How to Approach Social Media… Like a Boss

Guest Post - 10 July 2012

There is no shortage of social media “experts” in Indonesia ready to take your money with a one-page plan with a bunch of ideas that focus on “buzzers” and “community-building” with not much else.

Social media as a marketing channel at its apex is probably about buzz. However, buzz itself can be elusive and something that can’t be guaranteed. Focusing on it will distract you from the main reason you’re considering social media as a marketing channel in the first place – Return on Investment.

Whether you’re building an internal team or outsourcing to an agency you need to think through your options and know enough to intelligibly tell between contenders and pretenders. Below are some of my thoughts.

(Take it, it’s FREE!)

1. Choose your platform(s)

There are many social channels but the starting point, for the foreseeable future, is Facebook and Twitter. They have the biggest reach locally and to a certain extent many expect you to have a business account. Secondary channels worth considering include YouTube, Google+, Pinterest and local forums. Read about them, join, do your research and know enough to understand how they can help your business. Also, there is no shortage of whitepapers and guides that will help you ask the right questions when you interview candidates or agencies.

I would start with Facebook and/or Twitter and truly own them before expanding your reach with more.

2. Define the KPIs you should be tracking

There are many key performance indicators. Some of them are socially based such as audience reach and interactions while some are more transactional i.e. conversion to sales. You need to define the set of KPIs that indicate what “success” means to you and figure out a way to keep track of it. Again, Google is your friend. Research success stories, download whitepapers and read a few guides. The 3 key areas to look at are awareness, interaction and conversion.

I recommend thinking about the bottom line i.e. the reason why you’re in business. How is this channel going to contribute to increased revenues?

3. Forecast your KPI targets

Based on what you’ve decided to measure define what you’ll need to achieve over time to make the investment worthwhile. At this point don’t bother yet with how you’re going to help people etc. Simply focus on the measurable goals that will justify the investment in this marketing channel.

Take the KPIs you’ve decided to track and set how much the numbers need to improve over time.

4. Plan on how you’re going to achieve these targets

This is the tricky part and hardest to get right: implementing effective ideas, establishing correct tone and having genuine conversations. It is not just about cool ideas but instead a deeper focus on how to help people. Social media marketing is primarily joining discussions, building human relationships and making people engaged through content. Measuring and forecasting performance is crucial to justify it for business reasons but when you get down to tactics the numbers should be secondary. When you reply to people’s comments, create content and share stuff you need to ignore the bottom line and simply focus on what’s best for the audience. I would consider separating the content development function with the responsibility of analyzing and optimizing content performance. Mixing both risk you developing content that fall flat from connecting with your audience.

Look at the resources you have, understand the people that you want as your customers and figure out a way to give them something they value.

5. Analyze, improve and scale

Start evaluating your content on a granular level and see what works. Do more of the stuff that got people sharing, clicking, tweeting, liking, pinning, joining, commenting, buying and smiling. :)

This is what happens when I meet social media “experts” selling “buzzer” strategies

So the next time you meet that self-proclaimed social media “expert” promising “buzz” and quick wins ask them to run through step by step how they are going to get it done. If they don’t start with performance measurement then they probably think owning a Twitter account makes them an expert.

Razi Thalib has been working in digital media for the last decade. He currently leads digital product management and online marketing at Zalora Indonesia. He also runs a small digital consultancy called Bridges And Balloons in his spare time. You can read his brain farts on twitter @RaziThalib but he recommends instead that you get back to work!

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