Hello again readers,
Sorry for the long break; last week was exam week for myself. Anyways the weathers great here, Halloween was a blast and the Oilers are still sitting atop of their division.
Anyways I’m writing today to bring to your attention a very important part of your company’s strategy for engaging within the Groundswell. Many companies are looking at harnessing the power of the groundswell and developing strategies to connect with and sell to their customers, it is important to develop your social media marketing strategy properly. Many times, people think of the how and not the why, when developing a plan of action which leads to a strategy that totally misses the mark.
To combat this way of strategy design I’m going to introduce you to the POST Process way of thinking. POST stands for People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology. In the Groundswell age, it is important for your business to consider each part of POST in order from People to Technology when designing your social media strategy. This way you will have a clear understanding of the thought process behind the who, what, when, where, why and how, when it comes time to implement your chosen social media marketing plan.
People are the most important part of any business. Without customers to interact with your business will fail. When you start designing your strategy keep in mind of how people are engaging on the various forms of social media within the Groundswell. When considering people aspect of the POST process look at the Social Technographics Profiles for your desired target markets. This way you can ensure that your social media actions meet your target market’s preferred way of connected to the groundswell.
The most obvious goal for any business is to be profitable and make money, but in the Groundswell age it represents how you want to connect to your customer base. In essence objectives in the POST process way of thinking are to help you ensure that you are connecting successfully with your customers. When developing a social strategy for your organization using the POST, it is important to also consider the following sub-objectives that the authors of Groundswell consider very important.
- Listening: Use social media to learn about your customers and find out about any shortcomings for your company. Listening is very important goal for any business but even more so for companies “that are seeking customer insights for use in marketing and development” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68).
- Talking: Talking deals with spreading the message of your business’ offerings to your customer base through the use of groundswell social media platforms. This goal is great if your business is “ready to extend your current digital marketing initiatives to a more interactive channel” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68).
- Energizing: To successfully market your company in the social media age you must look at creating a constant buzz surrounding the company. This goal looks at harnessing the power of word of mouth and using customers who are enthusiastic about your products/services to spread such word.
- Supporting: Supporting is all about setting up a way for customers to engage with and support one another through the groundswell. This sub-objective is great for companies with customers who understand the products and services offered by the company fluently.
- Embracing: The most challenging of the 5 sub-objectives. Embracing is all about integrating customers into the core of the business and possibly having them help with the design of future products of services. Since this is very challenging to successfully accomplish it is best suited for companies that have a mastering of a least one of the previous objectives.
Strategy deals with how you want things to change within your business’ processes in the social media marketing world, to further your company. When developing your strategy ask yourself and your company “how do you want relationships to change? Do you want customers to carry messages to others in the market? Do you want them to become more engaged with your company?” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68). Since strategy within the POST process deals with changes to relationships it is important to analyze how people within your organization may be impacted by these changes. To mitigate risks within the organization it is imperative to communicate with and get employees to buy-in to the changes that may be coming to customer relationships due to the groundswell.
Technology is the tool for how your company will communicate within the social media and digital age. These social media tools and platforms should only be chosen once you have decided on the three previous steps of the POST method. By doing this last your company will have a better understanding of what technologies are appropriate for your firm to engage customers on.
By using the POST method of strategy design for your social media efforts in the groundswell age, you will gain a view of the full picture of the Who, Why and the How parts of strategy design. You then can decide on when you are implementing your social media strategy, what you are going to discuss, and where you are going to engage customers in the digital world. Had you done the strategy design backwards you may have chosen platforms that are incompatible with your customers due to your lack of understanding of how these customers communicate. Remember before you implement any strategy for dealing with the groundswell, engage in the POST method for strategy development.
The following picture summarizes the POST method into a neat and tidy info graphic for a quick and easy reference to the POST method.
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.