Saturday, April 16, 2011

Web-base Engagemet and Commitment

I have  been talking to companies how have decided to take their customer engagement strategies to the next level. Whether it is the hospitality industry, the retail or any other sector for that matter, everyone is looking to engage customers to shore up their web reputation.

When discussing the decision to engage in social media I like to dig a little deeper. The question I ask will come as no surprise as they are quite straight forward.

- Where are your going to engage your customers?

- What are you going to learn?

- How are your going demonstrate value?

Commonly, the answers to the question above can be distilled down to:

- Well, Facebook and Twitter, isn't that where everyone is?

- I will have better analytics.

- And then the most probing of all questions is pose. Do you have a strategy?

Like any business too, launching into the world of social networking should not be done without  adequate planning and strategy. Why? For the simple reason that social media is a commitment; one who's history is written in permanent ink.

The world wide web is quite literally littered with remnants of the best of intentions. There are reams and reams of:

- Websites that are still advertising expired promotion;

- Status updates that haven't been thouche in days, weeks or wors years;

- Blogs that come to an abrupt stop, and;

-The worst offence of all, companies who daily share information that is dated all the while, trying to give the impression of currency and being at the top of their game.

Any social media expert/guru will tell you that social media engagement takes time (months, if not years). Please do not underestimate the weight of that statement. Ever wonder what happened to all those kids who peaked in high school?
Their shining moments of glory translated into nothing more than a "flash in ht pan" of your history. Is that the legacy you are looking  for where your company's web reputation is concerned?

From a business perspective, Facebook fans and Twitter followers are important, only if their existence can be translated into sales. Without a plan to engage and more importantly show the worth and value of your company, the return on your investment will quickly diminish.

While social media on the surface seems like a cost effective solution to the overbearing costs of traditional marketing keep in mind that once you get on the social media bandwagon, falling off has a significant cost.

Unless your company is prepared to commit the necessary resources to navigate the social media minefield and has a plan in place to shore up our web reputation then you may discover that Sir John Havey-Jones was right He once said that "Planning is an unnatural process; it is much more fun to do something . The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise.
That is true for any kind of business.

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