Challenges In Managing Tacit Knowledge

Note: This article was originally published on TacitKey blog. You can find the article here: Managing tacit knowledge: Challenges and how to solve them

Tacit knowledge is one’s personal, experiential and intuitive knowledge as opposed to explicit knowledge that can be codified and communicated easily. Tacit knowledge is a competitive advantage and most crucial for the success of an organization. Therefore, managing tacit knowledge is an important exercise that organizations should carry out every day to promote overall performance and growth. That way, the employees receive the right resources and knowledge within the organization, for them to be efficient and productive.

Unlike explicit knowledge, tacit knowledge is difficult to bring to the immediate awareness of the individual. The best way to manage tacit knowledge is provide a platform for employees to create it and facilitate the sharing of such knowledge among employees using tools and various methods.  

Managing Tacit Knowledge

You can manage tacit knowledge by establishing an organizational culture that rewards employees for sharing knowledge and constantly encourages employees to learn and gain on-the-job experience. Having informal and formal meetings, mentorship programs, trainings, interviews, focus group discussions, conferences, seminars, demonstrations, simulated exercises also help in the transfer of information.

Formal and informal groups at workplace help employees seek and receive guidance from others. Tacit knowledge can be stored efficiently through proper documentation like presentations, user guides, case studies etc. Workplace collaboration with the right software, digital platforms, social media and messengers also help capture tacit knowledge. A sensible knowledge sharing and community building platform is TacitKey.

Overcoming Challenges in Knowledge Management Systems

In knowledge management, it is about collecting all the raw information and ideas; decoding and structuring it; adding it to a repository; and retrieving that processed knowledge for organizational needs.

Through knowledge management, you can streamline ideas and processes, and document them so that they come in handy when employees need resources to do their jobs efficiently and productively.

An extensive study done in 2011, by N. Herrmann shows that barriers could be in content, technology, procedures, employees and the organization itself when it comes to managing knowledge. He has outlined some solutions and strategies to overcome such barriers in his research.

Therefore, robust knowledge management systems have to be in place to capture data at the right time from the right people. However, there are a few challenges in setting up and managing tacit knowledge.

Learning Tools

Having the right tools and technology will help in effective knowledge transfer. The software or the platform has to be user-friendly. The tool should be agile to incorporate changes in structures, methods, processes, workflows etc.; it should be able to transfer information efficiently to employees as well. The platform should incentivize people who regularly use it so that they keep contributing and more users feel encouraged to contribute.

The data has be structured, categorized, labeled and placed in the right folders. The data should have the right keywords, tags and labels so that the users can retrieve it efficiently.

Security

Since tacit knowledge is a competitive advantage for organizations, securing it with passwords etc. becomes mandatory. There are lot of possibilities where the data may be tampered due to internal conflict within employees and lose its credibility and confidentiality. Employees with the right credentials can get access to sensitive data and the management can grant restricted access for the rest.

Who should own and maintain the Knowledge Management system: the human resources, project managers, the information technology department? Several companies have in-house platforms with each user given a profile and exclusive login access to all the forums and the knowledge repository. Other online platforms like TacitKey allow employees to join communities where they can share their knowledge with one another.

Therefore, the organization has to focus on having a single common repository to capture ideas so that the employees can retrieve information effortlessly and not lose data.

Stagnation

Making people contribute regularly is also the key. An organization cannot thrive on old content. Constantly researching and updating the old information is important for the organization to be on par with the current trends. Once employees stop sharing important information, the knowledge the organization possesses also becomes stagnant and that in turn impedes its growth. Management can reduce knowledge stagnation by making changes to the organizational culture and providing an environment that encourages employees to learn constantly, train them and make them share their knowledge with the rest.

The organization should establish learning programs for employees to seek the latest information through seminars, meetups, conferences, workshops etc. The management can give employees access to courses and tutorials every month as well.

Community Participation

The quality of knowledge that the employees share also depends on how each employee participates in the discussion. If every employee is devoted to transferring his/her acquired tacit knowledge to others, the value of the knowledge management platform will increase. Experts have to answer employees’ questions periodically and consistently. New employees must be motivated enough to seek help and resources for their jobs using the platform.

