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As a social media professional at SAP, I get many questions from colleagues who are new to social media and would like to add social media to their marketing mix. The learning curve on social media is still steep for most people, and in this blog, I have aggregated the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

 

Many of my consulting engagements start with the sentence “My team wants to have a Twitter handle” or “I need to increase the number of fans for our Facebook page”.

 

To that, there is only one answer: “Why”? And ,”Let’s take a step back”.

 

Before you get engaged in any kind of social media project, please ask yourself the following questions:

 

1. What are my social media objectives (these should align with your marketing, and on a higher level, your business objectives)?

  • Maybe you are trying to create awareness for a product offering?
  • Maybe you want to extend the reach of an event beyond a physical location?
  • Maybe you are tasked to generate leads?
  • Maybe…(fill in here)

 

2. Who is my target audience?

  • I struggle with the answer “anybody who might want to buy my product”. Keep in mind that the less homogenous your target audience is, the more high level your messages will have to be. The more targeted you can get, the better you can address specific business problems.
  • Or in simpler terms, if you are a B2B social media marketer and somebody sent you a Tweet about “The top 10 ways to create a lead”, you’d be somewhat interested. But if they sent you a Tweet saying: “10 tips how social media can be used to create leads that close”, you’d be very interested.  On a busy day, you might click on the Bit.ly on Tweet number two but ignore Tweet number one.
  • An example target audience could be: Retail, IT management, North America.

 

3. Where does my target audience participate in social media?

  • It is a fallacy to think that “if you build a social media channel, they will come”.
  • I’ve only recently learned that Global 2000 companies in Finland are not very active on Twitter; but they like to engage on LinkedIn. Hence, for every target audience you define, you need to do research where they lurk (= read) or engage (= comment, ask questions etc.). Your audience might frequent existing communities like IT Toolbox or read blogs on CIO.com. Wherever they are, that’s where you want to be.
  • Of course, you can also create your own social media channels on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc., but remember that you’ll need to dedicate resources to manage these channels continuously. The only thing worse than no presence on social media is a social media channel where the last post is a month old.

 

Once you have answered these basic but often not easy to answer questions, you will need to develop an editorial calendar to feed the channels you have selected and define a cadence (e.g. blog once a week).

 

You’ll also need to define metrics to measure your success. For example, if your target audience likes to read blogs, you can measure views and comments on your blog. But you can also measure things like click-throughs to media (e.g. YouTube videos) embedded in your blog, referrals back to your web site, or the completion of a registration form; to only name a few.

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4 Comments

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  1. Tom Cenens
    Hello Natascha

    Those questions are very valid questions and they require some serious critical thinking. There is absolutely no point in investing a lot of time in social media if you are doing it the wrong way.

    I’ve seen hick ups of Social Media use like tweeting international content in a foreign language and by doing so missing out on getting the message across to the right audience.

    It’s still early days for Social Media use and tools but it is booming business and after I have seen the integration possibilities offered by SAP in their recent and future products I once again had a reminder how important Social Media will be tomorrow and the day after that for that matter.

    Love your blogs on Social Media, as you know the topic catches my interest.

    Kind regards

    Tom

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    1. Natascha Thomson Post author
      Tom:

      appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      As you see from my answer to Sergio, it’s an ongoing learning process.

      Glad you like my blogs, yours are not so bad either :-),

      Natascha

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  2. Sergio Ferrari
    Thanks Natasha for the very interesting series about Social Media.
    I especially appreciated the topic about LinkedIn in Finland and I’ll look for some reports about most popular Social Media application by country.
    Sergio
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    1. Natascha Thomson Post author
      Sergio,

      expanding our intelligence from North America into the world is definitely a goal. As you know, Sarah Goodall is doing great work in EMEA and we are trying to document as much as we can.

      Maybe when you come back from WorldTour Italy, you can share some insights on social media usage in Italy. We could make a video, a podcast or I can simply type while you speak and then make it public.

      The only way for our SMAM team here at SAP to become smart on social media around the world is through local experts like you!

      Warm regards, and thanks for all your support,

      Natascha

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