I got reminded today (thank you, Sara!) about Jesper Åström’s Online Marketing Matrix. Personally, I just love to find useful models.

Here’s a Social Spin Matrix that can be used as a discussion starter with clients, because it helps in determining what’s next. It isn’t supposed to give any answers, but rather assist the discussion in finding an honest approach to where the real challenges lie. Most clients contact me because they want to get more spin on the social web and that’s more than fine, but unfortunately (or luckily?), I just can’t spin whatever gets thrown at me (see How To Spin A Blog Post and Great Content Is No Silver Bullet).

Therefore, I find this simple matrix to be useful for discussions:

High Or Low Retention

I don’t want to get into a discussion on whether a product or service is good or bad, smart or dumb, right or wrong. The client should believe in their product or service and frankly, I’m not a product- or service developer. What do matters to me in social though, is whether the product or service is low or high in retention, i.e having first-time users/customer coming back, again or again.

If a product or service is low in retention, then I don’t want to drive any type of traffic to it, because that would simply be a waste of the client’s money and my time. However, a product or service low in retention can be salvaged by listening to the community, using the online reactions can be interpreted into product- or service development feedback.

Right Or Wrong Strategy

An excellent strategy for one client can be totally off for another company. This is why I don’t like to think of strategies in terms of “good” or “bad”. I prefer to think of a strategy as right for the company now. Because strategies needs to be altered; what was a right strategy yesterday, might be the wrong strategy today (see also Strategy As Trajectory).

1. Uncontrollable Social Spin

If your company is in Quartile 1, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. A lot of great products and ideas reside here. But the fact is, that the company isn’t generating any buzz at all, or, if matters are worse, negative buzz. You could try to increase retention by changing the company, but how can you be sure you’re moving in the right direction? Because what people say and how they behave are often two very different beasts.

2. Customer Feedback Social Spin

So you start listening (see 7 Hard Truths About Social Media Intelligence) and focus on how to interpret what’s going on online. And before you start trying to change the perception of the company, you try to see if the analysed data can move the company’s internal processes in the right direction first. It’s often more cost-effective to slightly change the company than to try to change people’s mindsets.

3. Not Nearly Enough Social Spin

Customers who tries the product or service is hooked and they gladly come back for more, but now you need to change strategy as the company realises that creating a good product or service isn’t enough. The rule of thumb; good companies rarely get enough recognition. This is because the consumers are fatigued when it comes to choices—they drown in them! So you need to look at what to do to get your community to vouch for you.

4. Growing Community Social Spin

When everything is in place and you get a lot of well-deserved online recognition and spread, another challenges turns up. How do you turn all that spin into a community that grows faster than your competitor’s community does? How do you engage with them? How much? Are you a content provider in social, a destination for inspiration and knowledge or an arena where people get to connect?

What do you think about the Social Spin Matrix? Would love to hear your comments!