One significant way to increase participation and engagement is to gamify the platform using appropriate and graded incentives. The organization can identify and reward employees that are active in the knowledge management platform and recognize their work if they have been helpful to others. The management also has to promote the platform internally repeatedly using marketing techniques.

The quality of learning mainly depends on the relationships that the employees have with each other. With an active community, the dialog is not forced, employees are able to express themselves freely and seek information without hesitations.

Quality of Knowledge

The acquired tacit knowledge can be so vague and ambiguous at times, since it ensues from each person’s personal expertise and experience. That way, the data cannot be communicated to the end user properly. It has to be relevant, valuable, lucid and directly answer the questions of the employees.

So, the treating the raw data becomes essential before distributing it to the rest of the community. To ensure proper tacit knowledge transfer, researching and improvising the existing raw data becomes the key. One can look for evolving patterns of similarity or contradictions to compare, analyze, and simplify the data. It would be best to validate and standardize the data before different users interpret the data correctly. Scrape the old or irrelevant data. Since the right ideas and the latest information has to reach the users, it is best to amend the existing data periodically.

Again, knowledge derived is both quantitative and qualitative. Sometimes it is best to allow knowledge to be in its raw form instead of quantifying it. Some data is also contextual and cannot be applied to all circumstances. Using discretion to identify such exceptions is also a challenge. It would be best to run that data by various experts and then treat the data based on their inputs.

The efforts the management puts in a knowledge management system should not go to waste. To analyze your returns on investment, invest in a good analytics tool and track the progress of your knowledge management system. Measure the outcomes against the objectives and find out the effects of social collaboration and innovation on various projects.

To conclude, one can overcome the challenges in knowledge management by:

  1. Having a knowledge management repository in place, either as a software or web application, with the right learning tools and user-friendly technology.
  2. Providing proper security to ensure that such knowledge is safe and employees have access to tacit information based on their job roles.
  3. By establishing the right learning culture, we can motivate employees to contribute the latest information to the community.
  4. By gamifying the existing knowledge management system, we can reward and incentivize employees to participate in community discussions.
  5. By standardizing and validating the existing data acquired from various sources, we can apply such knowledge for various scenarios. Invest in a good analytics tool to understand the effectiveness of your knowledge management efforts.

3 Types of Knowledge To Capture

Note: This blog article was originally written for TacitKey and has been published on the following link:

3 Types of Knowledge That Businesses Should Capture

A successful organization is dependent on its intellectual capital. It is the collective knowledge that the organization possesses. It is valued as an asset since this knowledge is uncommon and not easily accessible for the competitors.

Intellectual capital consists of the following:

  • Human capital – employees and their skills
  • Relationship capital –  the relationships between employees
  • Structural capital –  aggregated documentation about processes, customers, methods, routines, research, culture, resources, infrastructure, work environment, regulations and rules, and proprietary information like goods and services

Managing such a treasure trove of knowledge within the organization helps employees as they receive the right resources at the right time to do their jobs. Thus, effective knowledge management improves the overall performance and growth of the organization.

The intellectual capital is available in various forms and can be roughly distinguished into three major types of knowledge. They are explicit, implicit, and tacit. These are crucial for knowledge management in organizations.

Understanding these knowledge types in detail will help an individual design a knowledge management system that can capture them effectively and prevent loss of information.

Explicit Knowledge

Explicit knowledge is something we are aware of and is available to our immediate conscious. It  is easy to identify, store, retrieve, and transfer and commonly referred to as the knowledge what we know. This type of data is accessible as it is already processed and structured. White papers, manuals, reports, etc., are all codified explicit knowledge.

Explicit knowledge is something that the individual knows about and can communicate that information effectively. Dummett  in 1991 defined explicit knowledge accordingly:“Someone has explicit knowledge of something if a statement of it can be elicited from him by suitable enquiry or prompting.” Explicit knowledge is the kind you can gain by reading a book, watching a video or tutorial, or listening to a pod cast or narration.

