social media isn’t just for interns
resistance to social
media is futile.
Millions of people are
creating content for the
social web. Your
competitors are already
there. Your customers
The emergence of a powerful new This just in, consumers are now have been there for a
communication platform that reaches well spending more time on social long time.
over 300 million consumers is nothing short networks than any other form of
of remarkable, but it also might not be the website, including porn. If your business isn't
best time to hand over the keys to an intern putting itself out there, it
to drive the conversation. Sure, these new To make the most of this newly emerging ought to be.”
platforms are the playground for the young
opportunity to connect with your consumer,
and connected, but the user profile of most
to shape your brand, and develop long-term
social networks is older than you might customer relationships at a fraction of
think, and its climbing quickly. „above the line‟ media costs, this
opportunity simply can‟t be squandered.
setting up an account is not a strategy
While the simplicity of social platforms can media might just be an express ticket to Take a quick inventory of how you are
enable rapid growth, it can also create a nowhere. leveraging social media today:
false sense of accomplishment for those
who don‟t create a focused plan to leverage o Public Relations
the power of these platforms for real
Regardless of whether you have o Customer Support
one or one million friends, o Market Research
business goals. Now is the time to take a o Brand Marketing
followers, or fans there are
moment and think about your overall o Promotions
business strategy and what role social media
multiple ways your business o Consumer Education
could benefit from a more o Sales
might play in hitting your objectives. The
proactive social media strategy. o Product Development
bad news, if you don‟t currently know o Customer Relationship Management
where your business is heading, than social
1. public relations
Social media platforms touch well over 350 messages about you, your company, your How the various platforms are employed to
million people world wide every single day. brand, or your entire industry. shape the public perception, and to impact
These platforms represents one of the most traditional media channels is part art, part
direct and immediate channels into the science. Crafting compelling messages, and
hearts and minds of consumers, voters, and
Social media platforms present a embracing transparency are the foundation
completely new opportunity to
the public media. For certain brands this for success.
instantly deliver messages to
platform can be a direct communication
platform that enables brands to find
millions of people. The impact
on public relations is simply
supporters and evangelists (by filtering
through organic posts) as well as identify
dissenters, opposing threats and negative
2. customer support
For a huge number of businesses there is a Where traditionally customer also feel more connected to a larger pool of
hidden cost that is rarely discovered until support has been viewed as a consumers who also use the same product
after it‟s too late in the game. Long after the cost center, smart brands are or service. It‟s hard to argue with a potential
sale is made, this hidden problem can grow starting to use social networks to win/win scenario.
into a huge drain on profitability in the form help offload their support costs
of customer support costs. Good customer on to a community of super
service is essential to maintaining a positive users.
brand image, and it is a key strategy to
eliminate product returns.
The net effect of this strategy is often two
fold. Consumers get the support they need
(at virtually no cost to the brand) and they
3. market research
The value of good information is hard to Having access to tens of for gathering information. Sure, you‟ll still
measure. Launching new brands, millions of consumers who are need some sharp minds and effective tools
developing new products, and effectively openly talking about their to filter through all the garbage, but there is
targeting a new pool of consumers requires rational and emotional needs is a a reason commercial fisherman use a net
knowledge that simply doesn‟t exist inside newly discovered goldmine for instead of a hook. If you are thinking about
the four walls of your company. market research. changing directions, launching a new brand
Traditionally brands seeking market campaign, or just itching to know what
research have had to rely on expensive consumers are thinking about your business,
Real time analysis of consumer trends,
firms who pool consumer opinions, virtual focus groups, and other insightful product, or brand, the answers are closer
feedback, and insights into structured interactions are all made possible at a than you think.
presentations that cost both time and money. fraction of the cost of traditional methods
4. brand marketing
While this may be one of the most common platforms from Facebook to the iPhone. While the sheer size of this new channel
ways that brands are currently using social Each application provides some utility for (and half a dozen triple lattes) can often get
networks, there are clearly those that „get it‟ the customer, from store locators, to pre- brands so excited that they can‟t help but
and those who don‟t. The key difference ordering your specially customized drink shout about their product, the real value is in
comes from playing a behavior-supporting before you even get in line. the meaningful relationship that you can
role in the life of your consumer. It is your foster between the consumer and your
job to make their day a little better by brand.
Marketers should take notice of
enabling a social relationship with your
what they didn‟t do; drown their
brand. Want some simple pointers? Take
fans in an over-caffeinated flood
Starbucks for example. They have launched
of chest pounding information
a slew of social tools across a variety of
about their product.
