10 golden rules for getting social media right

26/02/2009

by Danny Meadows-Klue

Social media, social networks, blogs and online communities have permanently changed online marketing. In this new landscape brands are in a constant dialogue with customers who increasingly play critical roles in advocacy and recommendation. The challenge for marketers is that while the rewards may be rich, the risks are greater. Their brand is just one guest among millions, and nobody is in control. These 10 golden rules grew from training brands on social media marketing across the UK, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Consistently the same patterns emerged: the brands that failed followed few of these approaches, the brands that succeeded had most in place.

Social media marketing – hints and tips

These emerged from the training sessions over the last couple of years and analysis of the case studies about both the successes and failures of social media marketing. It’s still critical to start by evaluating whether social media is right for your brand. That means giving your team the time and resources to explore where social media could fit in your strategy. Often with new marketing techniques there’s a risk of running ahead of where the business really is. Typically many firms focus on Web 2.0 but don’t have the basic Web 1.0 model in place, so by starting with an internal assessment it helps create a strategy right for the business today.

1. Integrated digital marketing: Think webspace, not website
Extend content and messaging beyond the brand website to where your customers spend their time.

2. Attitude: Adapt to the culture of your environment
Remember your brand is only one guest among millions and nobody is in control – shift the marketing team’s mindset from traditional advertising towards a PR approach to build discussion.

3. Creating content: Create what your customers really want
Uncover their digital behaviour and only then start building content, profiles or tools – invest time upfront in the research and strategy rather than racing into the build, and build only what they want.

4. Tearable: Make it easy
Make your content tearable from your own sites and social media so consumers can use it.

5. TV: Stretch your advertising further
Launch TV commercials online before broadcast, giving your best customers the inside track by letting them see it before their friends – extends frequency of TV ads and builds discussion.

6. Listen: Listen to your customers
Use smart analytics to listen intensively to what’s being said about your brands: monitor key blogs, social networks, RSS feed and let the findings shape management decision-making - discover the conversation but only take part when you have a clear strategy.

7. Track: Quantify the effect
Apply the same analytics so you can track the effects of your social media marketing, quantifying the reach, engagement and attitudes of customers and influencers.

8. Risk: Reduce risk by roleplaying
Think through the weaknesses in your strategies and anticipate the response to them before launch, involving stakeholders from across the organization.

9. Blogging: A blog is for life and not just for Christmas
Build corporate blogs with authenticity and engagement, using them for thought leadership in your industry rather than press releases – pilot internally and focus on how the content can be sustained so it will be engaging in months to come.

10. Educate: Empower your team to make the right choices
Remember that while social media remain relatively new to marketers, teams with good experience in traditional channels may lack the skills to develop ideas, manage their agencies or assess strategies in social media – social media marketing training increases their effectiveness, reduces risk and helps tight budgets stretch further.

The rules seem to hold true for consumer and business brands as well as budgets large and small. Now we’d like to know what you feel, and what extra experiences you can add. Feel free to share those experiences with us here, online.

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Comments (9)

Jane Roberts - Agency Account Director:

Attitude.

That's so true: for me it's the biggy because many of our clients just don't have the right attitude. They thing blogs are about republished press releases and their websites simply a place to paste the print artwork. Our agency's been banging heads a long time on this one. Go you guys do private coaching inside a company for a brand team?

Zach:

Great points here. Ran across a blog post about Gatorade's new digital campaign, and it made me think about what brands get right, and what they don't...

http://www.youthmarketing.com/what-makes-a-digital-campaign-iteractive/

Richard Jackson:

Like the tearable idea. That should mean vids and photos of brands that can be lifted straight off the site. We're on it. ...once i've legged it to the lawyers to check out the rights. anyone with experience of rights from print or TV advertising?

Mike Standen:

Liking the blog is for life.

One of our directors has been pushing for a corporate blog forabout a year and there's no way she'll be able to follow through with writing it. I'm taking this back to her to mull on. Thanks.

Lisa - Agency account director:

For listening to the audience which tools would you guys suggest? We only just started to do this and have freeware at the moment from google. Am thinking we should offer more like this to our clients, THANKS!

Robert Freeman - Brand Manager:

Like the roleplay idea. Like it a lot.

Getting our young grads to be brand vandals seems pretty crazy, but it might be the smartest way of avoiding something unpleasant. We have well established brands and the risks are the biggest issue for us ratherthan the potential of social media to accelerate us.

Jono:

That point about TV made me think. We've never done that. Our media agency sinks bucketloads into TV campaigns and the creative is really strong. But we've never put them online, let alone thought about releasing them to our database first. This may just save us a few TVCs :-)

Sara Rogers:

Absolutely love it. Just wishing I'd thought more about all this BEFORE asking our web agency to go out building Facebook Aps!!!

Danny Meadows-Klue:

Let us know which of these you've found most useful. What else worked for your team, and if you're faced with challenges and are not ready for a public post then email Danny@DigitalStrategyConsulting.com

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