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Expansion plus-social-media-strategies

  1. 1. Social Media Strategy Expansion Plus, Inc. September 2009 Authored by: Sally Falkow, Principal & Social Media Strategist Copyright © 2004 – 2010 Expansion Plus, Inc.
  2. 2. Table of Contents 1. Social Media overview Page 2 2. Listen to Conversations Page 3 - 7 3. Establish Share of Voice Page 8 - 9 4. Set Goal/Benchmark Page 10 - 12 5. Find Bloggers and Communities Page 13 - 15 6. Identify Influencers Page 16 - 17 7. Develop a Content Strategy Page 18 - 19 8. Pick Tools Page 20 - 21 9. Create and Deliver the Content Page 22 - 24 10. Engage and Facilitate Conversations Page 25 - 28 11. Measure Results Page 29 – 31Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 12. Conclusion Page 32 1
  3. 3. Social Media StrategySocial Media OverviewThe social web – Web 2.0 – has given rise to a new way of marketing: peopleare engaged in conversations online and, aspredicted by the Cluetrain Manifesto - markets havebecome conversations.The most trusted form of advertising today is arecommendation from another person ‘just like me.’Tapping into these conversations shows where youraudience is spending time online and what subjectsand issues are of interest to them.Based on today’s ever-changing marketplace,companies can no longer just issue information to themedia in hopes that they share our clients’ stories withthe public. A recent prediction from ForresterResearch is that within two years, half of all U.S. newspapers will have ceasedproduction. Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009By 2010 82% of all companies will be using social media marketing and theirbiggest barrier to success in this new medium is a lack of knowledge.To reach your publics successfully you need to start telling your stories directly,and do it in a way that sparks conversations.The value proposition of Social Media (Web 2.0) or online PR is:Sustained conversations that shape perceptions. 2
  4. 4. Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 20093
  5. 5. Listen to the Online ConversationFor the past 100 years companies have had the luxury of deciding what they willproduce and sell, what their brand message will be and how they will deliver itto their audience.The Internet changed that.We’re in the age of social media marketing. Strategy in this new businessenvironment is just as vital as it has ever been. Don’t get distracted by the slewof new social media tools or lured into spending resources just because“everyone is on Twitter.”Social media offers you the opportunity of doing in-depth research at virtuallyno cost. It is possible to set goals and get ROI, but you have to know whereyou’re going and what you want to achieve. Tap into the online conversationsto find out: • who is talking about you • what they are saying • is it positive or negative • where are the conversations taking place • what communities talk about you Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 • what are your competitors doing in social media • what’s the buzz about them • what content resonates with your audience • are there subjects of interest you could provide content for • what social sites have the most conversation • who are the “fire-starters” you need to connect with • who are the influencers in these blogs or communities • where are the opportunities and threatsOnce you have this information you can allocate your resources wisely. You’llknow where to start and what social sites you should be concentrating on.When you know the lay of the land it’s much easier to plot a path to yourdestination. A social media marketing strategy is your roadmap. 4
  6. 6. Tools DIY – Free Tools Brand mentions Google News Alerts Yahoo News Moreover How Sociable Socialmention RSS Reader like NetVibes Blog Buzz Google BlogSearch IceRocket BlogPulseSocial Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 Backtype – for blog comments Twitter Twitter Search Twilert Twazzup TweetBeep Hashtags Twitrratr 5
  7. 7. TrendsGoogle TrendsGoogle Insights for SearchTrendrrSerphFacebookLexiconMessage Boards and ForumsBoardTrackerBoardReaderGoogle GroupsYahoo Groups Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009Multi MediaYouTubeTruveoMetaCafeViral Video ChartFlickrPhotoBucketNow that you know just how much there is to be tracked, here are some of thepaid tools that can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. 6
  8. 8. Subscription Tools Radian6 Trackur Nielsen BuzzMetrics BrandsEye Trackur Visible Technologies BuzzLogic Techrigy SM2 FiltrBoxSocial Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 7
