I’ve been asked to give a lot of talks lately on the fast changing social marketing and media world and the questions I inevitably get from the audience go something like – “Should I use Facebook or LinkedIn?” or “What’s the value of Twitter?” or “How do I combat negative comments on my blog?”
In the end, these are all good, legitimate questions when dealing with an evolving topic like social marketing, but in the beginning, they are absolutely the wrong questions.
When planning your social marketing strategies, tools and tactics the ultimate question you must ask is this – “What do I want the relationship with my customer to look and feel like?”
From that simple, but holistic point of view comes the filter for how you might analyze every social marketing tool, tactic, avenue and investment. (Frankly, it’s the question that can inform every marketing decision, but many of the social tools are much more about relationships.)
Once you have a picture of the way you want your prospects and customers to experience you, your products and services, your people, your brand you will be much more equipped to determine if you can enhance and amplify that relationship by setting up a Facebook group, finding and being found on LinkedIn, installing Twhirl to keep up with your Twitter world, creating and promoting company videos on YouTube, building networks within StumbleUpon or, lest we forget the obvious, blogging.
From the ultimate social marketing question you may actually conclude that you don’t need any social marketing tools, that your relationships are about conversations, connections, community – holy crap – I just defined social marketing! Now what?
So, what do you want the relationship with your customers to look and feel like?