While it's become quite common to think about adding social media to existing marketing programs, there is an all common trend among those organizations that decide to join the conversation: we're on Facebook and Twitter, we've got blogs, a Flickr account, and have started a YouTube channel, now what?How about we hit the pause button and look at some areas of impact on your strategy?
Maybe you set out with an objective and quantifiable goals for your marketing plan and aligned social media to those, then found that it's taking you in a new direction. Or perhaps you've been testing the waters on some of the social networks, figured out that's all you can do, and moved on, abandoning those outposts.
Consider these 7 areas of impact to get back on track:
(1.) Changes in the competitive landscapeThis is something that should be part of your overall business strategy, and perhaps it's been a while since you last considered where your business is eroding. Are there new entrants you should be keeping an eye on? Have they had a better start in social than you're having? What's your share of conversation? Is the sentiment good, bad, or indifferent?
(2.) Customer attrition ratesAnother common pitfall is losing sight of the customer mix. Many businesses have been focused for so long on new customer acquisition that they lost sight of customer attrition rates. When defections accelerate, you have a harder time keeping up with new logos enrollment, and that is far costlier. Social media lends itself to retention efforts.
(3.) Lack of focusLet's face it, no business has enough resources to do it all these days, nor you should attempt to. When you have a dollar to spend, you want to make that a good investment. Chasing too many goals or trying to support too many brands dilutes that investment -- and the much anticipated results from it. If you were to choose one thing to do first, what would that be?
(4.) Lack of visionThis is very much related and possibly the cause of lack of focus. You may be so mired in the day to day operations of the business that you haven't taken the time to think big in a while. With changes in competitive landscape and customer mix possibly looming on the horizon, does it make sense to rethink your role in the ecosystem?
(5.) Product problem denialMaybe you've been pressured to launch in market before the product was completely baked. That is happening more frequently due to competitive pressure. Or perhaps your service is in real need for a reality check and an overhaul. There are many factors that impact service: employee turn over, company culture, bad supply chain. Is it time to face the music and fix the problem?
(6.) Internal goal misalignmentBusinesses can be pretty siloed internally. The sales group may be on a compensation plan that screams new logos, while the general manager is worrying about customer retention from poor service and reputation. The marketing group is pulled in different directions, and nobody knows what's going on one floor away.
(7.) Unknown channel issues
Times have definitely changed. Both a contracting economy and increase in useful filters in the public domain have accelerated the pressure on businesses. On one hand you need to be leaner than you've ever been, while beating your competitors, on the other, you hardly have any time to address a product sourcing issue before potentially damaging information goes viral. Are you taking into consideration the reputation and issues of your channel and partners closely enough?
Yes, there are many things you can do to optimize a social media strategy and get incrementally better results. The businesses that take the time to address potential pitfalls are those that emerge as leaders.