Pumping the Brakes

by · April 10, 20144 comments

We’re a competitive bunch, aren’t we? Always in a race. Somewhere. Anywhere. We love being first. We are in a hurry to be first. Always. Endlessly. We are always trying to be first, predict the future and beat our competitors to whatever we predict the next big thing will be. We do it in social all the time. We seem to covet this action. Got to be the first on the latest social platform. Need to be the first fully scaled social selling organization. We even race to be the first to RT something or comment on something.

The irony is that we then all complain about how many things we are trying to do at any given time. We complain about abundance of choice and how we cannot possibly cover all the listening and channels and content that we “need” to be on.

Look in the mirror

RaceWell, I got news for you – WE are the reason that we are racing. It’s US. We are the ones who want to be first. Customers aren’t demanding it. I know this because no customer in the history of time has wondered what your brand is up to. I’ve said it before (and I reserve the right to say it a billion times) the customer is thinking about our brand 100% less time than we think they are. No one wakes up and wonders what their dog food manufacturer is working on today. It just doesn’t nor is it going to happen. And it’s ok. So, if it isn’t customers, it must be you and me. And if it’s you and me, we can stop it. And we should.

Slow down

Before we complain about the big, deep mess we’ve created in our race to first, we should slow down for a minute. Instead of racing ahead with that next status update, remember, your customer isn’t looking for it. They aren’t going to miss it. It’s time we all took a step back from the starting line and take a hard look at what we are doing and why. If we do this well, we should do three easy things.

Listen to Understand

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, take a few days to look at the universe of category conversations. Don’t just listen for your brand and competitors, listen to what people are talking about when they don’t mention you. These are your potential customers and what’s important to them should be important and interesting to you. And when you are listening to these conversations, listen for words that might indicate research or purchase intent. That way you might be able to uncover where and when you can add value to the conversation about shopping your product. What if you uncover the fact that when researching your product, a good chunk of people really don’t understand how it works and for that reason they aren’t buying it. I’m hoping you would say: we obviously need to change our content strategy. Because these insights should drive your content strategy.

Think through your channels

When you listen to understand you’ll see where your customers and potential customers are having conversations. You should overlay that research against the channels you are currently using. Do they align? If yes, you’re awesome. Skip to the next paragraph. If no, then start looking for ways to test small changes in your channel strategy.

When you get the right channel mix, think through how your audience is using these channels. People use LinkedIn to expand their professional network or grow their business. People use Facebook for mostly personal reasons. You need to look at channels and mindsets in the following way: What kind of messages are people on this channel most receptive to? If the audience would not be receptive, you need to find a new channel because there is no cause for investing in something that will be ignored.

Make a plan

Social strategy is so much more than a Facebook update. Social strategy should define your purpose. What you can achieve in social and why people should care. And it doesn’t have to be big and elaborate (although it can be) it can be methodical and Lean. You can learn, measure, build your way into social strategy, but look at the first word there – learn. You need to learn. Notice nothing there says race or first. Because first is over-rated. You know what’s best? Best is best.

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About Tracey Parsons

Tracey Parsons

Since 1995, Tracey has been developing digital solutions. Currently SME Digital’s lead strategist, she continues to be dedicated to bringing cutting edge, thoughtful and measurable solutions to marketers. With more than 15 years in digital, Tracey not only brings vision, but the tools and strategies to execute against complex next generation concepts. She has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands to develop and devise cutting-edge social, mobile and digital marketing practices.

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