Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Intelligent Social Media Marketing
Kacharagadla Media Corp
www.kacharagadla.in
First Edition
Intelligent Social Media Marketing
www.kacharagadla.in
Designed & Compiled by
Bheemesh Chowdary Kacharagadla
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Index
Introduction
Learn Marketing with Social Media
5 Essentials f...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Intelligent Social media marketing, or ISM, is a form of internet m...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of Internet marketing that u...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Learn Marketing with Social Media
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Here are some social media marketing key points to keep you on the ...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Links:
While using social media for marketing relies primarily on y...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
5 Essentials for Connecting With Your Ideal Target Market
on Social...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
There are so many social networks nowadays, and according to differ...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
where you can catch up with older populations? Facebook is becoming...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
4.Look at the insights:
Do not forget to dive into your audiences’ ...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Finally, you might find this information surprising at times. Exami...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
So, back to how website traffic might help you identify how success...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Target the Right Audience in 5 Simple Steps
Instead of trying to su...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting your own bus...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
insight about them. For extremely basic customer surveys, ClickInsi...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
products, and marketing efforts to find out what works and build yo...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Leveraging the power of content and social media marketing can help...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
4.The Law of Patience
Social media and content marketing success do...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
7. The Law of Value
If you spend all your time on the social Web di...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
How To Build An Effective Social Marketing
Strategy
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
In the 20th century, nearly every marketing problem had one solutio...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Apple stands for design. Harley Davidson stands for friendship and ...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Regular viewers of the show became familiar with its strict structu...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
This is where things often go wildly, wildly wrong because social m...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
How to Separate the Personal and Professional
on Social Media
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Let’s face it: social media is risky. A single unfortunate post can...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
seeming to speak as a representative of the employer. Individuals w...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
distinct accounts to make absolutely clear when they are and aren’t...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
The Top 10 Benefits Of Social Media Marketing
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
To some entrepreneurs, social media marketing is the “next big thin...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
2. Improved brand loyalty:
According to a report published by Texas...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
more humanized by interacting in social media channels. Social medi...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
more quality content you syndicate on social media, the more inboun...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
9.Richer Customer Experiences:
Social media, at its core, is a comm...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
are being poached. Don’t let your competitors reap all the benefits...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Is Social Media Actually Helping Your Company’s
Bottom Line?
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
When it comes to business, we talk too much about social media and ...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
There are, as always, opportunity costs. Since 2008, according to a...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
It’s now common to say that social media is “really” about awarenes...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Further, what we now know about shopping and social media activity ...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Business success requires linking customer-acquisition efforts with...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Branding in the Age of Social Media
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
In the era of Facebook and YouTube, brand building has become a vex...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Why Branded Content and Sponsorships Used to Work
While promoters i...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
The rise of new technologies that allowed audiences to opt out of a...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Amplified subcultures.
Today you’ll find a flourishing crowdculture...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
part of a local scene; no longer do you need to work for a year to ...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
massive spectator sport, now known as E-Sports, with a fan base app...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
much of its $2 billion annual marketing budget on branded content, ...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
On social media, what works for Shakira backfires for Crest and Clo...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
possibly want to talk about Corona or Coors in the same way that th...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Under Armour made a video about how she rose above adversity (the v...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Social media allows fans to create rich communities around entertai...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
1. Map the cultural orthodoxy.
In cultural branding, the brand prom...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
prized than creating an iconic brand. Yet the two dominant branding...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Instead, the firm (tacitly) pursued a cultural-branding approach. B...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
centered on such a downscale version of masculinity. But in cultura...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
3. Target the crowdculture.
Challengers to the industrial food ideo...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
The second film, The Scarecrow, parodied an industrial food company...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Chipotle was taking on pink slime! Moreover, boutique locavore food...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Of course, leading with ideology in the mass market can be a double...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Axe mines the lad crowd. In the 1990s feminist critiques of patriar...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” tapped into this emerging crowdcu...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
These three brands broke through in social media because they used ...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
The One Thing You Must Get Right When
Building a Brand
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
As usual, marketers are turning hype into hyperventilation. This ti...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Leverage Social Media
Most companies have cottoned on to social med...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
engaged with the brands, find the platforms authentic, and trust on...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Far from curbing P&G’s enthusiasm for social media, this incident h...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
These basics don’t sound like rocket science, but we’ve been surpri...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
eroding PR disaster. Customers expect airline websites to be accura...
Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
Innovation beyond the familiar.
VAA frequently wins awards for inno...
Intelligent social media marketing
Intelligent social media marketing
Intelligent social media marketing
Intelligent social media marketing
Intelligent social media marketing
Intelligent social media marketing
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Intelligent social media marketing

277 views

Published on

Intelligent Social media marketing, or ISM, is a form of internet marketing with intelligently that implements various social media networks in order to achieve marketing communication and branding goals. Intelligent Social media marketing primarily covers activities involving social sharing of content, videos, and images for marketing or brand promoting purposes, as well as premium social media advertising.

Published in: Marketing
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Intelligent social media marketing

  1. 1. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in
  2. 2. Intelligent Social Media Marketing Kacharagadla Media Corp www.kacharagadla.in
  3. 3. First Edition Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Designed & Compiled by Bheemesh Chowdary Kacharagadla
  4. 4. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Index Introduction Learn Marketing with Social Media 5 Essentials for Connecting With Your Ideal Target Market On Social Media Target the Right Audience in 5 Simple Steps 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing How To Build An Effective Social Marketing Strategy How to Separate the Personal and Professional on Social Media The Top 10 Benefits Of Social Media Marketing Is Social Media Actually Helping Your Company’s Bottom Line? Branding in the Age of Social Media The One Thing You Must Get Right When Building a Brand
  5. 5. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Intelligent Social media marketing, or ISM, is a form of internet marketing with intelligently that implements various social media networks in order to achieve marketing communication and branding goals. Intelligent Social media marketing primarily covers activities involving social sharing of content, videos, and images for marketing or brand promoting purposes, as well as premium social media advertising.
  6. 6. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of Internet marketing that utilizes social networking websites as a marketing tool. The goal of SMM is to produce content that users will share with their social network to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach. One of the key components of SMM is social media optimization (SMO). Like search engine optimization (SEO), SMO is a strategy for drawing new and unique visitors to a website. SMO can be done two ways: adding social media links to content, such as RSS feeds and sharing buttons or promoting activity through social media by updating statuses or tweets, or blog posts. SMM helps a company get direct feedback from customers (and potential customers) while making the company seem more personable. The interactive parts of social media give customers the opportunity to ask questions or voice complaints and feel they are being heard. This aspect of SMM is called social customer relationship management
  7. 7. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Learn Marketing with Social Media
  8. 8. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Here are some social media marketing key points to keep you on the right track across all your social media campaigns. Planning: As discussed previously, building a social media marketing plan is essential. Consider keyword research and brainstorm content ideas that will interest your target audience. Content is King: Consistent with other areas of online marketing, content reigns king when it comes to social media marketing. Make sure you are offering valuable information that your ideal customers will find interesting. Create a variety of content by implementing social media images, videos, and infographics in addition to classic text-based content. Consistent Brand Image: Using social media for marketing enables your business to project your brand image across a variety of different social media platforms. While each platform has its own unique environment and voice, your business’ core identity should stay consistent. Blog: Blogging is a great social media marketing tool that lets you share a wide array of information and content with readers. Your company blog can also serve as your social media marketing blog, in which you blog about your recent social media efforts, contests, and events.
  9. 9. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Links: While using social media for marketing relies primarily on your business sharing its own unique, original content to gain followers, fans, and devotees, it’s also great to link to outside articles as well. If other sources provide great, valuable information you think your target audience will enjoy, don’t be shy about linking to them. Linking to outside sources improves trust and reliability, and you may even get some links in return. Track Competitors: It’s always important to keep an eye on competitors—they can provide valuable data for keyword research, where to get industry-related links, and other social media marketing insight. If your competitors are using a certain social media marketing technique that seems to be working for them, do the same thing, but do it better! Measure Success with Analytics: You can’t determine the success of your social media marketing strategies without tracking data. Google Analytics can be used as a great social media marketing tool that will help you measure your triumphant social media marketing techniques, as well as determine which strategies are better off abandoned. Attach tracking tags to your social media marketing campaigns so that you can properly monitor them.
