Why Social Media Doesn’t Work (And What You Can Do About It)

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This presentation was made at Numantra's Marketing Secrets Series Seminar.

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  • For many companies, social media has not lived up to the hype.
  • It’s true that social media is being adopted by virtually everyone on the planet.
  • And research shows that the most trusted source of marketing information comes from word of mouth.
  • Utilizing social media to grow a business makes perfect sense so why is it not working for so many marketers who have tried?
  • And what about those marketers who are making it work for their business. What’s their secret? The difference has less to do with social media and more to do with the marketer’s overall approach.
  • It’s time to face reality. Advertising is a lot harder today then it ever was before. According to Planet Feedback’s “Consumer Trust in Advertising” report, fewer than half the people surveyed trust print ads or television commercials. Hardly a third of them trust what they hear on the radio. It’s even worse for direct mail and outdoor advertising. What’s the number one trusted source of advertising?
  • Word of mouth!   That’s a huge game changer. Before, advertisers had to convince consumers to buy their product. Now, advertisers have to convince consumers to convince other consumers to buy their product. That is a much harder proposition. Imagine you had to sell your car but you couldn’t sell it directly to the buyer. Instead, you had to convince everyone to sell your car to their friends for you.
  • It’s no small wonder that advertisers have fixated on social media as the solution. Social media is the thing that all of these consumers are using to share everything with their friends: hobbies, events, humor, and yes, sometimes even information about branded products and services.
  • Social media’s popularity is undeniable. In 2009, Nielsen reported that, “time spent on social network and blogging sites is growing more than three times the rate of overall Internet growth.” In 2010, they reported that, “consumers are spending 43% more of their time on social media than a year ago, making social networking and blogs the top online activity, followed by online games and email.”
  • This did not escape the attention of the advertising community. Nike’s chief marketing officer, Davide Grasso noted, “Facebook is the equivalent for us to what TV was for marketers back in the 1960s. It's an integral part of what we do now.”
  • Meanwhile, Engagement DB studied the world's 100 most valuable brands. They were evaluated by how well they engage with their consumers using social media and how that engagement correlates with revenue. The report stated that companies with the highest level of social media activity increased revenue by 18% in the last 12 months, while companies that were the least active saw a 6% drop in sales.
  • Everybody got the hint and made social media a priority for their marketing teams. For a lot of marketers that meant setting up a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. But for most advertisers, things haven’t worked out the way they had planned. Their Twitter feeds aren’t moving the sales needle and the value of a Facebook Like seems to be where all the attention has been fixated. It brings to mind the immortal words of Bruce Lee, “It is like a finger pointing toward the moon. Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.”
  • The reason why social media isn’t living up to the hype is a familiar one. The same thing happened back in the day when advertisers were first told that the Internet was the place to be. Their biggest failing? A build-it-and-they-will-come mentality. Same as now. Too many marketers build a Facebook page and a Twitter page and then become disappointed when no one follows their page.
  • It’s not enough to simply follow people on Twitter so they will follow you back. And you can’t just tweet about your brand. Your Facebook page can’t be just a collection of descriptions of your products. It’s as if these marketers have all forgotten what makes advertising really work in the first place.
  • The problem is the lack of engagement.
  • Engagement is what made the difference during the creative revolution of 1960’s advertising. The voice and personality of Bill Bernbach’s Levy’s advertising was engaging. The style and design of Saul Bass’ art was engaging. David Ogilvy’s Hathaway man with the eye patch was engaging.
  • What’s different today? Advertisers still have to be engaging. The difference is that the options available for reaching consumers have multiplied exponentially. This challenge is further compounded by the misperception that social media is replacing other media. The marketing experts that created that misperception made the same mistake when they suggested that the Internet was going to replace television. On the contrary, people aren’t watching television less. They’re just watching television at the same time they are surfing the Internet.
  • The truth is that social media has simply been added to the rest of the constantly expanding media-sphere. And by itself, it’s not any more important than the rest of the media. The reality is that it’s not about the media at all. It’s about engagement.
  • The way to make social media work is to forget about social media. At least for the moment. Advertisers must return their focus to developing an effective communication strategy. A good communication strategy will dictate not just whether social media is an option but it will also define exactly how social media is going to work for the brand.
  • The key point: Social media is just one aspect of an effective communication strategy. So how does that work exactly?
  • Three things you must have to make social media work for your brand.
  • An effective communication strategy has three primary aspects. They are: a content development/message strategy, a media channel strategy, and an engagement strategy.
