How to Define Social Media Strategy and Business Objectives By Using the Customer Experience Lifecycle Model
Well defined business objectives are the cornerstone of any corporate Social Media initiative. Defining strategic objectives for social media has been pretty well covered across the social media blogs, but many businesses seem to be missing it.
So why the struggle? Well, good strategy isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work to build a strategy and even more work partnering across the organization to make it work.
But as savvy marketers know, the process consumers go through when considering, purchasing, and ultimately recommending your product or service is complex.
Many Social Media strategists try to focus their efforts across ALL steps of this process. But a detailed understanding of customer needs for information at each point in the process holds the key for where to focus your Social Media efforts.
For discussion, here is a simple Customer Experience framework
Realization – Recognition of a problem or need
Awareness – Connection between need and your product
Evaluation – Consideration of your (and your competitors) product benefits and tradeoffs as a solution to the need
UPDATED: Transaction – Money is exchanged for product (Great Suggestion from Alain Breillatt)
Consumption – Product is used
Service – Post-purchase support for your product
You’re probably already thinking of this cycle as how it relates to your own company, and it may seem simplistic.
But compare a product like HDTVs to a product like Search Engines. Customer information needs at each point in the Customer Experience Lifecycle differ based on the product. Understanding the details behind customer behavior and the need for information can help focus your Social Media efforts.
HDTVs – Customer Experience Life Cycle
Social Media Business Objectives for HDTV marketers should focus on creating consumer recognition of the need for an HDTV, evaluating the differences between solutions, and providing customer service.
- Realization – [HIGH] – Many don’t recognize or have a need for an HDTV
- Awareness – [LOW] – Consumers who have recognized a need likely understand how an HDTV can solve it
- Evaluation – [HIGH] – Consumers need information on the benefits of various HDTV options relative to cost
- Consumption – [LOW] – Most customers are well aware of how to use an HDTV
- Service – [HIGH] – Customers who have a problem with their HDTV need information on how to service it
Search Engines – Customer Experience Life Cycle
As an illustration of the opposite, Search Engines (who aren’t Google) should focus Social Media efforts on Awareness and Consumption.
- Realization – [LOW] – Consumers know when they need to search for information
- Awareness – [HIGH] – Consumers often don’t understand how search engines can meet their information needs
- Evaluation – [LOW] – Consumers can quickly search multiple sites at little cost
- Consumption – [HIGH] – Many customers struggle to do anything but a basic search
- Service – [LOW] – Once customers use the search engine, there is really no need for “service”
In my next two posts, I’ll cover companies I think are doing this right and companies I think have their business objectives misaligned. In the meantime, I’m open to suggestions on the lifecycle model (should there be a step for “Decision/Transaction”?)
Also, I’d love any examples of companies you think have properly aligned objectives to their Social Media strategies through a detailed understanding of their customers.
Posted by Ben Foster
In: Content, Facebook, Strategy, Zeitgeist