  10. 10. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in 5 Essentials for Connecting With Your Ideal Target Market on Social Media Half the world is online. Your job is finding the fraction of them who will respond to what you are offering.
  11. 11. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in There are so many social networks nowadays, and according to different sources, each one is the most important to your business. Now, as a busy sole entrepreneur, or even as a digital marketing manager who’s faced with time and budget constraints, where do you invest those resources? You can’t be on every network. Well, technically you can, but that will be very inefficient, unproductive and, most likely, unsuccessful. So, how do you find, reach, and refine your ideal target market on social media? 1. Define your target: You’ve probably heard it so much, you are sick of this advice. Yet, there is no getting away from the basics. If you want to have a successful business, you need to know who you are trying to serve and where you can reach them with your messages. Once you outline major demographics, dig deeper and zoom in on their needs, wants, preferences, lifestyles and pain points. Ask yourself why they need your offering in the first place. This will not only help you effectively find them online, but also powerfully craft your messages. 2. User demographics on different networks: Now that you know who you are looking for, let’s find them online. There are a lot of both anecdotal and statistical data online about major demographics for each respective network. Have a highly aesthetic product that is geared towards women? Use Pinterest. Want to reach millennials? Instagram is your best bet. Wondering
  12. 12. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in where you can catch up with older populations? Facebook is becoming their network of choice. Start with two –- three at the very maximum -- platforms and begin shaping your presence there. Make sure that your brand experience is true and aligned with your audience, so they feel an instant connection and want to follow you. 3. Look at your major competition: If you’re just starting out, or perhaps, want to get an insider scoop, look at the big players in your industry. There is nothing wrong with checking out who they are following and who’s following them back. If you are in a construction / home improvement business, check out Lowe’s and Home Depot. If your product is organic, see what Whole Foods Market and Natural Grocers are up to online. If you are about “fast fashion” at affordable prices, hang out with H&M and Forever 21 crowds. Make sure, though, that these companies and brands have a truly similar niche. If your product offers something different or additional, you want to be careful. If you are charging a premium price, don’t look at competition with cheaper and/or discounted prices. If your company is about more than selling and has a social stance to offer, then try overlaying those different audiences.
  13. 13. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in 4.Look at the insights: Do not forget to dive into your audiences’ statistics once in a while. Many major networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, offer at least basic insights into your following. See how effective you are in attracting the right “tribe.” If your product is for middle-aged women and your following mostly consists of young men, you are definitely doing something wrong. It could be the messages, the branding, or both. Plus, many of those same networks offer an insight into your audiences’ interests, which presents a sea of opportunity to your brand. You could use this information to “branch out” with content you are sharing. For example, people interested in healthy eating oftentimes are interested in fitness as well. People interested in fashion are usually interested in beauty products too. You can experiment with new topics, so you have more touchpoints with your consumers and more ideas for creating content. Another way you can leverage this information is by examining what other brands and/or competitors your audience is interested in. You can then:  Again, see what those brands are doing online,  Target their followers with your messages and ads,  Reach out to create a strategic partnership.
  14. 14. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Finally, you might find this information surprising at times. Examine any inconsistencies or quirky brand affinities. Leverage that knowledge to your benefit by following the strategies outlined above. 5. Keep refining: If you pay close attention to insights, you might find a lot of room for refining your targeting. For example, you might find new age brackets or interests to overlay. What do you do if no such data is available on your network of choice? Although Snapchat is notorious for that, Instagram and Pinterest data is very limited as of right now as well. There are two ways that, while not perfect, will paint a picture for you. The first strategy is to pay attention to engagement rates. If one Snap or Pin outperformed all other content, take some time to examine what exactly triggered that response. Also, outline any overarching trends you’ve noticed, like media formats, topics, visuals, etc. Those preferences and topics usually hint at their media consumers. The second strategy lies in tracking your website traffic. Wait… Website traffic? I thought we were talking about social networks (I hear you say)? Still, I would argue that sending social traffic to your website is the ultimate goal in 99 percent of cases. It’s all nice and dandy to have hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook or Instagram, but where they really contribute to your bottom line is on your site, paying for your products or services.
  15. 15. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in So, back to how website traffic might help you identify how successful you are in targeting the right people: use special links for every network you are on and examine that data in website analytics. I recommend Google Analytics since it’s free and oh-so- powerful. Create special UTM codes for every network (so that information is not “stripped away” when visitors go from one app to another on their phone), download and add this awesome social audience insight dashboard to your GA, and voila. Now you can dice and slice audience based on the referring network and see their demographics that way. Social media industry may be overwhelming at times with new networks popping up all the time and claiming to be the next big thing. However, invest your resources intelligently by serving the right people where they are. This will help you stay effective, sane and successful. Lesya Liu
  16. 16. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Target the Right Audience in 5 Simple Steps Instead of trying to succeed by marketing to everyone, define your target audience.
  17. 17. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in One of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting your own business is trying to appeal to everyone. Instead of trying to succeed by marketing to everyone, define your target audience. Knowing your target audience’s motivations is essential to tailoring your product, service, and marketing efforts to meet their needs, and is one of the fastest ways to success -- in fact, it’s very difficult to succeed without that knowledge. Though it may seem difficult to try to market to your target audience, it’s easier than ever once you know what you must do. Below, I’ve put together five truly simple steps that will allow you to target the right audience and be more successful than you ever imagined. 1. Social media polls: Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are effective ways of surveying your target audience. Social media polls are one of the most popular and simple ways of finding out more about your customers. Social media sites have made it easier for you to engage and listen to what your audiences have to say, and offer fully customizable forms that will help you expand your reach and even grow your fan base. Polls are equipped with analytical tools that will give you information on your audience’s age group, location, profession, and more. 2. Online surveys and email surveys: Standard surveys will surely keep you ahead of the game. Surveys are the perfect tool for a hands-on approach to staying up-to-date with what consumers are thinking. The most important part of conducting online surveys is knowing what you want to learn from each question, and to keep questions short and easy to answer. You can also create email campaigns to survey your existing client base and gain valuable
  18. 18. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in insight about them. For extremely basic customer surveys, ClickInsights has a one- click, one-question email survey, or try the more in-depth options at Survey Monkey. 3. Analyze current customers: How old are your current customers? Where do they live? Is your audience primarily male or female? What is their average income? What is their profession? What are their interests? These are just some of the questions you need to ask to understand who is currently buying your product or service. From there, ask yourself how you are reaching them. Are you gaining more clients through social media? If so, which of your social media platforms are getting the most attention? Analyzing your current customers will help you direct your efforts towards the right audience, increase closing rates, and reduce the amount of time needed to make sales. Brian Lischer, CEO and Founder at Ignyte Brands, weighs in on why he believes that this is one of the most important aspects of targeting and messaging, “Don’t ignore your customers. It never ceases to amaze me when clients want to skip the customer research portion of their campaigns. You have to understand your audience in order to speak with them in a meaningful way. In fact, we won’t work with companies that refuse the audience research portion of their branding campaigns.” 4.Analyze the competition: You most likely have a good idea of who your competition is, but learning more about their marketing habits will show you where the gap in the market is and how you can fill it. Do keyword research relating to your industry and find out who is ranking for these keywords. Learn everything there is to know about their services,
  19. 19. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in products, and marketing efforts to find out what works and build your own version. With the right research you’ll be able to know what the competition is doing differently and how you can do it better. 5. Create buyer personas: You are now ready to outline the different groups of buyers that will dictate your marketing and sales processes. Before you start promoting yourself further, you need to establish your buyer personas and what is important to them. Create an incredibly detailed storyline surrounding your buyer persona and what this person’s motivations are. The more detail you include, the more likely you will be to target this specific audience while you put in place your personal brand strategy. Once you’ve done your research and created your buyer personas, you will be able to identify potential opportunities so you can create a game plan that will guide leads through your sales funnel. Remember, targeting is an ongoing process that needs to be re-evaluated regularly in order to stay up-to-date with the audience with whom you want to connect. Murray Newlands
  20. 20. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
  21. 21. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Leveraging the power of content and social media marketing can help elevate your audience and customer base in a dramatic way. But getting started without any previous experience or insight could be challenging. It's vital that you understand social media marketing fundamentals. From maximizing quality to increasing your online entry points, abiding by these 10 laws will help build a foundation that will serve your customers, your brand and -- perhaps most importantly -- your bottom line. 1. The Law of Listening Success with social media and content marketing requires more listening and less talking. Read your target audience’s online content and join discussions to learn what’s important to them. Only then can you create content and spark conversations that add value rather than clutter to their lives. 2. The Law of Focus It’s better to specialize than to be a jack-of-all-trades. A highly-focused social media and content marketing strategy intended to build a strong brand has a better chance for success than a broad strategy that attempts to be all things to all people. 3. The Law of Quality Quality trumps quantity. It’s better to have 1,000 online connections who read, share and talk about your content with their own audiences than 10,000 connections who disappear after connecting with you the first time.
