Strategy. Strategy. Strategy.


In late April, I had a great opportunity to speak to members of a local Chamber on Social Media in Government Contracting.  I found that based on my experience and research, government contractors are slow adopters of social media, unknown or any untested ideas for that matter. Now, for those active in social media, you might be wondering why?

Like most companies and even individuals who have not yet adopted Facebook, Twitter, Quora, etc., most government contractors do not know where to begin. How to measure what they are doing and who is going to do this? Oh, and do not forget the security concerns.

My recommendation before employing any new marketing and communication strategy is decide what your company wants to accomplish. If you are a government contractor, do you want to be seen as experts in security? Or are you trying to keep a handle on what your competitors are saying or doing?

If you do not have an objective(s), it will be very difficult to determine whether all these new efforts are adding value to your company, the bottom line and providing you any return of investment. Even though this notion seems like common sense, it would surprise you how very few companies have a social media strategy.

According to Market Connections, Inc. in the 2010 Government Contractor Social Media Survey out of the 167 government contractors 59 percent employ social media and out that group only 36 percent actually have a social media strategy. Most companies are Twittering, posting on Facebook and updating LinkedIn statuses ad hoc.  These numbers should concern you.

This should concern you because you wouldn’t buy a house without any research on the structural integrity of the house, the neighborhood or not knowing the price? Or you would not purchase a franchise without understanding what needs to be done, who is the person that will be managing the operation and what is in it for you?  This is basically what companies are doing; making a large investment – not necessarily money – but time without any strategy in place.

If you are one of these companies, or a company just starting to dabble in social media, I would recommend in developing a strategy and the framework and the one I find most useful is Forrester’s Approach to Developing Your Social Media Strategy, POST (People, Objectives, Strategy and Tools).

People. Who are you trying to reach? Assess the social media use and conversation of your customers, potential customers or other stakeholders the parent strategy needs to reach.

Objectives. Pick one. Are you starting an application to listen to your customers, or to talk with them? To support them, or to energize your best customers to evangelize others? Or are you trying to collaborate with them? Decide on your objective before you decide on a technology. Then figure out how you will measure it.

Strategy. Strategy here means figuring out what will be different after you’re done. Do you want a closer, two-way relationship with your best customers? Do you want to get people talking about your products and/or services? Do you want a permanent focus group for testing product ideas and generating new ones? Imagine you succeed. How will things be different afterward? Imagine the endpoint and you’ll know where to begin.

Technology. A community. A wiki. A blog or a hundred blogs. Once you know your people, objectives, and strategy, then you can decide with confidence.

Here are some great examples of companies that are employing social media with a strategy and purpose.

Before you begin, first place to start is not Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter it is with a Strategy.