“The ultimate beneficiaries of this very simple process are the people or customers touched by your organization and by others like you who have made the courageous decision to look within yourselves, and your organizations…and demand measurable results.”
– Peter Drucker
I’m currently reading “The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization” by Peter Drucker and have been thinking that these five most important questions for the enterprise should also be asked of an organization’s social media program, albeit in a slightly different context.
In a local survey that our Chamber of Commerce conducted on social media, over 75% of respondents indicated that “social media strategy” was the thing that they wanted to learn about most. This is not really surprising, given that it’s been, at least for the past few years, one of the last things that many organizations did on the path to social media success. They often start with random acts of social media and eventually come around to putting together a strategy. It doesn’t have to be that way. Strategy doesn’t have to be hard.
I submit that Drucker’s five questions provide a suitable basis for determining direction in social media marketing. In fact, if you asked only these five questions, you’d be miles ahead of those marketers still practicing random acts of social media.
Drucker regularly challenged entrepreneurs and corporate CEOs alike to answer five important questions:
1. What is our mission?
2. Who is our customer?
3. What does our customer value?
4. What are our results?
5. What is our plan?
I would like to similarly challenge you to ask the same questions about your social media effort.
1. What is your mission? Why do you want to be in social media (and what will distinguish your presence) and what’s the mission behind your program or effort? Recall that Drucker often stated that “planning is not an event”. Establishing and examining your mission should be an ongoing consideration and not just a one-time event. With the rapid pace of change in social media, the current state of your mission should be top of mind at all times.
2. Who is your customer in social media? What’s their technographic profile? Where do they hang out and how do they behave in social media? How have our customers changed (and are we changing with them) as a result of social media? Customers, like social media, are never static. If you’d not thought through how your customers are using social media (and asked them questions to ascertain the same) rest assured that your competitors will. Effective social media strategy is founded on sound understanding of the customer.
3. What does your customer value from you, in social media? How are you delivering genuine value through your social media presence? (You are, aren’t you?) How can we learn about what they value? (social media listening…) Drucker insisted that this question is “so complicated that it can only be answered by customers themselves.” If you understand this question about what your customers want from your presence in social media, and I assure you that it’s the least understood question, then you will hold the keys to their attention.
4. What results do we expect from social media?How do we even define “results”? Social media progress must be understood in both quantitative and qualitative terms. These two sets of results interact and support one another. Remember also that social media but a brick in the wall of marketing success on which other bricks rest for strength. Think of social as a support mechanism to the overall end of success and not an end in itself and you will start to see social media related results in their proper context.
5. What is your plan for social media? What are your goals for social media? Everyone needs a plan, even if your plan is to create a better plan (based on what you learned from the above questions). Your expectations and goals for social media need to be few in number. As Drucker stated: “If you have more than five goals, you have none.” Social media planning is the responsibility of the highest level management to have reasonable purview over the project. This should not be decided on a departmental level, but rather should be the concern of the enterprise.