Tribal Social Media RelationshipRulebook (circa 2010) What we and clients should know about what we and they can and can’t do.
Why “social relationship” and not “social influence marketing”? Yes, we love finding and activating Influencers and Advocates. But you can’t get them on your side until they know you are interested in investing in a relationship with them. Because, like it or not, users perceive and interact with brands as “people” and not as intangible corporations or logos who are eager to please as long as you “like” them. Users will only care about your brand if you care to talk about what matters to them and give them what they would like. And in a healthy social media relationship, users will reward “relational brands” with positive word of mouth: the ultimate and realistic goal of brand efforts on social space. Good reputation then leads to brand conversion, repeat purchase, the whole shebang. Very importantly, because this is really about a relationship, brands must be prepared to fail if they want to succeed. Brands and agencies cannot get it right all the time on social space. Can you get a relationship right all the time? This isn’t an advertising campaign: all push and no feedback. Brands must expect to optimise, tweak, and explore to find the sweetspot continually for it to work. Relationships take time to build. So do not expect a huge following overnight. Even a huge brand like McD’s with all their media clout have only 1.7% of all Facebook users* as fans. Our creative and strategy will not be off the mark if we always make RELATIONSHIP the ethos of our efforts on social channels. *Malaysia
Cans We can develop creatives for social channels. Apps, games, useful content and strategy for social media. Note: Facebook is not the end-all for social media, huge as they are right now. Ask: where are my users spending their time? We have an internal or external implementer. This person will implement our plans, converse with users, listen to sentiment and feedback, seed content, etc. We can help drive trafficto our social creatives. By consistently seeding in many/relevant social sites and through social advertising. And by giving users something they’d like to share with their friends. We can monitor. We track sentiment, share of conversation, etc, with free (not so accurate) and paid (very accurate) social listening tools. We can find and activate brand influencers. These precious social media souls will do more good for the brand than advertising ever can. That’s because, as studies show, users trust word of mouth more than advertising by far. We can find ways to prepare for and mitigate social crises and shepherd – not control – conversations. Do not go into social media thinking you can control what your users say or think about your brand. Be in it for the good and the bad. This is a multi-directional, multi-participant relationship. And the brand is relating with users on a peer level. Remember, social media marketing never behaves like advertising.
Can’ts We should never guarantee number of fans. Razorfish cleverly doesn’t. McD’s Malaysia has 120K fans and they are a massive brand, heavily advertised on numerous touchpoints. But the fact is McD’s only have 1.7% of the total Malaysian Facebook user base. And with all their social media efforts, CEO blog, twitter, etc, Air Asia only has 32K+ fans to date. There are a host of other metrics we can and must track – like sentiment, positive mentions, etc. Number of fans/followers is not the end-all and be-all of social media marketing! This is myopic and short-term thinking. We need to offer broader plans that give clients and users more; for instance, pre-launch product testing or pre/after sales service. We also want to find and activate brand influencers. There is no such thing as a next-to-nothing cheap social media programme. Everything costs money, from planning to creative to implementing to listening to measuring. If they want cheap, like under 5K, they might only want a one-off tactical which goes against the ethos of social media and should be cautioned against for this will hurt the brand on social – read: ongoing relationship – space.