It’s all about SPIEL. Strategise, Provoke, Inform, Engage, Learn.
Strategise - Don’t just ‘do social’ if either your business or your customer isn’t ready for it. Some industries are still quite nicely running with the traditional, old school marketing model of the 7Ps in the marketing mix, thank you very much. Some customer segments aren’t considered to be fully embracing social media and are readily discounted. But are you sure? Really sure? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your customers are all of a slightly more advanced age profile and unable to switch on a computer. Do the research and don’t make assumptions, then build medium term strategies (nobody can forecast accurately how this will change beyond say three years hence), to gain competitive advantage.
Provoke - Push your business to commit to being a social business. It’s not enough to show up and develop a great online platform, website and social networking accounts and then go back to doing business the old way. Social businesses live and breathe constant engagement, on the customers’ terms, through their chosen media, when and where they want to do it. If you still think marketing is about old fashioned ‘push’ of messages and advertising then your competitors are already one step ahead of you.
Inform - Here’s the real deal. It’s all about getting the conversation started and that’s the role of the social business marketer. Have great content ready. When you blog it’s about starting the conversation not just telling stories about the world according to you. Share experience, knowledge, information and news. Add value using phrases that your customers are likely to use when they search for the kinds of things your are able to offer them. Remember it is two way traffic so always end your information with a question mark. Invite response.
Engage - Your entire business should be helping with the ongoing engagement with target customers and prospects. Engagement means social conversation. Not tucked away deep in an email thread but in public, on social networks for all to see. Yes, good and bad things. Compliments and complaints. Embrace all engagement as a chance to develop that vital customer intimacy because that’s the fuel for the all important advocacy at the end of their customer journey.
Learn - You won’t be a social business overnight. It takes time, resource, commitment and endeavour to sustain your early momentum. Learn who in your organisation can support you to make it happen and what it really is that makes your customers full engaged. In social business it’s the art of listening as much as it is the art of talking.