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  10. 10. Establish Your Share of Voice There are millions of conversations online every day. When you tap into the ones about your industry, what share of voice do you have? Share of Voice is defined as the percentage of the mentions that are about your brand/company/organization in the particular niche or market you’re active in. Do people use a generic description of what you do, or do they talk about your products or services specifically? Example: Do women talk about dry skin treatment and natural skin care products or do they mention specific brands and products? Do they mention your product? What percentage of the total conversation about dry skin mentions your products? Are the comments positive or negative? What is the ratio of positive/negative? Are your key messages appearing in these conversations? If not, what content is trending? How are your competitors faring in these conversations? The context of your content in a competitive set shows how your brand stacksSocial Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 up against competitors online. Markets are Conversations Share of voice leads to market share. Establishing and tracking share of voice used to be a advertising metric, but since the most trusted form of advertising is now conversations, it’s become an important one for social media. A gain in Share of Voice is an important measurement for social media programs. 9
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  12. 12. Setting Goals and Benchmarks Listening to the online conversation allows you to tap into what people are interested in right now, what they talk about, what they like and dislike. This information will give you the insights that lead to the goals you should pursue in social media. Everyone on the team has to agree on what target youre aiming for, and how youll know when you hit it... or not! And set the benchmarks before you start so you know what youre measuring and where you are now. Then you can go forward and track your progression. Here are some common business goals for social media: Brand Reputation: The "Dell Hell" conversation caused a flood of negative comments about Dells customer service. They set a goal to reverse the problem. The ratio of positive to negative comments became one of their key performance e indicators and they have definitely achieved their goal. Increased Brand Awareness: Skin MD Natural launched their lotion in social media and created interest in the phrase shielding lotion as a search term. MoreSocial Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 than 400 mommy bloggers have written about the product and the content spread through social media sites like StumbleUpon, kirtsy and del.icio.us. There are now search queries for the brand, and the generic phrase shielding lotion, in every country in the world. Increase share of voice: Reeds Inc discovered that there is a vigorous conversation online about ginger beer, ginger ale and ginger brew and the health benefits of ginger. However the number of mentions of Reed’s and their brands was very low. A planned social media program could increase that share of voice. Thought Leadership: Sun Microsystems is a perfect example. CEO Jonathan Schwartz credits blogging and social media with the revitalization of their brand. Increasing Sales: StormHoek Wines increased their sales by 400+% after sending wine to bloggers, inviting them to blog about the wine (good, bad or indifferent). Burpee Seeds created a daily relationship with customers through RSS feeds on gardening news, tips and coupons, increasing sales 400%. BlendTec’s Will It Blend videos increased their sales by 500%. 11
  13. 13. Reduce R&D spend: Dell’s Idea Storm, My Starbuck’s Idea and Crayola’s kid’scomments have all tapped into the wisdom of their customers. 98% of consumersindicate “I’d definitely buy a product I helped to evolve.” Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 12
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  15. 15. Finding Bloggers and Relevant CommunitiesEvery day another blog, social network or social media site seems to pop up.There are now literally thousands of places online where conversations aretaking place.How can you effectively divide up your time and resources so that youparticipate in the places that make sense for your business?Part of your research – listening to what’s being said online – has to include whois talking about you and where the conversations are taking place.Here are some examples: A skin care company discovered that there is conversation about dry skin in gardening forums, moms talk about skin care and so do crafters and medical professionals. These folk all have their own niche social networks. There is also a lot of chatter about skin care on Twitter. A natural soda company found that there people on Twitter talking about their products, their competitors products and ginger ale, ginger brew and ginger beer in general.Once you know where the majority of the conversations take place you can Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009sensibly allocate your resources for best ROI.According to eMarketer the number of influencers is growing, as more and morepeople publish content online.It’s no longer about how many people did we reach, it’s have we reached theright people who want to engage and communicate with us? 14
