Archives for posts with tag: social

A few weeks ago, I started working with a new client, a mid-size business. They started using Social Media a few years back and, over time, developed presences on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ YouTube, LinkedIn, Foursquare, a blog, Facebook Places, Tumblr and just started on Pinterest. Their previous Social Media consultant operated on the premise: Businesses need to be on as many social media channels as they can.

Why? In this rapidly changing world, businesses never know where their customer is going to be, so a business needs to be everywhere.

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Mr. Consultant, stand in the corner and write “I will never recommend something that insane again.” 10,000 times.

There are two reasons why consultants, experts or agencies would give obnoxious advice:

– They try to fleece customers.

– They don’t know what they are doing.

I won’t even bother with people that try to fleece brands. Ultimately, brands will see through it and end the scam prematurely.

I’m much more concerned with people that believe in the philosophy that brands should be everywhere. Should Axe advertise on each TV Channel, even the Hallmark Channel? Should PETA run an ad in the Hunter’s Journal? Should Obama advertise on the Rush Limbaugh show?

Social Media shows its immaturity when “being everywhere” is still an advice I hear every day. Just like traditional and digital media, social media needs to rely on research – for example a social media audit. Understanding demographics, psychographics, spend decisions, social network use, day/time parting – all the good stuff and more that helps you understand where you need to be, when you need to be there, and what you should be doing/saying while you’re around. This helps brands and their community not to waste anyone’s time, helps to achieve goals and measure results.

Don’t be everywhere. Just be where your research tells you to be.

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Many agencies have added social to their list of offerings. Some have added new people with specific skills to support/activate and engage social platforms. Other agencies just added social to the responsibilities of the media department.

That’s a big problem. Because social and digital are not the same.

A digital skillset involves software programming, interface design, content management, data management, analytics, media planning/buying, etc. That doesn’t mean you know anything about social.

When you are adept in the ways of Social Media, it’s also likely that you’re familiar with the technologies that support these communications. You understand the rules of engagement on Facebook; you know how to create a refined social advertising campaign; you can hop on CoTweet and know exactly what you’re doing; you’re focusing on the right metrics and deliver. That doesn’t mean you know anything about digital.

In good agencies, digital marketing services are organically integrated with Social Media. It doesn’t make it any less distinct a discipline.

The biggest difference: the mindset.

Digital and interactive are primarily either one-to-one or one-to-many communication forms.

Social is many-to-many communications. And that makes all the difference.

In one-to-one communication, the brand (in this case) knows what it wants to communicate, and perhaps has some idea about who it is talking to.

One-to-many communication is the most prevalent form of broadcast with the hope that the message is something that the target audience will appreciate and take action on.

Social is many-to-many, and here the crux is uncertainty. Brands may assume that they know what they are getting into, who they are talking to but they can’t predict the reaction.

Digital does not require any internal attitude change or rallying of other divisions – it is merely extending the brands’ communication into yet another broadcast media.

Social requires a different mindset and the understanding that brands are just incidental to the conversation online.

Apples and oranges.

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Or Twitter. Or any other social platform

Everybody has favorite brands. We have preferences when it comes to cars, restaurants, TV shows, movies, grocery stores, bands, authors, bloggers – you name it. You are one of these brands that people like and continue to purchase.

Wonderful.

So, one day you decide to jump on the Social Media bandwagon and develop a presence on some social platforms. Let’s say your first choice is Facebook. And you start to market your Facebook page: “Please find us” or “Like us”. And they do.

Wonderful.

Not really. Wonderful for some customers and brands. The small minority.

The majority of customers hate their favorite brand on Facebook.

Why?

Because you are only focused on the platform and not on the offer.

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The majority of people follow brands because they want offers, are current customers or explore entertaining content that they can’t get anywhere else. People connect with brands because they want something and they expect brands to give them something.

Focus on less on the what. And more on the why.

The social space is littered with brands that never answered the question why a person should connect with them. Marketing on a social platform doesn’t work without the why. Brands need to define their own WHY before choosing a specific platform. Once you determined your why, you can create your strategy: Content to engage people, contests, polls, humor, discounts, coupons – your why has to be aligned with your brand promise and needs to be sustainable for the long-term.

Define your value proposition and communicate it.

Don’t just ask people to like you or follow you on Twitter. Tell them what they get in return, why they spend their limited time with your content, what’s in for them?

Being social is your primary goal. Being a marketer is secondary.

Nothing wrong with marketing on social platforms. Don’t feel guilty about it. But you have to be social. Create compelling content that keeps people coming back. The customers are really the king on social platforms. You’re the servant.

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Image: Courtesy of Pentagram

You go to a big party and you meet them all: The life and soul of the party, introverts, couples just focusing on themselves, party poopers, the networker, social butterfly. Brands are a little bit like people. Some are meant to be social, some are better off just hiding in their corporate office.

Let’s face it, most people don’t care what a company thinks about things. Do you care about Mercedes-Benz’ mission statement?

We invented the automobile – now we are passionately shaping its future. As a pioneer of automotive engineering, we feel inspired and obliged to continue this proud tradition with groundbreaking technologies and high-quality products.

“We invented the automobile – now we are passionately shaping its future. As a pioneer of automotive engineering, we feel inspired and obliged to continue this proud tradition with groundbreaking technologies and high-quality products.

Our philosophy is clear: we give our best for customers who expect the best – and we live a culture of excellence that is based on shared values. Our corporate history is full of innovations and pioneering achievements; they are the foundation and ongoing stimulus for our claim to leadership in the automotive industry.

The principle of sustainable mobility underlies all of our thoughts and actions. Our goal is to successfully meet the demands of future mobility. And in doing so, we intend to create lasting value – for our shareholders, customers and workforce, and for society in general.”

Are you still awake? This might be important to employees and stakeholders of the company. But as a buyer, I don’t care about your philosophy, your mission or vision. I care that you deliver a sexy, reliable car that makes me feel good about myself. Or whatever your reasons are to buy a car.

The majority of people don’t want to be friend with a brand. They want a brand to do their job and do it better than the competition. Actually, I prefer brands focusing on doing their job and deliver more usefulness to me. I’d rather you stay away from the big Social party and come up with new ideas/services that make my life easier/more delightful.

Still, too many brands are doing social for the sake of doing social. (“We have to be at the party, man.”) They might be better off being anti-social and stay away from the social party crowd. Instead, focusing on social where the brand has weaknesses (Customer Service, Support, Research). There’s nothing wrong with being a socially awkward introvert. Just ask Apple.