We can record and transfer explicit knowledge one-way or the other. However, this not usually done for the other types of knowledge namely the implicit and tacit.For instance, mental health practitioners use manuals like DSM-5 to diagnose mental and behavioral illnesses in patients. Likewise, it is easy to tap explicit knowledge through knowledge management systems or software in an organization.

Implicit Knowledge

Implicit knowledge has to surface from our subconscious so it not as easily accessible as the explicit one, and is largely procedural than subjective. For instance, asking various employees on how to do a task would uncover different methods of doing the same task. Examples of implicit knowledge would include a company’s best practices or processes. Another would be mastering an instrument — difficult to explain — but can be transferred from one person to another procedurally.

Examples would include organizational culture, workflows, methods, reporting structure, etc., that dictate organization to run in a certain way. However, the management would have a rationale behind having such workflows and hierarchies, which is hard for an outsider to comprehend. Such information that is not readily available to capture is implicit knowledge.

One of the best examples would be an organizational culture that would hint at some gathered implicit knowledge that dictates the management to run the organization a certain way to achieve its goals.

Implicit knowledge is something that an individual cannot immediately recall. This knowledge is not written down or available for immediate access. It is knowledge that is understood and cannot be expressed directly. However, when a person is probed further to detail an event or a process, the knowledge can be observed or recorded.

Implicit knowledge involves information that can surface through free expression, conversations, dialog, observation, or reflection.

Implicit knowledge is usually abstract representations like mental models (postulated by Charles Sanders Peirce, 1896) and heuristics (a concept introduced by Herbert A. Simon). A mental model is how we perceive, interpret and represent a real or an imaginary world in our mind. Mental models are in the form of verbal descriptions, symbols, images, beliefs, principles etc. An example of a mental model would be for a manager to categorize incoming projects as high, medium, and low priority based on factors like revenue, deadlines, level of difficulty, time, and effort investments etc. A heuristic is any approach that employs a shortcut or a method to solve problems, learn, or discover something. Examples would be stereotyping, guessing, estimating, a checklist, or a rule of thumb.

For instance, a mental health professional may be treating a community of people who work at land mines. Over time, he may uncover patterns of alcoholism and drug abuse that is highly prevalent in people who work in the mines. He may also be able to predict that the people may take to drinking and chewing tobacco to alleviate the physical stress they undergo in the mines. Identifying such cause and effect relationships is implicit knowledge.

Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge consists of the things we know how to do but cannot explain how to do it. It was originally defined by Michael Polanyi in 1967, as “we can know more than we can tell,” in the book The Tacit Dimension. This pre-logical phase of knowing was termed as ‘tacit knowledge’.

Hvorecký, Šimúth, and Lipovská (2015) defined tacit knowledge as “personal experience, perceptions, insights, aptitudes, and know-how that are implied or indicated but not actually expressed – they are hidden in the minds of their owners.”

It is contextual, personal, and intuitive. It is difficult to articulate or communicate as it consists of fine motor skills, feelings, intuitions etc. Years of experience of a professional helps him acquire knowledge that gives him good degree of discernment. An example of tacit knowledge would be a salesperson who can judge if a person would be a potential customer or not.

Another example would be an experienced psychologist who is able to use his clinical skills to spontaneously identify the signs and diagnose a patient’s illness. Additionally, he is able to gauge the type of interventions  he has to use on the patient taking various factors into account like the patient’s socio economic, religious, and professional background.

Since tacit knowledge is more difficult to uncover than implicit knowledge, video documentation is a good way to tap it. Experts in a particular field can mentor juniors, share their case studies and experiences. Through mentorship, novices can get guidance on proven techniques that would help tackle difficult situations and disastrous scenarios at work.

A study done in the upstream sector of Nigeria in 2015 revealed that the amount of tacit knowledge an organization possessed helped in predicting the firm’s future performance.

TacitKey, being a knowledge-sharing platform, facilitates and nurtures knowledge transfers among professional by providing strategies that big organizations usually employ. On TacitKey communities, individuals can have insightful discussions on various domains such as life sciences, legal, finance, and health care.

