The 4 Pillars of a Can-Do, Will-Do and Must-Do Digital Strategy

Understanding the difference between a can do, will do and must do attitude is a significant step in the evaluation of the most appropriate technology/web services to you use in your social media/digital campaign. In my recent post from SocialMediaToday, I explore what this mean and how you can prepare your strategy better.

Each of the 3 represents what I believe are 3 key consumer attitudes to the use of social media tools/actions (in this case represented by X) in response to a campaign message. There are some great insights into the social consumer here:

  1. Can-Do: I can do X but do I really want to…
  2. Will-Do: I don’t necessarily want to, but I am prepared to…
  3. Must-Do: I just have to do X to…

Various factors affect the formulation of these 3 “Do’s” such as attitude to privacy, technical capabilities, even awareness of functions in any given channel, but the underlying issue remains – what is it appropriate for you as a brand to ask the consumer to do?

A major reason behind this is what Brian talks about today – the revival of the web as a platform-agnostic provider of information in an age where we are now more concerned about the story than place we heard it from. There are naturally issues around credibility and trust on this journey (we may trust our friends more than a 3rd party, but is our friend right for example) but this fluidity of transit in seeking facts is a difficult one for brands and news outlets to manage. Looking at one of the key take-aways from the Edelman Trust Barometer for 2011:

With some estimates indicating that the average Facebook user does not know one-fifth of the 500 people typically listed on his or her page, it is reasonable to ask whether the meaning of the word “friend” – and by association “a person like me”- has become devalued

So trust remains strong, but uncertainty over who is the most authoritative remains. And trust is not the only issue. As I mentioned earlier this week, attention (or rather the lack of it) can be a crippling factor in relating to consumers.

According to a report by Centrality Media in late 2010, average dwell times on Facebook were around 55 minutes per session whilst on mobile, mainstream digital media aren’t even in the same league. According to Nielson and this wonderful infographic (i know, I know!), we visit an incredible 89 domains per month each – almost a quarter of which is spent on social networks.

timespentonline How The World Spends Its Time Online

So how do you evaluate the what, how and where you are going to participate in this fluid environment?

It goes without saying that any strategy should be a happy marriage between commercial likes and consumer wants and be based on monitoring to ensure a through understanding of the online space, but how do you even sense-check THIS thinking?

The 4 Pillars of Evaluation

Over the last 4 years or so, I have looked at this and have settled on these 4 Pillars of Evaluation – criteria against which anyone can sense-check their social media strategy:

  1. Connectedness – are our customers connected? If so where and can/should we connect with them? Can we help them connect to each other?
  2. Collaboration – are our customer already collaborating and on what? Is it appropriate for us to collaborate with them? Can we provide them with the tools to collaborate?
  3. Share – do our customers already share amongst themselves? If so, what and is it appropriate for us to share with them? What can we share of ourselves that is relevant?
  4. Creation – are our customers creating and/or creative? Is it appropriate for us to provide them with the tools to be creative with our brand?

Each of the criteria 4 criteria address each of the 3 attitudes:

  1. CAN – customers do what we believe our strategy needs to work?
  2. WILL – customers feel compelled to take the actions our strategy wants them to?
  3. MUST- do customers feel compelled to carry out a specific action within our strategy?

The purists amongst you may well look at the 4 Pillars and 3 Attitudes and with a degree of justification argue that this seems somewhat disruptive to a consumer’s social world and that brands need to behave more naturally.

To some extent, I’d agree with you on this, but at the end of the day, any strategy needs structure, even bad ones.

At the end of the day, these steps will help to ensure that you have properly evaluated the demands your strategy places upon both the capabilities and willingness of your customer to interact with you to allow you TO behave more naturally.

Do these work for you? What’s missing? How do you evaluate your strategy ideas?