marketing strategy


To succeed in social media, set aside your marketing plan

Forget your marketing PLAN?  Have I gone MAD??

Every good social media plan STARTS with a solid marketing strategy but social media efforts are sub-optimized if a company is too wedded to long-term plans and can’t respond to sales opportunities happening RIGHT NOW in front of their noses. To succeed, let’s put the long-term plans aside for a moment and consider a new way to think about and organize around the social web called REACTIVE MARKETING.   Let’s look at some examples …

Where’s the beef? A large restaurant chain was frustrated that the only thing that generated Facebook traffic was coupons.  And why not?  They had conditioned their customers to expect discounts every week!  Wait a minute. They were giving the customers money. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

I showed them a way they could tune into conversations through a simple saved Twitter search.  Immediately, they found hundreds of real-time needs from people looking for recommendations, or the best pub in town, or a place to take a date.  The chain had been too worried about planning next month’s promotion schedule while ignoring the real money-making opportunities of listening and responding, listening and responding.

Un-clog your blog. A B2B company has a content marketing plan that extended out for the next three months. Meanwhile, they had ignored a major market shift caused by a regulatory change. Instead of grabbing this opportunity to establish a voice of authority and educate their customers on the implications of this ruling, they adhered to this traditional mindset of sticking to a marketing plan while the real world passed them by.

Bring the heat. A local heating and air service company discovered a significant opportunity when they saw a series of tweets complaining about their largest competitor.  Responding to complaints that their competitors ignored opened opportunities to create loyal new customers. They are thinking of reducing their newspaper ad budget since this customer acquisition strategy worked so well.

Listen to me NOW. I sent out a tweet mentioning that I was in the market for a video camera. Within 20 minutes I had three tweets back offering specials on cameras.  While that seems like a good example of reactive marketing, none of the companies followed up with me after the first tweet.  Nobody closed the deal.  These companies organized their marketing efforts around the real-time opportunities of the social web but didn’t provide employees with the authority to go out there and actually sell me something.

Foursquare is still Bore-square. I’m still messing around with Foursquare although after several months I have yet to find any concrete value as a consumer.  But some day, I am going to “check in” at a retail location, an employee is going to address me by name, shake my hand and offer me a special deal for just checking in.  This would represent “reactive” marketing right at the point of sale. The social connection is not between me and somebody in a corporate office, it’s between me and the college student who is the department manager at the local retail tore.

Can you begin to see the opportunities?  The chance for connecting with new customers on the social web is not coming through a strategy document you just prepared for your CEO. It’s in connecting with people who need you RIGHT NOW!  It’s all about being reactive!

This presents dramatic implications for a sales and marketing department.

1) There’s a need to develop a culture with a discipline to tune-in, stay tuned, and react to market shifts and new competitive opportunities.

2) Here’s the big one.  You need to drive the authority to sell and react to the people on the front lines and establish appropriate goals and rewards for their reactive marketing efforts.

3) Every successful marketing tactic starts with a good strategy. I’m not advocating tossing out a marketing strategy. I’m suggesting that you adjust your plans to adapt to the real-time sales opportunities of the social web.

The largest brands understand this but I think this is an enormous opportunity for small and medium-sized companies. What’s your take? Have you seen much reactive marketing in your part of the world?

Ten social media problems that drive marketers nuts

Trying to deliver measurable business results from social media marketing can be frustrating. My friend and {grow} community member James Adams has been plowing this ground for some time now and in this guest post shares his personal view of his biggest annoyances …

“Use social media marketing to build your business.” Sure, these are captivating buzzwords, but few understand how difficult marketing through social sites can be until they try it!  I’m learning this from experience.  The truth is that social media marketing is difficult work.  To help minimize the impact of this frustration on the beginning marketer, here are my Top 10 annoyances as I try to market through the social web and a few comments on how I’m dealing with them:

1. Marketing for producing votes – Users of sites like Digg and Reddit rate links, allowing some to soar and others to languish in obscurity. When I found myself trying to write to secure votes and work the system, I decided to re-focus on simply creating quality content in spite of the kind ratings I get.

2. Converting followers – I have hundreds, perhaps thousands of followers: Now what? Followers are not the same as sales leads are they?   I’ve learned to think differently about expectations and conversion rates. Over time, buyers will come, but you need to be patient and accept a low conversion rate as you focus on building relationships, not quick sales.

3. Dealing with spammers, flamers, freaks, and dissenters – I find few things as annoying as having some troll following me around wherever I go kicking up dirt. I found that on some sites you can allow other users to rate comments driving out the problems, but be prepared: some of these people never go away. I deal with them gracefully, ignoring most of what they say and do most of the time.

4. Creating consistent content – Creating content that is consistent and excellent is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do as a marketer.  The ideas are one thing.  Finding the time to do it is another.  I handled this by getting on a schedule. I budget my time like I do money and somehow I make it stretch until I can get everything done.