In essence,

Explicit knowledge can be coded, stored, retrieved, and transferred to others. Implicit knowledge is not readily available but can be decoded after probing one’s mind for explanation, reasoning, and reflection. Tacit knowledge is intuitive, personal, contextual and experiential that is the hardest to decode or transfer. However, it can be captured through video documentation, knowledge-sharing platforms, case studies, on-the-job training, socialization etc. When captured, it brings out the maximum worth of an organization.

Capturing Tacit Knowledge

An organization has heaps of knowledge like a dungeon full of treasure. A smart organization will be able to identify such knowledge and use it to its advantage.

One such knowledge is Tacit knowledge – something that is personal, experiential and intuitive for a professional.

TacitKey is a platform that enables working professionals to become thought leaders by sharing their knowledge with others.

I have discussed what Tacit knowledge is and how to capture it in organizations, on TacitKey’s blog.

Here’s the copy of the article:

 

What if several key people in your organization leave at the same time? What if a group of employees shut down a department in your organization? An organization cannot leave its fate to chance.

To be successful, an organization has to supply employees with crucial information when they need it the most. Knowledge transfers within an organization are necessary for promotions, job rotations, new recruits, and in growing new teams. Through the transfer of knowledge, there will be a consistency of work across teams and employees will be more productive.  

Why do hospitals have several duty doctors attend to the same patient? How do attorneys convince the jury to return verdicts in their favor? How does safety engineers stationed at aircraft check if the flights are ready for departure? Every work involves a repository of knowledge that transfers from one employee to the next that helps them carry out work efficiently. This repository also helps ensure that information is not lost and work is not dependant on a single person. This way, an organization gives importance to processes that are independent of employees.

Explicit, Implicit and Tacit Knowledge

Employees acquire three kinds of knowledge at organizations: explicit, implicit and tacit. Explicit knowledge is structured, recorded and can be shared with other members of the organization. Examples would include learning how to make a sales report or using a software application.

Implicit knowledge is less accessible than explicit knowledge and cannot be recalled immediately by the individual. The person can indirectly express this information in the form of categories, processes, flow charts, or other symbolic representations. Examples would include estimating the price of a car based on its make, model, and features.

Tacit knowledge is acquired through experience and cannot be reproduced or shared easily. It is distilled wisdom a person possesses and does not know about until he/she is specifically questioned about it. It is difficult to capture it but read our previous article on how to codify tacit knowledge. Examples would be making sales presentations that consistently impress clients or coming up with intuitive ideas to run marketing campaigns that are popular among the audience, or handling negotiations and conflicts at the workplace.

How to transfer knowledge within an organization

Tacit knowledge occurs in the form of subjective insight, intuition, judgment, innovation, or inspiration. It is a problem-solving expertise that is gained more from one’s experiences than from other sources. The key players in an organization have more tacit knowledge that a new employee may lack. Organizations consider tacit knowledge a competitive advantage since it is hard to communicate. Employers strive to set up effective knowledge management systems within their organizations.

If you are an employer, below are some strategies that may help you capture tacit knowledge from employees:

Organizational Culture

Establish a culture that incentivizes knowledge-sharing behavior. Positively reinforce people who share quality knowledge with others. Set up monthly meetings, conferences, town halls, presentations, scrums, and other one-on-one interviews with key people. Reduce attrition rates and retain older employees to preserve the tacit knowledge of the company.

Mentorship programs

Encourage senior employees to train juniors and deliver lectures. Have junior employees shadow seniors and participate in informal discussions with their superiors. Invite experts to talk about concepts and share their real-life experiences with your employees. Assign a mentor for every new employee who may not necessarily belong to the same department. This mentor can guide the new recruit on how to handle work at the organization. This helps the new employee to align himself/herself with organizational goals and deliver work as per company’s expectations.

Workplace Collaboration

Whether the organization has a flat or hierarchical structure, encouraging teamwork and workplace collaboration helps in effective knowledge sharing and management. Use collaborative suites like Trello, Asana, Basecamp, and Teamwork.com etc. to track processes. Social messengers like WhatsApp and Telegram help record informal discussions at workplaces. Encourage your employees to contribute to public platforms for sharing their tacit knowledge like Github, Stack Exchange, and TacitKey.

