It’s hard to find a marketing blog or site that isn’t highlighting how to build a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+ (whose insanely fast ascent is a fascinating case study in itself), and with good reason: these platforms constitute hundreds of millions of global users. It’s only reasonable that brands want – and need – to be there.
But simply establishing a presence on these platforms does not constitute an effective social strategy. Here are 3 quick things to consider when building out your social programs, as proven out by our experience running hundreds of social campaigns and programs:
Razorfish and eConsultancy recently identified the top reason people follow a brand are special deals. While idealists may posit that people follow a brand out of pure affinity, the constraints of time and attention make an extra incentive critical to move even your most faithful customers to click that button – and given that the bulk of people follow just 2-5 different brands, it makes sense that you may need to put a little skin in the game to get them to include you as of these chosen few.
While dedicating separate budget – and people – to social may make for easier drawing of organization charts, it too easily leads to an adverse impact on who matters most: the customer, who receives more messages and information than ever. The best approach is to not add social on top of this ever-growing list of touch points, but rather integrate it into your existing properties.
So we’re encouraged by the findings from Altimeter Group which identified website integration as one of marketers’ top priorities for social in 2011. And eMarketer recently reported on a trend towards combining social and search, which follows from the same logic: as services such as Bing and Google+ integrate search results with social recommendations, coordination of these efforts to generate more earned media will be imperative.
Any marketer worth his or her salt knows that to be effective, testing and learning is critical. So we were surprised to read a recent study from Web Liquid and RTW. They surveyed 237 marketing executives at mid-sized and large companies (with revenues greater than $51M) and revealed that almost half use Google Alerts which, while free, do not provide automated or scalable ways to gain customer insights. Even more concerning is that 20% are not even monitoring social media at all.
If you are deploying budget and people to social, you owe it to your firm to take these steps to ensure it gets the ROI it deserves. Our clients do.