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Loving Likes, and why I do not judge people who do.

What can we do with Social Media?

What can we do with Social Media? This is still the most asked question to which I have to give an answer as Head of Social Media for Media Contacts which is part of  the HAVAS Group in The Netherlands. Now, 6 months after I chose this new challenge, my hope for advancement in the lack of knowledge with our/my clients still surprises me. I understand it, and as a teacher I even cherish it,  but it also gets me thinking. Let me reflect on my online silence these last couple of months. These months helped me to understand how Media Agencies and its clients look upon Social Media, its value and its strength. Yes it’s true Madam/Sir, Social Media is way to communicate and no, it is definitely not the same as any other medium you are using. It’s not like TV or Radio, it’s 1-on-1 communication. It’s free, open and very scary. It is a collision of old and new marketing. Come and see, come and hear me, good people. It’s a world like no other, ever evolving and changing and yes, at the same time you still have to market the same products to the same consumers. As this ‘old’ video beneath this paragraph shows, it’s not that easy to really embrace your ‘online’ customer.

And oldie, but still good.

I have been in the Social Media “game” for almost 5 years now. And I have been busy with project management in online media for almost 7 years, and only one thing stayed the same throughout these years. Social Media does not get easier to understand for the clients. Not yet, at least (I still have hope ;-) ). Why, I wonder. I think the truth lies hidden in the constant development of the playing field, the blossoming urge for professionalism in Social Media and the change in perception of online media in general. In other words marketeers see that private becomes open, and personal becomes public even for companies. But this scares them, because this means that you have to talk to customer and really listen. Oh, you had not heard? Sorry my good man/ woman, wake up and smell the gasoline…it’s burning

It’s about more than likes?

Yes, it’s about more than likes. Why? Social Media should be the means and not the goal. So when you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account and/or a YouTube channel it does not say anything about your company being social. It’s the content that has to be engaging, interesting and convincing and provided on a Social platform that connects you with your customer that makes you Social. The same goes for your Facebook ‘Likes’. Yes you are right, for all you “Old-Marketing” thinkers (who form at least 85% or more of all the marketers right now) ‘Likes’ are countable. It can be benchmarked. But every Social Media manager with a notion of Social Media could tell you it is a very fickle benchmark. What does 10.000 ‘likes’ mean, other than a pool of profiles and email accounts that you could target with your next product mailing? Exactly, it’s worth some coin, but not much else. No, it would be much more interesting to hear what people think of your products and services. To see how people interact and engage with your products, services and brands. That is exactly the reason why Facebook has created a new countable number: “People Who Are Talking About This”. A lot of so-called Social Media “Experts” “Gurus” and “Ninja’s” suggest that a combination of these two will explain the Social Media score of your company. Wrong!

Yes, the number of “People Who Are Talking About This” gives us an insight into the consumers interactions with your brand page, but again it does not say anything about the quality of these engagements and if you are part of them. I understand that quality is not quantity and therefore not easily quantifiable. But here lies the true hidden value of Social Media. The magic lies in the 1-on-1 interaction, to hear the voices of your consumers, making an effort to get themselves heard. This is also the explanation I give to the following question: is Social Media useful for the shop on the corner? That is the great thing about Social Media, that is why I love Social Media. It’s easy, instant and free to use. And even if you only have 10 loyal customers it can give you insight in how to become a better company, offer better service and create products that serves the needs of your customers even better.

Loving Likes, and why I do not judge people who do.

This title seems a bit in contradiction to my earlier paragraph, but I really do not judge people who feel the need to “Love Likes”. In the end, Social Media is used by a lot of marketeers for marketing, and who can blame them? You can use Social Media well, for marketing, even if more than 57% of Facebooker’s do not want this (Source: Exact target). All the marketers efforts provide me with a budget that in the end pays my bills. The amount of my clients who increased their Social Media marketing budget for 2012 cannot even be counted on two hands, so bless them. If I would be judgmental about the lack of knowledge or about them trusting numbers, I have chosen the wrong business. I understand that for most companies Social Media is solely used to sell more products. And every marketer I know thinks that this is the highest goal possible. They do not understand yet that spreading the Brand Story, adding content and a tone-of-voice to its company heritage and history provides consumers with content they like to connect to. Consumers like to embrace brand stories as their own, willing to spend more money on these brands and are already talking about the brands they like or dislike (Source: Exact target). This conversation is already going on, and only has to be read, and understood, to become a truly Social brand.