  22. 22. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in 4.The Law of Patience Social media and content marketing success doesn’t happen overnight. While it’s possible to catch lightning in a bottle, it’s far more likely that you’ll need to commit to the long haul to achieve results. 5. The Law of Compounding If you publish amazing, quality content and work to build your online audience of quality followers, they’ll share it with their own audiences on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, their own blogs and more. This sharing and discussing of your content opens new entry points for search engines like Google to find it in keyword searches. Those entry points could grow to hundreds or thousands of more potential ways for people to find you online. 6.The Law of Influence Spend time finding the online influencers in your market who have quality audiences and are likely to be interested in your products, services and business. Connect with those people and work to build relationships with them. If you get on their radar as an authoritative, interesting source of useful information, they might share your content with their own followers, which could put you and your business in front of a huge new audience.
  23. 23. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in 7. The Law of Value If you spend all your time on the social Web directly promoting your products and services, people will stop listening. You must add value to the conversation. Focus less on conversions and more on creating amazing content and developing relationships with online influencers. In time, those people will become a powerful catalyst for word-of-mouth marketing for your business. 8.The Law of Acknowledgment You wouldn’t ignore someone who reaches out to you in person so don’t ignore them online. Building relationships is one of the most important parts of social media marketing success, so always acknowledge every person who reaches out to you. 9.The Law of Accessibility Don’t publish your content and then disappear. Be available to your audience. That means you need to consistently publish content and participate in conversations. Followers online can be fickle and they won’t hesitate to replace you if you disappear for weeks or months. 10. The Law of Reciprocity You can’t expect others to share your content and talk about you if you don’t do the same for them. So, a portion of the time you spend on social media should be focused on sharing and talking about content published by others. Susan Gunelius
  24. 24. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in How To Build An Effective Social Marketing Strategy
  25. 25. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in In the 20th century, nearly every marketing problem had one solution—the 30 second TV ad. If you had a product to sell, you could reach everybody you needed to with a powerful, highly polished message in a very short period of time. Yet marketing in the digital age is different. Building awareness is no longer sufficient. In fact, it may even benefit your competitors more than it does your brand because once consumers react to your message, they will be retargeted using digital methods. So the basic function of marketing promotion has changed. It is no longer enough to simply grab attention, you need to be able to hold attention and that’s where social strategy comes in. The age of catchy slogans and massive ad campaigns is over. Brands in the 21st century need to become more like publishers and strategy needs to follow from that. Clarifying The Mission Content strategy has become a popular specialty in marketing lately. The problem is that very few content strategists actually know what they’re talking about. They tend to approach content as if it was just a longer version of an ad and therefore double the usual amount of psychobabble about the “consumer mindset.” In truth, a publisher’s first loyalty is not to the consumer, but to the editorial mission. That doesn’t mean you should ignore consumers, trends or anything else that’s going on. What it does mean is that great publications stand for something.
  26. 26. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Apple stands for design. Harley Davidson stands for friendship and camaraderie. Red Bull stands for an extreme lifestyle. These brands successfully engage consumers because the brand’s mission supersedes whatever they happen to be selling at any given time. So the first thing you need to do to create a successful social strategy is figure out what you stand for. Identifying Analogues There is probably no greater peril in marketing than the misplaced compulsion to be original. Originality, after all, is not a virtue in and of itself, but only has value if it’s meaningful. Try to be different for difference’s sake and you’ll accomplish nothing more than being weird. That might thrill the guys in the office, but it will fail in the marketplace. So the best way to start formulating a social strategy is to identify others who share your mission. What are they doing? What succeeds and what doesn’t? What can we add? What can we subtract? There’s no reason to try to reinvent the wheel. When I was a professional publisher, we would insist on 3-5 analogues for any development or editorial brief and we found that practice absolutely essential. It not only helped us adopt best practices and avoid poor ones, it also helped everyone visualize exactly what we were trying to accomplish. Focusing on Structure Law and Order was one of the most successful TV shows in history. Running for 20 seasons, it not only ruled the ratings, but was a critical success as well.
  27. 27. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Regular viewers of the show became familiar with its strict structure. First, a crime, then an investigation leading to an arrest and prosecution. Somewhere along the way a snag would be hit, creating tension that would drive the story. You could almost set your watch by it. Every successful content product has a clearly defined structure. TV shows have plot formulas, radio stations have clocks, magazines have brand bibles and web sites have usability rules. These are strictly followed. While this may seem boring in concept, creating a clear structure is absolutely crucial in practice. Any cognitive energy your audience uses up trying to navigate your content lessens the amount of energy they can spend on what you’re trying to tell them. A standard format is also helpful in setting the constraints under which creativity thrives. A legendary editor once told me that a great content product delivers two things: consistency and surprise. I think the same is true with social marketing. You should set expectations, but also feel free to break the rules now an then. However, without consistency, there can be no surprise, you just make a mess. Create A Community (Not An Audience) Up till now, I’ve focused mainly on content. That’s deliberate, because without compelling content that informs, excites and inspires, social marketing doesn’t have a chance. It simply will not be effective. However, the mark of a great social marketing program is that it builds more than an audience—it builds a community.
