In his latest blog post my business partner Steve Seager provides a basic four step framework for business leaders to set social media strategy.

Steve had his first taste of strategy when he was rock climbing as a kid with his stepdad. There he learned to think about his finishing point, set direction and plan the moves needed to secure success step by step.

He argues that whether you are talking about rock climbing, traditional marketing or social media, strategy is strategy. The architecture remains the same.

The paper speaks about setting business objectives, setting communication goals and global strategies as well as defining your role in social media as a business leader.

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Twitter 101 Guide offers insightful case studies

Twitter is one of today’s most successful social media channels. Having said that, many marketers and companies are skeptical of Twitter. They find it hard to understand how people use Twitter, how active people are and why people use it.

Some useful data on Twitter usage and stats can be found in this report [PDF] from Hubspot.

Still, however skeptical you might be, it is a fact that some companies have successfully used Twitter for their business. Recently the micro blogging platform itself launched Twitter 101, which is a special guide created to explain how companies can use Twitter for their business.

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Break it down into easy chunks…

Many marketers are hesitant to start investing in social media, because they struggle with the metrics. Before they start they would like to know what the potential ROI is of their Facebook group, Twitter chats, blog posts and activities in forums and discussion groups.

Activities in social media build relationships and trust. As such it is a long stretch to connect social media activities directly to a sale. And that is what ROI is.

That can be a problem. But it’s the same problem that traditional mass communications has: if you air a TV ad or publish a print ad, can you link directly to a specific sale in a retail outlet? Not really: you need to look at the sum of your activities and your overall results.

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Visualise your proposition…

In my blog post ‘It’s all about them, not you’, I suggest a little check to see how consumer oriented your website is: just by grabbing a pen and counting the number of times you use the word ‘we’ on your website as oppose to the word ‘you’. It really helps you get a feel of how consumer centric your organisation is.

Here’s a nice way of visualising all of the words on your website or your blog. Go to Wordle.net. Add your URL or the text from your website. It generates a really neat word cloud. In essence what you are looking at is the way you articulate your product or service.

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The art of selling through informing…

Throughout my career as a product marketer I tended to view Public Relations as a promotion activity. And with promotion I mean free publicity in media. As such PR is usually seen as a welcome addition to advertising.

With the rise of the social web, a different aspect of PR becomes increasingly important. On the web, the most valuable thing PR can do is to help businesses build relations with prospects, customers and stakeholders.

Building relationships. Right.
Does that sell anything?
The answer to that question is: YES. Public relations sells.

Why?

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Getting in a targeted messaging headset…

Many businesses see the biggest advantage of social media as simply reaching more people. Is it true?

Well, yes, you do reach more people, but if you don’t also adapt your messaging for these people, you end up with what Seth Godin calls a ‘meatball sundae’: an unfortunate mixing of two good ideas.

In the days of mass media you would do one television or print ad for everyone. People were considered as mass markets – and your messaging was ‘one size fits all’.

The biggest impact social media has had for businesses, is that it has split mass markets into lots of niches.

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The fundamentals of B2B Marketing…

I’m often being asked by friends why I dedicate so much time to writing my blog, maintaining my Linkedin profile, getting Twitter contacts, crafting presentations to publish on the web, commenting on people’s blogs et al.

This video answers all these questions:

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McKinsey change the purchase funnel!

Everyone knows the purchase funnel gets narrower towards the end, right? The entire marketing process has been aligned to this principle for more than forty years.

Well, now we can think again. McKinsey’s recent global study shows a definite change in the way consumers research and buy products. And that opens up ways of smarter marketing.

McKinsey have replaced the traditional purchase funnel with the ‘Customer decision journey’. At the beginning of this journey, the consumer begins with an ‘Initial consideration set’ of brands or products. So far, so much the same.

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