My Lessons these past 6 months

So for now, use your likes (even love them), I will give them to you and I will count them. But please bear in mind that this does not make your company any more Social than having an email database or an office full of people. It’s the engagement and interaction with customers that provides you with new opportunities and new insights.

Lesson 1: The customer is always right. I learned that thinking about Social Media and coming up with visions for the future for it is great, but at the same time it is nothing more than just that: a vision. And I discovered that real, profitable companies need real, profitable solutions, not visions. They need numbers and benchmarks, they need undeniable proof of ROI. They need to know were they are paying for. Do I think that is the right approach to a developing Social Media Strategy? No, but I am old and wise enough to understand that when paying, the client is king. This doesn’t mean that visions are not important, they are. They get us to the next level, only it takes us a couple of years to get there. I will guide them every step of the way with pleasure.

Lesson 2: I have a very busy job, and with that I hold a difficult position. I have to lead my clients by the hand (and hopefully a lot of new ones in 2012), step-by-step. I cannot force them to fully invest in Social Media right away. I need to show them why they should invest, why the hype is justified. But the coolest thing is, that I think that all of my clients will get there. Sure some sooner than others, but when they do, it will be all worth it. They will understand their customers better than any other company in their market. They will get them, and the customers will get their products and services.

Here is to the greatest job in the world: (*clink*) Cheers!

Social Good Summit part 2.

Introduction

This update was well due. A hectic period with the company I now work for, and the new Social Media label I am setting up at Havas Media (which is going to be called Socialyse). So to my readers I’m sorry it took so long.  But from now on I will try to spend more time writing. For now this was finishing the second and last part of the Social Good Summit I attended in New York. I wondered if I still had to finish it, after all this time. But I do think it is still relevant. Please give me your thoughts on what you think.

Social Good and assumptions

My own thoughts about what good we could with Social Media before this Summit started was actually pretty limited. I thought about cutting edge technology, app’s and smartphones as an answer to secure funding and philanthropy throughout the digital space. But now after seeing almost every talk, discussion and presentation that was provided to me this last couple of days I have to review my earlier assumptions.

So what struck me is the way big NGO’ but also small start-ups are using basic features of the Social Space to connect with people in need. Like the use of SMS (for the no-so-tech-savvy this the abbreviation for Short Messaging System). Like an organization called The Earth Institute

In the link shown above you will actually see an example of the use of SMS to help patients get in touch with doctors in remote areas of Africa, where they are without easy accessible medical coverage. The Earth Institute is actually partnering up with one of the main sponsors of the Social Good Summit, Ericson. Ericson is using their knowledge about setting up networks in Africa so these new use of “old” technology are actually possible.  It has been actually made perfectly clear to me that developing countries in Africa, like Tanzania are leapfrogging the idea of phone-(land)-lines. The poorer areas in the world are going directly over to mobile phones and mobile internet.  And I have even been told by Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericson, that Africa will have reached full mobile coverage in only two years.

Where is the Social in all this?

So you may wonder what this have to do with Social Media? Well the Earth Institute is actually  monitoring the incoming messages and connecting people in need with the available resources. You could say that monitoring this community is set-up in the exact same way as a Social Media Manager that monitors every message that is put in the Social Sphere by clients or potential clients.

But there where also talks and discussions where  some really tech-advanced apps and software was being presented. I found that having some really committed people throwing themselves on solving the world problems they can and will come up with some amazing answers. I actually starting to think that presented with such a strong emotional loaded goal companies and NGO’s are really are revolutionizing certain parts of the Social Sphere.  This revelation is of course nothing new. Albert Einstein has said: “Necessity is mother of all invention”.

