This is part 3 in a 6-part series detailing a simple process for developing a successful Social Media Marketing program based on the acronym L-I-S-T-E-N.

Part 1: L is for Listen & Learn

Part 2: I is for Interpret & Identify

What was the last ad you saw that solved a problem you had?

Or the last email that did?

The last tweet?

Better yet, when was the last time a company asked for your help in solving a problem?

If youre anything like me the times this happens are few and far between.

As a result too much advertising interrupts us solving problems we dont really have or, worse, just bombarding us with we, we, we messages.

And its a shame really because what an opportunity we have as marketers in the digital age to find out what problems people have and involve them in the solution! Theres probably never been a better time in history.

If youve been following along in our process for developing successful social media marketing, by now youve used the many tools marketers have today to listen in on the conversation.

And, based on that, youve identified the problem(s) your target market has along with the online communities where they congregate and the key influencers.

The third phase of the social media process " Solicit & Solve " solicits influencers " whether theyre current customers or potential customers "in solving the problem at hand. This is done by engaging them to find out their ideas, thoughts and preferences in creating a mutually beneficial outcome.


Sometimes the solution may be as simple as creating new content to speak to the need of a certain demographic. For example providing party hosts with a drink recipe app or, conversely, a blood-alcohol calculator to convince guests to take a taxi.

Other times a solution may be more complicated; changing your product to offer Moms a sanctuary in the middle of an indoor playground for example. Or, harder yet, asking an individual who had a negative experience with your product to participate in the resolution process so that the issue doesnt occur in the future.

The goal of this process is simple: to solicit your customers help in solving the problem so that those with a good experience are even more encouraged to share it with their network and those with a negative experience, at the very least, dont negatively influence anyone else with respect to the product or company or, best case scenario, become brand advocates and tell others how pleased they are with the solution.

So do yourself " and your customers - a big favour and base your Social Media marketing strategy around solving a core problem and solicit the communities help in creating the solution. It's a simple but rare approach that will make you more successful.

Next week: Testing & Tracking