Wondering how social media can work for your company? Facebook is the logical first choice if you are a B2C business.
With a billion+ users, your customers are already there. But what about LinkedIn? Should you care? Yes, especially if you
are a B2B business. In practice, you will likely have a presence on both platforms, but one will dominate your marketing strategy
depending upon your business objectives.
In to this
social mix you have to stir in a cup of Twitter, a helping of Blog and a dash of that new spice called Pinterest.
With all these moving
parts its good practice to develop a social model (your social eco-system) that reflects and supports your company's goals
and customer demographics.
What is a Social Eco-System?
So, let's break it down a bit. The four major
high-level components of your Social Eco-System are:
- Social Network Platforms (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn)
- Social Applications (e.g., Smartphone, Facebook Apps)
- Social Media Content Networks (e.g., Digg, Reddit)
- Your Company Properties (e.g., Corporate Website, Blogs, Landing Pages)
When thinking strategically about your social eco-system, it will be useful
to look at all the interrelated components that are available to you. Understanding your eco-system will provide many more
opportunities to generate traffic, leads, content and links back to your company.
Social Requirements, Goals and Strategy
Certainly you want to make a list of goal for your social
community. Start by asking:
What are the goals for the community, what do you want to accomplish?
are the social requirements for the community? What are the major features and tools?
- What do you want your customers
to do while engaged?
- What is the demographic profile of your customer base?
- Is the community in-facing
(for employees), out-facing (for customers) or both?
What is your social media tools, content and communications strategy?
- Is it to offer customer support, provide consumer education?
- Enable user networking and community support,
or identifying expertise for the community?
- To generate new business?
product information sharing, or collaborate on new product definition?
- Increase branding and awareness?
- Listen to what customers are saying about your products and company?
You must also determine what the most appropriate way to communicate with your
customers. The options include:
- Certainly Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook interactions are
at the top of the list, but will you need other tools such as wikis, blogs, RSS, podcast, forums and chat?
- What topical content needs to be developed for each of these
- Will the community
require premium content, or will it be all user-generated content?
- Special events (sponsored)
- IM and webinars
What is your customer acquisition and user requirements strategy?
- Do you support the Yahoo, Google and OpenID single sign-on formats?
you enable the Facebook Connect API's so users can sign in to your site using their Facebook login user-name and password?
- Do you have a SEO and linking strategy to help generate organic search engine
- Do you allow the full range of information creation functionality such
as the profile generation found in Facebook and LinkedIn?
- Can individuals permanently
remove their profiles from the community?
- What about privacy and ownership issues
– who owns the content that is generated?
Platform Selection (Technology)
This is optional. You can choose to develop your community in the
Twitter-Facebook-LinkedIn eco-system - this will work fine for most organizations. However, if you feel that the existing
platforms do not give enough control and functionality, you have the option to choose your own private social networking platform.
If this is the route you want to go, you then should focus on selecting the best social networking software platform once you have defined your requirements.
The selection of a technology
platform should always be done last. Why? For example, the functionality for internal platforms differs from external
facing platforms i.e. collaboration modules are commonly found in in-facing platforms, and not in out-facing platforms.
questions you should consider:
- Do you bring the software in house, or do you have the community hosted by a third party?
open source platforms an option?
- Do you have the technical and editorial resources to deploy and manage
- The platform's individual modules need to be technically evaluated.
- Will the content
management system generate search engine friendly content?
- Are the search tools robust enough to locate all
the content in the community archive?
- What are your community moderation requirements, and do the moderation
tools support your needs?
Beyond those mentioned above, there are many more issues to be dealt with when planning, developing and
launching a new social network. If you are considering deploying a new social community, I can help you with the requirements
from, strategy, software selection to actual deployment of your new social community platform.Give me a call if you would like to talk about your
social networking needs.
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me an email at: Mark@MSprague.com and I'll send you a free ten page report that deals with Mobile SEO and Mobile Development issues.
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