  16. 16. 1. Find the bloggers who talk about your company or product and those who talk about your industry, but have not mentioned your company. 2. Monitoring blog posts – even if you do it manually in Google Blog Search – will show you who is writing on a certain key topic. You should also track mentions of your brand and generic keywords that describe what you do in social news sites like digg, Newsvine, Kirtsy and StumbleUpon. 3. Track content about you and your industry in social networks like Facebook and Twitter, as well as smaller, niche networks that are relevant to your brand or organization. There are so many small social network built around a group that is passionate about a subject. Find the ones that are relevant to your company or organization. Niche social communities: Closet Couture – a site for women who want advice on how to be stylish A Small World – a private international community of influential peopleSocial Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 Sober Circle: Recovering Addicts English Companion: A network for English teachers QuiltingFriends: Quilters The same applies in social news sites, like StumbleUpon, Twitter and Digg. Find members who talk about you and about your industry or competitors. Once you have the full list, you can rank them according to influence. 15
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  18. 18. Identifying Online Influencers What is influence? It can be defined as "implicit or explicit effect of one thing (or person) on another." What influences people online has changed dramatically in the last few years. The idea that the person with the most followers or subscribers has the biggest influence is no longer valid. Today, influence is about accuracy and trust. You want to reach the bloggers and social networkers who have influence – those who can cause others to take action, change their perception and/or their behavior. And they might not be the A-list bloggers or power users in a network. It is someone that other people trust and listen to. Theyre the ones who send a flood of traffic to your blog or your website, because when they link to you or recommend your product, their followers take action. How do we measure influence? Although this is not yet an exact science, here are some of the parameters we use to determine which blogger and networkers to focus on. Traffic – Unique visitors, page views, RSS subscribersSocial Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 Inbound Links – Primarily contextual links from well-ranked sites and blogs Reader Engagement – Time spent on site, comments Recommendations – Retweets, bookmarking, tagging and sharing of content Connections – Number of followers/mutual connections across multiple social sites Track Record – Age of domain, number of blog posts, length of engagement Traffic Referred to your site or blog – analytics tells which referring sites send the most traffic Conversion rate of those visitors – what is the rate of conversion for each referring site? 17
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  20. 20. Developing Your Content Strategy Back in 2001 Forrester Research asked people why they returned to a website and the overwhelming answer was ‘content.’ And that holds true today. Success in social media depends on the quality of your content. It’s about engaging people and the key to engagement is good content. In social media people are creating, reading, saving, tagging and sharing content. If you don’t produce the kind of content they value, it won’t get re-published or shared. How do you know what kind of content to create? Listen and observe. In the past we had to rely on agencies to have a ‘bright idea.’ But when you really listen to your audience content opportunities easily spring to mind. Example: A mortgage company discovered that young mothers in their first home were very concerned about the housing market and the subprime mortgage fiasco. They were looking for information in language they could understand. The mortgage company realized an opportunity to connect with these moms via informative articles and video interviews with their experts. Example: A natural soda company that makes ginger products saw lots of discussion on Twitter about the health benefits of ginger. Immediately ideas started to flow about how to participate in this conversation – studies, recipes,Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 articles, videos. They presented on the benefits of using ginger as a remedy for nausea at a cancer conference. Example: a non –profit involved in drug rehabilitation found out that women turn to blogs for information, advice or recommendations. (2009 BlogHer Social Media study.) And what they value most is a review or comment from someone who has used that product or service. Since women are the ones who most often call the rehab centers – a wife, mother or sister of the addict - it was obvious that they needed to create content around the stories of women who had saved their families with this program and get it to women bloggers. Telling your story online in the right place to the right people gets results. But you need a well-thought out content strategy based on solid research to get those results. 19
