Published in ModernSocialite.com, February 25th, 2010.
By David Lester
Social media can take a grocery-swiping 16 year old kid and make him adored by millions of teenage girls in an afternoon, like #alexfromtarget. Most brands have had a difficult time harnessing the same success as the Target Kid because they don’t appreciate it for what it is. It can do the same for your business and here are ten steps to help you to build your own social empire the right way. I’ve used the steps below to make one of my personal finance books a best seller, and aid some world class brands flex their social muscle. Here is what I’ve learned.
Social Media is your brand having a conversation. It is crucial to remember that this is the only space where your brand can have a conversation with brand lovers, customers, and angry people on the Internet. It is not simply a free digital banner, and should not be used that way. Social conversations MUST demonstrate your brand’s promise and personality every time you reach out. Use your brand strategy as a song sheet and belt it out.
Content is King! This seems obvious enough, but it is common to have brands pump out content that each area of their organization would like to communicate vs. what your brand lovers want to engage with. Use proven content, like short video, holiday and special occasion messages, and anything interactive to truly provide engaging content to your followers.
Test and learn. Just like any other campaign, you’ll need to constantly change and improve your content and moderation. Social is one of the only mediums where you can improve on the fly. Implement extensive monthly reporting that can be applied to the following month, set up brand advocate polls to ask your followers what they’d like to see, and take the opportunity to reach out to your biggest advocates to see how you’re doing. All of that crucial info is literally a tweet away.
Moderate like a champ. Split your moderation so that customer service isn’t answering all questions or interactions from brand lovers. Full-time socially savvy moderators need to be engaging with the majority of your non-service conversations. The moderator for one of our most conservative organizations, the CIA, is a perfect model. They use #sorrynotsorry, popular hashtags, and send humorous tweets like their very first tweet which read, “We can neither confirm nor deny this is our first tweet.” It gives the CIA organization a very modern and positive voice.
Social Conquest! Every empire needs to conquer and this is how to rebuff the notion that there isn’t any ROI in Social. A daily listening program needs to be installed with a proper team to take advantage of the sales-rich API date floating out there (all the world’s posts, tweets, and mentions), providing customers with better services, options, and advice. You can also reach out to new customers by providing them with your services in a casual and engaging way. Keep your content customer-interest based, and then drive sales through your conquest teams.
Use data to prove results. Now that social has become such a heavy lifter for marketers, it deserves the same amount of data inputs on which to base decisions. There are ground-breaking social data modeling programs that will use API dates, media spend data and business indexing to show the bump in sales that your social activations contributed to. Daily and monthly reporting supported by social platform data, like Facebook insights, can be used to convince the data people that social is playing it’s role to support the brand. Your company propeller heads will now chat with you at the coffee machine now that you provide them with what they love – data!
War rooms. The clearest way to see if a brand is committed to the new social revolution is if it has a war room or not. Bringing all of your social teams together in one room is crucial to keep your fingers on the pulse of your brand. Whether it is crisis management, or even having your finger on the trigger when a famous musician wears that same sort of hat as your brand (Arby’s), you need to have the war room humming all the time. It also provides a great HQ for Twitter parties or monitoring big PR push results.
Social is digital PR. If your brand is good at PR it is already good at social. Social and PR teams should be using the same content calendars and have real time information sharing. Almost everything that is PR-able is good social fodder. Any engaging TV appearances, fancy events, or celebrity appearances will blow the doors off your engagement. Plus it has twice the positive brand waves without double the effort. Get twice the results of all of your PR activations.
Leverage a bigger, cooler ally. Anytime you have a partnership with a cooler brand or individual – leverage it. Tweet out thank yous or “favorite” their tweets. Being able to access new pools of followers and possible clients is free in social. Make sure it is relevant and use your relationship to both your advantages. Allies are crucial to building your empire.
Blogs are dead (Accept mine!). The social realm is constantly changing. Outreach to popular bloggers used to be a great tactic, but now in the world of Instagram and Vine people don’t read more than 140 characters or watch more than 15 seconds of video. Your tactics have to change with the times and your brand has to be able to adapt to new platforms and advertising opportunities (Instagram is rolling out ads now!). Be sure that your brand is as fluid as the social battlefield.
Make your dream a reality with a smart social media campaign,