Social media marketing: back to basics

30 03 2011

Everybody from Abercrombie & Fitch to Allstate is trying to make the most of social media, recognizing the profound effect it can have on their relationships with customers.

Companies realize that there is a conversation going on and that it is essential for them to have a voice in it.

But despite the fact that just about every savvy brand has gotten religion on social media marketing, most are still experimenting and have yet to fully harness the power of Web 2.0.

In a recent blog post, the “Zeus of Marketing,” a.k.a. Jesus R. Graña, predicts that in 2011, companies will go back to the basics of marketing and build their social media plans on principles that were established decades ago.

Don’t be fooled by the “Zeus of Marketing” moniker. Graña — a Cornell grad with an MBA from the University of Michigan — is a senior strategy and marketing professional who has worked for Procter & Gamble and IBM, to name a few.

He writes:

“If you’re like me, classically trained in marketing and strategy, I bet you’ve wondered when the focus of social media development will switch from what’s technologically feasible to what’s necessary to execute real marketing objectives.”

Remember A/T/U — awareness, trial, continuity of usage?

My advice for all marketers and media suppliers is to focus on delivering against these strategies, which are the fundamentals of any marketing effort.

Graña warns against experimenting with social media marketing without having a clear objective:

“Creating a Facebook fan page or tweeting 24/7 without an objective will mean no clear metrics are set, and you’ll only be wasting your scarce resources. A whole business is emerging now on metrics as if fire has just been discovered. The main reason why there are no metrics now is because there were no objectives to begin with.”

Come back to the basics. No need to re-invent the wheel!!!

Graña says that if a company wants measurable metrics, it must review its current marketing strategy and confirm its marketing objectives.

If your objective is awareness, identify which vehicle reaches the largest number of people in your target demo. Facebook is the best option on a B2C basis. For B2B, Graña identifies LinkedIn as the best option. There are LinkedIn groups for just about every industry, and if there isn’t one for yours, create one.

If your objective is trial, identify which vehicle is closest to your point of sale and to your customer. Graña suggests keeping tabs on the location-based, mobile space. Vehicles like Groupon and Foursquare are a great way to get consumers to try your product. Send a consumer a high-value coupon, and there’s a good chance he/she will give you a shot.

Most brands are focused on continuity of usage. As Graña points out, “only via continuity of usage will you ensure a sustainable and profitable business.”

He writes:

“Continuity includes not only repeat purchases, but also referrals from satisfied customers motivating others to buy.”

Continuity is the result of loyalty — “the Holy Grail” for marketers. This is why CRM (Customer Relationship Management) has been so important even in pre-Internet years. It’s also THE area where social media can shine (and few, if any, have mastered it). Leveraging social media for loyalty development is the ultimate goal for marketers in this medium.

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2 responses

30 03 2011
Jason Karpf

Social media is coming out of its infancy. It is not a goal or a strategy; it is a tool that must serve the overall good of the organization. It can be closely measured, like all Web activities, but the question remains: what are measuring and why is it important? A million Facebook “likes” are inconsequential if they don’t contribute to an organizational goal or if their contribution cannot be substantiated.

31 03 2011
Alex Mitchell

Thank you for your thoughts, Jason. Graña expects that companies will start “turning social media chaos into marketing utopia” in 2011.

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