Social Media As an Investment

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10 Social Media Dos and Don'ts for online Business Success

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Social Media As an Investment

  1. 1. ==== ====1 Wierd News They Dont You To Know...http://tweespi.com/socialmediaguide==== ====To create a modern brand a marketer must have a "conversation" among "friends ". Okay, nowjust how does a marketer create those "friendships" to have those "conversations" to create thosestrong, effective, brands? A case study in how to do this is the presidential campaign of BarackObama in 2008.At the beginning of this article I want to state this misnomer. President Obama is a lightning rod.Some people love him and some people hate him, but even his biggest detractors have to admitthat his social media strategy was a classic. Marketers should study this campaign because it is atutorial on how modern products must be branded. I hope that the reader will focus on themarketing and not the politics.Barack Obama is a classic case in how a brand can be created in a New Media Age. To win theAmerican presidency a candidate must have a great deal of money and a great deal of namerecognition---a brand. If a candidate does not have a brand, if voters do not know who you are,you are not going to be elected. If a marketer cannot distinguish their product in the market place,that product will not be bought. This is why modern marketers should study the Obama campaign.Before the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama had no money and was unknown. By contrast, HillaryClinton was a well-known senator from a large state. During 2006-2007, it was a foregoneconclusion that Hilary would win the Democratic nomination She and her husband had created avast political network to draw from, and she a lot of money---she had a strong brand. Barack hadno brand; even in his own household. When Barack broached a potential candidacy to Michelle,her response was, "This is the craziest thing you ever said to me. Nobody is going to beat Hilarythis year...Get over it, kid". Barack and his team did have knowledge of social media and how touse it in a campaign. This knowledge was his biggest asset.The campaign of 2008 is analogous to the modern market place. In times past, it was very hard,and very costly to create a new product and brand it. This is why social media is such an importantelement in modern marketing. A social media campaign allows a new product to be created andbranded in the market place quickly, at very little cost. The modern market place is best explainedby author Shiv Singh. There has been a change in the market place. No longer are consumersinterested in engaging with large impersonal brands. Consumers do not trust brands any longer---they trust their friends. In a recent survey conducted by The Economist half the respondentsstated that they dont trust big business. They trust the recommendations of their friends.Leveraging the recommendations of friends is the way to create brands. This is the reason whythe use of social media is so critical to branding. Through social media, friends meet,conversations happen, and brands are created.This means that if a product is going to be selected, the brand must become a "friend" to itsconsumer. This is what the Obama Campaign did and the way that he did this should be studied
  2. 2. by marketers because it is a case study in how to create modern brands using social media. Bycombining social media that creates micro-targeting, force multipliers are created that are neededto create world-class brands.The knowledge of the modern market place allowed Barack and his team to quickly develop astrong brand and overcome the Clinton campaign. At this point, I would like to clear up an errorthat I made in a previous article. Recently, I wrote an article entitled, "The Perfect Storm: WhyCompanies Should Adopt Social Media Marketing as the Center of Their Marketing". In this article,I identified David Plouffe, Mr. Obamas campaign manager as an original member of the Facebookmanagement team. This was an error. The Obama staff member that I was thinking of was ChrisHughes, who served as the Obama Campaign Director of Online Organizing. Mr. Hughes had agreat influence on the campaign social media strategy.Let me summarize what the Obama campaign did to brand itself:• They had a goal• They created the scale to achieve this goal• They made their platforms easy to find, and fun to use and navigate• They channeled online enthusiasm into specific, targeted activities that furthered thecampaigns goals• Integrated online advocacy into every element of the campaignThe Obama campaign was not the first campaign to use social media. They were the first to co-ordinate social media with an entire campaign. They were the first to organize the use of socialmedia. For social media to work, it has to be organized. John McCain and Howard Dean used themedium before Obama, but Obama and his staff was able to integrate and organize social mediainto every area of the campaign in a seamless way. Because of this Barak was able to create"conversations" that engaged. He created enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm his sight created wassmart enthusiasm. He used social media sights in a way that targeted supporters and voters. Thistargeting allowed him to understand the important metrics that he needed to know in order to winhis campaign. He was able to target and focus on his true supporters.The strength of Obamas social media branding approach is that it was constructed to make anddevelop "friendships". This is important for marketers to realize. When you meet someone there isa veil between you and that person. As you get to know each other better, the