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Friday, 4 September 2009

Social Media Strategic Framework

Our Chief Digital Officer, Steve Sponder (blog / Twitter), in collaboration with key luminaries from our agency (I grandly include myself in that) has created our Social Media Strategic Framework. Let me know your thoughts.

Here’s the thinking:

There are certainly no shortage of agencies offering social media tactics to brands although almost all of this activity is crude, forcing a conventional advertising approach into this new social media environment.

Social media has disrupted the conventional marketing model. People are one click away from the perfect job, the ideal product, a damming video diary or the 5 star review. Access to, and control over, this information results in different behaviour and attitudes. I believe social media is disrupting markets and the result will be more profound than the introduction of the Internet.

Brands need to adopt different mindsets, models, approaches and strategies to meet their commercial objectives. In order to help brands adapt to this change I have been working with my colleagues at Five by Five and Headstream to develop a Social Media Strategic Framework which we believe will enable brands to strategically navigate through, as opposed to just blindly rolling out the latest, must-have tactics.

Social Media Strategy Framework v1.0

Our Social Media Strategic Framework (SMSF) sets out a number of key areas for organsiations to consider:

1) Social Media Strategy – As organisations start to understand the far reaching implications of social media they quickly appreciate the need to define a social media strategy that mutually supports other strategies within the organisation.

2) Influencer Networks – Influencers will play different roles within different market-sectors, so the key here is to understand how to identify them, the role they play and how to engage with them.

3) Brand Outposts – Don’t just set-up a Twitter account because everyone’s doing it. Take a step back and think about how your outposts will support your social media strategy, who will run your outposts and where the content will come from?

4) Reputation Management – Arguably, real-time eavesdropping on what people are saying about your brand is one of the most immediate benefits of social media marketing although, conversely engaging in a negative conversation could escalate in a full blown crisis so again a clear separate strategy is required here.

5) Brands with something interesting, useful and/or relevant to say should be aiming to start conversations, using branded content as social currency. A distribution strategy will then ensure that engaging content has the best opportunity to kick-start a conversation.

In conclusion, the strategic intent should be for organisations to be an authentic part of the social media community and appropriate conversations, along the way there will be immediate, tangible results although like branding, social media is about the long-haul. It’s about systemically and consistently building the reputation of the brand where the pay-back is ultimately brand equity.

I hope you find our Social Media Strategic Framework interesting and that it builds on, and continues, the conversation.

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