  28. 28. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in This is where things often go wildly, wildly wrong because social marketers mistakenly equate the strength of their community with the size of their following. They establish fans on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks as key performance indicators and then blast them with brand messages. The truth is that the strength of your community has much less to do with how consumers are connected to you than how they are connected to each other. That’s how great social brands, like Apple, Harley and eBay built devoted followings long before anyone even heard of social media. The bottom line is that we are now in a post-promotional age where brand messages are only half the battle. To build a great brand today you need to build great brand experiences and the best way to do that is to build a community around shared values with content that holds attention. Greg Satell
  29. 29. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in How to Separate the Personal and Professional on Social Media
  30. 30. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Let’s face it: social media is risky. A single unfortunate post can throw a career off track. And yet in an era in which younger workers are connected with an average of 16 co- workers online and where 40% to 60% of hiring managers use social media to screen potential hires, it is simply not reasonable to stay off social media entirely. So how can we balance the personal and professional online? In a recent research study, we spoke with dozens of professionals about their use of social media, and were struck by the variety of approaches they are using. Some professionals, we found, still manage to avoid social media altogether. But most see that as unrealistic in many occupations, and are unwilling to be deprived of the advantages social media affords in terms of connecting to people and collecting information. Many in some way recreate in social media the kinds of boundaries, or mental fences, they use in real life to organize their worlds. These boundaries serve people well offline, and they can perform their function online, too. Before making any conscious choice of preferred social media strategy, professionals should do a quick self-diagnosis of their current, most natural online behavior. Do they value transparency and authenticity first and foremost? If they do, and thus post whatever comes to mind on social media, they embrace what we call an Open strategy. The key is to ensure that they understand this is risky. They might instead use a less risky Audience strategy, being careful to keep their professional and personal networks separate. For instance, an unreserved Facebook poster might learn to deflect friend requests from co-workers and professional contacts and direct them instead to a LinkedIn account. This not only avoids the danger of appearing unprofessional to colleagues but also the potential problem of
  31. 31. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in seeming to speak as a representative of the employer. Individuals who adopt an Audience strategy, however, must be mindful that networks are fluid: people who begin as friends can later become co-workers, or even bosses – in which case, an Audience strategy can be compromised. We heard from some professionals (and saw in a recent survey that 40% of respondents felt the same) that they feel compelled to accept friend requests from professional contacts. In that case, a Content strategy can be useful, which entails accepting these requests and resigning oneself to posting only carefully considered content. People who use this strategy post information and photos that project an image of professionalism, or at least do not undercut the reputation they are trying to earn with their boss, coworkers, and clients. The drawback with this strategy is of course that they can no longer vent or express vulnerability without a level of self-editing that may feel — and be perceived as — inauthentic. Even things they might consider innocuous to say in a work context could end up making waves if shared online. It might not be obvious to everyone, but it is true: the more that posts are tailored to specific circles in a social world, the less risk there is that they will cause offense or embarrassment. Thus, for anyone willing to invest the time and effort, we recommend a more sophisticated strategy, the Custom strategy, in which social media users manage both their audience and their content. This is what Google+ was designed to facilitate. We also found people doing this on Facebook by creating two lists, one personal and another professional, and posting different content to these lists. Thus they safeguard their professional reputations while still maintaining an honest and lively Facebook identity. Custom strategies tend to be employed by journalists and public figures, who often set up
  32. 32. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in distinct accounts to make absolutely clear when they are and aren’t speaking in a professional capacity. We come away from our study with a belief that most professionals would be best served by a Custom or a Content strategy. A Custom Strategy allows for richer relationships to be forged with peers through the sharing of information that goes beyond the strictly professional. At the same time, it saves the boss from seeing too many party and baby pictures, and spares friends all the job-related content that means nothing to them. However, you must have the capabilities to execute this Custom strategy effectively or else it could backfire. A Content strategy is the next best alternative that requires fewer capabilities, but may allow you to connect with a broad audience effectively. But again, the important thing is for employees to make strategy choices for themselves – with their eyes open to the risks; with an understanding that no personal social media strategy is perfect; and with an awareness that context matters. Some industries are more formal than others; some organizational or country cultures may be more or less open to “letting it all hang out.” Managers who think through their own social media strategies and put these topics on the table aren’t hassling people, they’re helping them. They’re making it easier to avoid social media’s troubles, and to access its treasures. Ariane Ollier-Malaterre Nancy Rothbard
  33. 33. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in The Top 10 Benefits Of Social Media Marketing
  34. 34. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in To some entrepreneurs, social media marketing is the “next big thing,” a temporary yet powerful fad that must be taken advantage of while it’s still in the spotlight. To others, it’s a buzzword with no practical advantages and a steep, complicated learning curve. Because it appeared quickly, social media has developed a reputation by some for being a passing marketing interest, and therefore, an unprofitable one. The statistics, however, illustrate a different picture. According to Hubspot, 92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites. And according to Social Media Examiner, 97% of marketers are currently participating in social media—but 85% of participants aren’t sure what social media tools are the best to use. This demonstrates a huge potential for social media marketing to increase sales, but a lack of understanding on how to achieve those results. Here’s a look at just some of the ways social media marketing can improve your business: 1. Increased Brand Recognition: Every opportunity you have to syndicate your content and increase your visibility is valuable. Your social media networks are just new channels for your brand’s voice and content. This is important because it simultaneously makes you easier and more accessible for new customers, and makes you more familiar and recognizable for existing customers. For example, a frequent Twitter user could hear about your company for the first time only after stumbling upon it in a newsfeed. Or, an otherwise apathetic customer might become better acquainted with your brand after seeing your presence on multiple networks.
  35. 35. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in 2. Improved brand loyalty: According to a report published by Texas Tech University, brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. The report concludes “Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience. A strategic and open social media plan could prove influential in morphing consumers into being brand loyal.” Another study published by Convince&Convert found that 53% of Americans who follow brands in social are more loyal to those brands. 3. More Opportunities to Convert: Every post you make on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert. When you build a following, you’ll simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit, and eventually a conversion. Not every interaction with your brand results in a conversion, but every positive interaction increases the likelihood of an eventual conversion. Even if your click- through rates are low, the sheer number of opportunities you have on social media is significant. And as I pointed out in my article, “The Four Elements of Any Action, And How to Use Them in Your Online Marketing Initiative,” “opportunity” is the first element of any action. 4.Higher conversion rates: Social media marketing results in higher conversion rates in a few distinct ways. Perhaps the most significant is its humanization element; the fact that brands become
  36. 36. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in more humanized by interacting in social media channels. Social media is a place where brands can act like people do, and this is important because people like doing business with other people; not with companies. Additionally, studies have shown that social media has a 100% higher lead-to- close rate than outbound marketing, and a higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and credibility in your brand, representing social proof. As such, simply building your audience in social media can improve conversion rates on your existing traffic. 5. Higher Brand Authority: Interacting with your customers regularly is a show of good faith for other customers. When people go to compliment or brag about a product or service, they turn to social media. And when they post your brand name, new audience members will want to follow you for updates. The more people that are talking about you on social media, the more valuable and authoritative your brand will seem to new users. Not to mention, if you can interact with major influencers on Twitter or other social networks, your visible authority and reach will skyrocket. 6.Increased Inbound Traffic: Without social media, your inbound traffic is limited to people already familiar with your brand and individuals searching for keywords you currently rank for. Every social media profile you add is another path leading back to your site, and every piece of content you syndicate on those profiles is another opportunity for a new visitor. The
  37. 37. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in more quality content you syndicate on social media, the more inbound traffic you’ll generate, and more traffic means more leads and more conversions. 7. Decreased Marketing Costs: According to Hubspot, 84% of marketers found as little as six hours of effort per week was enough to generate increased traffic. Six hours is not a significant investment for a channel as large as social media. If you can lend just one hour a day to developing your content and syndication strategy, you could start seeing the results of your efforts. Even paid advertising through Facebook and Twitter is relatively cheap (depending on your goals, of course). Start small and you’ll never have to worry about going over budget—once you get a better feel for what to expect, you can increase your budget and increase your conversions correspondingly. 8.Better Search Engine Rankings: SEO is the best way to capture relevant traffic from search engines, but the requirements for success are always changing. It’s no longer enough to regularly update your blog, ensure optimized title tags and meta descriptions, and distribute links pointing back to your site. Google and other search engines may be calculating their rankings using social media presence as a significant factor, because of the fact that strong brands almost always use social media. As such, being active on social media could act as a “brand signal” to search engines that your brand is legitimate, credible, and trustworthy. That means, if you want to rank for a given set of keywords, having a strong social media presence could be almost mandatory.
  38. 38. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in 9.Richer Customer Experiences: Social media, at its core, is a communication channel like email or phone calls. Every customer interaction you have on social media is an opportunity to publicly demonstrate your customer service level and enrich your relationship with your customers. For example, if a customer complains about your product on Twitter, you can immediately address the comment, apologize publicly, and take action to make it right. Or, if a customer compliments you, you can thank them and recommend additional products. It’s a personal experience that lets customers know you care about them. 10. Improved Customer Insights: Social media also gives you an opportunity to gain valuable information about what your customers are interested in and how they behave, via social listening. For example, you can monitor user comments to see what people think of your business directly. You can segment your content syndication lists based on topic and see which types of content generate the most interest—and then produce more of that type of content. You can measure conversions based on different promotions posted on various social media channels and eventually find a perfect combination to generate revenue. These are the benefits of sustaining a long-term social media campaign, but if you’re still apprehensive about getting started, consider these points:  Your Competition Is Already Involved: Your competitors are already involved on social media, which means your potential social media traffic and conversions
  39. 39. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in are being poached. Don’t let your competitors reap all the benefits while you stand idly by. If, somehow, your competition is not involved on social media, there’s even more of a reason to get started—the field is open.  The Sooner You Start, the Sooner You Reap the Benefits: Social media is all about relationship building, and it tends to grow exponentially as your followers tell their friends, and their friends tell their friends, and so on. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be able to start growing that audience.  Potential Losses Are Insignificant: Realistically, you don’t have anything to lose by getting involved in social media. The amount of time and money it takes to create your profiles and start posting is usually minimal, compared to other marketing channels. Just six hours a week or a few hundred dollars is all it takes to establish your presence. Jayson DeMers
  40. 40. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Is Social Media Actually Helping Your Company’s Bottom Line?
