I used to work for Allstate and would intensely study the competition and what they were doing. American Family and USAA were a company I always watched. I really loved how she said that AmFam listened in Social Media for a Full Year before leaping in.
This is a great podcast too – http://brandfasttrackers.com. It’s now one of my regular listens.
I observed an interesting trend in commercials during a recent episode of 30 Rock. A majority of advertisements now direct viewers to the company’s Facebook page rather than the brand’s home page. This isn’t necessarily a good strategy, but it does say a lot about the importance of Facebook in integrated marketing communications.
Brands realize that millions of people are spending hours on Facebook every month and they want a piece of that. But who are the best types of people to engage on Facebook? More importantly, if you’re buying ads on Facebook, who do you want to target?
This awesome widget from Forrester shows that Social websites are the domain of younger generations. Older consumers are joining Facebook, but not at the scale of younger people.
Fewer Facebook Friends = More Real Estate for Your Brand
It is exactly this reason you should target your ads to older demographics. Because there are fewer older people on Facebook, your message is more likely to show up on their news feed.
Sure, your brand’s Facebook application is pretty nice, but the first thing you see when you login to Facebook is the news feed. This ability to get your brand’s message right next to baby photos and funny links is what makes engagement on Facebook so valuable.
A simple example: An older user with 50 friends will see your message more than a younger user with 500 friends.
Be careful…you don’t want to overdo it and annoy your fans. I like traffic from Facebook because visitors typically stay longer and visit more pages. So, it’s tempting to post LOTS of messages.
If you do so, the graphic above would be ALL green, and your precious fans won’t see any updates from their friends and family and could hide or unlike you.
The classic “Marketing Mix” created in 1953 by Neil Borden and taught in business schools around the world needs to be officially updated. Originally consisting of Product, Placement, Promotion, and Price, it outlined the fundamental issues a company should consider when developing a marketing strategy.
PEOPLE – The 5th P in the Marketing Mix
The social web is now so critical for companies that it’s time to update marketing textbooks, strategies, and approaches. PEOPLE, and the way the share opinions, recommendations, and personal stories are critical to a company’s success.
The importance of PEOPLE is obvious to most readers of this blog…so why the post? By looking at how companies treat the other 4 Ps, we can make recommendations on how to treat PEOPLE as the 5th P.
Businesses take action with the other 4 Ps by staffing an organization, investing money, & partnering with other companies.
Product, promotion, pricing, and placement all have large roles in an organization. Entire org charts are filled with PRODUCT Managers, PRICING Analysts, PLACEMENT Specialists, and PROMOTION experts. Now it’s time to add Social Media to the organization chart.
Hiring staff focused on the PEOPLE aspect of your marketing plan signals does the following:
- Signals to the organization that PEOPLE are a key piece of your marketing strategy
- Makes the responsibility of engaging the consumer a full time job rather than a side project of an existing role
- Holds someone accountable for executing the strategy and measuring the results
Companies spend millions of dollars on PRODUCT development through R&D. Additionally, major capital investments in distribution (PLACEMENT) technology help get the product where consumers can actually buy it. Oh and then there’s PROMOTION…you see how much a Super Bowl ad costs nowadays?
Making an investment on the PEOPLE aspect of your marketing plan does the following:
- Improves a company’s ability to execute quickly and effectively on strategy
- Drives results by forcing actions to tie back to Return on Investment
- Signals to the organization that a PEOPLE aspect of a marketing plan deserves as much attention as other functions and projects
Advertising agencies, distribution experts, retail agreements, and product development firms are all multi-billion dollar partnerships for a reason. They provide incredible external value to an company looking to specialize in what they do best.
Forming partnerships with agencies, bloggers, social networking sites, and technology consultancies is critical for the following reasons:
- External partnerships help spread best practices to your organization as outside sources typically see a broader perspective of the space
- Outsourcing work to experts is not only more resource effective, it typically leads to better results…Unless you didn’t ask your Social Media Consultants the right questions
- Working with bloggers can increase the potential for earned media and also create a steady supply of traffic and link juice
It’s time to place PEOPLE at the same level of importance as Product, Placement, Promotion, and Price. What other areas of business can we apply to PEOPLE to drive organizational change?
Social Media is now on a subject at corporate strategy meetings, executive off-sites, and a part of brand strategy. Even the most conservative companies are dipping their toes in the water and trying to increase shareholder value through the new web.
Great job everyone…you’ve lived up to the hype of the Social Media Revolution Video…
It’s time to start thinking about what to do next.
