Update: To receive free our 130 page white paper, “Foundations of Listening” with 25 case histories, come on November 3rd–
Winning with Social Media – ARF Industry Leader Forum
On November 3rd, learn from Chris Brogan, one of social media’s most influential forces, Google, IBM, ESPN, Crispin Porter + Bogusky (ARF’s newest member) and more how to develop your listening strategy.
Register now at http://thearf.org/assets/ilf
The first ARF meeting on social media was held yesterday…and it was a masterclass.
Chris Andrew leader of Digitas Social said, “We must stop using the ‘C’ word” (C for “Campaign”). In a broadcast marketing world, we think of brand communications as being chunked up into campaigns. In a social media world, you are creating a permanent commitment to be present and part of the conversation. It isn’t a campaign, it is on-going and self-perpetuating. He’s right–you can’t just pull the plug on conversation, access, and authenticity. How about social media campaigns that you CAN pull the plug on? Well maybe those reflect broadcast advertising mentality ported over to social media environments—it “sounds” like social media, but it is really broadcast (or narrowcast—but it’s ‘cast for sure!). BTW, Chris sees the value in broadcast campaigns as part of a complete marketing strategy; he’s just saying that is not the way to use social media.
Sam Ford, Peppercom, added that this isn’t about press relations anymore, it’s 1-1 relations; that’s the future. He also hates the word “viral”. We aren’t creating undesirable infections; marketers must create content and apps that people willingly share with their friends who they think would enjoy them. In social media, peeps become the targeting engine!
Mark Studness from Verizon talked about their success with new customer care models based on peer-to-peer knowledge sharing environments they have created. He admits he “lived in fear every night” when they first got started, exposing their brand and service problems like that, but now he couldn’t imagine turning off the spigot and, in fact, is making both peer-created and Verizon-created content simultaneously searchable.
Social media is on-going and self-perpetuating. Drop the C word.
Heather Maxwell from General Mills talked about the incredible levels of engagement that people have in their managed communities intended for sharing ideas and getting reactions that generate consumer insights. She noted that when they end a research community, these people turn into ambassadors for the brand; they loved the fact that a big company valued what they had to say. I can’t help but saying with a grin, “Wow, respondents loving research—imagine that!”
Social media is a way for you, the marketer, to open up your brand and commit that you will always be accessible. Today, people respond to authenticity and the panel helped us to understand what that really means:
- tell the truth
- use language people understand
- Show the company is comprised of real people
- Be transparent—show you’re not hiding anything or being guarded
- Express what you are all about in a consistent way.
- “Authenticity” requires that you first understand the soul of your brand.
When Lynne d Johnson, the ARF’s head of social media (formerly head of communities at Fast Company mag.) asked our expert panel about ROI, it was clear that we don’t have all the answers yet. However, the answer I liked best was Heather’s; “What is the ROI for you to send your mother a mother’s day card?” So I might add, what is the ROI for authenticity? Who cares? What kind of company do you want to be?
The final big point is that you can’t jump into social media, you should listen first. There are many wonderful listening platforms so pick one and dig in. The ARF will be creating a “Foundations of Listening” document to help you with this. Maybe start with just living social media—get a twitter account, start sharing ideas with people you want to follow. Search Twitter, Blogpulse and Google trends for key words you are interested in. Dip a toe.
Whether or not people will talk about you in social media is not the marketer’s choice; the key issue is whether you will become part of the conversation. Or, as Lynne d. Johnson asks, “Are you going to become the chief storyteller for your own brand?”