Strategic planning is all about figuring out ways of executing fast and with the best results. When working on a business strategy, there must be a good balance between reviewing both internal and external structures of a company, in addition to a solid understanding of how to reach and engage with customers.
Digital technology has come a long way in its development, and now digital platforms can contribute to strategic planning and its execution. Social media in particular, has become one of the most powerful tools for collecting customer data, engaging with audiences, and building a brand presence worldwide. However, it is not only marketers who can make use of it. Here are 3 ways that strategists can use digital and social media in strategic planning.
Learning about the market
To succeed in the market, a company has to be fully aware of what's happening there - what the latest trends are and who the key players are. Analytics plays a critical role in collecting data - from customers' interests to showing the performance of products/services. In the age of disruption, there is no excuse for being data or PR illiterate. The more active your social media channels are, the more data is available. Customers' behavior and areas of interest can be then analyzed, and strategists can align planning according to these metrics.
Additional action drivers
Building a customer base through social media channels is easier said than done. Audiences today are sensitive to advertising and can negatively react to direct marketing if it's not done wisely. Audiences on social media platforms appreciate participation through conversations and gaining new experiences through interesting content. Both elements can be achieved with the help of 'influencers'. These are usually 'amateur experts' in various fields - who learn on the go and share their thoughts and experience using social media. People are appealed to bloggers, as unlike TV celebrities, they are easier to reach, but most of the time, still have that 'celebrity aura', so as role models they are preferable too. Collaborating with bloggers can help to create transparent content stories, drive additional action and recognition for your brand.
Be ahead of the competition
Existing in a vacuum is unacceptable in the today's business environment. Companies have to be active in communicating with their customers, but also, be aware of how their rivals are doing too. This approach is important for staying agile, and pivoting a strategy if necessary. Social media is a perfect tracking tool to see what competitors are sharing, saying, and are engaged with. By regularly practising this harmless 'spying', weak points from your own business strategy can be detected in advance. By measuring their level of engagement it's also possible to identify what their brand message is and how well they are doing in the market.