Setting Next Year’s Social Media Strategy
As Jeremiah Owyang reasoned, if you like boxes and have a decision to make, use a 2×2 matrix. They are great ways to organize thinking. Good strategies have clear business objectives for Social Media and well defined user problem or need.
What business objectives are we trying to accomplish with Social Media?
- Reduce Costs
- Increase Sales
Who are our target users for this initiative?
NOTE: Some people will argue Suppliers, and I think there are selective industries where that would apply. However, for right now, the most benefit for companies is focusing on Customers and Employees.
Social Media Strategy Matrix
Each part in the 2×2 has unique business objectives. Examples of types of projects can be seen in the box.
Setting Next Year’s Social Media Strategy
- Step 1 – Do a Social Media Audit of all your projects
- Step 2 – Plot those in the box based on their objectives and target users
- Step 3 – Plot where your COMPETITION is focusing their efforts
- Step 4 – Identify the Social Media White Space in matrix
- Step 5 – Pick an executive sponsor or key function
- Step 6 – Research the users and analyze the problem
- Step 7 – Brainstorm and prioritize potential ideas
- Step 8 – Select and staff the projects
- Step 9 – Use a a portfolio approach for Social Media Governance
I was trying to find a way to rinse a paintbrush and I typed “Is ” (Is + SPACE) and then I got all these suggestions. Fascinating!
- Is Lady Gaga a Man?
- Is Lady Gaga a Hermaphrodite?
- Is the World Going to end in 2012?
- Is Bronchitis Contagious?
- Is Pneumonia Contagious?
- Is Limewire Illegal?
- Is Lady Gaga a Transvestite?
- Is Wendy Williams a Man?
- Is Twitter Down?
- Is Shingles Contagious?
Business objectives are the most critical, yet most overlooked, part of a social media strategy.
Now that we’re past the point of early adoption, many brands are citing “Everyone else is doing it” as their business objective Who is everyone? Customers? Target Market? Competitors? Employees? Suppliers?
A poor business objective causes many problems, the worst of which being a social media strategy execution that is vague and generic.
Take this example from Putnam Investments: The Retirement Savings Challenge. The blog seems well intentioned, but what is this doing for Putnam?
The “About” section says, “At Putnam, we’re starting a conversation about America’s existing workplace savings plans, because we believe they can become a more reliable foundation for our nation’s retirement system.”
Awesome! The nation’s retirement system definitely needs some help, bravo to Putnam for trying to use business to help society.
But…how can you start a conversation about America’s retirement system without a comment field? I would love to comment on this great post about retirement savings.
Possible Social Media Objectives:
- Brand Preference? Could be, but where’s the tie?
- Brand Awareness? Okay, this might be it, but with a low PageRank how will anyone get to the site?
- Perhaps from Putnam Investment’s Twitter account? The tweets are all good PR or Corp Communications tweets, but there’s nothing driving content.
3 Components of Good Social Media Business Objectives
A good business objective should have 3 components
- Business Impact (Speak to Shareholders)
- How (Speak to Employees)
- Consumer Value (Speak to Consumers)
Here’s an example I reverse-engineered from Time Magazine’s Twitter account:
Drive traffic to ad-supported website through timely, simple updates of new articles that are easy to understand, receive, and manage.
- Business Impact: Drive traffic to ad-supported website
- How: through timely, simple updates of new articles
- Customer Value – that are easy to understand, receive, and manage
Notice, the word “Twitter” was intentionally left out of the business objective. The tool doesn’t matter, what matters is that managers understand how they are going to do something for consumers that will give the business value.
Tips on Writing the Business Impact
- Start with a verb. An objective is an action.
- Think Accounting 101 –obvious connection to revenues or expenses.
- “Brand equity” or “brand awareness” are okay to use, but expect organizational resistance. If using these, be able to explain how you will measure it and isolate the social media initiative as a variable.
Tips on Writing the How
- Avoid technology specifics, buzzwords, and industry vernacular.
- The test of clarity is that a non-tech or non-business person could easily understand it.
- If you have an obvious technology in mind that fits, don’t be afraid to write the How that leads to it as an obvious solution.
Tips on Writing the Consumer Value
- Read existing research to understand consumer behavior. This will ground you in reality.
- The value should lead to a benefit. It’s trickier than it sounds…but think of a benefit as how a consumer would rave about your brand to a friend.
Would someone pay for it? It doesn’t matter if you’re going to charge for it, but this is a good test of whether or not you have value.
