We live in an interconnected world where technology has passed baton in the hands of empowered consumers, who decide the fate of brands. The sudden shift in the marketing economics has pushed marketers to harp for measurable ROI from digital marketing campaigns. The rise of social media as a disruptive force of technology has broken the jinx of stereotypical marketing to lure customers. Fresh content coupled with immediacy of social need of the consumers have driven brands to undertake due diligence while executing marketing engagements over a social platform.
Both B2C and B2B organizations are on equal social wavelength to capture their customers’ mind-share. With a wider target segment present on social media, B2C brands emerged frontrunners in embracing social media to drive measurable outcomes through innovative and engaging campaigns, while B2B businesses soon realized the potential and started firing their social media salvo. Rising as one of the disruptive forces of technology, social media has changed the way businesses connect, engage, and explore opportunities with their stakeholders. B2B businesses have consolidated their marketing strategy with social media to chime in to connect with their prospects through multiple-channels. Organizational silos have given way to collaborative approach to woo the connected customer. In order to establish a social connect in the minds of empowered consumers, B2B marketers constantly need to graduate their social media strategy with initiatives, which deliver measurable results. Some of the key areas, which service marketers should evaluate while implementing an effective social media strategy are:
- Identify Stakeholders
- Understand the need of the Stakeholders
- Create Social Connection
- Establish Engaging Relationships
Stakeholders play the role of a protagonist in a successful social media journey. The basis of social media strategy revolves round the identification of stakeholders and engaging with them through multiple channels. Marketers must explore their internal & external business environment to identify key stakeholders, which may include, employees, customers, business partners, re-sellers, providers etc. “No one strategy fits all” goes very well on social media. Service marketers need to define their business objective for an online presence and formulate a suitable social media strategy for each group of stakeholders. This minor activity at the beginning of executing a full-fledged social media plan helps to develop targeted content and grow a mutually stronger social connection. Breaking of stakeholders’ silos and removing natural barriers between different stakeholders has helped CISCO to strategize a stronger social media presence. CISCO utilizes its online space to host virtual event inviting thought leaders from within the organization and industry to showcase insights on on-demand issues facing the industry. Service marketers should focus their social media strategy to establish an online presence, monitor activities of identified stakeholders, and engage with them effectively.
Understand the need of the Stakeholders
Another important step to leverage social media is to understand the need of the stakeholders. Service marketers must concentrate on aligning their marketing objectives with the needs of stakeholders for the success of their social strategy. When on social media, listening to business influencers, among stakeholders, would jump-start the social connection with the technologically perceptive consumers. It is important to understand the role of connected stakeholders in order to turn them into brand advocates or service proponents of your thriving businesses. CXO’s and business heads should play a key role in defining the social media strategy of services marketers, taking cue from Padmasree Warrior ( Chief Technology Officer, CISCO Systems) and Anand Mahindra (Managing Director, Mahindra and Mahindra) the two prominent users of twitter who have embraced these influencers and created new brand proponents using their influence and thought leadership.
Create Social Connection
Social media weaves businesses and their service proponents in a technological thread. Marketers need to maximize their relentless effort to create connection with the target group utilizing the power of social media. Customer service at KLM (Royal Dutch Airline) has beautifully connected with their target customers and other stakeholders by helping them book tickets, resolve queries, report lost baggage, schedule changes etc., using social media. It is worth to mention that the airline has 519,828 followers on twitter itself. Personalization of customer service by connecting with stakeholders to address all their issues 24/7 has always helped marketers to establish an effective online presence.
Establish Engaging Relationships
A connected stakeholder requires targeted content on social media. Service marketers should assume the role of a content curator and form great content generation team, which works, on-schedule, to add value to stakeholders through insightful information. As part of its effective content creation strategy, Accenture maintains a podcast library on variety of industry specific, well-researched topics, which visitors can subscribe and receive in their inbox. Global leader in customer service (WNS) has established relationship with stakeholders using targeted content through its blogs, podcasts, white papers, and wiki’s. Service marketers should devise a content generation strategy to provide and position themselves as a thought leader in the industry. Regular, fresh, well-researched, and genuine content on social media helps to drive web traffic and sets up an information exchange between stakeholders, inciting the success of your social media strategy.
This post was originally published on PulpStrategy’s social media magazine. Click here to read the post on promotadka.
Alok Ranjan is a marketing specialist and management consultant based in Mumbai, India. He believes, brands are caught in a maze of technology and economic dynamics, caused by disruptive forces, which are changing the way consumers interact with brands. Alok advises brands to shape consumer centric strategy and assists to develop a roadmap for businesses.