May 8th, 2009
Author: Michael Senger CEO, StoneMass
More and more companies are integrating their marketing plans into social media marketing. As a result you are now competing for an ever increasingly crowded share of voice of your targeted audience. And with your audience being bombarded with multiple communications, they are getting sophisticated on what they watch or do online.
What follows are critical strategies for businesses that may already have small online communities or are making plans to create an online presence.
1. Social Media needs to be integrated into every aspect of your Marketing Communications Plan
It is sometimes too easy to think of social media marketing as an afterthought. In some cases, social media marketing should drive the campaign. Volkswagen launched a nationwide campaign with one purpose – to have you join their fan page. They realized that building an online community of VW fans would provide opportunities for fans to share their love and passion for the carmaker and for VW to have a fan base to continue the ongoing dialog.
2. Don’t fall into the “Build it and they will come” trap – utilize contests, discounts and incentives
Companies put an exuberant amount of work into the launching of a social media program. The program launches and after a month they wonder why they only have 50 fans on Facebook and 40 follows on Twitter. One way to excite your community is to offer contests or incentives. Build your follower base with “Become a fan today and enter into our weekly drawing to win…”. Once your social media program has started, continue with contests and incentives in order to engage with your brand and encourage returning. Promotional exclusivity is also a great draw for new users – “by following us on Twitter, you will get exclusive promotions available just for you.” Social Media is an ongoing dialog, maintain contact and keep the conversation and viral engagement going!
3. It is time to stop making excuses for not using Multimedia
Guess what is the #3 search engine in the world? YouTube. People first started using YouTube for entertainment but now use it for information. Where else online can you can be shown visually how to make a Kitchener stitch, how to whistle with two fingers, or be shown how to change a flat tire. As a marketer, you need to understand the behaviors of your target audience and determine where they are spending their time online. You can create multimedia videos or advertise on YouTube or other video sharing websites. In summary, your target audience is now interacting with video more and more and you need to be involved.
4. Of course play in the big sandbox (Facebook, Twitter), but don’t ignore Local Social Networks like Yelp, TripAdviser, or others
I spent a week in Hawaii and got addicted to TripAdviser. Where else can you get detailed feedback and ratings on local restaurants, events and outings? It helped me plan my excursions and restaurants. Yelp is the same format where people give reviews but they also have a business section. You can be proactive to make sure your business has favorable reviews and to monitor negative comments.
5. Evaluate, modify, and test and then do it again and again and again
Why is there a certain “voodoo” associated with web metrics analysis? I would think most business owners and marketers when asked “do you need better analysis tools to measure your campaign effectiveness?”, would immediately raise their hands. We all want better measurement of our marketing $’s performance but are averse to understanding the data mechanics or even how to go about generating an insightful report.
When it comes to online marketing programs, everything is measurable and can be associated to an ROI – even business to business. Establish key performance metrics with your objectives, test, modify and repeat.