  41. 41. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in When it comes to business, we talk too much about social media and expect too little. It’s like the old joke about sales people: one person says, “I made some valuable contacts today,” and the other responds, “I didn’t get any orders, either.” Companies measure the market results of their sales investments. But few have measures or even have accountable managers in place for their social media investments, and only 7% say their organizations “understand the exact value at stake from digital.” Meanwhile, according to a Gallup survey, 62% of U.S. adults who use social media say these sites have no influence on their purchasing decisions and only 5% say they have a great deal of influence. Consider: The most common metrics for evaluating social media are likes, tweets, reviews, and click-through-rates (CTRs) for online ads — not cause-and-effect links between the medium and market results. The basic investment logic is typically no deeper than a version of “Fifty million tweets or likes can’t be wrong” . . . or can they? There is justifiable skepticism about this data. Farming services spike these numbers, with evidence that one in three online reviews is fake. For $50, you can buy 1,000 Likes, 5,000 Twitter followers, or 200 Google +1s. With real people, moreover, 8% of internet users account for 85% of clicks on display ads, and 85% of social media updates come from less than 30% of a company’s social-media audience. One online reviewer, Harriet Klausner, has reviewed more than 25,000 books. A Forrester study found that posts from top brands on Twitter and Facebook reach just 2% of their followers (note: that’s followers, not new customers) and only 0.07% of those followers actually interact with those posts. As others have noted, people are more likely to complete a Navy Seal training program or climb Mount Everest than click on a banner ad.
  42. 42. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in There are, as always, opportunity costs. Since 2008, according to a McKinsey study, companies have devoted more time and money to social networks and 20% less to e-mail communications. Yet, the same study found that humble e-mail remains a more effective way to acquire customers — nearly 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined. Why? Because 90% of U.S. consumers use email daily and the average order value is 17% higher than purchases attributable to those social media. Technology changes fast remember MySpace and Friendster? — but consumer behavior changes more slowly. As a result, people tend to overhype new technologies and misallocate resources, especially marketers. When banner ads first appeared their CTR was 10%, but that soon fell due to heavy usage by firms, and clutter. Research has long demonstrated that ad elasticities are generally very low, that firms often persist with ineffective ad media (because they have the wrong measures or no measures), and that companies routinely over-spend on ads (due to ad agency incentives, the fact that ad expenses are tax-deductible, and companies’ use-it-or- lose-it budgeting processes). Other research indicates that traditional offline consumer opinion surveys (when they use representative samples) are better at predicting sales than clicks, number of website visits or page views, positive or negative social media conversations, and search (although online behavior is good at tracking the reasons behind week-to-week changes in sales.) With new media, therefore, great expectations are common and missing the goal is understandable: it takes practice and learning. But changing or dismantling the goal posts is a different story.
  43. 43. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in It’s now common to say that social media is “really” about awareness, not sales. Companies that “get” social media should be “relentless givers [who] connect instead of promote.” In fact, forget “traditional” ROI (that lovely qualifier), focus on consumer use of social media and, instead of calculating the returns in terms of customer response, measure the number of visits with that social media application. How convenient: to be evaluated with a metric without tangible marketplace outcomes. But it’s wrong, a circular argument, and smart companies should not follow this flawed business logic. The value of any advertising, online or offline, depends on what effects it has on purchases. As Bill Bernbach, David Ogilvy, and other ad execs have emphasized, “our job is to sell our clients’ merchandise, not ourselves.” Those effects are difficult to measure, because consumers buy (or not) for many different reasons and even good ads in the right media have both carryover and wear-out effects that vary over the product life cycle and an ad campaign. But to justify an investment by activity and not outcomes is a tautology — we advertise because we advertise — not a meaningful business argument. Even an activity measure, moreover, assumes the consumer can see the ad. Did you know that a display ad is deemed “viewable” if at least half of each ad is visible on your computer or smart phone for a minimum of one second? Data released in 2014 by comScore indicated that more than half of online display ads appear on parts of a web page that are not viewable. In response, the Interactive Advertising Bureau noted that for various reasons 100% viewability is “not yet possible,” but the industry should aim for 70%. In other words, hope that “only” 30% of your intended ads are not seen by anyone for at least a second!
  44. 44. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Further, what we now know about shopping and social media activity says that online and offline behavior interact. They’re complements, not substitutes, and you ignore these interactions at your peril. The vast majority of communications on social media sites are between friends who are within 10 miles of each other. The same is true about the available data on buying behavior. As Wharton professor David Bell documents, the way people use the internet is largely shaped by where they live, the presence of stores nearby, their neighbors, and local sales taxes. For years now, we have heard big talk about the big data behind big investments in social media. Let’s see who is behind the curtain. It’s time to expect more from social media and prove it. The Association of Advertising Agencies has refused to endorse the 70% goal and wants 100% viewability, which means if an advertiser buys 1 million impressions from a site, that site must display that ad as many times as it takes to ensure a million viewable impressions. In 2014, The Economist guaranteed those who buy space on its apps and website that readers will spend a certain amount of time there. For instance, it will guarantee that a site containing an ad appearing for three weeks will receive X hours of readers’ attention — documenting, not assuming, engagement with the medium. Other companies try to trace the links (or not) between online platforms and sales outcomes. They buy point-of-sale data from retailers and have systems that purport to match Facebook or Twitter IDs, for example, with a given campaign and subsequent retail sales for a product. The validity of these approaches is still to be determined. And the FTC has raised concerns about privacy issues and disclosure practices, and has urged Congress to pass legislation to give consumers the right to opt out. But shining light on what does and doesn’t happen here will be a good thing.
  45. 45. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Business success requires linking customer-acquisition efforts with a coherent strategy. You can’t do that if you are not clear about the differences between hype and reality when it comes to buying and selling. And we should care about this distinction for reasons that go far beyond making even more ads more viewable. Companies’ abilities to make better use of their resources are important for society, not only shareholders. It spurs productivity, and productivity — not just tweets and selfies — is what spurs growth. Frank V. Cespedes
  46. 46. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Branding in the Age of Social Media
  47. 47. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in In the era of Facebook and YouTube, brand building has become a vexing challenge. This is not how things were supposed to turn out. A decade ago most companies were heralding the arrival of a new golden age of branding. They hired creative agencies and armies of technologists to insert brands throughout the digital universe. Viral, buzz, memes, stickiness, and form factor became the lingua franca of branding. But despite all the hoopla, such efforts have had very little payoff. As a central feature of their digital strategy, companies made huge bets on what is often called branded content. The thinking went like this: Social media would allow your company to leapfrog traditional media and forge relationships directly with customers. If you told them great stories and connected with them in real time, your brand would become a hub for a community of consumers. Businesses have invested billions pursuing this vision. Yet few brands have generated meaningful consumer interest online. In fact, social media seems to have made brands less significant. What has gone wrong? To solve this puzzle, we need to remember that brands succeed when they break through in culture. And branding is a set of techniques designed to generate cultural relevance. Digital technologies have not only created potent new social networks but also dramatically altered how culture works. Digital crowds now serve as very effective and prolific innovators of culture a phenomenon I call crowdculture. Crowdculture changes the rules of branding— which techniques work and which do not. If we understand crowd culture, then, we can figure out why branded-content strategies have fallen flat—and what alternative branding methods are empowered by social media.
  48. 48. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Why Branded Content and Sponsorships Used to Work While promoters insist that branded content is a hot new thing, it’s actually a relic of the mass media age that has been repackaged as a digital concept. In the early days of that era, companies borrowed approaches from popular entertainment to make their brands famous, using short-form storytelling, cinematic tricks, songs, and empathetic characters to win over audiences. Classic ads like Alka-Seltzer’s “I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing,” Frito-Lay’s “Frito Bandito,” and Farrah Fawcett “creaming” Joe Namath with Noxema all snuck into popular culture by amusing audiences. This early form of branded content worked well because the entertainment media were oligopolies, so cultural competition was limited. In the United States, three networks produced television programming for 30 weeks or so every year and then went into reruns. Films were distributed only through local movie theaters; similarly, magazine competition was restricted to what fit on the shelves at drugstores. Consumer marketing companies could buy their way to fame by paying to place their brands in this tightly controlled cultural arena. Once audiences could opt out of ads, it became harder for brands to buy fame. Brands also infiltrated culture by sponsoring TV shows and events, attaching themselves to successful content. Since fans had limited access to their favorite entertainers, brands could act as intermediaries. For decades, we were accustomed to fast food chains’ sponsoring new blockbuster films, luxury autos’ bringing us golf and tennis competitions, and youth brands’ underwriting bands and festivals.
