In my post last month, I focused on the need for a different marketer mindset. While I don’t have anything against tools or tactics, I don’t believe it’s the best way to leverage social, local or mobile.
I am increasingly aware that our mindset toward a particular topic plays a significant role in our ability to grasp that topic. As I have previously written, this is particularly important in the social space.
Hopefully my column last month has made the case for a different mindset. Now I would like to offer some specific tips to help you think about some ways to develop a new mindset.
5 Tips to Creating a SoLoMo Perspective
1. Create Personas
One of the most effective ways to focus on your customer is by creating customer personas. Effective personas don’t just describe the characteristics of your customer; they provide a bigger picture of their interests and challenges. Personas will help you create more relevant content because they force you to focus on your customer rather than your product features or benefits.
Most of the time marketers develop communication with an internal focus that typically begins with product features and benefits. Personas help to shift the focus and this can provide much needed context.
Context can be useful for development of content, streamlining processes, identifying challenges to name only a few benefits. I am often asked, “How many personas should I have?”
The number of personas depends on several factors, for example the number of discreet audience segments you can identify. There are different rules of thumb, as a general guideline I would recommend five or less. It’s wise to consider one or two initially, then expand if appropriate.
Here is a great resource for learning more.
Listen to your employees. What are they hearing from customers and prospects? Ask them questions like:
- If you could change one thing what would it be?
- What is your biggest challenge?
Listen to your customers. Listen actively and passively for comments and criticism on social platforms. Offer multiple channels for input e.g. suggestion boxes and comment cards.
Listen to customer service. What are the top complaints? What are the most common questions? What are their frustrations? What changes would improve the customer experience?
Create a customer journey map
Create a flowchart of your touchpoints. Touchpoints are locations where your customers interact with your brand. This could be a website, retail location, online ecommerce site or customer service contact center.
Once you have identified the touchpoints, see if you can figure out how consumers use these locations to research, compare, purchase and then use your product or service. This exercise will be useful in creating content that will be relevant and helpful across the different stages in the buying process.
For example, “how-to” videos can effectively connect customers with your product or service, increasing the perceived utility.
Employees are a great source of information and feedback. Involving them will increase your understanding of your customers, especially their challenges, and it goes a long way to helping build a sense of ownership and collaboration.
Listen to your customers. (Yes, I’ve already said this…it’s that important). In addition to traditional feedback forms and suggestion boxes, today there are free tools that allow you to listen to the conversations taking place on different social media platforms. Paying attention to concerns, suggestions and compliments can provide quite useful.
Here is a list of tools from fellow contributor Lilach Bullock.
3. Remove friction
Find ways to address customer and employee challenges. For example, you might make changes in your internal processes to reduce the number of steps to buy your product. Perhaps you are collecting too much information, information you may not need or use.
Periodically buy or use your product or service, looking for ways to improve the experience.
Ask questions like:
- How can we simplify this process?
- Do we really need this information?
- What if we connected this step with that one?
4. Empower Your Staff
I mentioned previously that often the hyper-connected consumer knows more about your product or service than your staff. Are you equipping and training your staff to engage with your customers?
Ask yourself questions like:
- Are the tools and training I am providing useful? What would make them better?
- Do I have the right people in place to serve my customers?
Company culture plays a significant role in the empowering process. My friend and fellow contributor Judy Gombita and I often discuss how important culture is; in her Definition Byte:Social PR for Business she offers an excellent overview.
Another perspective from a former contributor talks about making a company social media friendly.
5. Integrate the various channels
When creating your marketing communications, think through the whole experience. Recently I pulled in to a rest stop in Virginia where I live. Our state has a slogan “Virginia is for Lovers”. It’s a statement used to promote tourism, business etc.
At Virginia rest stops and other venues you’ll often see the word LOVE in large letters.
I noticed a sign inside offering some suggestions for promoting the site. Here, marketers have created the opportunity for engagement. Consumers are still free to exercise their creativity, only now there is some guidance with respect to posting.
Taking the Next Step
It’s important to remember that social media platforms are communication channels. Due diligence is necessary to match your target customer to the appropriate channel, establishing goals and objectives for any channel.
If you’ll start with these five tips you’ll be in a better position to evaluate and leverage the platform, or platforms, you decide are most important. You may decide to seek some help from a consultant to guide you along this new path.
If you are already on social media, it’s never too late to incorporate these tips in order to derive the maximum benefit.
What other tips would be useful?
Image courtesy of arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net