With the power of direct communication to Some of the most successful (number of friends) they created a
consumer comes the responsibility of promotions have employed the memorable promotion that had a powerful
crafting compelling promotions that get power of the network itself to viral effect (for every friend that was
cash registers to ring, put more butts in create a fan base that didn‟t exist sacrificed they got a message telling them
seats, and create a contagious pass along prior to the promotion. why; a free Whopper sandwich from Burger
effect. Smart, effective promotions don‟t King).
require you to have a million fans before
One great example is a Burger King
activation. When brainstormed and built
promotion that asked consumers to sacrifice
right, these efforts can be the key to
10 friends (un-friend them on Facebook) in
doubling or tripling a smaller social
order to get a free Whopper. By playing
with the core emotional driver of the user
6. consumer education
The consumer interaction process as follows Brands should be leveraging the Unlike 30 second ads, social networks
a continuum of excite > educate > motivate interactive capabilities within present a platform where you can share
> convert. While there are plenty of great social platforms to educate and information over a longer period of time.
examples where promotions or marketing motivate their consumers Leverage that time effectively and you can
campaigns can execute all of these functions through discussion boards, “ask educate consumers about even the most
in one fell swoop, more often than not you the expert” buttons, threaded complex solutions.
need to think strategically about how you‟re discussions, and other media
going to bring your consumer along the path tools like video, images, and
to a point where they‟re „ready‟ to buy & reference quotes.
that‟s where the education phase often gets
Integrated retail applications can let you This newly born ability to sell is where there are cool kids and not so cool
shop at a virtual fashion show, order a pizza, starting to catch on and more kids. Life comes full circle with the addition
or download the latest album from your and more retailers are beginning of the shopping mall style checkout
favorite band from right inside Facebook. to reap the benefits of enhancing counters. Smoothie anyone?
With the ability to integrate transactions and their curb appeal inside the
revenue generating applications into social social shopping mall.
media platforms comes all of the challenges
that online retailers face today, only things
The good news is real estate is still cheap,
are a bit more tricky working inside the four
and you can always be just one click away
walls of a social application.
from your customer. Plenty of people
compare social networks to high school
8. new product development
We‟ve already talked about market their business identify innovative new directions for their
research, and what role social media can innovative new market companies. Cisco set up a program that
play to help streamline and strengthen opportunities, and even assist awarded the winner of their challenge (to
customer development. There are several with development of new find a $1B opportunity) with a $250,000
other ways that social media can be used to product concepts. cash prize. By leveraging the reach of social
directly impact the product development media, these companies have been able to
process. harness the brain power and innovation
Market leaders like SAP (software) and
from minds that exist well outside the walls
Cisco (hardware) have recently completed
of their building.
Some companies have started programs where they leverage social media
to leverage a public pool of to draw upon the collective wisdom of
collective brainpower to help crowds to identify new products and
9. customer relationship management
One of the most interesting things about Where list building was a major tactic for proverbial 15 minutes of fame stretched to
social media is the longitude of the building an inexpensive platform for 15 years or more. One can only imagine
relationship with the consumer. marketing to consumers over the last few what impact a persistent network of millions
years, social media presents an equally of fans could have. What would it mean if a
powerful long term strategy for keeping pop band like the Back Street Boys had a
While nobody can predict the
customer relationships in tact tomorrow and persistent social network that represented
lifetime membership to the
beyond. The impact of the platforms over even half of the buyers of the 100 million
latest social sites, it seems that time has not been fully realized, but the records they sold? Maybe we‟d still be
there is a chance that they could
projections look interesting. With pop music listening to Lou Pearlman‟s next big boy
outlast consumer‟s email and
stars, authors, and companies building band instead of Blink 182.
street addresses. networks of millions of fans we may see the
10. yet to be discovered…
Okay, it‟s true, we told you there were 9 any don‟t fret. This market is changing From emergency contacts (like twitter sites
categories of how you can use social media daily, so stay tuned to what‟s coming next. set up to stream news after an earthquake)
to impact your business and life. or simple tasks like family management
(”I‟ll pick you up from soccer practice at
The exciting part is that we have
6:00″), we‟re just starting to scratch the
We lied, there‟s 10. Because of the yet to uncover even half of the
surface of what will evolve in the near
rapid evolution in this market, we decided ways that these emerging
future. Nearly every day thousands of new
to nominate a 10th category and have applications and disruptive
applications are launched, and thousands
coined it „yet to be discovered‟. Hopefully technologies will impact both
more are being drawn up on white boards
the 9 other examples we pointed out inspire consumer and corporate life.