Documentation

Use technology, information and document management systems to store knowledge in a structured manner for easy access. User guides, manuals, how-to books, presentations, policies, and tutorials definitely help. However, these need constant improvisations with work hacks ─ if employees do not question the existing processes periodically, there is no scope for growth. Employees can also produce case studies and whitepapers of previous projects to capture tacit knowledge effectively.

Meetings

When a new project comes in, many organizations conduct meetings to brief employees about its objectives and deliverables. Companies also conduct brainstorm sessions for employees to pitch ideas for projects. However, very few organizations conduct debriefing meetings to understand what went right and wrong in the project after its completion. Some organizations conduct Root Cause Analysis meetings only when a fatal error occurs in the project. Conducting analysis meetings before and after projects helps employees to gather best practices and learn to manage failures.

Forums and Informal Groups

Create forums on an internal platform for employees to discuss work problems and processes. Employees can seek and receive work-related advice or documentation to perform better. TacitKey provides its users with a Community feature that helps an organization’s employees to form multiple online communities in various industries to come together and discuss their works.

Companies also have Community of Practice (CoP), a term developed by Lave and Wenger (1991). It is an informal group where people interact and engage in a collective learning process. They may be from different departments holding different positions as well. Employees socializing during smoke and snack breaks or at casual outings etc. are part of the CoP, and as employers, you have to allow such informal groups to thrive. Such groups enable a lot of tacit knowledge transfer among their members.  

Training

Since tacit knowledge is mostly experiential, employee training becomes pivotal in knowledge sharing and management. Experiential learning can include on-the-job training, demonstrations, and simulations. Employees can see how a job is done and perform it themselves to learn better. Workshops, events, conferences, and meetups help employees understand how to approach a concept with different perspectives.

Professional and Social Networks

Big organizations use professional networks like LinkedIn and premium features like LinkedIn Elevate to have employees share their knowledge in an exclusive platform. Each employee has a profile that explains what he/she does in the organization. Every employee can share his/her own work experiences or knowledge as status updates, articles or share information from third-party websites for other organizational members.

Organizations can create email distribution lists where employees can share relevant and current information about their industry. Every week employees can take turns to send an email explaining a concept or a process in the organization.

Benefits of knowledge management in an organization

Through effective knowledge management, an organization can stimulate innovation and protect its intellectual capital by empowering its human capital. This improves productivity and drives growth in an organization. The organization can provide deliverables with quicker turnaround times.

According to a Global Deloitte survey, over 80% of Deloitte Knowledge users indicate that sharing knowledge leads to competitive advantage and adds real client value. expert.

Employees receive proper guidance and training; have the right resources to do their jobs efficiently and this boosts their morale as well. They are able to solve problems quickly, as they are equipped with tactics and techniques. Employees are able to capture the organization’s best practices, processes, and gain a tacit understanding of how and why certain methods work. They are able to use their discretion at ease while dealing with risky and high-priority projects, as they are able to make informed business decisions.

Takeaways

To transfer tacit knowledge within an organization, the employers:

  • Should develop a learning environment
  • Provide mentorship programs and experiential training for employees
  • Provide a platform for workplace collaboration and teamwork
  • Encourage informal socialization among employees
  • Have a rigorous information and document management system
  • Conduct meetings and brainstorm sessions
  • Make employees contribute to professional networks and forums

 

 

A New Year’s Resolution That Caused a Riot: Facebook’s Algorithm Update in 2018

Note: This blog article was originally published on Passionate Marketers on February 26, 2018.

With the dawn of 2018, every brand hurriedly hatched out social media strategies to kickstart the new year with a bang. I, for one, being a social media strategist, was jotting down well-crafted ideas in full swing when Facebook halted me in my tracks on January 12, 2018, and made me reconsider my approach.

