Today, I'm facilitating a conversation for the executive track of Social Media Plus in Philadelphia. We'll be talking about why social media is important for brands, and how to develop, implement, manage and measure a social media program. All in one hour, with questions.
There are a couple of important reasons why social is important for brands:
- people, collectively and one on one, have all sorts of conversations, public, internal, private. Part of those conversations is the fact that they buy based on beliefs -- yours. Do they connect with theirs?
- a brand is a person's gut feeling about a product, service, or organization. It's individual, and it's based on emotions and not driven by your messages.
- more and more people are online. You can discover what they do there, depending on who your customers are.
One thing is for sure, “One desire that is getting stronger than any other demands remains the desire to be unique.” [John Galliano] What can brands do to connect with that desire? There are a few examples in the slides above. Another feather in the brands' cap is a good reputation.
How do you attract customers, and inspire them to help you spread the word? How do you go about using interactions and communication to provide conversation starters to build community? Those interactions are not lost on prospective customers, either. A good side effect of engaging and participating actively.A few reminders
You know this by now. Start with your objective and goals, develop a strategy around them, then look at the tactics. Don't underestimate this step, it makes a big difference to your eventual outcomes and results. It's also the best way to measure your program.
Think through all sorts of issues that could crop up, too. Involve a cross section of all customer-facing functions, including legal on the get go. This is also a time saving move further down the line.
The commitment of the organization is crucial for the implementation to be a success. If your company has a stodgy culture, associates will have a hard time jumping in on behalf of the organization. Although you can bet they have a social media presence in their spare time.Where the proverbial rubber meets the road
It's not very sexy, the day to day work to build your presence, respond to people, find opportunities to participate proactively as part of the plan will determine your staying power over the long haul. What are some of the opportunities to participate?
When there is a crisis, as long as you are also dealing with the thing that created the crisis in the first place -- larger issue or business reason that is. Customer service will engage with complaints and if there are problems they may partner with communications, and product development. Marketing and SMEs look at the competition, answer questions, work the crowd and connect with influentials.
Do you have a mechanism to document and share compliments, program impacts, and to have the right people available at the point of need?Measurement
Thankfully, this is an area that more and more business people are looking into, which means that marketers and service providers have developed better answers. Just like with every other business function, you are looking at one or more of three areas for measurement:
- increased revenues
- decreased costs
- increased customer satisfaction
Remember to keep track of costs. You do that by spotting trends in your customer acquisition cycle.
It doesn't need to be complicated, although it needs to be thought through. I shared some examples of what interaction looks like for running shoes yesterday. Event attendees will learn why Dante Alighieri was the first ever documented blogger, and much more.
What do your customers want? Is engaging with them in social media in your industry/sector an issue? Are you having a hard time selling management on the need to integrate social media?
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.