5. Platform pressure – One blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account is not enough any  more …  and you still need to get on YouTube and Linked in. I do the best I can on what I’m doing right now and don’t worry about expanding too quickly.

6. Standing out – It is getting really crowded out here. I find it challenging to be different in social media, especially when you have to sell a legitimate product and be heard above all the MLM and other spammers out there with far more resources than me!  I have tried drawing, promos, and special games and have had some success. Ultimately, I find that participation and real engagement is more important than being cute.

7. Building a brand online – Developing goodwill and brand recognition is challenging and frustrating. I find that persistence is the key; keep at it over time and one day you will wake up at the helm of a well- known, well-respected brand. I’m finding it might be better to consistently show up rather than show off.

8. Finding quality help – Learning the best practices in social media marketing is difficult: most of the free advice out there is what you already know, and paying for training can be perilous with all the schlocky gurus around. I’m finding that identifying some consistently reliable resources like Mark’s blog can be my best teacher.  What resources do you rely on?

9. Leveraging social media for public relations – Even if you don’t sell, you want to find ways to cut through the clutter and  use social media marketing to promote your business. This can be frustrating, but by offering some free advice and real life examples of how my business has made the world better, I have had some success.

10. Putting my brand in the hands of others — If you focus on social media, what happens when your favorite site becomes changes the terms of their conditions, makes dramatic interface changes or becomes “uncool” and goes out of business? What are you going to do when Facebook or another platform gets hacked, bringing your marketing effort to a screeching halt? Remember when MySpace was the ultimate venue? I am learning to buffer myself from the failure of others by giving most of my attention to what Google, Bing, and Yahoo can do for me and owning my content.

So these are some of my concerns and frustrations. As you market on the social web, what are YOU finding out there?

James Adams covers the latest gadgets and tech announcements as well as writing detailed reviews of hardware like the CLI-521 at an ink cartridges supplier based England.

Illustration: toothpaste for dinner.com

Is ANYBODY LISTENING out there?


Next up on {grow} “Community Week” is Kristen Daukus, a fellow marketing entrepreneur, social media lover and consultant:

“I am afraid to use social media because people will use it to complain about me and my business.”

I work primarily with small businesses and can’t tell you how many times I hear that sentence.

Here’s what I think about this:

  • If you really think that many of your customers are going to complain about your company and services, you’ve got a lot more to worry about than social media.
  • What about all the ones that want to talk about how great your service is? Don’t they matter?
  • And shouldn’t you be GLAD they are taking the complaint to you instead of their neighbors?

Consider complaints a gift!

And while we’re on the topic of gifts, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sent out a love message to brands regarding service I received (naming staff, too I might add) or how amazing their new widget is only to be met with the sounds of crickets.

Nothing! No “Hey @KristenDaukas we’re so glad you enjoyed your new widget!” – nothing!  I just gave you a huge box of love and YOU’RE NOT LISTENING?

Do you think companies are so hyper-sensitive to monitoring the BAD news through the social media channels that they miss a huge opportunity in addressing the POSITIVE pieces of news?  Are brand de-sensitized to LOVE?

I realize there are a lot of community managers doing damage control out there and putting out fires is a vital piece of social media.  People by nature, are much quicker to complain than to compliment.  They have been subconsciously programmed into thinking that if they yell loud enough, they’ll get what they want.

How did this happen?  Not only have we developed this habit of rewarding bad behavior, we EXPECT it.

You don’t like your meal?  Don’t pay for it.  You don’t like the room?  Here’s a free night’s stay.  We don’t have your size?  Here’s a 50% discount.

So you give them what they want and what … they love you forever?  They go away?  Do you think they’ll make as much noise about how you resolved the issue?  Do you think they’ll become brand ambassadors for you?

Maybe. Maybe not. Even if they do, I doubt the “love” will last very long.

But …

What if we took a page from the Dr. Spock books and rewarded the GOOD behavior?

When is there a better time to make a brand lover even happier than when they’re already happy? If I’m tweeting how amazing your company, service or product is, imagine what I’m going to do when you acknowledge that love!  I am going to turn around and blow even more sunshine around the world about you. There won’t be a person within earshot that won’t know how amazing you are. Sliced bread will have nothing on you.

And that’s just from the FIRST exchange.

What about when we start to have a conversation and share witty banter?? Wow … we’re FRIENDS now!!  And I don’t EXPECT a thing. Nothing. If you choose to give me a little freebie love, that’s only going to make me happier and make me talk more.   And then what happens if someone says something bad about my friend??  What do friends do?  They protect you, of course!  That very passionate person all of a sudden becomes your biggest ally..

See where I’m going with this?  It’s all in your approach — glass half full versus  half empty.

Are there people that do nothing but complain? Yes. Are there more people that want to see you succeed? Yes. Do them a favor and let them help you.

Kristen Daukas is a founder of Linking Winston-Salem, Social Media Club Piedmont-Triad and her newest pet project, TweetBroads.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...