Friday, June 12, 2009

Is social media the answer? First know your goal and what you are solving for

Recently I got hold of 360i’s social media playbook ( via Len kendall (@LenKendall). It’s an exhaustive look at what social media is and how brands should think about engaging their customers with it. It’s a good report and most likely an attempt by 360i at legitimizing their “social media expertise”. For me though, it’s the start of a trend I’ve been seeing around rules, frameworks and legitimacy.

Everyone’s got an opinion (and an answer)

Many people are referring to themselves as social media strategists and offering “top ten rules” or a “three pillar strategy”. Agencies are blasting out POV’s and clients are even putting together their own rules on how employees should use social media on behalf of their company (Intel’s newly created social media rules). Putting a framework around your social media opinion is a good idea. It makes it visually pleasing, easier to understand and go viral a ton quicker.

Ask the simple question

For me though, in the end it ladders back to a much simpler question: What’s your goal for your brand or what are you trying to solve for? The solution may be social media, but it also may not. My uneasiness comes from those who are already pre-supposing a social media solution without even looking at what your goal is or problem that you are trying to solve for.

With that, here are my favorite bits from 360i’s playbook.

· The value of social media is best measured by the frequency or depth of engagement with consumers

· Remember that people have different levels of investment in social media (Forrester ladder) and your platform use and scale is affected by this

· Always establish your goal at the beginning. What do you want the outcome to be for your brand when using social media

· Just because a social platform grows rapidly, does not mean marketers must develop a strategy for their brand on that platform

· Traditional marketing tactics don’t always apply – having a single big idea is far from a requirement for achieving success in social marketing

· If you are going to participate, make sure you have an authentic voice.

· Plan, get involved, experiment, learn and evolve

Thanks to Len Kendall for the tweet containing 360i’s playbook and 360i for making the thing public.

-Johnathan (@digitalinfant)

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