veil comes down.As your relationship develops, trust develops, and deeper conversations begin. Theseconversations bring about deeper relationships on a human level. On a marketing level, theserelationships become strong brands.The Obama campaign knew that it had to engage people, but that engagement had to be basedon trust. The Obama engaged people in what it called "the ladder". You engage one step at atime, build the relationship deeper, and each step is a higher level of commitment---a ladder. Thesteps of the ladder are based on the comfort level of the individual in relation to the campaign. Amarketer would call these steps creating touch points.The first touch point would be Personal. This is the point at which a marketer and customer firstcome into contact and "friend" one another on a platform like Facebook. In the Obama case, it wasat this stage when people are getting to know one another. A person signs ups for messages and
  3. 3. emails. The next touch point is Social. It is this touch point that people start making posts orcomments to a friends profile about your product. At this touch point, a friend explains to theirfriend why a product is a good thing. In the Obama campaign, these profiles integrated with theirweb site. At the Website, a supporter may create an account. In the marketing area, anorganization would integrate with a Facebook or Twitter. At this point, a customer may feelcomfortable enough with a brand to join a "group" or create a "group".In the Obama campaign, the next stage would be to become an Advocate. To drive interest,pictures may be posted, blogs written, or a video may be created and posted to You Tube, forinstance. There are analogies in the advocate stage for a marketer trying to converse about theproduct with a "friend" (a customer) and vice versa. It is in the advocate stage that a supportermight have now feel committed enough to Obama to host an event, ask friends to donate money,or to register to vote. In the Advocate stage, in a marketing situation, a person might talk to afriend and recommend a product, creating a brand.The next stage is the Empowering stage. This stage is for serious supporters of Obama. Here asupporter gets heavily involved. The campaign tracked volunteers and could target its mostreliable supporters.These committed people could create social and fundraising groups on MyBO Web site. TheObama campaign could now organize their own networks of supporters that gave supportersaccess to the Obama database, from which they could pull phone numbers for doing phonebanking from their living rooms. In reading this article, a marketer has to make an analogy withwhat the Obama campaign did to what each marketer can do with their own brand to increaseengagement with their customers. Perhaps some organizations could offer discounts to theircustomers if they introduce their friends to the marketers and solidify the brand. Here a marketercan be flexible in their own situation to extend their brand.The reason why social media platforms are so popular is that friends now have the means toshare video, blogs, pictures, and posts with their friends. This is a god-send for marketers as theytry to create and expand their brand. Ford Motor Company just did this in an effective campaign tointroduce their new car, the Fiesta. Ford called this the Fiesta Project. In the same way that Fordextended brand awareness for the Fiesta, the Obama campaign provided source material for user-generated content. Here is where scale comes into play. The reason why Fords and Obamascampaign was so effective was because they both had the scale for "friends" to "converse" tocreate the brand. This is why the planning stage is so important in creating a brand. As Napoleansaid, "Every army has a plan until the first shot is fired". A marketing campaign is chaotic. Thingshappen. A marketer has to be flexible. The reason Fords and Obama s social media campaignwas so successful was because there was planning and enough scale was created to engage"friends".In the case of the Obama campaign, its web site, MyBO contained videos, speeches, photos andhow-to guides that gave people the raw materials they needed to create their own compellingcontent in support of Obama. In return, supporters created more than 400,000 pro-Obama videosand posted them to YouTube. They also wrote more than 400,000 blog posts on the MyBO Website. A modern marketer has to engage their customers to create compelling content for thecompany that creates brand awareness. This is why social media is important in creating modernbrands. A company is going to have a hard time in doing this, left to their own devices and more
  4. 4. importantly, finances. In the case of Ford, Ford did not spend any money on their Fiesta launch.Fiesta had a great presence on social media sights, but the presence was created by privateindividuals. When the Fiesta was launched, 38% of the target market was aware of the car.This is the reason why both the Obama and the Ford campaigns were so successful. According toEdelmans 2008 Trust Barometer, the most trusted source of information is consistently from a"person like yourself".The next step in the later that created brand for the Obama campaign was the integration that tookplace between MyBO and the social media platforms. In the case of the Obama campaign, itswebsite served as the hub for electoral activities, with spokes that reached to an array ofplatforms, all of which drove conversation back to the Web site in order to engage the people,empower the voices, raise the money and get the boots on the ground needed to win the election.This again is a scale issue that involves planning. A marketer must have a common source tointegrate with social media because there are so many social media