Starstruck or Starbucks fueled Summit?

Before I go on talking about an example on this Social Savvy Organization of the Famous seven-time Tour De France winning cyclist, I actually wanted to say something else. What an amazing conference.  And when I say amazing, I really mean amazing. Part of this is the organization of the conference and a Starbucks around the corner. Every talk, speech and discussion is on time, every time. Another big part of the success is because of the people presented on this conference. I’m glad I’m not easily starstruck, but it’s almost hard not to be.  I mean, giving you just a small grab of the “famous” people during the Summit: Bishop Desmund Tutu, Dr Muhammad Yunus, Barbara Bush, Jakaya Kikwete president of the Republic of Tanzania, but also Tony Bates, ceo of Skype, Nicholas Negroponte of the One Laptop per Child Foundation and Ted Turner of Turner Enterprises and Founder of CNN. And This is not even it. Of course a lot of these statesmen, or UN foundation related VIP’s could attend this Summit because of the UN Assembly which also happens to be in town this week, but it still is an impressive feat to get them all to come and talk about this theme, Social Media and doing good.

Example: LiveStrong.

So getting back to the really important stuff. Lance Armstrong came and talk about his organization and discussing the idea of the LiveStrong foundation to tackle all non-communicable diseases. LiveStrong was set up like a grassroot  movement. When they first started they had no idea the following of this foundation would become so big and so involved. The use of Social Media, Twitter and Facebook are now actually the most important pillars of the organization. “If we want to do a special meeting tomorrow in New York, I can garantee that I will get at least 60 people to help us within a day, and this is true all around the world. And I can do this through the use of Social Media”, Lance Armstrong commented. The Facebook page of the foundation has become the number one spot for information about cancer, and surpasses their traffic to their site.

So seeing an opportunity to do some good, there are also a couple of companies who just own up to their responsibility and are starting to do more than donate money. Companies like General Electrics and Skype, but also the new company I will work for, HAVAS. Three companies who donate their resources in totally different ways.

Conclusion

I had a great time in New York, but more importantly I was able to see Social Media and the Social aspect of media, This made me believe that we (the inhabitants of the richest countries in the world) have the moral obligation to think about what they can do to equalize the problems in the world a bit. Yes there is a credit crisis, yes there are people suffering in the Netherlands as well as in Asia or Africa, but please do not forget most of our governments think about its people and take care of them in a way no government in central africa can. Not because they are unwilling, but because they do not have the infrastructure or funds to provide sufficient care  and education. So let us keep connected, keep thinking about solutions, and keep it Social…

The Social Good Summit

The Social Good Summit

The first question and the first day

Why? Why would a guy working for a lot of big corporate brands bother to go to the Social Good Summit, a conference based on the idea that Social Media could help to make this world a little better. Well first of all, I believe Social Media can do much good. The world gets more connected every day and we are making an effort to connect to everyone on this planet.  But the truth is providing “just” Social Media is not enough. We think we are connected to anyone and everyone, but we are only scraping the surface if we are talking about getting that special 1-to-1 connection that really makes a difference in developed and undeveloped countries.

Secondly

Secondly, there are a lot of ideas on Social Media, and the use of Social Media but they lack the commitment and the right mindset. On the Social Good Summit everyone is committed and  in the right state of mind.  So put those two thoughts together and you are getting a great pool of opportunity. The need to make this world better educated (see the one laptop per child initiative) , or provide clean drinking water for everyone (see the Charity Water organization) in the world is actually the motor to create some of the most innovative, and intuitive technical and interactive designs that are available right now.

Why is that? Because it’s needed to succeed. The need is so obvious and strong that people are honing their designs and ideas constantly. They have a goal, a true goal to change the world with their ideas. And I know this all might sound a bit to “Goody-Good”, but putting this in a marketing and communication perspective, it helps to have this goal. The most succesful companies in the world have a strong goal to change the world in their way. Think about Nike, let’s get people to enjoy and embrace sports by “Just Do It”. Google, make all the world’s information available to everyone. And Apple, life is all about good design and functionality.