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  22. 22. Pick Your Social Media Tools There’s a wide array of social media tools to choose from and the task can be confusing. But if you have all your data analyzed, and your content strategy in place, it’s easy to pick the right tools for your campaign. Your research will tell you where to start. If the majority of the conversation about your product is on Twitter, you’ll need a custom designed Twitter account. If you have a slew of brand evangelists making videos about your company, get a branded YouTube Channel up right away. Here’s the list of social media tools: • Search Optimized press releases • Social Media News Release format- with multimedia and social bookmarks • Search optimized articles • News Feeds (RSS) to syndicate all your content • Socializing your news content – ‘share this’ buttons, tagging & bookmarkingSocial Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 • Blogs • Micro blogging (Twitter) • Podcasts • Images • Video • Social Networks – Facebook, LinkedIn, niche networks • Social Media News Sites – Kirtsy, Newsvine, StumbleUpon, digg • Widgets • Social Media News Room - gather and present all your social media content on your website 21
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  24. 24. Creating and Delivering Content Once you have a content strategy based on solid research bright ideas will naturally flow about what to create and how to deliver this content. Experimenting with a Facebook page and a Twitter feed isn’t enough. You have to create supporting content - a company blog, an interactive website, interesting articles, images and videos. You want bloggers and online reporters to write about you and send you traffic? Give them excellent content. A hotel or resort should be writing about their destination – give people ideas of where to go and what to do. Use great images and videos. Take a look at how Intercontinental Hotels did this. A non –profit can create compelling content that motivates bloggers to write about their cause. The Fresh Air Fund generated over 400 blog posts from this social media news release.Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 The Will it Blend videos have engaged millions of people around the world and increased BlendTec’s sales by 500% 23
  25. 25. Good content not only sparks conversations it also build links. People will sharethe content and they’ll link to it from blog posts and tweets. This can raise yoursearch visibility and drive lots of traffic to your content. Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 24
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  27. 27. Engage and Facilitate ConversationsIt’s not enough to push out content. Social media is not just another marketingchannel you can use to reach your target audience. The biggest mistakecompanies and brands make is to use social media as a way to sell a product.Content should be created with a view to inspiring and participating inconversations. Social media is about a two-way flow of conversation. Peopleare no longer willing to be passive bystanders – they want to take an active partof the conversation.Customer engagement can get you through the toughest of times – it’s both acustomer acquisition and retention strategy.Engaging Your AudienceFollowers and traffic are good and well, but are they engaging with you?93% of the Internet users active in social media say they expect a company tohave a social media presence and to be able to actively engage with thatcompany.Despite all their marketing and PR efforts Microsoft was still perceived as afaceless corporate giant. When Robert Scoble started blogging he put a Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009human face on the company, engaged with the users and developers and hechanged those perceptions.Dell has also demonstrated how to engage and succeed with social media.Martha Stewart is a perfect example -On a small local level, The Boston Court Theatre here in Pasadena is doing astellar job of engaging the local arts community and growing a strong supportbase.The Forrester Research report Social Media Playtime is Over clearly shows thatdabbling or experimenting is not enough. You have to deliver genuinelyinteresting and valuable content that meets the needs of your audience andactively engages them.Our recent study of the top 100 companies in the small, medium and largecategories revealed that only a very small percentage are actively engagingtheir audience. The playing field is wide open and this is a strategy that canreap big rewards. 26
  28. 28. Facilitating Conversations (h2) Word of mouth has long been the holy grail of marketing. Peer reviews, opinions and comments are now the number one influencer prior to purchase or decision online. Not only do you want them engaged with you, you want them talking positively about you to each other. Facilitating these conversations should be your ultimate goal. Make it easy for them – provide excellent content that they will want to share and discuss. And then give them tools to make it easy to do this – send to a friend buttons, share this, bookmark this, subscribe, discuss, comment.Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 Since word of mouth, online conversations, reviews and comments are regarded as the most trusted forms of information today, getting people to talk about your product is the goal. Example: I work in restaurants and using barrier skin shields is very common. One of the bad things about washing your hands constantly is getting small open cuts on the hands that allow bacteria and viruses to enter freely. I am sure this is a problem in hospitals too. A shielding lotion works well to handle this. This comment was posted in the GardenWeb Forum Example: G-Map, the first GPS app for the iPhone, has found many conversations about their product in Twitter and MacForums. 27
