Social Media has proven to be a marketing canvas for individuals, businesses and everyone. The reason is clear that a good percentage of social media users could mean prospective customers for various businesses. In this backdrop, many Indian enterprises have started using Social Media for their marketing campaigns. Let me present here the important steps to be followed by enterprises for deployment of Social Media tools in in their business.
As a first step towards implementation of Social Media in the organization, the senior management should showcase their interest and commit to the usage of Social Media in the business. The commitment should view Social Media as a long term strategy than a quick sale channel. They should play major role in defining policy, directing required content on the Social Media channels, extend relevant resources to Social Media division and be open to constructive criticism from the online world. In the initial days of launch Social Media activity might bring forth some negative whispers from the stakeholders or showcase hitherto unfound brand identity to the organization. This would be true especially in case of organizations who have not been in touch with the stakeholders for a long time and who have been facing customer support hiccups. Again this becomes truer in case of service oriented enterprises.
Let us look at the important steps in this context.
(1) Define Social Media Policy
Once a decision is taken to adopt Social Media in the enterprises, an enterprise should develop Social Media Policy Framework. The policy inter-alia should deal with related provisions on:
- Department(s) and people who are responsible in the organization to conceive, launch, implement, modify, terminate or if required to wound up the entire activity.
- Admissibility of resources like Social Media tools to be used, developed, and the extent of technology integration with the intranet applications.
- Approvals and controls relevant in the operation of Social Media processes.
- Delegation of powers in the team hierarchy.
- Risk Management guidelines.
- Budgetary allocation.
- Stakeholder identification. They could be prospective partners, customers, creative agencies, content providers, community and Government sector.
- Key performance indicators.
- Social Media Policy review guidelines.
- Stakeholder and organizational privacy and Intellectual Property elements.
- Effective date of policy provisions and suggested schedules, if any.
(2) Go for market study
Study Social Media scenario in the market. Refer to several live implementations and case studies. Focus on the failures suffered by other organizations. Focus on the benefits derived by organizations. Finally prepare lessons learned out of these observations like what tools are majorly being used by organizations, what are the approaches in campaign management, and more.
(3) Decide and plan the following aspects
Based on the market study observations you should be able to draw detailed framework for the chosen campaign.
- Nature and scope of campaign to be launched.
- Team members and their Job Description.
- Training and orientation of team members on the planned implementation.
- Social Media channels to be used in the campaign.
- Paid and free tools and implication of free tool usage.
- Technology preferences and customization of tools for campaign use.
- Performance and benchmarking parameters.
- Implementation schedule.
- Risk mitigation plan.
- Checklist for campaign kickoff.
Among all the above elements ‘risk mitigation plan’ needs additional focus. The plan should constitute the scope, ways and means and tools of mitigating various risks that arose during campaign operation.
The risk could be that (i) an inappropriate content has been shared on the Social Media channels, (ii) a privacy or IP violation occurred through divulging some internal matters or stakeholder related properties to the public (iii) an unapproved commitment on behalf of the organization has been made which could be (a) a date related to some product launch, (b) a customer support reply (c) sale transaction terms or any other inadvertent commitment.
(5) Prepare campaign elements:
Now it is time to prepare all the elements for Social Media campaign. The start should happen with official blog on the organization’s own domain. The next step should be creating and placing organization’s Social Media profile on important channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and elsewhere. Here lies the importance to engage creative agencies for content development and user interface development on Facebook.
(6) Campaign launch
Once you are done with the above you will be in a position to place the implementation on the anvil. During the campaign operative period you should keep a regular track on hourly basis on the performance and risk related aspects.
(7) Performance review elements
- Buzz on official Blog through comments on blog posts and elsewhere
- Buzz on Facebook, Twitter, Google Profile
- Activity with Groups on LinkedIn
- RSS subscriptions
- Google results for chosen keywords of the campaign
- Responses to email campaign(s) if any launched as a part of the promotion
- Followers and participants of your thread on various social groups and forums
- ROI with respect to sales leads, conversions, per conversion cost, intangible benefits like increased brand identity, and overall return on social media campaign investment.
(8) What more you should do?
- The core team members should keep regular track on competitors’ Social Media campaign.
- The core team members should keep regular track on the trends, tools and regulations that come up related to Social Media.
- The campaign should give due consideration to extend benefit of loyalty to campaign followers and participants.
If an organization could follow the above, there is every possibility that they will save a lot of marketing budgets owing to low cost campaign management and swift results derived in the process.