What does strategy have to do with Social Media and Mobile Technology?
Once you have considered strategic analysis you will have a really clear picture of where you are, what you are good at and where you could possibly go. Then you can decide how to use Social Media and Mobile Technology most effectively. It won’t do to simply have a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram if you don’t really have a clear picture of what you want to use them for. It can take a lot of your precious time to manage these aspects of your business and you can be best served by this time investment if it is founded on something tangible rather than just doing it because you think you should.
Risk and Policy
When a business decides that it wants to use mobile technology and social media, it may become apparent risks exist. Risks for the business or individual such as privacy of content or in a business, having policy in place for the use of these technologies by employees. These risks underpin the need for a strategy to be developed. A policy on these privacy and security issues should form a part of the process of engaging with social media and mobile technology. This policy will also encompass the concerns of users of your site so that they can feel secure about what you will do with their personal information or data.
The next step in the process was to consider the business environment external to the company. This can be called the Macro Environment. I discussed these elements in this post. The main things to consider are:
What is going on around the business that will effect it? How is the economy? How might the current political situation effect the business? Is technology going to make a difference? What kind of social/demographic changes are taking place that might effect the business? How role does the natural environment play and how do we effect that? What type of legal constraints do we need to be aware of?
These can all be analysed using the PESTEL model.
Another way to think about the external environment is to consider the industry in which the business operates. It is important to consider your competitors, your customers, your suppliers, what you could be replaced by in the minds of consumers and who else might enter the industry and create new competition for you. This is often done using the 5 Forces model.
Business Level Strategy
This level of strategy is mainly relevant for large corporations who have SBUs, but it can be equally relevant for small businesses or individuals. The business level strategy can be considered using ‘generic’ strategies. These are called generic strategies because they can be applied to a business in any industry. These strategies are:
- Cost Leadership
Cost leadership strategy places the focus of the business attempts to focus on keeping costs low throughout the production process and delivering to customers at the lowest price point when this can occur without compromising profit. In this situation, it is not good enough to be the 2nd cheapest. You need to fight for the lowest cost position to gain customers. If this is not possible you might consider differentiation.
Differentiation strategy occurs when your product or service has unique and desirable characteristics that customers are willing to pay more for. This can be a brand, exceptional service, customisation, delivery features or simply unique product features. This will only work if these characteristics are valued by customers to the point where they are willing to pay more for them.
It is possible to combine differentiation and cost leadership in varying degrees. This is called a hybrid strategy. Hybrid strategy needs to crafted with care so that a business doesn’t place itself in a way that customers don’t value. Understanding your customers and your capabilities are important in this process
Resource based Capabilities
The final piece of the Strategy process is an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the business. Every business has things it does well and things it doesn’t do well. A business can’t possibly do everything well and this is where strategy is so helpful. You don’t need to do everything, but you do need to know what you do well and harness this ‘capability’. Tasks and activities can be outsourced of placed outside a company’s value chain. So, a business needs to evaluate what is has (resources) and what it is good at doing with what it has (capabilities). It should also understand what activities it performs (value chain) and how these fit in to the line of activities which occur from raw material to the demise of the product (also called value chain). This will require looking at suppliers, distributors, customers and end users.
This is a lot of information to consider, especially if you are an individual or small business. Although it may seem like these concepts are better suited to large businesses, they can be tailored for smaller businesses and are just as important. Developing a strategy will help you avoid putting your time and energy into activities which will not benefit you in the long run.
Are you ready to start thinking about strategy now?
Would you consider getting help to thing about how you use Social Media and Mobile Technology for your business?
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