By Keith A. Quesenberry
To succeed with social media, marketers must modify their basic marketing concepts for this two-way, consumer-empowering form of communication. Here’s a framework:
Define the status quo. Identify your business objectives and target market. Also consider your industry, the brand’s recent performance and current traditional marketing promotions for the product and its competitors. Some brands need a new image, as when Starbucks’s reputation fell to an all-time low a few years ago. Using social media, the coffee company launched My Starbucks Idea to crowdsource feedback and reengage customers.
Listen to your target audience. Are you targeting millennials entering the work force, fathers with young children or senior executives nearing retirement? What are they doing on social media, and where are they doing it? What are consumers saying about your brand, products, services and competitors?
Create content that drives engagement. What is your target consumer looking for? Social media is all about producing fresh, relevant content, whether it’s “how to” articles or simply something entertaining. Select social-media channels that fit your brand message, type of content and target audience.
Link marketing goals to key performance indicators. If you’re driving sales online, measure digital KPIs with click-throughs from social platforms to the purchase. Google Analytics Social Reports are especially useful in breaking down social traffic and assigning monetary value to web site conversions, such as sales or lead generation.
How does this framework look in action? One example is the Mercedes Tweet Race to the Super Bowl. Mercedes-Benz competitors were positioning the venerable automaker as tired and stodgy. Digital agency Razorfish introduced Mercedes to a younger generation of consumers by figuring out where the target audience was active on social media.
Four two-person driving teams were recruited on Facebook to take on the challenge. Powered by online supporters’ tweets, each team created social-media engagement to drive real Mercedes-Benz vehicles forward, moving 1 mile for every four tweets. The contest’s results included a 7-percent increase in scheduled test-drives of Mercedes vehicles, a 6-percent increase in first-time owners and leases, and 27,000 active participants who generated more than 150,000 tweets, reaching 25 million people.
Keith A. Quesenberry is an assistant professor at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.