Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is your social strategy lost in translation? Find out what the real needs are to get to the gold.

Lost in Translation
You’ve just been told that you are the new blogger for your company. We need a blog. And it has to be good. What strategy do you choose to serve your customers? For most people who are struck by lightning in business, they move through phases of shock, lesser shock, adaptation, and finally the ability to hide any problems that may arise because nobody else knows what blogging is about.

How about going out and reading all of ProBlogger blogs? Then you’ll be a good blogger. Darren Rowse must know what he’s doing because that’s what he talks about and makes a living with. We’ll follow whatever he says. Maybe you’ll ask what people are talking about from the customers that you hear about and write about what they talk about. Keep the customer happy, right? But what about those SEO folks who keep pestering me with all of the keyword research stuff. Maybe I should just focus on the top keywords that bring in the dough. That will keep the operation efficient.

Well, although all of these arguments have their good points, there’s quite a bit of complexity in the problem and it doesn’t always give up a simple answer. Being in a blog for the long run is going to give you a different result than if you just blog a few times to see how it feels.

What we need in a strategy for blogging or any other type of social networking activity is a strategy that will focus on goals and tell us when we’re not meeting those goals and why. When we make a mistake, it should become evident and the numbers that we collect will tell us what to fix and how to get those numbers back on track.

Just talking to customers is a fulfilling activity, but people aren’t always clear, certain about what they want, or correct about the real needs that they have. The ability of a person to take what is needed and translate that to what is required is a skill that takes years of practice to master and lots of humble pie to eat. It takes work to do the job and if you assume that your customers should know the right stuff, you will be losing the battle to those people who stop and think about it.

It’s the end result that the customer sees that seals the deal. It’s not the Excel spreadsheet that has the list of items the customer said they wanted to put in the final product. This is what you can call a real fulfillment of a service provider. The most subtle part of this thinking thing is to really understand what needs to happen. Plans are good, but results are gold.

Image by nicolacassa via Flickr

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