http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=6873200&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1 Here is a 33 minute video, part 1 of 2.
How your audience has changed and is now in control of the conversation about your brand.
The Goal of Marketing really hasn’t changed that much over time. It has always been to control that which you cannot control. To have people think and say things about your company, your products or services in the way you want them to think and talk about you, ultimately getting them to buy your products and/or services. In the past this was accomplished through traditional media, push or interruption marketing. It was where you could send out your message through "paid and free vehicles" of marketing, advertising, and public relations to help shape what was being said about your company, products or services…basically attempting to control Word of Mouth (WOM). With enough push ($Money$), you could in fact shape WOM since the channels to communicate were one-way and limited in number. The market rarely talked back unless you did research, or got the occasionally piece of "snail mail" to discover what they were thinking. Ah, the good old days.
NOW there is the Internet; SEO, blogs, wikis, social networking sites and so much more. You are no longer in control of the conversation. You may think nothing has changed as you "do not hear" what is being "said." But then again, you have noticed something changed: could it be your lead generation is not quite as effective, or you find that your trade journal advertising in no longer generating the returns it once did, or perhaps sales are not as good as you expected?
Sure, you can still "push" your message out there, but it gets harder, you need to use more tools and all are more expensive than ever before. Your audience of customers and buyers (read: prospects) has changed the way they get information…Big clue of the week…they search for it using search engines and by asking friends and colleagues for advice. And you thought you were in control of the conversation. You lost control and now it is in the hands of your customers and buyers. They are in control of the conversation and that conversation can be taking place in a thousand different locations. Your marketing budget has not grown a thousand fold, and you have no idea where they are "talking about you." So what can you do?
Bob Garfield in his book The Chaos Scenario and practically most any other Social Media expert for that matter, will tell you to "listen" to what the market is saying and get engaged in the "conversation." Trouble is most companies, especially B2B companies, have a hard time understanding what Social Media is, why they should implement Social Media into the marketing plan, and how to measure it. Even B2C firms struggle with this, as I can attest.
So what the F**K is Social Media.
There are several posts and links on my blog that already talk about this. Basically it is where people network and converse. There are literally thousands of sites that conversations are taking place. The top four are:
- Twitter – Yep, the micro blog where you do not have to tell everyone in the world you are sitting on the "john." (Apologies to my brother John who was called Carl in college as there were still 20 "johns" in the dorm even when it was empty…little did he know that Carl was the name of our Great-Grandfather that emigrated from Germany in the 1870s, but that is a story for another time.) Who cares about that. But if you have an important announcement, or are sharing customer services tips, this 140 character micro-blog has a great deal of potential.
- Blogs – No longer evil, well there are still some crazies out there, the blogosphere has made it possible for people, even like little old me, actual share knowledge with everyone that cares to read. You can also get involved in commented on other blogs, sharing your opinions. It does add credibility and tends to turn "common folk" into Subject Matter Experts. Whew, yesterday I didn’t know how to spell SME now I are one!
- LinkedIn – the social media networking connection for business. Literally millions of people are networking together on LinkedIn. Besides individual profiles there are groups, groups discussions, Questions and Answers, job postings, company listings… Talk about customer service potential? Start a group here for your customer service department to feed out information and have group discussions with your customer base.
- Facebook – The social media site, first started to meet the networking needs of college students (which are also a group that is declining in use, but remains high in overall numbers). The fastest growing group of people using Facebook are over age 35, which is driving the 18-24 segment to perhaps look elsewhere as "it is not cool" to hang our with they consider the geriatric set…that is unless mom and dad, or the grandparents are on Facebook. This may or may not have real potential for a business. As for me Facebook is where I network with friends and family, typically nothing to do with work. If you customers and buyrs are hanging out in Facebook, you need to be there as well.
- YouTube, Vimeo or other video sharing sites. Well, I knew you just wanted to know what number five was. If you want to know more, read the Social Media Marketing Industry Report published March of 2009 by Michael A. Stelzer.
Why should you implement a Social Media Marketing strategy?
If you are still asking yourself that question, you missed the point about listening to your market noted above and how the channels to reach your market have multiplied a thousand fold. Social Media does NOT replace your traditional marketing program. It enhances it since you are not the only one doing the talking. You are actually listening as well and what you hear will help you address concerns and complaints. By listening you will also discover new ways to improve what you do. If this doesn’t get your "juices" flowing, you need to find a new life.
How do you measure ROI on Social Media?
That is a tough question to answer since you are trying to measure "conversations." Let me ask you this, "do you measure the ROI of your emails? How about measuring ROI on your phone conversations? How much of your day is consumed in both of these activities?" And you don’t measure the return on them??? Well, then why do you expect to measure ROI on social media conversations? Maybe you need to just measure the conversations and place a value on them regarding benefit to your company. Track them in your CRM solution (don’t get me started on CRM). In any case, you will need to put into place ways to monitor the conversation and procedures to get engaged in the conversation. There are numerous tools to monitor the conversations – almost as many as there are social media tools out there.
If you want to know more about how you can successfully implement Social Media into your marketing program, just contact me.