Mobile consultants are rapidly replacing Social Media consultants as people most likely to cold call. That makes sense, according to the recent CITA survey released in June 2009, there are more than 276 million wireless users in the US. That’s a lot of people. And where there are a lot of people embracing a technology, there are a lot of consultants.
So naturally, many companies are trying to design apps for mobile devices. There are good ones: Chase’s iPhone app makes my life easier by allowing me to conduct banking business through my phone. And, there are bad ones: Pepsi’s Amp was not only sexist, it didn’t do anything.
A Mobile Strategy Isn’t Necessary for All Brands
A couple years ago, we all jumped on Social Media strategies for our brands. Sure, it felt like a fad, but it made sense. The Social Web is simply a better way for the web to function. The Social Web is really just tools and technologies that make it easy to share information with your connections.
The Social Web, and Social Media, works for all brands because it is the logical evolution of how content on the web should look and behave to be more relevant.
But the term “mobile web” is a fundamentally different concept. It is a distribution method, not a type of content. I understand that iPhone apps are popular. However, they are simply delivery methods of content we’ve seen before.
I now run 3 apps on my iPhone for Twitter. Echofon, SimplyTweet, and TweetDeck. I love them all. Having these applications on my iPhone makes my life richer and more enjoyable. I can say the same thing about Chase’s mobile app, ESPN’s Fantasy Football app, and the World of Warcraft Armory.
However, it’s the technology behind these, not the distribution itself, that makes them important. The Twitter platform is what makes having those Twitter apps important. The need to pay a credit card balance, check scores on a Sunday, or pass time during a meeting makes my other apps important.
When mobile isn’t necessary: When it doesn’t do anything
I am a rabid fan of Maker’s Mark bourbon. They have a tremendous Social Web initiative, Maker’s Mark Ambassadors, that helps me feel a personal connection to the brand. I was surprised about how well the program is run and how much I enjoy receiving their information
Never, ever would I consider downloading a Makers Mark application. I love the brand, but there is no way I would put an app on my phone for it. I want their emails to be visible through my mobile web client, but that’s it. End of story, there’s your mobile strategy.
What do you think? Is there a room for everyone on the iPhone home screen?
We’re told by the experts that Social Media is a Groundswell. It all starts with “ordinary” people, customers & employees, who group together around a common theme. “It’s grassroots! It’s organic! We just need to enable them!”
Well, this is true…but effectively harnessing that power requires resources and coordination. The fastest way for organizations to get those resources is with senior leadership support.
Ironic? Yeah…I suppose. These technologies were supposed to change the world! We’d move from political decision making to a meritocracy. While this may happen in the future, to prepare your company today you need senior support.
Well, easier said than done…How do you ensure that you get this support?
History should serve as our example. A public declaration outlining the need for change with a signature of leadership sends a message to others that commitment is real.
- The Protestant Reformation had Martin Luther’s 95 Theses nailed to a door
- The American Revolution had the Declaration of Independence signed by our Founding Fathers
Want to drive a similar change? Consider asking leadership to sign this document, post it on your intranet, and refer to it often!
Leadership Commitment for Social Media
I ________________________ understand that the Social Web is powerful not because of what WE, as a company do, but by how we enable our customers, employees, & business partners to do.
- I understand that we can not control what people say about us. I understand that some people will criticize, condemn, and complain about us.
- I recognize that censoring, hiding, or deleting this criticism is a short term solution that does not fully address the problem facing our business.
- I commit to acting rationally, rather than emotionally, to what people might say about us online. Rather than taking it personally, I will work to solve the problem so that this does not happen in the future.
- I recognize that measuring Social Media activity is not as easy as measuring other parts of my business.
- As an obligation to our shareholders, I will continually challenge our company to measure our return on investment. However, I understand focusing on ROI can be a distraction since the technology and concepts are so new.
- I recognize the power of the Social Web and Social Media. I will commit resources (money, time, and employees) to understand the potential these technologies have for my customers, my company, and my industry.
- I understand that the strategies and technologies in this space move fast. I also understand that they will move faster tomorrow.
- I commit to pursuing business objectives, rather than technologies, to reach our goals.
- From Commenter Kathy Heasley – I recognize that this is the age of integrity and that social media has the power to enable all employees to be advocates for our company and our customers. I will encourage their participation by establishing standards of acceptable practice so they may use this media with confidence and without fear of reprimand.
What would you add?
You should also try these posts, they’re tasty!
