Yes, defining your target market and target audience is the first and the most important step in the SMO process. As all the strategies and planning will depend on who is the target audience and where the target market is. Since the selection of Social Media to be used will depend on the definition of these two important factors, Savit takes the extra care and effort while understanding these aspects from the client or its agency. The golden rule in which SAVIT believes for SMO is "Plan without Fail… or you will".
Once the target market and target audience is defined correctly, the next step is to define the objectives to be achieved. The objective can be to increase brand awareness, help consumers in decision making about buying a product or service, provide after sales services and support. Understanding the SMO objective is crucial as all the efforts of the SMO process will be directed in delivering the said objectives. Also the efforts required can only be quantified once the objectives are in place.
There are many SMO sites available, deciding on the right platform and mix is a must. As we suggest using Digg.com - If the business caters to the technology crowd. So it’s important to target a particular media mix based on the industry the client is in and type of audience the client wants to reach.
Eg : A cobbler may not be able to have some interesting news articles or something which is of interest to consumers, in such cases one can create some funny videos related to cobbler’s job and drive some interested people to the website.
The SMO process is a continuous process and one has to “Try, Learn and Optimize” as there is no single practice that works for all products and brands. The best way is to analyze the results, understand the consumer preference and modify your campaign accordingly if required. As some messages will be accepted and appreciated by consumers and some won’t deliver the desired results. Another quantifiable approach to measure the results is to calculate the referral traffic one gets on a particular website. This can be easily done using tools like Google analytics or any such statistics tool.
The main difference between a Social Media and others is that, you can’t buy "reach" on the Social Web, the only way is to build and grow it. Yes one can advertise on Social websites, but then it’s a paid form and consumers react to them as advertisements only. So the strategies of Social Media need to be decided initially in a very clear way. The SMO strategies and communication needs to be transparent so that it's clear as to who has written a particular content, a customer, the company, a reviewer or anyone else. This will help to build the trust and confidence in the minds of consumer, reader or viewer. Eg: when we are watching a TV show and suddenly commercials starts coming we are aware that they are commercials, same way it should be clear to the person on the web that he / she is viewing a commercial, reviews, comments by third person or some thing else.
Once the strategy is decided, we start submitting blogs, forums, reviews, videos and other SMO communication to Social Media Websites in a way which is relevant and is influential. The distribution process needs to be closely monitored as replies and comments are to be answered regularly in a way that builds confidence and helps the visitor to get the right information at right time. The process should help consumer find, learn or do something which is of interest. The correct distribution process helps in building brand loyalty.
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