  29. 29. Providing a platform where people can engage with other users is a good wayto do this. Travel is a perfect example. CruiseTube.com connects cruisers sothey can stay in touch with fellow passengers and meet other cruise enthusiastsworldwide by sharing memories and travel information online. Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 28
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  31. 31. Measurement and ROI2009 will be the year when the pendulum swings from experimentation toaccountability.2009 will raise the bar on all of us to demonstrate how socialmedia and PR programs are helping to drive desired business outcomes. DonBartholomew Measurement Commission of the Institute for Public RelationsWhy measure?“During a recession, with dollars stretched, marketers are under increasedpressure to prove their programs. Social media, being largely experimental formany brands, need to measure to quickly ‘course correct’ programs in realtime. During times of cutbacks, marketers must know what to cut, and in order todo so, measurement is key.” Jeremiah Owyang, Altimeter Group.If you cant measure it, you cant manage it. It’s that simple. You need to knowwhere you are when you start, what needs to be achieved and as you movealong the path you have to have tools to measure your progress. That way youcan see if you are on track and adapt fast if things go awry.Your measurement has to be based on business objectives – and thoseobjectives have to be set as measurable goals. Just setting up attributes to track Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009on a dashboard is not enough.What to Measure:What you are going to measure will depend on what goals you have set in theinitial part of your strategy. Based on listening and research, you should havedetermined what actions you need to focus on in social media. Measure whatyou did and what impact it had, and then you can see what result it had.The value of analysisHaving mountains of data is all very well, but ‘what does this mean?” is thecrucial question.Being able to evaluate the data and come to a conclusion you can use totweak or expand your program is the point. You need to tell your story to others,the client, your superiors and the “C” suite. 30
  32. 32. Return on Engagement There are many tools available today to track engagement – how many people clicked a link in a blog post? How many times was the message re-tweeted? How many followers does the person who re-tweeted you have? Track the Growth of your Share of Voice Compare the number of articles, posts, tweets, videos or images where a brand and its competitors are mentioned. Calculate brand is mentioned the most, relative to its competitors, and by what margin. Track your growth in the share of voice. Track Your Share of Conversation Share of Conversation is the degree to which a brand is associated with the problem or need that it is setting out to help with. Skin MD Natural helps with dry skin, so you can calculate the share of conversation like this: Share of Conversation = Total # of articles/post/tweets about dry skin AND Skin MD Total # of articles/posts/tweets about dry sSocial Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 31
  33. 33. Conclusion:A well-planned social media program based on listening to your audience willresult in deeper relationships with your customers and other stakeholders. Bytapping into the knowledge and desires of your customers your R&D will be right‘on the money’ and your product or service improvements will meet the needsof your particular audience.Markets are indeed conversations. Listen, learn and respond.In 2010 Over 80 percent of companies will be using social media marketing.2009 Marketing Industry Trends ReportYet when someone wants to find out about your company they still go to yourwebsite. And in fact, it’s the goal of many a marketer to use social media todrive traffic to the website.How do you plan to aggregate and host all your social media content on yourwebsite? Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 32
  34. 34. Find out about the Social Media NewsroomSocial Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009 Call Mary Anderson 626 793 4911 33
  35. 35. Expansion Plus is an online PR and social media agency based in Pasadena, CA.Our services:Executive Briefing on Social MediaSocial Media StrategyOnline PR and Media RelationsOnline Reputation ManagementLocating and Identifying Influencers and Brand AmbassadorsSocial Media and Online PR Training and Coaching626 793 49111010 E Union Street # 200 Social Media Strategy – E+ Whitepaper | September 2009Pasadena, CA. 91106 34