Thirdly

And thirdly, It’s a great conference to meet new people and get in contact with new ideas. I have been to the Picnic Festival in Amsterdam last week where I was attending the National Postcode Lotery’s Green Challenge Awards.

And seeing the initiatives of the Green Challenge Finale really put me in the right mindset for this conference. The “Great” William McDonough was one of the lead speakers talking about his  book Cradle to Cradle, which if you haven’t read it yet, you really should. William was making his case for a new way forward. He was talking about the idea of getting rid of the idea that we will use the words reduce, and limit when we are talking about our Carbon footprint.

He said: “We should not talk about doing less evil, this is not the right way. We should be talking about doing more good. Saying that as a company you’ll reduce your carbon output with 20% over the next ten years is not the right way. It’s like saying you are travelling towards Stockholm (when you are in Amsterdam) and you are taking a train to Rome. You may succeed  in getting the train to go slower, but you are still going in the wrong direction”.

I like that idea, doing more good. It’s sheds a whole different light on personal, governmental and corporate responsibility. Imagine Google saying in their Mission statement “we will do more good” instead of  “we will do no evil”.

More tomorrow, stay tuned.

Trading places. Becoming the new Head of Social for Media Contacts at Havas Media

Starting a new company.

This will probably come as a little bit of shock for some people: I’m starting a new company… Really? Yes Really… I have gotten a great opportunity that just came on my career path, and which I had to take. So what am I going to do and what is going to change? I have become the new Head of Social for the Dutch branch of the multinational company Havas Media

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The Havas group and it’s media division is one of the biggest players in the world when it comes to media. They are situated in over a 1oo countries. And it even has a well traded Stock Exchange notation in Paris. But all this doesn’t explain why I would give up my own company to start a new one. All I can say really is that they offered me a position at their online media division (label) called Media Contacts. And they offered me a chance to work with a couple of the world biggest brands. As I will start at Media Contacts I will work for companies like: Danone, Air France, KIA, Peugot, Citroën, The National Postocde Lotery.

And while I’m starting as Head of Social I have to work towards setting up a whole new company or label specialised in Social Media in about 3 months, and by this putting me right back in the place where I am now: in charge of a company ;-).

Changes?
And still, keeping all this change in mind, my Blog and my views on this industry will not change. I am glad to say that the clients I worked with the last couple of months are happy to move with me. And I hope that, being surrounded by a full service media agency, I can help and support them even better.

So why address this subject so extensively? Well if you have stayed with me this far, bear with me for the lesson in this post. I believe we should practice what we preach, and since I’m always saying that you should be open, and honest about everything concerning your brand. And here at the extension of brand, company and philosophy, I should be honest and open to my readers.

So I let you, my reader, judge me. Judge my decisions and choices, like any other company which is being open to scrutiny, and critique but hopefully also your compliments. In all honesty I really love what I am going to do, I get a chance to work with great companies, and I have an opportunity to set up a new company. If ever there was a challenge, this is it. I have to think, create and work hard to create a company that will have to find the right to exist economical and philosophical in a world that is still deep in crisis and where technology and Social Media is changing the industry standards every day. Finding a formula where Social Media advise is paid for, and still fully integrated in the online communication and marketing strategy, without losing my personal voice.

I’m looking forward to it. And the first step on the agenda. The Social Good Summit in New York. I will be spending my next four days as an official blogger for the Social Good Summit. I will explain what I am doing here and why I really wanted to come in my next blog post. So for now Bye Bye Vimm Consultancy, hello Media Contacts

Please feel free to get a subscription on my blog and see where things are going.

When Content is King, Engagement is a strong-willed Queen in the Kingdom of Brands.

