BrainTrust Query: Social Media as a Strategy Rather Than a Side Project
Through a special arrangement, presented here
for discussion is an excerpt from a current article from the Joel Rubinson
on Marketing Research Consulting blog.
When we study the top social media
success stories, we still tend to focus on the splashy campaigns that went
viral (e.g. Blendtec, Water Babies, Old Spice). That’s still TV thinking,
but where you do not have to pay for the impressions. There is more to social
media than that.
Over 500 million are now on Facebook, 200 million are on Twitter
and last year, there were nearly 400 million check-ins on Foursquare, including
one from outer space! When you consider the rise of shopping apps and the ability
to make payments via the same smartphone, you get the picture of accelerated
change in the way we must market our products.
In this environment, a social
media strategy is essential but there are no commonly agreed-to templates for
Teaching "Social Media for Brand Managers" to MBA students
at NYU, I recently reviewed the various social media strategy approaches to
construct the following recommendations:
- Start with the brand strategy. A brand must decide who it is trying to be relevant to and in what context? Consumers might be Facebook-centered for some things,
blog-centered for others (e.g. mommy bloggers), and community-centered
for yet other parts of their lives. You need to listen to know where the
conversations are occurring.
- What are your beliefs about what mobile life will look like in the
future, say three years from now? Do you believe we are headed towards increased
privacy? If so, it elevates the priority of building an opt-in database of
consumers who have granted permission.
- How do you feel that social media can advance brand-consumer relationship
goals? Is the focus on customer service, promotions, co-creation?
- What does success look like? Marketers started getting their feet wet with
social media using a "ready, fire, aim" approach but we need
to start doing better than that.
- Build sharing into everything you do. Why shouldn’t you make promotions,
advertorial content, offers, etc. completely sharable?
- Provide an organizational recommendation that will support this commitment
to social media. It’s hard to imagine transforming customer relationships
without transforming employees and business partners.
- Corollary to the organizational recommendation is that social media is
NOT free. The costs just show up in different places so this is a real commitment
not some side project.
- Create a strategy that has multiple aspects but one focal point. You have
to decide if your Facebook page will be your micro-site or if it is a feeder
into a micro-site you create where you have more control (oops, I think I
showed my bias there).
Discussion Questions: How should marketing around social media differ from traditional media approaches? What would you add to the tips for social media strategy approaches offered in the article?