Social Media is a hot button topic right now with many companies debating whether or not they should do it. This hesitancy has, at times, made it harder for us as online marketers to provide a full suite of services for our clients. Most recently Social Media World Forum made its way into New York City providing information for the resident experts, ninjas and gurus like us to explain the what, where, when, why and how to our companies and clients. After parsing the information collected, three subjects turned out to be most prominent:
The New Age of Word Processing
The conference began with a fact that some may take for granted but must remember to communicate to everyone involved in any campaign: social media marketing is marketing. Social media is simply a tool we are able to incorporate in the process of communicating a series of intelligently chosen words and images. Moreover, because the way in which we exchange thoughts through social media can only be through audio and visual means, the importance of a well thought out plan and process is even more so enhanced.
The process also includes the purpose and the goal set of social media as a simple one - to be social. When a company enters this arena, the point is to engage with relevant communities and make sure the company brand remains in the conversation between major announcements. With the influx of messages coming from everywhere nowadays, it is imperative that brands stay in the conversation because of one simple truth: people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Selling is not the onus within this medium. Social media helps create the culture—the reason why the consumer wants to make a purchase.
Once you have identified why you’re going to use social media as a tool, you can begin to research the way in which you’re going to reach your goal—the how and, subsequently, the what. Planning any campaign is an absolute must since it will map out everything you will do and great strategies are able to take “unexpected” happenstances into consideration. Marketing is a very analytical science and process that can and needs to be measured. When done correctly, you will be treated to an impressive group of numbers to make any company happy.
A Coke and a Smile
Because the way in which we exchange thoughts through social media can only be through audio and visual means, the importance of a well thought out plan and process is even more so enhanced.
An example of effective engagement and great results comes from Coca-Cola. The way in which Coca-Cola operates its social media campaigns is to:
- First, ensure they are everywhere their consumers are in an authentic manner; and allow their consumers to create and consume their own user brand generated content.
- By creating a forum whereby Coca-Cola fans can express their fandom through company created and branded channels they have also created an environment for a high level of ambassadorship which only makes its brands look better. Evidence of this detail is displayed perfectly through Coca-Cola’s Official Facebook page created by Coca-Cola fans Dusty Sorg & Michael Jedrzejewski.
When your content is ready to go anywhere and everywhere, branded in a consistent manner, linked to business objectives and completely engages your consumers, you’re going in the right direction with social media. It also helps to reward and recognize your influencers… and speaking of rewarding and recognizing influencers…
What’s that sound?
a team from search engine, Bing, attended Social Media World Forum to reinforce this statement: The key is evolving from logic to emotion when searching online. Taking the human element into consideration is essential in marketing and the following human traces are crucial to social media’s importance in this day and age:
- In 2010, humans sent 25 billion tweets.
- Last year Facebook recorded 70 billion posts.
These are ideas that mimic human behavior and a logical reason to figure out how to join search and social together because of the nature of humans to rely on one another. With this in mind, it only makes sense for a digital communal collective. For search engines to take advantage of this, search needs to take the following actions:
- Infuse trusted friends.
- Infuse interest from others.
- Find the “experts” therefore enabling conversation.
Given these ideas, segmentation is necessary to get search and social to work together seamlessly. One way to begin is to separate people into four categories:
A separate but related segmentation can take place thereafter using the concept of the 1:9:90 theory thusly:
- The top one percent consisting of the key influencers;
- The middle nine percent consisting of the social influencers; and
- The remaining 90 percent consisting of the peer influencers.
Bing’s success in identifying and engaging with the middle nine percent has enabled them to connect with consumers by delivering on their social need states classified as:
- Utility—making sure the consumer is being pointed to something that benefits them.
- Entertainment—keeping customers where they are by entertaining them with interactive audio and visual stimuli tied to a brand.
- Being Informative—offering consumers a curated stream of information around product education.
- Rewarding—offering rewards or incentives to your fans for taking time to interact with a brand as a retention tool.
- Recognition—celebrating consumers for being active members of the community, consequently turning them into evangelists as shown by this Friends Matter commercial shown during the MTV’s 2011 Video Music Awards.