Social marketing often feels like running a race against an unlikely competitor: your own customers. In the social media world, consumer behaviors and technical functionality evolve so quickly that the minute you feel good about your social presence and perhaps have even pulled neck-and-neck with your customers’ social media behaviors, they surge ahead and leave you in the dust. What’s your technique to keep up with this superior runner in this course-shifting race? Do you have a methodical training approach before the big race or do you improvise after you push off from the starting block? Most runners will tell you that it’s preferable to be in the former camp and not the latter.

The pace of social technology change and the volume of short shelf-life content make social networks a real-time media channel. Yet, marketers have trouble managing social content at the speed that it demands. Unlike traditional media channels (TV, print, and even digital banner ads), “social media” and “we’ve got months to do this” are rarely uttered in the same breath. As part of our new Social Marketing Playbook launch, the Processes chapter gives marketers a structure for managing social content in real-time and striking a balance between inbound inquiries and outbound messaging. Marketers ultimately need:

  • Two distinct, but interdependent, processes. “Always on” activities manage unpredictable opportunities and are industry- or customer-initiated. “Campaign” activities are planned in advance and are brand-initiated. Marketers need two separate modes for “always on” and “campaign” but also know that they intersect at strategic process points. Imagine a sneaker company answering tweeted questions about shoe care while simultaneously Instagramming a new sneaker line as part of a back to school campaign.
  • Protocols established in advance to serve activities that require quick turnarounds. Social moves quickly. To keep up, marketers must implement anticipatory protocols to accommodate activities that require immediate approvals and speedier response times. For example, our sneaker company would set up a SWAT team to handle crisis management if, say, one of their sneaker lines was suddenly recalled. Or, implement a special on-site team to handle a live event like the Olympics that offers real-time content opportunities.
  • Lockstep processes to serve the greater organization. The “always on” and “campaign” processes cannot operate in silos. For companies to succeed, teams must work together and share information to better serve their end customers. Our sneaker company knows that sharing customer insights gleaned from social media (e.g., “Bring back that shoe in the green colorway!”) will only help their research & development team innovate on the next great shoe. 

To learn more about setting yourself up for social processes success, join my webinar “Real-Time Process For Real-Time Social Media” on Wednesday, August 24 at 11am EST.

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