My book review of: “Clout the Art and Science of Influential Web Content, written by Colleen Jones”

It’s one of the oldest clichés in the “Online” world. Content is King. The reason why this rule is such a cliché, is because it is true.  I am reading Clout the Art and Science of Influential Web Content by Colleen Jones and I love it. I’m schooled in media management so the rule is instilled in me. But now, in these Social Media fueled (or hyped) times there is a new rule or should I say ruler in the “Kingdom of Brands”.

If Content can be named King than Engagement can be named the Queen. And when I talk about a Queen, than I do not mean a young, timid jay-sayer, but a strong-willed ruler who has the care of the people at heart, and who makes sure the vision and written rules of the King are distributed. To make sure the public, also lovingly called “The Consumers”, gets what it deserves. It’s true, King Content still is the head of the Kingdom, but it needs his Queen to rule its people. The Queen on the other hand needs the King to become relevant and engaging. But she has the King’s ear, and knows how to steer his visions and speeches towards the right crowd. She makes sure “the Consumers” are heard.

The book Clout talks about content extensively. Miss Jones has come up with rules which all Brands in the Kingdom of Brands should follow. The greatest compliment, I think, I can give to Colleen Jones is that she created a well researched book that is founded in grounded and academically tested theories. Studies about online content are sparingly available and certainly research written on an academic level. She borrows research from Communications, Economics, Psychology and Cultural Anthropology  to support her theories on content, influence, and on content development and analysis. But the most interesting connection between the researches are made by herself and her own experience with online content.

Miss Jones goes back to the foundation of Social Networks and writes about the 3 principles of Social Networks, named Reciprocity Exchange and Similarity. These principles where first named by M. Kilduff and W. Tsai, in 2004 in their book Social networks and organizations”. Especially reciprocity, the third of the three principles is well documented in Clout. In chapter 5, paragraph 4 she mentions: “It often involves feeling indebted or obligated to repay a favor. If your neighbor brings you a pie, you likely will feel the need to do something kind for that neighbor in the future”.  She continues to quote Robert Cialdiniwho has written a book called “Influence: the Psychology of persuasion”. She writes: “Reciprocity is core to business, too (…) after accepting a gift, customers are willing to buy products and services they would have otherwise declined”.

This provides us with two fundamentally important conclusions:

Paying it forward with Random Acts of Kindness, a very interesting marketing Tool or “trick”, which could have a mayor influence on the buying behavior of your customer. There are a lot of companies who seem to understand this principle and who are willing to pay it forward.  With no immediate effect on the bottom-line and no assurance on a return on investment. Two very nice examples are from Coca-Cola and the Dutch Airline KLM. It works and is an important tool that could be used by a lot of different companies.

Delivering on the Brand Promise: Colleen Jones warned us that brands should come through for their brand promise. Paying it forward is fine, asking for reciprocity is something else. If a brand promises a customer something, the brand should deliver on that promise. If not, think about what happened with United Airlines, and the “United Breaks Guitars YouTube clip“. If you do not deliver, consumers will feel taken advantage of. As Jones writes: “Research suggests that when people experience a snub, they’ll retaliate with a more intense rebuke (…) (and so) Negative reciprocity, or taking, escalates”.

Influence:

The overall theme in Clout  is Influence. Miss Jones provides us with easy to understand and work with Influence. Miss Jones beliefs that Influence is provided by web-content. She provides us with the following statement: Content Strategy and Quality of content provides us with Influence. The quality of content is strongly connected with the 3 principles of rhetorics.

1.  Ethos = Credibility and Trust

2. Logos =  Logics

3. Pathos = Emotion.

This connection is most visible in our (the consumers) love for stories.

I believe that we love products with stories and histories behind it. We love symbolism, we like to use it to spice-up our language (see, King Content and Engagement the Queen ;-). We like it if  a product that we use is somehow emotionally connected with ourselves. This can be on a very direct level, like a product that brings back a happy or nostalgic memory like a specific smell or sound. But it can also be on a more metaphysical level if we recognize certain parts in a product, or product story that is in somehow relevant to our own story and persona. Therefore I believe that it is fundamental to create a good brand story if we would like customers to feel an instant or gradually builded connection with a product. There should be relevance in every expression presented by a company or brand. It should resonate with the target group in a way no other product could do. Even Facebook recognizes the importance of stories nowadays.