  • Content Development / Message Strategy. The biggest challenge facing marketers today is the demand on them to be interesting. Their content — their message — has to be interesting in order to be effective. People have so much control over the content they consume, that if it doesn’t appeal to them, they will probably never see it due to pre-emptive filtering that blocks it from ever getting through.   That’s why a strategy is so important. You need to know who it is you’re trying to reach and what it is that they are interested in and what that has to do with your brand. Put it all together and you have something you can work with. Primary research has never been more important than it is today.
  • Media Channel Strategy. Working out the nuances of content/message are vital but potentially worthless if the media channel used to deliver it is either inappropriate for the content or the customer. And chances are that social media will be a part of the overall media strategy. But that is not a forgone conclusion.   That’s why strategy is so important. (Déjà vu all over again.) You need to know who it is you’re trying to reach and what kind of media they consume and when they consume that media and where they consume that media. Through this process, you will determine (among other things) which social media channels are best suited for your message and your customer. It sounds easy but most successful brands consult with specialists to pull this off.
  • Engagement Strategy. Your engagement strategy takes everything you know about your customer, their interests, and their media consumption habits and brings focus to those insights. An engagement strategy is an idea-driven solution inspired by the critical information you have assembled.
  • Engagement Strategy. Your engagement strategy takes everything you know about your customer, their interests, and their media consumption habits and brings focus to those insights. An engagement strategy is an idea-driven solution inspired by the critical information you have assembled.
  • Engagement Strategy. Your engagement strategy takes everything you know about your customer, their interests, and their media consumption habits and brings focus to those insights. An engagement strategy is an idea-driven solution inspired by the critical information you have assembled.
  • Ideas are as numerous and diverse as the problems they solve. But here are five idea starters:
  • One approach to an engagement strategy is determining the one thing that will resonate with your customers and will be relevant to your brand. For example, you may determine that your brand of data security is fast and furious so you focus your brand engagement on all things adrenaline.   Volkswagen adopted this strategy with their Fanwagen. Their focus on being fun, hip and cool went into creating a fun, hip, and cool vehicle that integrated everything fun, hip, and cool about social media into retro models of their Beetle and VW Bus. The Fanwagen featured a Facebook newsfeed printer built into the dashboard, relationship status posted on the license plate, and even a camera with a wall for posting photos. The Fanwagen was one-of-a-kind. Any one could be entered for a chance to win it just by Liking Volkswagen on Facebook.
  • Another approach is to make your brand accessible to the crowd and solicit their input, ideas, trial, and feedback. For example, you may make fishing lures so you engage your customers on the topics of tricks of the trade, innovations, etc.   In January 2009, Tourism Queensland adopted this approach when they embarked on a global search to find an Island Caretaker to explore the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland Australia and report back to the world about their experiences. They touted the opportunity as “The Best Job in the World” and turned their blogger recruitment campaign into a massive awareness campaign fueled by the interests of travellers and spread through each of their social media networks as they attempted to blog their way into their dream job.
  • Another approach is to position the brand as the industry leader or innovator. Whitepapers, blogging, opinion pieces, etc. are developed to express thought leadership to your customers that are interested in following your lead. For example, you are a financial services company so you engage your audience with webinars on investing and whitepapers on diversification strategy, etc.   Merrill Lynch did exactly that when they created the Merrill Lynch Advisors. The $20 million campaign, dubbed "The Power of the Right Advisor" is built on several key issues that Merrill executives noted over the prior year of research. Retirement is still No. 1 on consumers' minds, but so are liquidity, balancing demand and understanding risk. Merrill Lynch’s integrated engagement campaign included its first YouTube channel, with its own webcasts and panel discussions with experts on subjects such as retirement.
  • Play with your customers. Develop contests, promotions, games, loyalty programs, etc.   Fast-food chain Burger King has created "Whopper Sacrifice," a Facebook app that gives you a coupon for a free hamburger if you delete 10 people from your friends list. The "sacrifices" show up in your activity feed. It would say, for example, "Karie sacrificed John Smithson for a free Whopper." Unfortunately, you can't delete your whole friends list and eat free for a week. The promotion is limited to one coupon per Facebook account. Facebook ended Burger King’s promotion early because it was too successful — too many people were becoming unfriended as a result of this promotion.
  • In this case, you have a valuable asset in the form of original content that you’ve created for your brand. That content may be an entertaining video featuring a popular celebrity, or it is original music performed by a hot, new band, or it’s never before released photography documenting a subject of interest.   Tom Tom uses Monty Python comedian John Cleese to lure people into Liking the Tom Tom Facebook page. A two-minute video featuring Cleese appeared on streaming video sites. In the video, Cleese is dancing around a traffic jam. The spot ends with the invitation to see more John Cleese video at Tom Tom’s Facebook page. The trick is that if you want to watch the videos, you first have to Like their page.