- Twitter Metrics – How to Fool Your Leadership
- How to Manage Your Company’s Social Media Efforts Through a Portfolio Approach
- Matrix for Staffing a Social Media Initiative
It’s no secret that brands are rushing to Facebook to create pages to broadcast their message, establish “friendships” with customers, and leverage the platform’s functionality to execute savvy campaigns. Many brands and celebrities have used Facebook very well, but does their success mean that your brand will be able to replicate it?
Most brands are sophisticated enough now to ask the obvious strategic questions around business objectives. Many also know to study the customer problems that their looking to Social Media to solve.
But, as a tool to execute Business Objectives, Facebook is different than other Social Media tools. The reason for this is the intensely personal nature of relationships on Facebook.
As compared to Twitter, blogs, forums, or other Social Media tools, relationships are closer and generally confined to family, friends, and trusted work colleagues.
Activity, assocationas, and content added by Facebook users is much more deliberate than other sites. As a result, people are very careful about being a “Fan” of a brand.
People don’t become a Fan of a brand they like; they typically fan a brand has that makes them look “cool” in front of their friends.
“Would A Person Wear a Tee-Shirt with My Brand On It?”
Throughout human history, clothes and fashion have been used to communicate summary-size bites of information to other people. Rightly or wrongly, we look at what others are wearing and pass judgement, develop opinions, and summize a person.
This same principle applies on Facebook. I choose to be fans of brands just as carefully as I choose what Favorite Music, Quotes, and Movies to select. They can communicate information to others about who I am quickly and clearly.
Because people use their Facebook profile to shape their perception in a network, brands that can’t offer a customer “cool points” are likely to not gain followers. People want to fan Apple, because Apple is cool. Adding Apple to your profile is like wearing an Apple t-shirt, we know what types of people use Apple.
- Say you manufacture kitchen appliances. A good Social Media Strategy would be to increase usage and affinity for your product through content like recipes, tips/tricks, and service/support that can be improved by a loyal community.
- Using Facebook to execute this strategy and distribute this content might be difficult. Sure, there are likely some rabid fans of your product….but would a typical customer wear your brand on their clothing? Compared to Apple?
Of course, you could throw money at a Facebook campaign to increase followers…but the ROI is likely lower. Consider a blog/forum community site. Consider using Twitter to promote that site. Consider an iPhone app targeted to connecting loyalists together.
Here’s who I fan on Facebook:
I’m a Social Media Marketer’s dream. I love Facebook, I love experimenting with it to learn more…But look at who I fan. It’s stuff that speaks about me to my friends. I do this as much because I care about association as I do because I care about the updates.
Happy to remove any photos, please email me or comment. I am using photos simply to comment on the world around us.
Driving website traffic is one Twitter’s top benefits for marketers. It’s a simple recipe, get a large number of followers, write a catchy tweet, publish it at the right time of day, and then measure the conversions.
If you’re interested in driving traffic through Twitter, then you probably use measurements like these:
# of Followers
- Having Twitter Followers is NOT the most important metric, but having more followers gives you more at-bats
# of RTs
- A good proxy of the quality of your tweet
# of Clicks
- With reports that Google Analytics and URL shorteners like bitly aren’t matching, it’s best to measure this in as many ways as possible
- Segmenting Twitter traffic from Search/Direct traffic and measuring conversions and site activity can help quantify the value of Twitter
You can learn a lot from these metrics, but there is a major variable of Twitter that frustrates those who use it for traffic.
Serendipity Problem and Twitter Metrics
A user sees the most recent update posted. This “serendipity” is frustrating and makes much of how Twitter functions as a source of traffic a guessing game.
Recently, Twitter announced they were looking to monetize advanced analytics for site owners. Having the right analytics would benefit both marketers and Twitter.
The benefit to marketers is that many questions about how Twitter works would be answered. Twitter, of course, benefits from people able to better quantify the value of Twitter for their site.
Here are questions that Twitter Analytics should consider answering:
Search Traffic or News Feed Traffic?
- How many users clicked from their standard feed vs. from search
- If from search, what terms in the tweet did they search for?
- If from the feed, how far down on the feed was the tweet?
Twitter Client Usage?
- How much traffic came from a like TweetDeck, TwitterFon, etc vs. twitter.com?
- Did the click come from a “group” in the Twitter Client? If so, what was the name of the group? Who else was in the group?
- What groups are my accounts associated with?
Clicks from Other Users
- What traffic was from users following the account?
- What traffic was from ReTweets or mentions?