In the Financial Times of 22nd of June there was a great article, by Tim Bradshaw, about the presentation of Facebook at the Cannes Lions Festival. Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions talked about the obsession of brands when it comes to getting fans by ads: “Facebook is one of the most incredible platforms for creativity out there – I don’t want you to think about it as just a display ad,” she told the Don Drapers in the audience. Facebook won’t do homepage takeovers (in spite of being asked repeatedly to do so) but it is a medium for “telling stories”, she said”.

As I recommend everyone to read and learn from the Book here discussed I want to leave you with a good quote from Colleen Jones about Rhetoric. “Rhetoric is not a dark art and should no longer be a lost art Ancient rhetoric offer creative guidance to turn your modern web content into a source of clout – and consequently get results”.

please leave me your comments and tell me what you think of this blog.

It’s time to take Social Media and Online Communication seriously.

Comscore, a company known for their extensive research on online marketing and the influence of ‘new’ technology. Their database is truly impressive and they have researched  the Social Media industry from the beginning. I download a copy of all their research as long I can find a small connection between their research and Social Media, and this more often than not.

So now, Comscore provided us with a digital outlook for 2012, this may the 4th, which you can find here: What’s Next? A Look into the Future of Digital. In this outlook they take a closer look on our Digital world. They describe the effect of Social Networks, Ad Spending, News consuming and even the growth of ‘non-clickers’ when it comes to online advertisement.

In this blog post I would like to offer part of my view on this research, and I will try to put some of their findings in perspective with other sources and research I studied. Let’s start with an amazing statistic: by the end of 2012 their will be more Smartphones shipped than the joint sales of Desktop and Laptop computers. An amazing feat if you think of the numbers. Almost 500 million Smartphones will be shipped by the end of 2012.

Comscore does not include tablet sales in this graph, but they do give us a Sales number for the end of 2012. Their will be 82 million tablets sold by then. Amazing figures if you think about the relatively ‘newness’ of this product line. Of course this could make you wonder to what category tablets belong, the Smartphones or PC’s? But i’m drifting off topic.

Let’s dive into some Social Media numbers. You are probably waiting for this, provided that you came to my blog for an analysis of this industry.

Social Network users in the Netherlands are spending 12% more time on these networks than an average user. And the average users spends 17 % of their time online on Social Networks. Comscore doesn’t give us the amount of hours, but they did already provide us with these numbers in an earlier report (which you can find here). By the fourth quarter of 2010, the average internet user (worldwide) spent 23.1 hours per month.

These numbers may be remarkable, but something what may be even more surprising is that most marketers do not seem to see these numbers. If we look at another graph from Comscore which is kindly provided by Morgan Stanley:

TV seems to get 39% of the total Ad spending, while they only get 31% of time spend by the consumers. Of course it could be argued that consumers tend to spend their free time on TV during prime time hours, something I cannot dispute. But we can also argue that these numbers provided by Morgan Stanley are from 2009 and research by Deloitte, puts ad spending on 1% of the total Ad spending worldwide. The Source of this percentage can be found here

It is remarkable, but until marketing executives and managers suddenly awake to this new reality, I can only hope that 1% of this open gap of 50 billion will find a way into my company or my industry partners.

One of my favourite findings by Comscore is the fact that they recognise and acknowledge that Location Based Marketing applications like Foursquare are growing.  Of course this comes as no-surprise. According to Facebook, they are willing to use a big part of their new-found Goldman & Sachs investment, to invest in their Mobile Platform in 2011. And one of the most important features of this platform is Facebook Places (Story can be found here:)

You can see a steady rise in Check-In’s at Foursquaree in this Comscore Graph.

