Social Enablement Strategy

We dealt with the “Why Am I Here” factor in my last blog to explain the presence in your social space of brands of every type and size. My explanation was simple. It is because you are there. However, there is a little more to it than that so I will spend some time developing the “why factor” a little more as a segue into the “what we do” factor. Yes, we are engaged in a Why, What, Who, When, Where, and How exercise. It is a little peek at the machinery of marketing in action, a brief glimpse.

Let us talk about digital marketing as a whole for a moment. As promised, we will do it with an image.

It is arguable whether there are three, five, seven, or more phases of the marketing process but we have to start somewhere. I choose to start here. Intuition would suggest that what we are going to talk about in this article fits in stage 6, Social Marketing. It does not. Social enablement is all about relationship management. This discussion is part of stage 5, Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Social enablement strategy is about harnessing marketplace interest and perceptions so that the brand can develop a way to encourage market awareness, loyalty, and buying behavior by simply engaging you in your social space and talking to you, answering questions for you, and pointing you to places on the web where you can find your own answers. One critical mistake that brands make is that they try to change as social media outlets come and go. Changing platforms should not change the strategy, though. Social enablement cares first about listening to the customer and becoming immersed in their reality, problems, challenges, and perceptions. Only then can the brand go about the changing dynamics of customer opinions and perceptions as discussed in everyday conversations. This process is dynamic and ever-changing. It is the unstructured data of what you say that we care about in the social enablement game. Let us dig a little deeper into the CRM stage to see where this is leading.

Underlying every phase of digital marketing is the machinery that makes it work. CRM is no different and the graphic above gives you a glimpse of what goes on there. For our purposes here, we will focus on the unstructured data of the social enablement effort, but never lose sight of the fact that the gears of that machine mesh with the gears of other efforts within CRM. The collection of unstructured and semistructured data is a complex task that involves following a structured and repeatable process. This process refinement is where the value of Big Data is best leveraged and refined. If you think back to my first article, we are talking about billions of people talking and sharing opinions and perceptions in the social space. We are collecting the data, processing it, and developing marketing insights from all that.

We will talk more about the social engagement platform and what goes on there in the next post. Let me give the “how we do this” issue a rest and leave you with a final thought. This thought is an honest expansion of the “why do we do this” issue. You, the consumer, have impacted the marketing process significantly with what we call user-generated content (UGC). For a decade now, since the rise of search and social engines, brand-generated content has had to compete with and complement what B2B and B2C consumers are discussing online. Social enablement is a way to seize the opportunity to hear what you think in real time, monitor conversations and trends closely, and respond in real time. We also use the insight to improve brand-generated content and make it more relevant to you, the consumer. The complexity of doing that is the challenge and opportunity of every digital marketer today. Within that complexity is a need to develop a marketing simplicity that makes you realize that the brand and the consumer are in a constant exchange of messages, perceptions, and responses.