Three Things to Think About Before Starting with Social Media

February 10, 2009
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Something I don’t hear many people talking about is how branding, goals, and measurements are going to affect how you craft and execute your social media marketing strategy. Let’s take a simple example of the airline industry. I’m sure you can think of many different ways that airlines can use social media: purchase […]

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Something I don’t hear many people talking about is how branding, goals, and measurements are going to affect how you craft and execute your social media marketing strategy. Let’s take a simple example of the airline industry. I’m sure you can think of many different ways that airlines can use social media: purchase tickets, check flight info, etc. But, can you think of how Southwest might use social media differently than let’s say Virgin America? Sure both airlines can get involved in social media but the key is to understand how their brands will affect their social media engagement. Southwest airlines is a great airline, I fly with them all the time; they are branded as a more cost effective/budget/quirky airline. Virgin America, another airline I fly on, is branded as a more hip/cool/trendy airline. Both of these airlines can offer things such as seat check and ticker purchasing through social media platforms such as twitter, but that’s just basic “industry” stuff. There needs to be a differentiation, your brand and your overall message should heavily influence how you use social media.

What about goals and measurement? Let’s take one airline as an example this time, I’ll choose Southwest. Now if Southwest wants to increase traffic to their site what sort of social media strategy should they go after? What if they want to increase sales? What if they just want to offer a higher level of customer service support? You can see how companies are using social media differently by just looking at twitter.

Increase traffic

This is something I use social media for (among other things). When I write posts I share them with my twitter community, facebook friends, etc. I do this not only to build traffic but to establish authority, trust, and community with all of you. The conversations and interactions provide me with a lot of value (and hopefully they provide you with a lot value as well).

Increase sales

Check out what Dell is doing through twitter, the latest numbers show that they have already generated over $1,000,000 in sales through their factory outlet twitter account. Dell uses this twitter account to instantly inform over 18,000 people about the latest Dell discounts and deals, and yes, it works.

Customer Service

Want to see a kick ass example of a company using twitter? Just check out what Comcast is doing. I wrote a post about my experience with Comcast recently. Comcast has several people on twitter (and across social media) who monitor and engage in both positive and negative conversations. They diagnose problems online, set-up tech appointments, and offer fantastic customer service support instantly.

In each of the three examples above you can clearly see how social media (beneficially twitter) is used differently to accomplish various tasks. In each of the three examples you can also see that the measurements to determine success are also going to be quite different. Comcast isn’t going to use sales as a metric to determine how effective their customer service support is (might be considered but not a main metric) and Dell isn’t going to use traffic or sentiment to determine how effective their sales channel is.

Before you start a social media campaign you have to consider your branding and your message, it needs to be consistent and it needs to “fit” the company. Once you have that down you need make sure you establish a clear set of goals and measurements that you are going to use to track your social media success. When these things are all in place then you can begin to explore HOW you are going to use social media.

What’s your take?


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