In conclusion, I would like to point out a nice How-To guide, to set up a Foursquare Special. So you, your boss, or your company can start investing where there is still much to be won. Location Based Marketing is the future. The article can be found here, with the Courtesy of Mashable

if you have any suggestions, remarks, questions or opinions you would like to share, please feel free to use the comment screen at the bottom of this page. Or feel free to twitter me @nclangereis. If you have any questions regarding Social Media Strategy please go to my company website here: Vimm Consultancy .

I want my company to do ‘Something’ with Social Media, but what? And How? In 9 questions & 9 answers.

market analysis

I want my company to do ‘Something’ with Social Media, but what? And How?

These are questions that are very common these days. I hear them all around me. When it comes to Social Media The worst thing you can do as a marketing or PR-Specialist is taking a leap of faith. If you literally just do ‘Something’, you will just drive in the dark until you hit a tree.
You will hit a tree

So what can you do?

Well before you start to run around and start telling everybody you will finally do ‘Something’ with Social Media, I would like to refer you to my earlier post . Stop and listen! Rule number 1. Stop and listen. Listen where you company is already discussed. Listen where they already talk about your products.

Figure out what you want to do and how you should do this. I know this is Strategy 101 textbook material, but when it comes to innovative techniques, especially a technique a lot of people don’t fully understand, the simplest of strategy rules are thrown out of the window.

So what can you do? How can you discover what you want to do with your Social Media strategy or campaign? And how can you achieve the goals you set for this strategy or campaign? I will give you a list of questions that will help you find out what you want, and how you want it. It’s no rocket science, just simple deduction and analysis of your existing marketing and communication strategies.

Questions:

  1. What is the target group you want to reach with your site and/or campaign?
    when the answer to this question is difficult, try to consider what could the order in which you decide which target group is most important, and which afterwards, etc, etc.
  2. What kind of content do you want to place on the new site/Social Media page?
    Think hard what would be the relevance of your content. How is you content unique, how do you keep it unique, and especially, above all else, is the relevance for your current customers or prospects?
  3. What are the most important Unique Selling Points of your company?
    What is distinctive for your company? And/or what is you speciality? 
 
 And if this is difficult to stipulate, consider what you do know (or think you know) on how customers would describe you if they must describe your company in one sentence or subparagraph.
  4. Which channels do use you now to approach your customers/consumers?
    Which online and offline channels do already use? And if so,what does work and where can you find room for improvement?
  5. Which goals do you want to achieve with your Social Media campaign and/or strategy?
    This question sounds easier than it is. Determining what you want to do, will help you in creating goals. And determining what will be your goals will help you decide the break-even-point for your ROI. Possible answers for this question are: higher revenue, more clients, a higher spending per client, more brand exposure, brand renown, better customer service, higher customer engagement, etc, etc.  Or a combination of all the above.
  6. What is a new customer worth to you?
    This one of toughest questions, but also the most important one, because this will help you decide the worth of your Return in the ROI of you Social Media campaign and/or strategy. If you cannot decide on what a customer is worth, you could try to decide what would be the I in you ROI. Which percentage of your marketing and/or communication budget would you be willing to spend. And remember: “If you are not willing to Invest, you cannot expect any Return”.
  7. Who you are direct competitors? In which areas are they better than you, why are they better than you?
    You don’t have to an extensive research, but try to answer this: what does the press, your employees or your customers say about you, if they talk about who your competitors are, and why?
  8. How does your current marketing and communication strategy look like?
    Are they already in-sync? And when you look at these strategies how could they used in your online strategy?
  9. What would be your ideal customer? or prospect?
    the answer on this question lies in line with your target group provision, only now you should focus on all demographic aspects of your ideal customer. From age to spending amount. This typical persona can help your with your approach of possible customers.

If you have answered all these questions you could create a document with your Communication and Marketing team from which every online media company should be able to work. With your team you could decide which Social Media are best suited to your needs. But be aware a lot of media companies are not interested in long-term engagement, so make sure you are in control of your Social Media strategy. Your Strategy should span more than one year with multiple evaluation points.

Please visit your local Social Media Strategy consultant or you contact me with any question you may have, I am happy to help.

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