As the digital industry continues to mature, the social media landscape has now evolved to a point where we have a clear process that all organizations should be applying to their goals when developing relationships with their customers. This process has clear pillars that are outlined below, starting with with the customer.

Customer – Create a listening system that accounts for your brand, industry, segment and other relevant topics that monitors discussions across multiple platforms to identify the following.

  1. Who – Connect with who your customers truly are.
  2. What – Determine what your customers discuss and the topics that they engage in most.
  3. Where – Understand where your customers conduct their discussions, what channels are used and what are not used.

Channels – Once you’ve determined the right platforms to engage in with your customers, define the platform reach and engagement performance KPIs with a focus on prioritizing your platforms around your central “digital experience” that you own such as a blog or micro site, leaving other “rented” properties like Facebook, Twitter, G+, YouTube, Reddit as springboards to get them into your ecosystem.

  1. Owned – These are the official branded social channels for your organization from your website to your social properties where users can engage with you directly and organically.
  2. Paid – Think of paid media as an advertising purchase where you are spending to engage with users.
  3. Earned – These are channels driven by traditional media, bloggers, subject matter experts, user groups, forums and other channels that may pick up your message and share it with their audience with and without a formal engagement.

Content – This is the storytelling space for what defines your brand as told by you and your audience through your channels and beyond. Define on brand content and create a process for creation, curating and collecting content that drives engagement to support all phases of the customer decision journey in a consistent way to build momentum towards your business goals.

  1. Created – This is any form of media created by your brand that includes copy, photography, cinematography, music and other areas that tell a story to an audience.
  2. Curated – This is media that is created by someone else but chosen by you that you utilize to tell a story.
  3. Collected – This is organized media that is pulled from a variety of sources that tells a story spanning multiple media types.

Conversations – These are the topics you’ve determined that both you and your audience values the most that you need to be a part of. How you choose to be part of these discussions is up to your brand, but it is best practice to deploy both approaches to ensure that there is value being communicated to your existing audience and new audiences to develop those relationships.

  1. Reactive – This type of engagement in conversations is based on responding to events after they have happened, typically on your owned media channels.
  2. Proactive – A proactive approach focuses on solving problems and channels prior to them appearing either on your owned or earned channels.

Conversion – This is where you align your social key performance indicators in your customer listening, channel audience development, content engagement and conversations with your audiences towards business results. Measuring conversions will provide direct attribution from social performance indicators for completeX Channels X Conversations X Customers X Engagement X Pillars of a Social Media Strategy X Social Media X Social Media Content X Social Media Elements X Social Media Strategy Development X Strateg end-to-end customer decision journey tracking throughout the marketing funnel. Understanding the degree of quality of customers being acquired and retained with your brand brings together the value in your customers, thus how you measure the return of the investment in the relationships (RoR) those customers.

  1. New users
  2. Reactivated users
  3. Repeat users

This is it, once you master the end-to-end process of social media, you will win the hearts and minds of your audience and see the business results and return on your investment in your customers for years.