    Sales inquiries

2.    New business

3.    Customer satisfaction and loyalty

4.    Marketing efficiency

iii.   Engagement & Influence

1.    Sentiment of reviews and comments

2.    Brand affinity

3.    Commenter authority/influence

4.    Time spent

5.    Favourites / Friends

6.    Viral forwards

7.    Number of downloads

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Interesting Statistics about the Social Media

Let me share with you some interesting statistics regarding the pervasive reach of social media in Singapore and the world.

  • There are 2.4million facebook accounts registered in Singapore
  • It will take you 500 years to finish watching all the videos on youtube today
  • 1 in 8 married couples in America met through social media sites
  • There are 5 billion pictures on Flickr, about 70% of the world’s population
  • 96% of Gen Y have joined a social media site.
  • Facebook has overtaken Google in weekly traffic
  • Social media has overtaken pornography as the number one activity on the web
  • It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users,  TV took 13 years, the internet took 4 years, and the IPOD took only 3 years.
  • If Facebook is a country today, its membership would have been the 3rd largest country today behind China and India, America is 4th.
  • Businesses do not really have a choice whether they should be on social media, the question is How Well they should be doing it.
  • 80% of the companies have used social media for recruitment
  • The fastest growing segment on Facebook is female and between 55-65 years old
  • While you are listening to Positive Business Minutes, another 25 hours of videos would have been uploaded on Youtube
  • Wikipedia has over 15 million articles, 78% of these are not even in English.
  • There are 200 million blogs in the world right now.34% of them post their opinion on products and services. So what are they saying about your brand?
  • Even traditional mass media are on Facebook and Twitter engaging their fans through feedback and discussions.
  • In summary, in social media, we do not need to look for products and services; they will come and find us.
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Introduction to Social Media 101

  • It is online social conversation from any content generated by people using different tools or media.
  • Communication via social media isn’t a one to one or one to many conversation, but many to many. It is a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.
  • The stake holders involved in such conversation can be your customers, donors, volunteers, employees, investors, critics, fans, competitors or anyone who has internet access and has an opinion
  • The conversation isn’t organized or controlled but organic and complex, speaking in a human voice
  • Social media is not a strategy or a tactic – it’s simply a channel.
  • Social media has great influence in the buying decisions of consumers. According to research by Digital Influence Group,  87% trust a friend’s recommendation over a critic’s review
  • Social media sites are the fastest-growing category on the web, doubling their traffic over the last year
  • Social media can help you in all stages of marketing, self-promotion, public relations, and customer service:
  • In conclusion, Social media or New media can aid or benefit you in the following ways:

i.    You can learn what people are saying about you

ii.    Create buzz for events & campaigns

iii.    Increase brand exposure

iv.    Identify and recruit influencers to spread your message

v.    Find new opportunities and customers

vi.    Support your products and services

vii.    Improve your search engine visibility

viii.    Gain competitive intelligence

ix.    Get your message out fast

x.    Retain clients by establishing a personal relationship

xi.    Be an industry leader – not a follower

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The Don’ts of Media Management

- Do not comment on political or economic issues except within the bounds of stated company positions.
- Do not disclose private company information without approval from the top.
- Do not presume, comment on, or explain any position of the company relative to laws, regulations, economic issues, or government policy.
- Do not disclose any matters of internal operations.
- Do not comment on pending or threatened litigation or other legal proceedings involving your company without clearance from the top and the company’s legal counsel.
- Do not say anything to the media “off-the-record.”
- Do not suggest an “exclusive” to a second reporter before it is definitely refused by the first.
- Do not be a pest by repeatedly calling the media to see if your story has been accepted.
- Do not invent reasons to call a reporter.
- Do not pressure a reporter by mentioning that your company “pays to advertise” in that medium.
- Do not insist on name identification in a story.
- Do not ask reporters if they will use a story. It is their editor’s decision. Ask the editor only once.
- Do not ask to read a story before it is used.
- Do not send out a news release that is not newsworthy or a picture or graphic that is not of high technical quality.
- Do not call a reporter or editor when they are working towards a deadline unless it is an important news development. Use the fax or e-mail instead.
- Do not use acronyms or jargon in news releases.
- Do not send out news releases or issue statements with spelling or grammatical errors.
- Do not put out any statements that are questionable, unconventional, or controversial without it being attributed to a quoted source.

