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Charlen Li and Josh Bernoff described approach called “POST” in Groundswell:
People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology
People: It is important to understand the customers or target audience behaviour. What are they? how do they engage on social media etc. Based on the customer understanding, appropriate technology as well as media can be identified.
Objective: It is very important to understand what is the goal of social media engagement. Is it for creating awareness via marketing or creating more sales lead or addressing issues of customers or create awareness about the usage of products / services? There are various objectives: They can be : 1. Listening to customers 2. Talking to the customers 3. energizing customers to spread word of mouth or further awareness 4. Customer support 5. Embracing to customer feedbacks or ideas. If you want to map these tasks to the traditional tasks enterprises do then:
Listening means market research(companies traditionally spend $15biilion on market research), Talking means outbound marketing, Energizing means generating sales leads, supporting means customer support and embracing means development or (inbound) product management.
Strategy: What is the expected change by doing the engagement? what is the effective strategy to have it? It is very important to think about how to engage customers and hw will that engagement grow and influence internally as well as externally. Since the planning of social media engagement can take endless time and most importantly while you doit, the market dynamics would force it to change it. Hence it is important to start small but have plan to grow further. Important aspect is to have an idea of how it would impact, what is the endgame, how it would change company. Social media engagement is sometimes like a stirring a beehive. One should be ready with proper strategy to engage the customers otherwise it may backfire. There is no right way to engage social media customers. However, there is a genuine and respectful attempt with some creativity and innovation would definitely help.
technology: Wiki/ blogs/ social networks/ sentiment analysis/ twitter/ forums / what tools should be used? If you are engaged in online community development then proper technology like communispace, or MarketTools/Network insights can be looked into. Considering the volume that one may need to deal with the proper aggregation, filtering, sentiment analysis and summarizing technologies are needed to bring down the endless chatter into some manageable flow of information. For example, MotiveQuest, Nelson’s BuzzMetrics, Cymfony.