Social Media Isn’t About Campaigns It’s About Strategy

Posted on November 21st 2012

Social Media Isn’t About Campaigns It’s About Strategy
 

using social media to drive strategyWhen I talk to people about social media or see how companies are using the tools, the pervasive impression is that it is still used primarily in a campaign orientated way.  Social media folks will be required to show evidence of their Facebook campaign or some viral video on YouTube in order to be regarded as a success.

Now I’ve nothing against campaigns on social media, but lets say you conduct maybe two or three of these per year, what are you doing the rest of the time?  The problem for me is that by emphasising a campaign orientated approach, it creates a mindset that social media is another advertising platform.  The campaign approach is understandable in advertising because you generally only have a budget to do a few campaigns a year.  With social however, not only is the environment ill suited to direct sales messages, it’s also often free, thus negating the requirement to limit your activity to a few campaigns.

Wouldn’t it be better if instead of a campaign mindset, your organisation had a strategic mindset?  The kind of mindset that has social media at the heart of what it does.  The kind of mindset that treats social as an unheralded opportunity to engage with and learn from your customers, and to use this knowledge to craft a sense and respond approach to strategy.

Here are four ways you can use social media to make the sense part of your strategy better.

4 ways to use social media in your intelligence gathering

  1. Find your curators – Information curation has been a part of the social scene for years.  Whereas most of this curation is done around topic areas, if you can find (or create) someone who curates the relevant topics around you and your business, then it can serve as a significantly better source of information than trawling through a database.  By collecting information from a variety of sources you avoid the groupthink that is so pervasive.  Recruiting these curators from outside of the company is an easy way to avoid company centred thinking.  Of course, this curation doesn’t just have to be about you, you can also do it for competitors as well.
  2. More engagement, less data collection – Whereas previously data gathering took up a significant chunk of time, with social listening tools, and fine curation, you’re freeing up a lot of time to actually engage with people.  This is the respond part because it frees up time to solicit ideas and get feedback from your customers, and get them co-creating new products with you.  Therefore the ability to engage with a community is now a key skill for the modern employee.
  3. Drive insight – Do you still use SWOT when doing strategy?  How about empowering social media to try a different approach.  More and more analytics products are hitting the market that will analyse the social web for you.  They’ll be reading blog posts or discussion forums, they’ll be checking out Twitter and Facebook.  They’ll give you great insight into what really matters to your customers.  They’ll tell you where your strengths and weaknesses are.
  4. Drive action – I’m sure many of us have been handed reports stuffed to the gills with data.  Whilst no doubt thoughtfully produced and full of nice insight, they don’t make it easy to actually make changes.  Social media offers you a way to get insights delivered in such a way as it makes driving changes much easier.  New social software automatically curates important information collected from the social web and delivers it to decision makers in an easy to understand format.  The nice thing is that this information no longer has to exist on a ‘need to know’ basis, it can be shared throughout the organisation, therefore democratising intelligence.

As you can see, there is so much more to social media than merely running campaigns.  Your task is to ensure you utilise it to its fullest.

Adi Gaskell

Adi Gaskell

A writer on management and social media for sites such as Technorati, Professional Manager, CMI, DZone, Work.com and Social Business News, as well as at my own blog.

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Comments

Great consise post, so refreshing to see someone say it how it is. Too many people get wrapped up in the 'campaign' element, they forget about an on-going strategy and daily social content plan. Campaigns are essential but they should support and fit seemlessly with an overall strategy and KPI's, not distract against it. Thanks.

Thanks for the positive feedback.  I can't help but feel I'm saying how I'd like things to be though rather than how they are.  So many social media folks still seem to operate on a campaign basis.  Such a shame as it misses out on so many of the great things social media can do for an organisation.

Great post! I am starting to learn the nitty gritty of social media and this is a great way to start!:)

Thanks!

Thanks for the post Adi. Can you elaborate a bit on #1? I would love to explore it further, but it is a little too vague to be actionable for me at this point.

Can you give me an example of a curator and how they could be used in this info gathering process?

 

Thanks!

Think of it as a filtering process.  For instance most reports that reach board level have been curated by those further down the organisation into (hopefully) a concise form.

Often this relies on the formal hierachy though.  With social media you can get people curating content for you from a range of sources.  Somebody could be tasked with curating content around your competitors or on a new market you'd like to enter.

Does that make sense?

I couldn’t agree more with the title of this. It's a wonder that companies even see a glimpse success using social media wrongly like they do, and it is obvious that many startups need advice on how to get a handle on their social media strategies. Here is an article sharing just that. http://www.sbtelegram.com/2012/09/14/new-age-marketing-getting-a-handle-...