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The Do’s of Media Management

• Be sure all information you use is accurate.
• State – but do not interpret – company policy.
• Always tell the truth to the media. If you can’t tell the truth, don’t talk and don’t get caught “not talking” or saying “no comment.”
• Admit you don’t know the answer to a question, , and arrange to get the media the required information soon after, or refer them to someone who can answer the question.
• Be a content provider and not a “marketer” in your media relations.
• Realize that you have almost no control over the content, format, timing, or size/time of key messages.
• Prepare and keep current lists of all media people with whom you deal with.
• Direct all material to the appropriate media person and send them in on time to meet their deadlines.
• Always return reporters’ telephone calls promptly, make sure that they can reach you, and make sure they are on your press list.
• Show no favouritism in the distribution of “hard news” releases.
• Keep your word when you give story exclusivity to a reporter.
• When a feature is turned down, try to place it elsewhere, but don’t peddle it.
• When a feature is used, rework it with a new angle and try to place it with another publicity source.
• Invest in good photography or visuals to enhance the possibility of a story being run.
• If you are misquoted, don’t hesitate to let the media know and suggest they run a retraction.
• When preparing for television, think with your eyes and ears.
• Keep your sound bites under 30 seconds.

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Effective Media Crisis Management Skills

No company will ever be fully prepared for any crisis that impacts their business. The key is to develop a standard contingency plan to keep the public informed through the media on how your organisation is handling the crisis.

There are Ten Questions a Reporter Will Want to Know in a Hard News Situation:

-          What happened?

-          Why did it happen?

-          Was anyone injured or affected from it?

-          Could this have been prevented?

-          Has this ever happened before?

-          Currently, what are you doing about it?

-          When will the problem be solved?

-          How will you prevent this from happening again?

-          Did you know this was going to happen?

-          What would you like to say to those affected?

For Crisis Management, Have a designated person in your company to answer questions from the press.  In an extreme crisis situation, the CEO or the Chairman of the company should preferably be the main spoke person in order to project an honest and open attitude.

When dealing with reporters from the tabloids, please ensure you handle tricky questions carefully. Never release information despite saying it’s “off the record”, because it will be published. Avoid being drawn into a situation where you have to answer a YES or NO.  Be prepared for open ended questions and prepare a list of FAQs or Frequently-asked Questions.

Try your best to avoid having negative press publicity. The negative impact will remain in the minds of the public for a long time. Always remember if bad press happen once, it is an incident. If it happens twice, it is a coincidence. If it happens 3 times, it has a pattern! Having it 4 times means it has become a lifestyle!

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Organising a Winning Press Conference

  • Choosing a date
    • Try to obtain as much information as possible about internal deadlines of the media you are targeting, and schedule your press conference accordingly
    • Try to avoid a date parallel to other events that are likely to attract considerable public interest

  • Choosing and preparing a location:
    • Make sure the location is easily accessible, and with little effort required for journalists to get there.
    • If it will be at your premises, ensure your organisation is visible (e.g. with a banner, roll-up, poster)
    • Provide good signage so that journalists arriving late can still join in

  • Invitation
    • Build a good list of contacts in advance, and try to use existing media directories
    • Send out invitations by fax or email, about one week in advance
    • Keep it short and simple (maximum one page), highlighting the date, time, duration (45 to 60 minutes) and location
    • Include contact data at the end, and ask for feedback on planned attendance and accessibility requirements
    • Follow up by telephone a few days before the press conference

  • The press conference itself
    • Have a moderator/facilitator to host the press conference
    • Each speaker should prepare a short presentation or statement
    • Align the whole program around one key message, e.g. think of the headline that you would like to see the next day in the newspaper
    • Do not assume that journalists necessarily understand technical terminology
    • Prepare written or printed information on the topic; you can add information on the speakers and organisation(s) involved (cf. a media kit)
    • Invite journalists to ask questions
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