THE FREE RIDE OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING IS OVER.
So what changed? Well, if you compare social marketing programs from early 2008 with those today there’s one critical difference: by now, every consumer-facing brand has discovered social media. It’s become part of marketing 101. But of course, that also means the early advantages of simply posting and responding on Facebook and Twitter have vanished. You could call it marketing 202: When everyone is doing the same thing, it’s nearly impossible to stand out.
That means the free ride of social isn’t going to get your business where it needs to be. But since brands are still being built in online communities, retreating to the old model of ‘let’s just do a lot of advertising’ won’t be nearly as effective either.
THE ELEMENTS OF SUCCESSFUL INTEGRATED MARKETING:
In order to succeed today you need an integrated marketing program. Here’s what that needs to include: First is integrated strategy. Nothing in your marketing program should exist in its own silo. It’s imperative that every tactic works in concert with all other elements. Brand Positioning = Social = Blog = Advertising = Website = PR = Product Design. That’s not to say that all these things are the same, they aren’t. But they need to be created with the goal of message continuity. Everything you do is fodder for online reaction from your community. (Just ask Chick-Fil-A). And that’s why everything has to tie together.
Second is advertising. Leading brands are building their social campaigns by creating advertising that generates a social response. A terrific example of this right now is OREO. Their Daily Twist ads are running in a broad spectrum of consumer magazines. In addition, they can also be seen on oreo.com, Pinterest and Twitter. There’s even a fan-generated advertising finale.
The brands with the highest engagement right now – Samsung, Amazon, RedBull, Nokia, Nike, Coke – are all running advertising designed to create responses on social networks. You don’t need a giant budget to do this. You just need to be sure that your ads are built with a strong social component.
Third, you need to create fresh content on a regular basis. Remember the saying ‘information wants to be free’? Today, entertaining content wants to be free as well. The web is ravenous for new stuff. It’s just the nature of the beast. And that means in order to stay relevant to your fans (or to acquire new ones) you need to create new blog content, images, videos, animation and games. You may not need to do all of those, but you do need to commit to at least a few of them if you want to stay competitive.
Fourth are social marketing tactics that rise above those of your competitors. These tend to be fun, ‘user generated’ campaigns. Sometimes with a bit of an edge. One timeless idea was the ‘Will it Blend’ campaign where people sent in ideas for what to drop in the Blendtec blender next. The best (and often craziest) suggestions were all posted on YouTube. In 2009, the ‘Best Job In the World’ promotion – where the winner became a tropical island caretaker – generated $200 million in global publicity for Tourism Queensland. If you want to read about more tactics that worked, here’s a link to 72 of the best social media campaigns worldwide.
The brands that are having the most success today are those doing the best job of embracing change. The explosion of information online has changed marketing forever. As always, you can learn a lot from big consumer brands – even if you don’t have the kind of budget that they do. Integrated marketing isn’t really an option anymore. It’s a necessity.