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Ideas for Leaders #111
Socially Aware, Media Savvy: Social
Social media offers both great opportunities, and also challenges, to
businesses. For those that embrace social media – by adopting the right
strategy – risks can be averted and rewards unlocked. Using a simple
framework to create an effective strategy for social media can enable your
company to enjoy its benefits.
Companies can no longer control their communications with their customers.
Social media tools have enabled information to be generated from within the
marketplace by consumers themselves. This shift of power presents
significant challenges for companies that fail to come to terms with it. But for
those that do embrace social media, the rewards can be great. Different
methods of collaboration and innovation are becoming ever more prevalent
and companies are increasingly realizing the commercial gains that can be
achieved through these new business models.
A comprehensive six-stage framework will enable businesses to plan, run and
improve their use of social media as part of their marketing strategy. This
simple, but effective, framework covers most situations and can be deployed
in most companies, whether operating in the business-to-consumer (B2C) or
business-to-business (B2B) space. The six stages are:
1. Plan: Identify what you want to achieve and how you should approach social media
2. Monitor: Listen to the social media conversations taking place about your business and brand
(using monitoring tools such as Google alerts) to gain insight into your customers’ perceptions
3. Engage: Establish your company’s presence in the social media world (using blogs, LinkedIn,
Facebook, Twitter etc), because if you don’t start the social media conversations then someone
4. Manage: Use social media to build and manage relationships that support the objectives of
your business strategy. Use blogs, Facebook activity and responses to others, for example, to
make announcements, resolve customer issues, launch new products, run campaigns, request
ideas or feedback and recruit staff
5. Measure: Understand the impact of your social media strategy and continually adapt it to
6. Integrate: Tie your social media activities in with your other online and offline activities.
Remember, social media is just another channel in the marketing mix.
For most companies, embarking on a social media strategy can enable them
to create a customer-centred environment, using technology to accelerate
real-time interactions. But the successful implementation of a social media
strategy will depend on you, as a business leader:
Henley Business School
The Henley Centre for Customer
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Considering all six stages of the social media framework in order to meet the needs of your
Integrating social media into the marketing strategy that underpins your company’s vision and
goals. Social media represents another marketing channel – its activities do not exist in
Avoiding a corporate approach to social media. It does not work. As its name suggests, social
media needs the personal touch.
Recognizing the challenge of managing content creation.
Developing a clear understanding of the new rules of engagement within the social media
Managing those rules of engagement to deliver business benefits. For example, blogging can
increase sales leads.
Thinking about how you will meet the challenge of gaining trust in the social media space.
Carefully selecting measurement metrics that are relevant to the business, to demonstrate the
true value of social media activities.
Developing a Social Media Strategy, Clark. M, Bryan. A, Shapiro. M, The
Henley Centre for Customer Management. The full paper can be
obtained via The Henley Centre for Customer Management.
Further Relevant Resources
Moira Clark’s profile at Henley Business School;
Melanie Shapiro’s profile at Henley Business School;
Henley Business School's profile on IEDP
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