  49. 49. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in The rise of new technologies that allowed audiences to opt out of ads—from cable networks to DVRs and then the internet—made it much harder for brands to buy fame. Now they had to compete directly with real entertainment. So companies upped the ante. BMW pioneered the practice of creating short films for the internet. Soon corporations were hiring top film directors (Michael Bay, Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Wes Anderson, David Lynch) and pushing for ever-more-spectacular special effects and production values. These early (pre-social-media) digital efforts led companies to believe that if they delivered Hollywood-level creative at internet speed, they could gather huge engaged audiences around their brands. Thus was born the great push toward branded content. But its champions weren’t counting on new competition. And this time it came not from big media companies but from the crowd. The Rise of Crowdculture Historically, cultural innovation flowed from the margins of society—from fringe groups, social movements, and artistic circles that challenged mainstream norms and conventions. Companies and the mass media acted as intermediaries, diffusing these new ideas into the mass market. But social media has changed everything. Social media binds together communities that once were geographically isolated, greatly increasing the pace and intensity of collaboration. Now that these once-remote communities are densely networked, their cultural influence has become direct and substantial. These new crowdcultures come in two flavors: subcultures, which incubate new ideologies and practices, and art worlds, which break new ground in entertainment.
  50. 50. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Amplified subcultures. Today you’ll find a flourishing crowdculture around almost any topic: espresso, the demise of the American Dream, Victorian novels, arts-and-crafts furniture, libertarianism, new urbanism, 3-D printing, anime, bird-watching, homeschooling, barbecue. Back in the day, these subculturalists had to gather physically and had very limited ways to communicate collectively: magazines and, later, primitive Usenet groups and meet-ups. Social media has expanded and democratized these subcultures. With a few clicks, you can jump into the center of any subculture, and participants’ intensive interactions move seamlessly among the web, physical spaces, and traditional media. Together members are pushing forward new ideas, products, practices, and aesthetics—bypassing mass-culture gatekeepers. With the rise of crowdculture, cultural innovators and their early adopter markets have become one and the same. Turbocharged art worlds. Producing innovative popular entertainment requires a distinctive mode of organization—what sociologists call an art world. In art worlds, artists (musicians, filmmakers, writers, designers, cartoonists, and so on) gather in inspired collaborative competition: They work together, learn from one another, play off ideas, and push one another. The collective efforts of participants in these “scenes” often generate major creative breakthroughs. Before the rise of social media, the mass-culture industries (film, television, print media, fashion) thrived by pilfering and repurposing their innovations. Crowdculture has turbocharged art worlds, vastly increasing the number of participants and the speed and quality of their interactions. No longer do you need to be
  51. 51. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in part of a local scene; no longer do you need to work for a year to get funding and distribution for your short film. Now millions of nimble cultural entrepreneurs come together online to hone their craft, exchange ideas, fine-tune their content, and compete to produce hits. The net effect is a new mode of rapid cultural prototyping, in which you can get instant data on the market’s reception of ideas, have them critiqued, and then rework them so that the most resonant content quickly surfaces. In the process, new talent emerges and new genres form. Squeezing into every nook and cranny of pop culture, the new content is highly attuned to audiences and produced on the cheap. These art-world crowdcultures are the main reason why branded content has failed. Beyond Branded Content While companies have put their faith in branded content for the past decade, brute empirical evidence is now forcing them to reconsider. In YouTube or Instagram rankings of channels by number of subscribers, corporate brands barely appear. Only three have cracked the YouTube Top 500. Instead you’ll find entertainers you’ve never heard of, appearing as if from nowhere. YouTube’s greatest success by far is PewDiePie, a Swede who posts barely edited films with snarky voice-over commentary on the video games he plays. By January 2016 he had racked up nearly 11 billion views, and his YouTube channel had more than 41 million subscribers. How did this happen? The story begins with the youth subcultures that formed around video games. When they landed on social media, they became a force. The once-oddball video-gaming-as-entertainment subculture of South Korea went global, producing a
  52. 52. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in massive spectator sport, now known as E-Sports, with a fan base approaching 100 million people. (Amazon recently bought the E-Sports network Twitch for $970 million.) In E-Sports, broadcasters provide play-by-play narration of video games. PewDiePie and his comrades riffed on this commentary, turning it into a potty-mouthed new form of sophomoric comedy. Other gamers who film themselves, such as VanossGaming (YouTube rank #19, 15.6 million subscribers), elrubiusOMG (#20, 15.6 million), CaptainSparklez (#60, 9 million), and Ali-A (#94, 7.4 million), are also influential members of this tribe. The crowdculture was initially organized by specialized media platforms that disseminated this content and by insider fans who gathered around and critiqued it, hyping some efforts and dissing others. PewDiePie became the star of this digital art world—just as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Patti Smith had done in urban art worlds back in the analog days. The main difference is that the power of crowdculture propelled him to global fame and influence in record time. Gaming comedy is just one of hundreds of new genres that crowdculture has created. Those genres fill every imaginable entertainment gap in popular culture, from girls’ fashion advice to gross-out indulgent foods to fanboy sports criticism. Brands can’t compete, despite their investments. Compare PewDiePie, who cranks out inexpensive videos in his house, to McDonald’s, one of the world’s biggest spenders on social media. The McDonald’s channel (#9,414) has 204,000 YouTube subscribers. PewDiePie is 200 times as popular, for a minuscule fraction of the cost. Or consider Red Bull, the most lauded branded-content success story. It has become a new-media hub producing extreme- and alternative-sports content. While Red Bull spends
  53. 53. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in much of its $2 billion annual marketing budget on branded content, its YouTube channel (rank #184, 4.9 million subscribers) is lapped by dozens of crowdculture start-ups with production budgets under $100,000. Indeed, Dude Perfect (#81, 8 million subscribers), the brainchild of five college jocks from Texas who make videos of trick shots and goofy improvised athletic feats, does far better. Coca-Cola offers another cautionary tale. In 2011 the company announced a new marketing strategy—called Liquid & Linked—with great fanfare. Going all in, it shifted its emphasis from “creative excellence” (the old mass-media approach) to “content excellence” (branded content in social media). Coke’s Jonathan Mildenhall claimed that Coke would continually produce “the world’s most compelling content,” which would capture “a disproportionate share of popular culture,” doubling sales by 2020. The following year, Coca-Cola launched its first big bet, transforming the static corporate website into a digital magazine, Coca-Cola Journey. It runs stories on virtually every pop culture topic—from sports and food to sustainability and travel. It’s the epitome of a branded-content strategy. Journey has now been live for over three years, and it barely registers views. It hasn’t cracked the top 10,000 sites in the United States or the top 20,000 worldwide. Likewise, the company’s YouTube channel (ranked #2,749) has only 676,000 subscribers. It turns out that consumers have little interest in the content that brands churn out. Very few people want it in their feed. Most view it as clutter—as brand spam. When Facebook realized this, it began charging companies to get “sponsored” content into the feeds of people who were supposed to be their fans.