around the globe, so stay tuned…
some ideas around how social media could
impact your business, but if you didn‟t see
how to get started
Let‟s face it, in the complex and ever- front strategy before lighting the fuse. In
evolving world of social media, it‟s easy for order to help some of the „not so early‟
even the best of us to take a wrong turn and adopters out there plot a course of action,
get lost. That‟s why it it‟s essential to first we‟ll offer up our four step process.
create a highly-targeted social media
strategy with clear, achievable goals;
The 4 step process:
whether it‟s product development,
consumer awareness, PR, or even offline
foot traffic and purchase. To fully leverage
emerging social media tools and techniques,
it requires that you put together a smart, up-
think like Jane Goodall
The North social team spends quite a bit of big helping of inspiration by simply We‟d encourage you to check
time trying to keep our callused thumbs on observing those brands that are currently out the Custom Facebook Page
the pulse of what the latest and greatest making the most of their social presence. gallery and see what some of the
campaigns, strategies, customizations, and One of the easy ways to get up to speed is to best creative minds and
integrations. Sure this emerging media take a look at what other brands are doing, innovative brands in the world
platform is still brand spanking new, but and see what works and (more importantly) have been able to conjure up.
there are already smart insights that we can what doesn‟t.
pull from what is happening in this space
today. While your brand might not have the
resources or the will power to blaze new
trails into this digital frontier, you can get a
Our planning process typically takes a few Evaluate Identify
weeks where we work to clearly define the Evaluating your brand and business Indentifying the right strategic opportunities
business goals, and unfold a crystal clear objectives, your business assets, your for best leveraging your assets and
map of how we plan to get to the finish line consumer, and your overall brand resources, so you can focus on building
leveraging the best tools and resources positioning to help guide and structure each meaningful customer relationships, increase
available. This „strategy immersion‟ process social media engagement so that is can be organization effectiveness, and grow your
breaks down into two main components. tied back to a business goal. social platform effectively.
From custom pages & content to influence on what consumers feel (and say) Work on it 24/7
promotions & contests, you‟ll probably about your brand. Building up a social media presence is
need a team of talented creative types to put great, but it‟s only one half of the equation.
together all of the essential ingredients you Momentum is generated by dedicated
need to create memorable and meaningful
Build great stuff
headcount that maximizes and manages all
social brand experiences. But whatever you Tap a team of designers and developers to
of your brand‟s activity, which includes both
do, don‟t confuse social media as another build custom Facebook and Twitter pages,
inbound and outbound messages.
opportunity to shout about your product. applications, and promotions that
Really take the time to dial in your creative seamlessly integrate with the look, tone, and
communications; as the images, words, and feel of your brand while inspiring
content that you choose have a massive meaningful social interaction.
If you‟re going to take the time to concept work on is the overarching content strategy events, user-generated content contests, e-
and deploy an interactive promotion, take that will be employed to help position your couponing campaigns, and product
full advantage of the social web and watch brand for success. Skip this step in the giveaways. These promotional efforts
it spread. If you want to be a hit at the party, process and you can quickly find yourself should center around great content, but
don‟t shuffle around the room handing out on the outside looking in. Remember, in ultimately leverage integrated sharing and
brochures explaining the features and social media, content is king. promotion technologies that give your
functions of your product. The way to message the best shot to grow organically.
develop a large and loyal following is by
Create compelling content
first inspiring people so they‟ll want to
connect with your brand. A major Deploy a wide range of engaging
component of the project planning that we promotional campaigns, including:
exclusive branded content, sweepstakes,
One of the core components to creating Regardless of the focus of your social Real time reports
value through social media is your ability to strategy, the ability to track, measure, and By listening in you‟re able to 1) mine
measure the impact. We leverage real time listen to millions of consumers in real time insights for new opportunities; 2) identify
API‟s and the latest reporting tools to pull in presents a strategic opportunity that has key influencers; and 3) understand how our
and analyze millions of daily updates, blog never existed before now. Hint: If you promotional campaigns are fairing.
posts, and mentions about your brand. Each aren‟t tuning into what consumers are Identifying the tone of what‟s being talked
is tracked for both volume, sentiment (good saying about your brand, your industry, your about online (positive, negative, neutral), to
or bad context) and changes in volume or product, and your competitors, you‟re uncover timely truths which enable you to
sentiment. With robust measurement in missing the point. build better products, promotions, and
place you can clearly see the impact your customer relationships.
brand has across the social platform.
let’s talk shop
Don‟t be afraid to ask
Our clients range from start up ventures to
global brands. If you think that you might
benefit from a conversation with a Partner at
our firm, please don‟t be afraid to drop us a
line, we‟d be happy to talk shop.
Please feel free to follow North on Twitter,
join us on Facebook, drop us an email, or
just give us an old fashioned phone call.