As social media platforms went through their early exponential growth, marketers were compelled to dive blindly into the pool. Today they care about what kind of splash they will make. The pressure is on to create concrete strategies and deliver real value from any time spent on social media marketing activities. At the BRITE ’13 conference, Ric Dragon, author of Social Marketology, offers an action plan for marketers, of all sizes, to think smartly about how to best use these new tools and the 1-to-1 connection they offer.
While it should be obvious, Ric has found that many companies still don’t think about their desired outcomes – how will a social media marketing effort fit in with your company’s broader brand position and personality, and how does it align with all your marketing goals? He notes that the important thing is to consider and develop an understanding of these four major brand stakeholders:
- Us – be united internally on your company’s brand goals and personality
- Them – know what drives your consumers and how they perceive your brand
- Communities – uncover the larger, aggregated networks of your consumers
- Influencers – get to know who is influential in these communities
Throughout his talk, Ric provides insights on how to think about developing metrics for your social media campaigns, how to uncover micro-segments of active communities that will likely have an affinity for your brand or communications, and how to “professionally stalk” and excite the influencers of those communities.
These techniques would then be executed within five key approaches to social media:
- Brand maintenance – having a footprint, and listening to and occasionally interacting with your customers
- Reputation and crisis – creating and sharing content that shows your leadership on business and/or social issues
- Community building – creating an interactive presence with brand ambassadors
- Influence – targeting and connecting with key social media influencers in your category
- Big splash – creating attention through a unique campaign that will excite a huge reaction
“[Marketers] need to think about the healthy mix of these approaches,” Ric states, “and acknowledge that they may change over time.” Each brand must develop an action plan that weighs the level of attention it gives to the development of web properties, social connections, content creation, and stakeholder engagement, and how this balance should be altered each quarter.
Ric concludes, “When we integrate all this work with storytelling, it is extremely powerful, and I believe we all can grow our business through social media.”