Creating a Social Media Strategy Handbook

95% of the customers had a choice when they purchased the product or service in the first place, they had a reason for their selection. The single most successful way to use social media is empowering customers to share that reason and turn it into recommendations. The single biggest challenge: make it actually happen.

The Social Media Strategy Handbook

It became best practices to create a Social Media Strategy Handbook for each social media project documenting everything including the ultimate goal and purpose, initial market research, SWOT analysis, strategy, programs, actions, social presence, resources, budgets, reporting and the ROI.

We are sharing two examples of those strategy books that were created by attendees of the Social Media Strategist class. One was for Lindt Chocolate and one for a Hotel & Spa in the Caribbean. None of the information provided here is confidential – everything can be found in the public social web. Continue reading “Creating a Social Media Strategy Handbook”


Thousands Of Social Media Agencies/Managers At Risk

I recently wrote a post “Over 70% of Social Media initiatives FAIL“. I received more personal responses on that one post than on all posts I wrote in the past 5 years together. It inspired my to write this response to the overarching question: “What shall we do“.

No project success – No Reference

The consequence of failing projects – beyond the fact that it failed: here goes a potential reference customer.
Agencies have to come to a bitter realization:

Taking a print brochure to the web was an important transition
Taking a webpage and share it with friends is meaningless

Tens of thousands of agencies and social media consultants struggle to run their business. The social web is just NOT what so many people think: “just yet another marketing channel”.

10 things successful agencies do differently

Successful teams think entirely different and help their business clients to think through the entire chain of implications of a social engagement rather than just selling followers, fans and a page. And this is no different whether it is a 25 people small business company or a 25,000 employee global enterprise. Continue reading “Thousands Of Social Media Agencies/Managers At Risk”


Social Media Acceleration with Partner Channels

Expanding market reach has always been one of the biggest advantages of indirect partner channels. And in the Social Media age this is no different. It is actually an advantage like no other if that force can be unleashed.

We all learned, Social Media is not just another channel to blast a message out. Social Media is primarily about Relationships. And one of the biggest challenges is to leverage the new media with existing Resources to be as approachable as possible and build customer Relationships that are valued and lead to Recommendations and at the same time extend the company’s Reach.

Continue reading “Social Media Acceleration with Partner Channels”


A Social Media Strategy is like Sex – those who have it don’t brag about it

My friend Bob Thompson wrote an intriguing post about the status of Social Media, which in turn sparked this post. Basically those companies who have a brilliant social media strategy don’t brag about it. And the reason is simple: Why should you share some of your most significant competitive advantages. As many of you know, I’m involved in several of those major strategy developments and can’t and won’t talk about it other than teaching how it is done.

Continue reading “A Social Media Strategy is like Sex – those who have it don’t brag about it”


We Do Need Social Media Experts

Yes you heard it right, and yes, it's me who said it: Social Media Experts. The bad word in social media. Why do I say so?

Joe doe Social Media Consultant hates the word. Why? Because he is not an expert but rather a situation driven self made social media consultant.

Social Media Has Grown Up

The argument "Social media is growing so fast no person can keep up with the speed" is approximately 5 years old. My first interaction on LinkedIn was in 2003 that is 8 years ago. And if we didn't learn anything in 8 years – heck we should just not discuss the topic in the first place.

It's true there are new and better tools coming in every week. But seriously if all there is are how to use tools, you talk to the wrong people. And if we, at least many of us, didn't become an expert in what we are doing, there are no experts at all. Social media, social interactions, social dynamics, behavior whatever cool term you pick from the word cloud isn't just trivial. But neuroscience, physics, brain research… isn't either.

No more social media rock stars

Here is one of the biggest obstacles for executive teams: While there are thousands and thousands of social media rock stars, social media hippies or whatever you want to call it, it is very hard to find social media expertise – hence no experts. And those who are – are terribly busy.

Putting up a fan page, sending out scheduled tweets from a robot pretending to be a brand pretending to be social is not social media but old style push marketing brute forced onto a new media hoping it works because so many say so. And indeed you don't need an expert to do that. Any average Joe social media consultant whether here in the US or one of the people in the Philippines who do that for $5 an hour can take over those jobs. Impact? None, ROI 'hehhh"? Benefits for the company and even the customer: zero.

Executives need experts not hippies

Consider this: You are a CEO of a company with 5,000 employees and your "social media strategist" is rambling about a fan page, more tweets, listen to your customers and all that old blah blah blah. What will you do? Nothing – and that is actually a wise decision. The next step: You ask your team to come up with some ideas. They will want to get some external expertise. Again rambling about fan pages, tweeting and adding value to the conversation is the same blah blah blah – just on the next lower level.

Social Media Experts need to be able to re-assess a market from a holistic point of view considering the conversations of the customers – but think of some Millions of customers spread all over the planet. They needs to consider business partner integration, those people who actually "own" the customer relationships. And of course the company's own teams from executive to clerk and back. Those experts will need to develop a true strategy – not a list of cool tactical measures but a strategic model with a strategic objective, a well balanced benefits model for both company and market, resource planning, financial planning, ROI and so forth that will be the base for any consecutive action programs. The social media tools are at best a secondary side effect. Strategic models methods and frameworks are the heart and the core of a social engagement that can be introduced to 5,000 employees who in turn collaborate with maybe 50,000 partners and say 1 Million or more customers. You need to be an expert in that field to be able to construct, plan and execute such a social media strategy that will be carefully interwoven into a multi Billion $ business plan.

More executives than you may think are ready to take the challenge from a rapidly evolving society and its inherent changes in the way to do business – most consultants are not.

I wonder – if you are a social media consultant – are you able to help a CEO like mentioned above to get their strategy developed and embraced in their organization?

(my social presence)


How much money can you pour into social media with no ROI?

The recent online discussion between Brett King (author of Bank 2.0) and myself (Financial controller background) kind of shows that the ROI battle in social media is far from over. We left the field with completely opposing opinion.

Like Brett also I was of the opinion that calculating an ROI of social media maybe a bad idea. That was little over three years ago. The thinking was that we don't discuss an ROI of bookkeeping or an ROI of having a CEO – these are basically necessities to run a business. But I have to admit: Part of it was that I was lacking of a sound model to actually calculate a financial ROI.

What changed my thinking?

I was involved in a very large engagement that was way beyond the tweeting and fan page building. It also was way past the point where a few people in the marketing department is doing "the social media thing". We were at a major intersection with the following strategic idea:

"We can't make a difference in our 6,000 people organization if 5 people do social media and 5.995 people continue doing business as usual."

Continue reading “How much money can you pour into social media with no ROI?”