The News Feed Algorithm bomb

Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would update its news feed algorithm to prioritize content from family and friends over brand content. Now, when brands post content on their pages, the algorithm will determine if, and where, the content will appear on your newsfeed. This effectively changed the focus from helping users find relevant content to helping them have more “meaningful social interactions”.

These days, quite a handful of users have “memeful” social interactions. However, with the algorithm update, we are not sure if these interactions will thrive. Personally, I am more engaged in the “Game Of Laughs” page than the official “Game of Thrones” page. Since the former has a lot of memes, I am more engaged with it. Now, with the new updates in place, are we going to see less of our favourite pages and more of our friends’ updates? Yes…and no.

Content, that’s relevant, will still be the king

With the new update, people would see less of public content from brands and pages. So, your Buzzfeed quizzes, awe-inspiring Mashable news, and cute cat videos are going to take a backseat and are likely to pop more often if your friends like them too. Whereas, a thousand selfies from an irritating NRI aunt may get prioritized to appear on the top of your News Feed. Oh, what joy!

Zuckerberg stated that Facebook’s research showed that if people connected with friends on social media, that positively affected their well being. He went on to say that it may not do well for them to passively consume information, however informative or entertaining it may be.

How would annoying updates from friends contribute to our positive mental health instead of inspirational content from “Humans of Bombay” is incomprehensible to me. I may probably gain some clarity in a couple of months.

However, what of brands and pages that have thrived so far?

Brands battle with algorithms

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Brands and pages have to work extra hard to get organic reach and gain customers’ attention. The more comments and interactions a post has, the more likely that it meets the meaningful interaction criterion to end up on a person’s News Feed. If I have engaged with Buzzfeed in the past, I am likely to see the brand on my news feed, provided it continues to consistently engage me in the future.

The update may bring a positive change to the audience because it pushes brands to create quality content that sparks a conversation among audiences. Quality will rule quantity. The odds of one post becoming a trending topic are more if it is newsworthy enough to excite a large number of people. If a couple of my friends share or comment on a brand’s post, it is more likely to appear in my feed. However, this is a double-edged sword — it could be breaking news about an earthquake or Taimur’s burp.

Combat strategies to calm brands down

Brands have to think beyond click-baits and engagement-baits, as content with such call-to-action statements will get demoted. Instead, content on timely and relevant topics will incite participation immediately.

If you are a brand, ask questions, have opinions, and encourage users to visit your pages often for exciting news.

Understand your buyer persona and target your specific audiences using ads. Use Facebook Live if you haven’t already. Facebook groups are gold mines for getting the right audiences to talk about your products; invest your time crafting strategies for these groups.

In conclusion,

As a brand, if you feel clueless, Zuckerberg has left some bread crumbs for you:

“…There are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams. We’ve seen people interact way more (with) live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching (a) video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience’, said Zuckerberg.

So, what should you keep doing to be on your A-game?

  1. Post live Facebook videos
  2. Post relevant and timely content
  3. Create content that sparks reactions and conversations immediately
  4. Ask questions and dare to express your opinions
  5. Engage users on Facebook groups
  6. Encourage users to visit your page often

Create A Winning Social Media Marketing Plan For Your Business

Note: This article was published for the Influx blog on 7th February 2018. You can find the original article here: Social Media Marketing Plan

Businesses are now thriving on social media at such levels that Mark Zuckerberg had to update the Newsfeed algorithm to restrict the display of branded and public content on Facebook. Brands now have to hustle harder to gain customers’ attention, especially before they are further bombed with algorithms on other social media channels.

An alarming number of brands are active on social media with ill-formed strategies and getting their reputations butchered. This article is to give such brands a harsh reality-check.

As a brand you just cannot afford to:

  • Have an social account with zero posts on them
  • Post on social media actively for a while and then “ghost” on your audiences
  • Survive solely on piggybacks (retweets, reposts, etc.)
  • Borrow tacky photographs and videos of low-res and claim them as your own

Otherwise, your brand will get sucked into the black hole for social media sacrilege. Think of your brand as a model on runway. You can never be underdressed. In fact, you can never be “too glossed up” on social media ever.

