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Tweak Your Social Media Strategy. Answer These 7 Questions.

This week I spent a few days in New York (and ate pizza for almost every meal except breakfast) and had the privilege of  listening to some fabulous presentations from The New York Times and IBM to name a few.

There were a lots of points about stats,demographics, psychographics, consumerism traits, online habits, brand loyalty, trends etc. etc.

Which of course got me thinking…….again and again about online/social/digital media for commercial real estate.

1.Who are you really talking to?

Don’t just say “potential customers.” That’s bullshit and you know it. Get specific. Think about who you’re trying to reach in terms of both demographics (age, location, income, etc.) and psychographics (what to they believe? what do they like? what are they worried about?) Remember that the latter often tells you more than the former. Unless you really know, on an intimate level, who are you’re talking to, everything else you’re doing is essentially guesswork, because audience knowledge informs your answer to every one of the remaining questions.

2.What do they really want from me online?

The temptation is often to focus on what you want from your customers — and we’ll get to that — but you’re setting yourself up for disaster if you focus on yourself first. Because before anyone is going to do what you want, you have to give them a reason to care about you first.  You do something that people want or need — or you go away. So what function do you serve for these people within a social media context? You can start with a grand mission statement if you want, but then you’ll need to whittle it down to a social-media-specific context if you want to be successful. That’s great. What do people want from you online? The way you answer this question depends largely on how you answered the first one.

3.What do I want them to do online?

Don’t just say “spend money or make an offer.” Think of a specific goal or action that you want your fans or customers to take. It should be simple and easy for your fans to perform in the moment. It can be something that involves a financial transaction right now or it could be something that enables a transaction down the road, such as getting them to give you their e-mail address so you can put them into your lead generation system. Your goal action will be guided by the kind of organization you have and what kinds of fans or customers you have. What’s the simplest thing someone can do to help you? What can you reasonably expect your fans or customers to do, given what you know about them?

4.How can I align those actions?

Some people find this aspect of social media frustrating. They don’t see how blogging about your industry is going to drive leads for a b-to-b company or how offering customer service via Twitter will get people to come to their new downtown store. You need to find ways to tie what your customers want to what you want. Sometimes that involves denying fans the thing they want until after they’ve done what you want — like asking readers of your blog for their e-mail before letting them download your white paper. Sometimes that means working what you want into the conversation, by mixing promotion and informational tweets together on your feed. It could even be done afterward, by giving targeted special offers to certain customers. Just make sure you’re tying them together somehow.

5.How will I know if it’s working?

When people get frustrated, throw up their hands and say there’s no return on investment in social media, it’s often because they haven’t made their actions trackable. If you’re asking for e-mail addresses, use a campaign code on the submission form. If you’re handing out offers, give them a coupon or a code phrase to say when redeeming the offer. If you’re asking people to talk about you online, get them to use a hashtag so you can easily count the mentions. Whatever it is you’re asking for, find a way to keep track of how often its happening after people have engaged your social media presence.

6.How will I keep up the momentum?

Social media efforts should be built to last. Even if you’re promoting a sub-lease,building for sale or a one-time event, your actions should be part of a larger campaign and an enduring presence. Campaigns should be built to be repeated, extended and have flexibility. Otherwise, you’re wasting relationships — and all the business value that comes with them.

7.How will this evolve?

Don’t design a Twitter strategy or a Facebook or a LinkedIN strategy. Platforms sometimes die out, but more often than not they evolve. Don’t set your social media strategy in stone and then walk away. Instead of thinking about platforms, think about functions and design your social media strategy around those roles. If you’ve grounded your social media plans in the first six questions, it should be easy for you to remain flexible and adapt to fit new market conditions.

 

Photo Credit:http://www.flickr.com/photos/franglais/

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  • Bob Schecter

    Might have the makings of a nice and very broad ICSC presentation on social media strategies Duke, but unless you can relate it to this particular economic environment it’s the stuff we’ve heard in a thousand other blogs. You can do better.

    Even the poorest of strategies on the worst of platforms will yield profits in a rich environment. And the inverse can be true as well. So given that we are in an all-selling no-buying economy, what strategies don’t ask us question, give us the answers. What will work and won’t work.

    • dukelong

      Let me see yours and I will decide if you can do better!

      • Bob Schecter

        You’re the guru Duke, I’m a disciple – I come to the mountain for answers.