sites. If a brand is to engagewith friends, the conversation must be fun, easy, and simple. This takes scale.The Obama made the search for content easy. What good is great content if it cant be found?According to Google, 90% of searches are taken from the first page. The Obama campaignunderstood that you have to be on page 1 to be found. For this reason, it created simple Web siteswith the URLs of popular search items to increase the likelihood that they would appear at the topof the search results.The ease of navigation was an important issue in developing brand for the Obama campaign. Inany campaign, something happens beyond the candidates control. Sometimes these happeningderail campaigns. In 2004, the "Swifties" derailed John Kerrys campaign because he did not havea means to control in the negative information flow. In March of 2008, with the nominationseemingly in the bag, the issue of Jeremiah Wright appeared. This issue was enough to sink mostcampaigns. Because of his branding and his presence on social media, Barack was able to offsetthis.The opposition created videos criticizing Obama. The campaign replied by releasing videos thatused the same tags so that its positive response could be found when people searched for theoriginal. The campaign understood that most people on YouTube use "related videos" to find whatto watch. By mimicking tags, people were more likely to find the Obama response alongside theoriginal critique. The campaign understood that more than one-third of the public does notdistinguish between organic search results and paid search ads. It aggressively purchased searchads to increase the likelihood that users would be driven to friendly information.An important reason why the Jeremiah Wright issue did not destroy the Obama campaign is thatBarack knew what people were thinking because his own interaction and presence on the differentsights. To derail the controversy, Barack knew a major speech on race had to be given. In hisspeech, Barack knew exactly what had to be said to derail the controversy. Baracks social mediastrategy allowed him to communicate with the public in real time. He was able to turn a realnegative, into an absolute positive.There is no perfect product. Something will always go wrong with any brand. With a social mediapresence, a marketer can find out what people are thinking. A marketer can understand problems
  5. 5. in their early stages. Social media allows a brand to communicate directly to customers and tocontrol the situation when bad things happen.The Obama campaign was able to brand successfully because the campaign understood theimportance of mobile devices. The use of mobile devices is a critical element in a modernbranding strategy. The Obama campaign realized that 90% of Americans are within 3 feet of theirphones, 24 hours a day. People read 90% of their text messages, while ignoring their email. Mobilphones and text messaging allowed Barack to reach and converse with his supporters any timeany place. A 2006 study by the New Voters Project found that text message reminders helpedincrease turnout by 4% at a cost of only $1.56 per vote, much less than the cost of a door to doorcanvas. The conventional get out the vote techniques cost approximately $20-$30 per vote. Thesemetrics have great relevance to marketers as they seek to create a brand among their customers.The Obama campaign was able to target important touch points with voters at a time when voterswere making their voting decision. This has great relevance to modern branding. Because of thesocial media platforms, the Obama campaign was able to closely target voters. The Obamacampaign was able to track the success of each email, text message and Web site visit,capitalizing on the analytics that are inherent in digital communications. Each ad and e-mail wascreated in multiple versions (different headers, buttons vs. links, video vs. audio vs. plain text) totest what worked and what did not. The campaign developed more than 7000 customized emails,tailored to individual prospects, and made real-time improvements to its outreach materials.Adjustments were made daily to improve performance. This targeting allowed much conversionfrom McCain to Obama during the campaign.This is analogous to touch points for a marketer and it is critical to a branding campaign. Amarketer has to know the precise time at which a buying decision is going to be made. To amarketer this is known as The Consumer Decision Journey. There is a proliferation of media andproducts and this requires marketers to find new ways to get their brands in the minds of theircustomers. Social media branding has created a more targeted customer. Social media hasallowed a marketer to know precisely at one point the consumer buying decision is going to bemade. In times past the consumer buying decision was (1) Consideration of the brand, (2)Evaluation of the brand (3)Buying the brand. Social media has created newer touch points. Theconsumer buying decision is now:• Consider the brand• Evaluate the brand• Buy• Enjoy• Advocate the brand• Bond with brand (a friendship is developed, conversation is made, and a brand is created.Marketers should study the branding of the Obama campaign. A man who began with no brand,was quickly defined in the minds of the American public. He did the defining. During a speech,Barack said that "only in America can a "skinny, black kids, from Chicago, with a single parentbecome President". It can also be said that only in the New Media age can a brand be createdalmost overnight at very little cost.Dean Hambleton
  6. 6. Deanhambleton.blogspot.comhttp://www.deanhambleton.blogspot.comArticle Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dean_Hambleton

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