I was walking through Barnes & Noble last weekend when I saw The Social Media Bible and it got me thinking, why have marketers transformed “social media” into a complicated tool that brands continually misuse and fail to integrate successfully into other marketing campaigns? The essence of social platforms is people authentically connecting with other people; it’s not supposed to be overly massaged or corporate. If brands want to connect with those people, they should do so in a straightforward and honest manner.
Forget about the “one size fits all” approach when it comes to integrating social channels into greater marketing campaigns – think about who your customers are, how they want to engage with your brand and what social channels they prefer to interact with friends and brands (this will tell you where you need to be). Let’s take a look at some best practices for implementing social tools into your brand’s marketing campaigns.
Know Your Strategy
What makes a brand a brand? A unified company message, viable objectives and goals, an executable mission statement, and employees that share that same belief.
Answer the questions:
1) What do you want to be on? Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Myspace? All of the above?
2) How are these social channels mapping back to your business objectives?
3) What is your strategy for integrating all of these channels into one seamless voice, and how will you link it all back to your other major online properties?
4) How would you like your customers to describe you in their own words?
Understand your audience and customer base. While SAP’s customers may be intrigued by data and tactics for implementation of new enterprise software, Macy’s audience may be more inclined to hear about deals, discounts and promotions.
For social channels:
1) Keep posts brief, informative, and light.
2) This is not a place for company news, but for interesting and engaging content that your audience would value.
3) Keep the perspective on what your customers want to hear or learn and not on what you want to market to them.
Promote engagement and create a community that reacts and interacts; after all, social channels are built around fostering community growth.
When developing your voice:
1) Create an environment where people are encouraged to post their own content.
2) Ask questions, participate, and most importantly, be human. Show some personality!
3) Be respectful of your community’s privacy.
4) Offer value through relevant promotions and discounts.
Learn and Refine
No business does it perfect the first time. Learn from both your mistakes and successes and refine your social campaign strategy and tactics along the way. Remember, no one learned how to ride a bike standing on the curb. You have to get on, fall, and get back up until you succeed.
To be successful you should:
1) Look at other companies who you believe are successful on social channels.
2) Be willing to try new things, make mistakes, and learn from them.
3) Realize that what doesn’t work today, might tomorrow. And, what works today, may not tomorrow. Keep measuring, analyzing, and iterating.
What do you think?