I think we can all agree that all types of organizations and campaigns will use some form of social media marketing in their mix. And like all emerging communication channels, the pitfalls will come first to the early adopters.
Establish And Measure Your Goal
Good endings begin with good beginnings. Seems simple enough, right?
But far too many social media campaigns are undertaken with the expectation that entering the sphere of conversations will, by their very nature, create the campaign momentum the company is looking to achieve. In fact, social media is simply an accelerator of that campaign momentum – and certainly not a creator of it.
The good news is… social media is somewhat easy and immediate to measure. Response to blogs, web offerings and overall sales can be tied directly to the social campaign itself – especially if personalized capture points are implemented as needed for measurement.
Provide Real Value
In the social media sphere, traditional messaging simply doesn’t work. Most savvy participants are careful to not to engage in conversations without understanding the context of that conversation. Authenticity, then, rings loudly to the social media audience. More so than the internet – rules of engagement are a sign of intelligence, and as in any social setting, no one wants to be thought or branded ignorant or immature.
And more to the point, social media enables us all to truly give of our knowledge, interests and discoveries. If that information is pure in it’s nature – then a relationship of trust can be built between the company, and the social media network at large.
Dollar for dollar – that is a level of brand loyalty you simply could not afford to buy in today’s tightening, competitive market.
It’s A Conversation, Not A Platform
The largest of corporations have tried their hand at social media campaigns – many (if not most) of them unsuccessfully. Part of the problem is obvious – any type of corporate dialog is suspect of being a thinly veiled attempt at sales – and not the hones conversation between brand and public it could be. Therein lies the challenge – to present and create dialog that is truly useful to all participants – and not just an attempt to announce a product or service.
Conversation is king – openness is the key to the kingdom. Restricting dialog because of self-imposed corporate brand standards simply doesn’t work in this truly social environment.
Give It A Go!
Once the decision is made to begin your social media marketing campaign (SMM), there are a few considerations that you might review before getting started.
> Message Consumption – hopefully, you’ll develop or have a blog. One surefire way to accurately measure engagement is through monitoring who is reading your blog, where they are from and exactly what content they are reading. Most blogging services provide some form of web analytics that will provide you with these reports.
> Content Response – Who’s actually interacting with your content? Comments may very well be the easiest way to find out – and if your message is compelling or thought provoking – you’ll receive comments from both positive supporters and negative comments. Either way – you’re making progress.
> Social Media Bookmarking – Who’s adding your content to sites like Del.icio.us, Reddit, and Stumbleupon. Engage your web analytic tool and run a click map report and see how many web visitors are clicking on the social bookmarking icons. Or, simply create profiles in each of the individual bookmarking sites and search for your specific web addresses.
> Who’s Subscribing to your RSS feed? An easy way to measure how many of your readers are actually engaged is to monitor how many of them are directly subscribing to your RSS feeds
> Who’s referring and engaged about you? Many blog platforms have the ability (like WordPress) to tell you who’s linked to your site. If that’s not an option in your blog platform, you might a blog search engine Technorati for your domain’s current interaction.
> Profile Engagement: Even if you don’t have a blog, you might have a profile on Myspace, Facebook, or Mybloglog. Simply use the same methodologies for any blog, and you’ll watch the growth of friends and profile visits in real time.
Successful social media marketing (SMM) campaigns will likely be a key catalyst i for a small to medium sized business to grow their business strategy. Without a great deal of expense, and if implemented correctly, it will increase brand equity and public relations reach at a small fraction of traditional advertising costs and effort. Not to mention it can also provide market research and product refinement guided directly by the target market for little, or no extra cost.
Clearly, having a comprehensive SMM strategy for your business is essential in today’s increasingly competitive market. If you’re interested in jumping into this powerhouse marketing strategy, but simply don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself – give us a call.