  54. 54. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in On social media, what works for Shakira backfires for Crest and Clorox. The problem companies face is structural, not creative. Big companies organize their marketing efforts as the antithesis of art worlds, in what I have termed brand bureaucracies. They excel at coordinating and executing complex marketing programs across multiple markets around the world. But this organizational model leads to mediocrity when it comes to cultural innovation. Brand Sponsors Are Disinter mediated Entertainment “properties”—performers, athletes, sports teams, films, television programs, and video games—are also hugely popular on social media. Across all the big platforms you’ll find the usual A-list of celebrities dominating. On YouTube musicians Rihanna, One Direction, Katy Perry, Eminem, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift have built massive audiences. On Twitter you’ll find a similar cast of singers, along with media stars like Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon, Oprah, Bill Gates, and the pope. Fans gather around the tweets of sports stars Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, Neymar, and Kaká, and teams such as FC Barcelona and Real Madrid (which are far more popular than the two dominant sports brands, Nike and Adidas). On Instagram you’ll find more of the same. These celebrities are all garnering the superengaged community that pundits have long promised social media would deliver. But it’s not available to companies and their branded goods and services. In retrospect, that shouldn’t be surprising: Interacting with a favored entertainer is different from interacting with a brand of rental car or orange juice. What works for Shakira backfires for Crest and Clorox. The idea that consumers could
  55. 55. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in possibly want to talk about Corona or Coors in the same way that they debate the talents of Ronaldo and Messi is silly. How One Brand Uses Celebrities to Break Through Under Armour’s recent campaign “I Will What I Want” shows how to combine celebrity sponsorships and cultural branding to create content with impact. Under Armour originally became an iconic brand by swiping Nike’s cultural strategy—then doing it one better. Nike’s approach, launched in the 1970s and perfected in the 1990s, was to tell stories of athletes who overcame societal barriers through sheer willpower. But a decade ago Nike abandoned its competitive-underdog ideology to go all in on branded content, using famous athletes to make entertaining sports films. Under Armour stepped into the void, producing arresting new ads, such as “Protect This House,” that championed the same ideology and took off on social media. Under Armour also followed Nike in dramatizing how übercompetitiveness, traditionally associated with masculinity, applied equally to women, broadcasting spots that showcased female athletes. The latest effort, “I Will What I Want,” pushed gender boundaries even further, challenging conventions in arenas where traditional ideals of femininity still reign. Ballet star Misty Copeland—who grew up in poverty with a single parent—is an athletic, muscular dancer in a profession that celebrates waifish, reed-thin women.
  56. 56. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Under Armour made a video about how she rose above adversity (the voice-over is from a rejection letter saying that her body was completely wrong for ballet), showing her dancing in a formfitting sports bra and pants that reveal her curvier physique. A Gisele Bündchen film followed the same convention-breaking formula but mashed up incongruous crowdcultures to provoke a social media response. The former Victoria’s Secret star is usually portrayed within the glamorous world of runways and celebrity hobnobbing. Under Armour broke the frame by placing her in what was essentially an old Nike ad: a backstage video of Gisele in an intense kickboxing workout. The company announced the partnership ahead of filming. It immediately stirred up the crowdculture: Sports fans were cynical, Gisele fans were curious, fashionistas were puzzled, and feminists simply loved it. Under Armour’s agency scraped all this commentary from the web and projected quotes from the digital discussion on the walls behind her. The resulting video shows Gisele sweating and kicking the bag, ignoring the litany of digs surrounding her: “Is posing now a sport?” “She’s not even pretty.” “What’s her sport, smiling?” “Stick to modeling, sweetie.” Under Armour succeeded because it innovated with ideology—using female celebrities to provocatively push against gender norms. The company aimed its communiqués directly at the crowdcultures that held those norms, which set off a firestorm of debate.
  57. 57. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Social media allows fans to create rich communities around entertainers, who interact directly with them in a barrage of tweets, pins, and posts. Sports teams now hire social media ambassadors to reach out to fans in real time during games, and once the game is over, the players send along insider photos and hold locker-room chats. Beyond the major platforms, new media sites like Vevo, SoundCloud, and Apple Music are spurring even more direct digital connections. Of course, entertainers are still more than happy to take sponsors’ money, but the cultural value that’s supposed to rub off on the brand is fading. Cultural Branding While the rise of crowdculture diminishes the impact of branded content and sponsorships, it has greased the wheels for an alternative approach that I call cultural branding. The dramatic breakthrough of the fast-casual Mexican food chain Chipotle from 2011 to 2013 (before recent outbreaks of foodborne illness) demonstrates the power of this approach. Chipotle took advantage of an enormous cultural opportunity created when the once- marginal movements that had challenged America’s dominant industrial food culture became a force to be reckoned with on social media. The chain jumped into the fray as a champion of this crowdculture’s ideology. By applying cultural branding, Chipotle became one of America’s most compelling and talked-about brands (though recent food-safety difficulties have dented its image). Specifically, Chipotle succeeded by following these five principles:
  58. 58. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in 1. Map the cultural orthodoxy. In cultural branding, the brand promotes an innovative ideology that breaks with category conventions. To do that, it first needs to identify which conventions to leapfrog—what I call the cultural orthodoxy. America’s industrial food ideology was invented in the early 20th century by food-marketing companies. Americans had come to believe that, through dazzling scientific discoveries (margarine, instant coffee, Tang) and standardized production processes, big companies, overseen by the Food and Drug Administration, would ensure bountiful, healthful, and tasty food. Those assumptions have undergirded the fast food category since McDonald’s took off in the 1960s. 2. Locate the cultural opportunity. As time passes, disruptions in society cause an orthodoxy to lose traction. Consumers begin searching for alternatives, which opens up an opportunity for innovative brands to push forward a new ideology in their categories. How Cultural Branding Builds Icons Iconic brands are cultural innovators: They leapfrog the conventions of their categories to champion new ideologies that are meaningful to customers. As a result, they enjoy intense customer loyalty and superior sales and profits, and garner loads of free media coverage. In business, few achievements are more
  59. 59. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in prized than creating an iconic brand. Yet the two dominant branding models are not designed to do the job. The first model, mindshare branding, is one that companies have long relied on. It treats a brand as a set of psychological associations (benefits, emotions, personality). The second model, purpose branding, has become popular in the past decade. In it, a brand espouses values or ideals its customers share. Over the past 15 years I’ve developed an alternative approach—cultural branding—to turn what was once serendipity into a rigorous discipline. Let me illustrate how it works, using the transformation of Jack Daniel’s from a near-bankrupt regional distiller to the maker of the leading premium American whiskey. Whiskies compete to be perceived as upscale and masculine. In the 1950s the major brands sought to align themselves with the male ideal of the day: the sophisticated modern corporate executive. Jack Daniel’s, a small whiskey targeted to upper-middle-class men, was being trounced by the national competitors. How could it break through? Mindshare-branding experts would advise the company to convey, very consistently, the key brand associations: masculine, sophisticated, smooth-tasting, classic. But that was precisely what Jack Daniel’s was doing—its ads mimicked the national brands’, showing alpha executives drinking smooth whiskey. And they didn’t work. Purpose-branding experts would encourage the firm to champion its core values. With that approach, the focus wouldn’t be much different: Those values had to do with producing classic charcoal-filtered whiskey for a sophisticated drinker.
  60. 60. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Instead, the firm (tacitly) pursued a cultural-branding approach. Because masculine ideals are shaped by society, they change over time. The Cold War had dramatically affected Americans’ perceptions of masculinity. In the face of a nuclear threat, the corporate executive seemed too sedentary. Instead, the public was drawn to what had only recently been viewed as an anachronism: the gunslinging rugged individualist of the Old West, who, in the American mythos, had helped forge the country’s success. The enormous popularity of Western films was one indication of this shift. This massive cultural opportunity, which Marlboro and Levi’s leveraged as well, is obvious when analyzed through a cultural-branding framework—but invisible without one. The Jack Daniel’s distillery was in a rural region of Tennessee that the postwar mass media portrayed as an impoverished land of hillbillies. Yet in the American imagination, the area was also one of the last authentic pockets of the frontier, where Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone had gotten their start. So when American men yearned to revive the ideology of the frontier, the whiskey offered great potential as a symbol. This theme was first hit upon by men’s magazines (Fortune, True), which published stories romanticizing the distillery as a place run by frontiersmen, little changed since the 19th century. The company’s print-ad campaign simply emulated those stories, adding some folksy copy. Jack Daniel’s quickly became the aspirational whiskey among urban upper- middle-class men; the branding converted its once-stigmatized location into a place where men were really men. Conventional models would never build a strategy
  61. 61. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in centered on such a downscale version of masculinity. But in cultural branding, inverting marginal ideologies is one of the tricks of the trade. For industrial food, the tipping point came in 2001, when Eric Schlosser’s book Fast Food Nation powerfully challenged it. This was followed in 2004 by Morgan Spurlock’s film Super Size Me and in 2006 by Michael Pollan’s influential book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. These critiques dramatically affected the upper middle class, quickly spreading concerns about industrial food and providing huge momentum to Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, and a host of other upmarket food purveyors. The same transformation is unfolding in other countries dominated by industrial food ideology. For instance, in the United Kingdom the celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have played a similar role. Before social media, the influence of these works would have remained locked within this small fraction of society. Instead, crowdcultures grabbed the critiques and blew them up, pushing industrial food anxiety into the mainstream. News about every major problem linked to industrial food production—processed foods loaded with sugar, carcinogenic preservatives, rBGH in milk, bisphenol A leaching from plastics, GMOs, and so on—began to circulate at internet speed. Videos of the meatlike substance “pink slime” went viral. Parents worried endlessly about what they were feeding their kids. Crowdculture converted an elite concern into a national social trauma that galvanized a broad public challenge.