Are you a new brand or an old one looking for social media redemption? Here is some “gyan” to attain nirvana:

It is good to have #goals

Derive your company’s short-term and long-term goals from the mission statement. With those, you can gauge if the efforts you have invested have paid off or not.

Work top-down and not bottom-up. Conceive higher level strategies first and then break them down to specifics. An example would be to get more business for your brand. The specific strategies would be showcasing your work folio, case studies, white papers, client testimonials, work philosophy, promoting each of your services, etc.

A smarter thing to do is incorporating the S.M.A.R.T framework. For instance, your brand wants to get more business so it will post videos about five times a week on YouTube and gain at least a 1000 views on each video. This helps because you get to set your key performance indicators and metrics to measure the success or failure of your strategies.

Check yourself out

Audit your brand on social media. Your audience either loves or hates you. You may also be the brand with 10,000 fans and have no interaction on your posts. If you are successfully engaging your audience and responding to their feedback, at least one online publication should have spoken about your work.

If your social media audience is in a catatonic state, optimise your social media pages and engage them with exciting posts. Check if your profile bios are relevant and talk about what you do.

Do you use relevant hashtags on your profile?
Do you use original cover images and profile pictures (that are not cropped to death)?
Do your social media profiles have the company’s website URL instead of 25.0000°N, 71.0000°W?

Find out which channels bring the most value to you. Usually cosmetic products do well on Instagram and some B2B businesses thrive on LinkedIn. But if your brand works well on Snapchat, then start making stories. I mean, hey, you do you!

Test the waters

It is healthy to stalk your competition and benchmark yourself against the big players in your industry. Understand what channel-specific strategies they use to thrive on social media. Try incorporating those strategies and find out what you can do to up your game.

Next comes market analysis. Understand your target audience. Who are the influencers, existing and potential customers and candidates who can work for you versus those who just share your posts. Segment your audience, give them buyer personas. Craft distinctive strategies to cater to each of these personas. For instance, find out their age-range, pain points (in their buyer journey that your business can solve), interests, lifestyle, favourite pizza toppings … you get the drift?

Content is King

Before diving head-first into crafting content, establish your brand first. Identify your brand’s tonality (it could be formal or contemporary) based on your target audience. Position your brand with your unique selling propositions (USPs) like features, benefits, pricing etc. and guidelines (company’s history, values, logos, colours) etc.

Something like:

“Influx Worldwide — House Of Digital Solutions, Conqueror of Apps and Websites,
Conjuror of Jaw-dropping Designs, Champion in India and the Middle East, Breaker of the Status Quo, and Khaleesi of your Baap in cinema marketing”.

Distribution is Queen

Create channel-specific strategies and then distribute your content tactfully. Else, what you say will reach deaf ears. Learn when to post and how often to post in order to keep your audience engaged.Create a content calendar that is rich with engagement: contests, activities, campaigns, etc.

Manage your social media pages and brand reputation. Respond to your audience and their feedback. Talk more about what your brand represents and the ethics it adheres to — if you believe that pineapple doesn’t go on pizza, take a stand!

If all goes well, go ahead and devise a growth strategy as well. Involve influencers to endorse your brand, tailor unique post strategies such as Insta-stories and Facebook Live videos, use hashtags to market more, run ad campaigns and invest in social media tools to automate posts.

Watch like a hawk

Track the activity on each of your social media channels. Understand the reach of your posts — are they more organic or paid ones? Are your call-to-action buttons harassed enough? Track page visits, comments, messages, website clicks and other activities on your social media pages.

Tweak your social media plan based on the response you receive on your channels. Consider investing in a good social media analytics tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, and optimise your strategies accordingly. The key here is to have an agile social media plan otherwise your strategy is as dead as a doornail.

For TL;DR

  • Set your objectives and goals
  • Have brand audits
  • Do market research and competition analysis
  • Manage your content
  • Develop your social media strategy
  • Track and optimise your social media plan

If you are at Influx and see a young lady immersed in researching content marketing with a passion, you’ll know it is Deepa Sai from our Content Development team. She has a double Master’s in psychology and social-work and is an avid blogger in her spare time.

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