  • The key to making social media work for your brand is not dependent on how much money you spend on the execution of the strategy. The Whopper Sacrifice is evidence of that. What all of these examples have in common is a big idea. A big idea that is at the heart of an engagement strategy. It’s the big idea that draws people in — that engages people. It’s the big idea that inspires people and creates buzz and compels people to share that idea with their friends.
  • The reason why social media doesn’t work is simply because marketers are thinking too small. When they consider the cost of creating a Facebook page (basically free), then they take a “sure — why not attitude” and their foray into social media starts and ends with the expectation that they will be getting something for nothing. But it’s not that easy. Advertising is a lot harder today then it ever was before. Or at least it’s still as hard as ever. You still have to produce big ideas that engage people if you want advertising to work.
  • Why Social Media Doesn’t Work (And What You Can Do About It)

    1. 1. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)
    2. 2. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)"Social media accounts for one out of every "22% of all grandparentssix minutes spent online in US." ( in the UK are using socialJournalism.co.uk) networks, according to Mashable. The study, "59% of adult which collected results Facebook users hadIn 2009, Nielsen reported that, “time from 1,341 grandparents "liked" a brand as ofspent on social network and blogging sites from the UK, showed April, up from 47%is growing more than three times the rate that 71% of the previousof overall Internet growth.” grandparents who use a September. Uptake among the oldest In 2010, they reported social network use users appears to "Users say that, “consumers are Facebook, 34% are on have been a major theyre spending 43% more of Twitter and 9% use the factor in this rise." ( more likely to buy their time on social business social network eMarketer) if a business media than a year ago, LinkedIn." (Mashable via answers their Social Media Today) making social questions on Twitter." ( networking and blogs NYTimes.com) the top online activity, "In the first four months after its January 2010 followed by online launch in Russia, Facebook use grew by 376%, games and email.” and today more than 4.5 million people use the site regularly." (comscore.com via Mashable)
    3. 3. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)
    4. 4. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)
    5. 5. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)
    6. 6. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) TODAY YOU WILL LEARN: THREE THINGS YOU MUST HAVE TO MAKE SOCIAL MEDIA WORK FOR YOUR BRAND. AND… FIVE ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY IDEA STARTERS
    7. 7. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)
    8. 8. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)
    9. 9. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)
    10. 10. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) In 2009, Nielsen reported that, “time spent on social network and blogging sites is growing more than three times the rate of overall Internet growth.” In 2010, they reported that, “consumers are spending 43% more of their time on social media than a year ago, making social networking and blogs the top online activity, followed by online games and email.”
    11. 11. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) “Facebook is the equivalent for us to what TV was for marketers back in the 1960s. Its an integral part of what we do now.” --Nike’s chief marketing officer, Davide Grasso
    12. 12. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) THE WORLDS 100 MOST VALUABLE BRANDS UP DWN 18% 6% companies with the highest while companies that were level of social media activity the least active saw a 6% increased revenue by 18% in drop in sales the last 12 months
    13. 13. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)
    14. 14. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)
    15. 15. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)LEVEL OF EFFORT WILL DETERMINE LEVEL OF RESULT
    16. 16. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) LACK OF ENGAGEMENT
    17. 17. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)
    18. 18. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)
    19. 19. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)
    20. 20. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) FORGET ABOUT IT
    21. 21. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) COMMUNICATION STRATEGY / INTEGRATED MARKETING STRATEGY
    22. 22. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) Three things you must have to make social media work for your brand.
    23. 23. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) Three things you must have to make social media work for your brand. content media channel engagement development/me strategy strategy ssage strategy
    24. 24. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) Content Development / Message Strategy
    25. 25. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) Media Channel Strategy
    26. 26. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) Engagement Strategy
    27. 27. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) Engagement Strategy
    28. 28. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) Engagement Strategy
    29. 29. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) FIVE ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY IDEA STARTERS
    30. 30. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) THE ONE THING STRATEGY
    31. 31. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) THE ZEALOT STRATEGY
    32. 32. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) THE GURU STRATEGY
    33. 33. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) THE GAMING STRATEGY
    34. 34. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) THE EXCLUSIVE CONTENT STRATEGY AKA - THE SEE IT HERE FIRST STRATEGY
    35. 35. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) THE KEY IS THE IDEA
    36. 36. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN’T WORK (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT) SOCIAL MEDIA WORKS FOR BRANDS THAT COMMIT TO INTEGRATING IT INTO THEIR OVERALL COMMUNICATIONS PLAN

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