The POST Method: A systematic approach to social strategy

One of the biggest takeaways from the fabulous book Groundswell - winning in a world transformed by social technologies, which I just finished reading, was the POST Method as a simple framework of how to approach social software:

Is your company [organization] doing its social strategy backwards?

If you started by saying "we should do a blog" or "we should create a page on a social network" or "we should create a community" the answer is probably yes.

post_method_2I've been there and am confronted with this approach pretty often in our work. Following the POST Method seems obvious, but it's important to re­mind ourselves frequently to go through the steps one after the other. Whether you're a customer care agent selling cheap airfare or an urban planner trying to capture citizen feedback online, the POST method gives you a simple tool to ­participate successfully on the social web:

P is People. Don't start a social strategy until you know the capabilities of your audience. If you're targeting college students, use social networks. If you're reaching out business travelers, consider ratings and reviews. Forrester has great  data to help with this, but you can make some estimates on your own. Just don't start without thinking about it.

O is 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.

S is 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? Do you want a permanent focus group for testing product ideas and generating new ones? Imagine you succeed. How will things be different afterwards? Imagine the endpoint and you'll know where to begin.

T is 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.

This may sound simple to the sophisticated readers of this blog. But it works. Try it. Think your strategy through. Even if you're just clarifying your own strategy, this should help you explain it to your boss.

You can find more information about the book and its authors on their blog >>

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