In my new book 15 Ways To Own Your Future, I list ways to take control today so you can own your future tomorrow. At the core of this message are two common denominators. They are: being pro-active and taking ownership. Inherent in this perspective is an ongoing mission to continually challenge the status quo.
Today’s business environment places many demands on us. Among them is the need to have an evolving social media marketing strategy. The difficulty in getting this done has its challenges whether you are a corporation with major resources or a small business with limited resources. No matter the size of your business, there are many challenges to having a successful marketing strategy. Our ability to get this done is directly related to our ability to constantly anticipate.
Our level of dedication to being in a constant state of anticipation along with meeting other challenges will define our level of success. Below are Ten Principles of Action that I believe can lay the groundwork. These principles that have stood the test of time will also assure that we continually challenge the status quo. I have defined them and given examples on how they might generally apply in the challenging area of social media marketing. One thing you will quickly notice is that these principles align closely and overlap in definition and execution.
Without a clear vision that recognizes today’s dynamics and anticipates tomorrow we are just throwing darts at an unidentified target. Focusing on just today without a long-term plan can open us up to being blindsided, or worst yet arriving at unsuspected obsolescence. Not only must we know where we want to go, we must project tomorrow’s landscape.
In terms of social media marketing, this means defining your expectations for today and tomorrow in terms of engagement, function, and desired results. Define what you expect that picture to look like, and create the social media marketing strategies and tactical goals necessary to meet those expectations.
2. Set very specific short-term and long-term goals:
Short-term goals are really the strategic and tactical objectives that allow us to meet our future goals. In terms of social media marketing, this means all participants understanding company current strategy and evolving strategy. Your targeted audience will be your gauge on what platforms will best work now and in the future.
3. Measure your results:
A corporate Vice-President once told me “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” That was more than 25 years ago, but it applies today in every area of business as much as it did then.
In terms of social media marketing this can be defined very simply. Evaluate the ROI of your marketing program is as a whole, and have a great handle on results by platform. Have specific expectations for each platform and the software measurement programs you use? These forms of measurement must be effective for your business, and fully leveraged. Make sure you consistently and continually measure the effectiveness of your social media front-line staff. Without a program that evaluates and measures staff skill-set, it is difficult to improve results. A program for improving results becomes the obvious next step.
4. Network, Network, and Network:
Get creative in targeting new business: New ideas, new approaches, and new evolving processes enhance efficiency and make one distinctive. Continually evaluate new opportunities.
In terms of social media marketing, this means continual analysis and evaluation of current and future platforms on the horizon. The goal should be to maximize our results in our engagement with our clients. Eliminate any resemblance of a “silo effect” run social media program. Make sure that those managing your presence and your engagement resources both technical and human are aligned. It is no different than departments in a brick and mortar operation; to be effective they must work together.
5. Do the basics:
There is a sports metaphor that applies well here: “do the “blocking and tackling.” For a business, that means the right people in the right positions, good collaboration, the right strategy and processes, and a work environment that nurtures productivity.
In terms of your social media marketing this means three basic things of which everything else falls under: Continual evaluation of platform strategy, coordinated communication within the business and to customers, and that these efforts are consistent with your strategy and vision.
Also, have a training program in place for your social media personnel. They are your direct line to your current and prospective clients. A point from the 15 Ways To Own Your Future; create a culture where employees take ownership in what they do. If employees believe what they do is just a job; effort has already been compromised before it begins.
This is a basic that too many businesses have forgotten. You are just treading water when new customers just replace current customers leaving. We can only tread water so long; eventually we sink. Treat your current clients like gold; they are! The biggest key to any social media marketing program is care and consistency. Resolving customer concerns or issues with exceptional soft skills and with timely responses is critical to a successful marketing program. It is all compromised if not practiced by all representatives.
7. Take a weakness and turn it into a strength:
There is no business or individual that has a weakness that can’t be improved. For a business, it may be improving strategic efficiency or improving the overall skill-set of employees. Possible weaknesses in your social media marketing may include the following: Customer care and consistency in your reach out and resolve process; measurement limitations, training limitations; reaction time to complaints, platform choices and utilization, etc. Turning a weakness into a strength can pay huge dividends. The danger here is getting complacent with a strength due to that new focus and causing it to deteriorate.
8. Take your Time Management to another level:
This is something we all can improve. In terms of social media marketing, that means simply making sure that your delivery, efficiency, and consistent use of all platforms including traditional media and branding are getting the most return on investment. Good time management from the top down and bottom up help get this done. In order to be successful in our social media marketing, ROI and meeting expectations is a must. This is not an area where we can get complacent; ROI demands that the time we spend in any area is efficient and effective. Improvement of our staff’s effective use of time, and training will factor in our short-term and long-term branding success.
9. Take “ownership” of your own training and development:
We should never stop learning. Knowledge is power in the 21st Century. Individuals should espouse to a continual social media expertise. As individuals we must have the perspective our development is as impactful to our future as it is to the business benefiting from that development. With that perspective, we take individual ownership of our training and development on a daily basis. We look at this as a daily, perpetual, and life-learning process. This perspective helps us grow as a person and contributor, and creates opportunities now and in the future.
A business prospers with employees that have this perspective. In terms of social media marketing this can all be summed up in two sentences: Individuals should always seek to evolve to a higher delivery skill-level on social media marketing platforms. Individuals must take ownership of that delivery and the processes to become the best they can for themselves and the company that employs them.
10. Look ahead:
Get to where things are going before anyone else does: Gretzky the great hockey player once said, “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” What this means in terms of our social media marketing efforts is obvious: We need to continually expand our training and development today while anticipating evolving strategies and processes to meet the social marketing demands of tomorrow. One thing we can clearly count on is that our marketing will look quite different in the future. Begin the process of owning that future today.