Social media marketing means many things to many people. And as social channels like Facebook and Twitter continue to transform the way people relate to the brands, retailers, and service providers they love (or love to hate), marketers need to look at what social media approaches deliver the biggest bang for the buck. Fans and followers have a value, and engaged happy fans may spread the word and even buy more or renew at a higher rate. But as marketers we also need to make sure our social programs are resulting in actual top-line business results like more sales and greater loyalty.In other words, many businesses need to make the move to social commerce. And do it quickly to show that social media can earn its keep. Social channels don't exist in a vacuum, of course. And goodwill built up in social interactions can come crashing down if a customer experiences a frustrating call with customer support or an inattentive sales associate when they visit a retail store, as Forrester's Augie Ray points out in a recent post.
But just as we can optimize the layout of a retail outlet, or email campaigns, or our Web channels, we can and need to optimize our social media campaigns and make sure there is a clear path from outreach to conversations to (satisfying, even fun) experiences. And once engaged, move from offers to conversions and post-sales feedback and so on. In other words, having a process for moving from social media to social commerce is, in fact, the key to unlocking the value of social media marketing.
What does this look like?
As a long-time consultant, I believe that focus and following a "methodology" is essential to moving quickly, not reinventing the wheel, and tapping what makes social channels and models work for many brands, retailers, and other businesses. So is making things as simple as possible, since, believe it or not, most companies are still way early on with social.
As a CMO, I also have a bit of a campaign-centric view of the world and feel that every program needs to be measureable and easy to test and adjust. These ideas come together in the Social Marketing Maturity Model we've been developing and testing.
The model has three stages: recruit, engage, and convert. Under each stage are the key capabilities and features of social marketing programs that are related to supporting and achieving that stage of maturity, as well as the key measures for each stage. And like other maturity frameworks, each stage assumes that you've inherited the capabilities of prior stages.
Note the evolution of content, which is a key component and shifts from authored, to user-generated, to integrated with commerce and customer-facing infrastructure. So is community, as we move from inviting consumers to follow or become our fan, to engaging and sharing via participatory apps such as contests, to delivering special offers or even crowd-sourced deals.
When applying this or a similar model to your own business, also consider how additional feedback channels like consumer insight tools or influencer measures might fit in. This also about how e-commerce will evolve as social commerce evolves. We know there are other pieces to fit in as well - what would you add?
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