Getting social channel strategy right

Getting social channel strategy right

If your business stopped all investment in social media what difference would it make? Would sales slip? Would website traffic be noticeably lower? Would your market share erode? Would customer complaints spike?

If the answer is “probably not” then perhaps a complete review of why you’re doing social is needed. After all if the investment in social (measured either as money or time) is making little to no difference then why do it?

I’m of the opinion that social’s problem lies in a misunderstanding of what’s achievable with it.

Social is more than just listening on Twitter and putting shareable images on Facebook. It can help you connect customers, engage employees and build a foundation for further growth. On that last point, social networks can create ideas that will lead in time to improved profitability and entrance into new markets. Starbucks famously leveraged social to create an ideas network where ideas could be shared and voted on.

Social strategy options

So whilst it may appear that there is a binary choice between investing or not-investing in social, there are in fact a multitude of options.

These range from the design of social customer care through to the development of new websites that encourage open innovation. Then there comes the question of whether to use someone else’s platform or to develop a unique bespoke platform for your business needs.

When examining each of these questions we need to return to the original business objective of what value do we bring to the customer. With the raison d’etre answered then the next thought is to how social will better help the customer and business. Once we understand these sets of objectives the strategy can be defined.

SOSTAC® for Social

PR Smith’s SOSTAC® model is a great route forward when planning your social strategy:

Situation: Where are we now?
What do your customers think of social? How are they currently using it?
What are you doing on social networks or to be social? What have you learned?
What are your competitors doing? Is it working for them?
What are aspirational brands doing with social? How could you replicate their work?
Objectives: Where are we heading?
What do you want to achieve?
How much is that worth?
What do you expect customers to gain from your social activity?
Strategy: How are we going to get there?
Define what your company vision is for social
What is the roadmap for change?
What is the process?
Who are the people?
What data do you want to collect?
How will your brand be expressed and represented socially?
What technical capability do you need?
Tactics: What do we need to do?
How will you do social sharing?
How will you provide social customer service?
Which social networks will you use?
Will you offer social sign on?
How will you integrate with your existing CRM?
What social functionality will you offer on your website?
How will you help your team use social wisely?
How will we connect social with other channel activity (e.g. TV adverts, email marketing)?
Action: What is the plan?
What are the priorities?
Who is going to take them forward?
What’s the available budget?
Control: Did we achieve it?
What’s the governance approach?
Who’s in control?
What reports will be sent out?
Which numbers are you interested in?


KLM delivered €25M of sales through social media. Your business can too with the right approach that looks at social as more than just having a Facebook page.

You don’t need to take my word on the great value of social. There are a host of case studies where social has been leveraged to create additional revenue, profit and markets.

It’s time to work on your strategy.

View a full list of Social Channels.

Further reading:

David Sealey is a trusted adviser to senior executives on getting the most from their investment in digital and data. David created Storm81 as a place to share his passion for business, digital technologies, multichannel marketing and everything else around these topics.

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