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Social Media Strategy Lessons Learned

Social media strategy lessons learned summarizes eleven golden rules I’ve learned while leading strategy and its execution for global firms. Some of them might surprise you: I’ve come to learn that I have a different perspective on social media strategy since I advised global firms and startups in their corporate strategies before founding CSRA in 2006.

Social Media Strategy Lessons Learned

Before diving into lessons learned, let’s specify what we mean by social media strategy. “Strategy” itself is an overused work that denotes some mixture of research and planning. The strategy trade-off is simple: the more research and analysis you do upfront, the more risks you can foresee and account for in your plan. When you put your plan into action, you make fewer mistakes and execute more efficiently. Conversely, “minimum viable”/lean strategy does less research upfront, so the team learns while doing. Neither approach is universally “right,” and both work best for certain situations and firms.

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Social Media Strategy Good Practices

Social media strategy good practices is a short list of principles that can make your firm stand out when empowering customer and employee experience. It’s part of a talk I gave today to a large multidisciplinary team. Their venerable institution plans to use social media strategy to get the ducks in a row without too much squawking. The most exciting aspect of social media strategy is that there’s so much room for improvement: while your peers and competitors are trying to “engage” with finely crafted-yet-impersonal content, you can power past them using experiential social media, which focuses on scalable interaction.

Social Media Strategy Good Practices: summary

Here are the cliff notes to the good practices part of our discussion:

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Ethnographic Research of Social Media for Social Media Initiatives

Ethnographic Research for Social Media Initiatives avatarEthnographic research for social media initiatives shows how ethnography can change the rules of social media programs in marketing, customer service, product development, recruiting and others. Ethnographic research enables teams to understand the people who are most important to your firm so they can relate to them at a completely different level. Moreover, interacting in digital public activates the network effect and the annuity effect, so it’s very scalable. Since your teams interact in digital public, where a far larger group of like people observes the interactions, they influence a large group of people and build relationships with them. People start trusting your firm, preferring your firm, and doing more business with you. See the Trust Business Chain Reaction and infographic for how it monetizes.

Ethnographic research for social media initiatives is a game-changer for customer experience and digital transformation programs in multiple phases. It’s faster, less costly, and scalable. It provides an unprecedented combination of qualitative and quantitative research.

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Ethnographic Research for Product Management

Ethnographic Research for Product Management Initiatives avatarEthnographic research for product management shows how to apply ethnographic research of social media to managing the life cycle of products and services. Ethnographic research of social media can revolutionize product management because it’s a very efficient way to study people’s behavior and motivations in each part of the product life cycle. Unlike traditional product and ethnographic research methods, which are relatively slow, costly and qualitative, ethnographic research of social media combines qualitative richness with quantitative analysis. It’s faster and less costly, too.

This post outlines the product management use case of ethnographic research of social media. For more on ethnographic research, see its executive summary.

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The Employee Engagement Fallacy and How to Fix It

The Employee Engagement Fallacy: How You Can Fix It AvatarThe Employee Engagement Fallacy reveals that most literature, papers, and methods are built on faulty Industrial Economy employment attitudes, and it provides an approach that uses experiential social media to help reframe employment and performance.

Although the idea of “employee engagement” can be a rare opportunity to increase competitiveness, its practice is compromised by well intended but flawed logic.

Here’s the fallacy: Employee “engagement” is the result of employees’ experiences while they’re working at employers. Few engagement programs focus on employees’ experiences, so they fall short.

Engagement is not achieved by a program or initiative that focuses on the outcome. Employers see much more success at achieving the result when they focus on empowering the experiences their employees want when they decide to work at the employer. Experience is the motor of engagement, so empowering experience is the first step of raising productivity and lowering employment costs, two common employee engagement goals. Here’s how it’s done.

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How Trusting Customers Drives Profit

How Trusting Customers Drives Profit avatarHow Trusting Customers Drives Profit reveals how firms unwittingly broadcast that they don’t trust their customers, how that weakens profit, and how firms can take the leap. It’s a simple revolutionary idea that’s born from nine years of studying behavior while practicing experiential social media and social business.

Analysts, consultants and professors increasingly say that customer experience is the last bastion of competitiveness, and an increasing portion of total experience occurs in digital public. This presents firms with an unprecedented opportunity: interacting with people in digital public can create trust at scale and drive profit from revenue and cost levers.

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Short Guide to Forum Outreach

Short Guide to Forum Outreach: experiential social mediaThe short guide to forum outreach reveals how experiential social media teams can tap forums’ unique opportunity to engage users, using a three-stage model. Forums are vital to relationship building with people with specific interests. They are consistently the most people-centric platform type according to CSRA’s research in such diverse industries as healthcare, consumer products, financial services, government, and nonprofits. As such, although they are very human and social, forums are distinct from social media, which often enables social actions oriented to content sharing and short exchanges.

In some ways, forums are the polar opposite of social media because their DNA is threaded discussions, which enable long conversations among many members. Even more exciting, the most passionate members are often members of several forums that are relevant to your stakeholders and workstreams.

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Short Guide to Blog Infrastructure

Short Guide to Blog InfrastructureThis short guide to blog infrastructure outlines some of the basics for how to choose a platform and make best use of basic blog features, so your blog will encourage interactions with your high-priority readers. Most brands and people use blogs for content marketing, but it competes for pocket change and leaves the bills on the table. Here you’ll learn how to organize your blog, so it engages readers more deeply by relating to them in distinctive ways. Before delving into some bits and bytes of blog software and features, I’ll outline a new way to approach engagement that changes the rules, which are themselves a kind of infrastructure.

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Chief Digital Officer Needs Analysis: Do You Need a CDO?

Chief Digital Officer Needs Analysis is an executive summary of how CSRA helps organizations assess their need for “going digital” and hiring digital executives. These engagements serve as “requirements analysis” for an enterprise, business or brand.

Improving the Selection Process for Digital Executives

Chief Digital Officer Needs Analysis: Do you need a CDO?Astute CEOs and boards of established firms and brands are awakening to an increasingly uncomfortable reality: for many, business results have been flat, and customers are behaving “unpredictably.” Since this is such a prevalent trend, there is emerging consensus that “going digital” is the way to get closer to customers(1) and revitalize business. CEOs or board members get on the phone to their executive recruiter to search for a Chief Digital Officer, a “digital CMO,” or maybe a digital-savvy CIO to lead digital transformation. As we’ll see, in so doing they are too often putting the cart before the horse. They will get better results by assessing their needs for digital expertise first, so I’ll offer a simple yet robust needs assessment process.

Although CSRA’s client work shows accelerating digital adoption […]

CIO Guide to CDOs and Digital Transformation: How to Adapt and Thrive

CIO Guide to CDOs and Digital Transformation: How to Adapt and ThriveCIO Guide to CDOs and Digital Transformation summarizes a presentation I gave to TechLeaders Association, a Chicago-based CIO group. It will brief you on how digitally empowered B2C and B2B customers are forcing change on enterprises by demanding seamless interactions across digital and analog interfaces, the rise of the Chief Digital Officer and how CIOs can use this disruption to their advantage. Omni-channel will become the new normal in industries in which a leader provides the omni-channel experience and raises the bar. While explaining omni-channel, I asked the room how many had abandoned transactions with ecommerce or mobile sites because they were too difficult to use, and 40% raised their hands. When leaders field their omni-channel experiences, customers will reject laggards en masse. CIOs can use these developments to their advantage, and the CIO Guide to CDOs and Digital Transformation shows how.

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