  62. 62. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in 3. Target the crowdculture. Challengers to the industrial food ideology had lurked at the margins for more than 40 years but had been easily pushed aside as crazy Luddites. Small subcultures had evolved around organic farming and pastured livestock, eking out a living at the fringes of the market in community-supported agriculture and farmers’ markets. But as social media took off, an influential and diverse cluster of overlapping subcultures pushed hard for food innovations. They included advocates of evolutionary nutrition and paleo diets, sustainable ranchers, a new generation of environmental activists, urban gardeners, and farm-to-table restaurants. In short order, a massive cultural movement had organized around the revival of preindustrial foods. Chipotle succeeded because it jumped into this crowdculture and took on its cause. 4.Diffuse the new ideology. Chipotle promoted preindustrial food ideology with two films. In 2011 the company launched Back to the Start, an animated film with simple wooden figures. In it, an old-fashioned farm is transformed into a parody of a hyper-rationalized industrial farm: The pigs are stuffed together inside a concrete barn, then enter an assembly line where they are injected with chemicals that fatten them into blimps, and then are pressed into cubes and deposited in a fleet of semis. The farmer is haunted by this transformation and decides to convert his farm back to its original pastoral version. Crowdculture converted an elite concern into a national social trauma.
  63. 63. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in The second film, The Scarecrow, parodied an industrial food company that branded its products using natural farm imagery. The company is actually a factory in which animals are injected with drugs and treated inhumanely. It cranks out premade meals stamped “100% beef-ish” that kids, oblivious to the real process, eagerly gobble up. A scarecrow who works at the factory is depressed by what he witnesses until he gets an idea. He picks a bunch of produce from his garden, takes it to the city, and opens up a little taqueria—a facsimile of a Chipotle. The films were launched with tiny media buys and then seeded out on social media platforms. Both were extremely influential, were watched by tens of millions, generated huge media hits, and helped drive impressive sales and profit gains. Each won the Grand Prix at the Cannes advertising festival. Chipotle’s films are wrongly understood simply as great examples of branded content. They worked because they went beyond mere entertainment. The films were artful, but so are many thousands of films that don’t cut through. Their stories weren’t particularly original; they had been repeated over and over with creative vigor for the previous decade or so. But they exploded on social media because they were myths that passionately captured the ideology of the burgeoning preindustrial food crowdculture. Chipotle painted an inspired vision of America returning to bucolic agricultural and food production traditions and reversing many problems in the dominant food system. The bête noire of the preindustrial food movement is fast food, so the idea that a major fast food company would promote that story was particularly potent with the crowd.
  64. 64. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Chipotle was taking on pink slime! Moreover, boutique locavore food was expensive, but at Chipotle people could now assuage their worries with a $7 burrito. Because they tapped into anxieties percolating in the crowdculture, Chipotle’s films never had to compete as great entertainment. 5. Innovate continually, using cultural flashpoints. A brand can sustain its cultural relevance by playing off particularly intriguing or contentious issues that dominate the media discourse related to an ideology. That’s what Ben & Jerry’s did so well in championing its sustainable business philosophy. The company used new-product introductions to playfully spar with the Reagan administration on timely issues such as nuclear weapons, the destruction of the rain forests, and the war on drugs. To thrive, Chipotle must continue to lead on flashpoint issues with products and communiqués. The company has been less successful in this respect: It followed up with a Hulu series that had little social media impact because it simply mimicked the prior films rather than staking out new flashpoints. Then Chipotle moved on to a new issue, championing food without GMOs. Aside from the fact that this claim challenged its credibility (after all, Chipotle still sold meat fed by GMO grain and soft drinks made with GMO sweeteners), GMO was a relatively weak flashpoint, a contentious issue only among the most activist consumers and already touted by many hundreds of products. These efforts failed to rally the crowdculture. A number of other flashpoints, such as sugary drinks and industrial vegetable oils, generate far more controversy and have yet to be tackled by a major food business.
  65. 65. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Of course, leading with ideology in the mass market can be a double-edged sword. The brand has to walk the walk or it will be called out. Chipotle is a large and growing business with many industrial-scale processes, not a small farm-to-table taqueria. Delivering perishable fresh food, which the company is committed to as a preindustrial food champion, is a huge operational challenge. Chipotle’s reputation has taken a painful hit with highly publicized outbreaks of E. coli and norovirus contamination. Chipotle won’t win back consumer trust through ads or public relations efforts. Rather, the company has to convince the crowdculture that it’s doubling down on its commitment to get preindustrial food right, and then the crowd will advocate for its brand once again. Competing for Crowdcultures To brand effectively with social media, companies should target crowdcultures. Today, in pursuit of relevance, most brands chase after trends. But this is a commodity approach to branding: Hundreds of companies are doing exactly the same thing with the same generic list of trends. It’s no wonder consumers don’t pay attention. By targeting novel ideologies flowing out of crowdcultures, brands can assert a point of view that stands out in the overstuffed media environment. Take the personal care category. Three brands—Dove, Axe, and Old Spice—have generated tremendous consumer interest and identification in a historically low- involvement category, one you would never expect to get attention on social media. They succeeded by championing distinctive gender ideologies around which crowdcultures had formed.
  66. 66. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Axe mines the lad crowd. In the 1990s feminist critiques of patriarchal culture were promulgated by academics in American universities. These attacks whipped up a conservative backlash mocking “politically correct” gender politics. It held that men were under siege and needed to rekindle their traditional masculinity. In the UK and then the United States, this rebellion gave rise to a tongue-in-cheek form of sexism called “lad culture.” New magazines like Maxim, FHM, and Loaded harked back to the Playboy era, featuring lewd stories with soft-porn photos. This ideology struck a chord with many young men. By the early 2000s lad culture was migrating onto the web as a vital crowdculture. Axe (sold as Lynx in the UK and Ireland) had been marketed in Europe and Latin America since the 1980s but had become a dated, also-ran brand. That is, until the company jumped onto the lad bandwagon with “The Axe Effect,” a campaign that pushed to bombastic extremes politically incorrect sexual fantasies. It spread like wildfire on the internet and instantly established Axe as the over-the-top cheerleader for the lad crowd. By targeting novel ideologies from crowdcultures, brands can stand out. Dove leads the body-positive crowd. Axe’s aggressive stand set up a perfect opportunity for another brand to champion the feminist side of this “gender war.” Dove was a mundane, old-fashioned brand in a category in which marketing usually rode the coattails of the beauty trends set by fashion houses and media. By the 2000s the ideal of the woman’s body had been pushed to ridiculous extremes. Feminist critiques of the use of starved size 0 models began to circulate in traditional and social media. Instead of presenting an aspiration, beauty marketing had become inaccessible and alienating to many women.
  67. 67. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” tapped into this emerging crowdculture by celebrating real women’s physiques in all their normal diversity—old, young, curvy, skinny, short, tall, wrinkled, smooth. Women all over the world pitched in to produce, circulate, and cheer for images of bodies that didn’t conform to the beauty myth. Throughout the past decade, Dove has continued to target cultural flashpoints—such as the use of heavily Photoshopped images in fashion magazines—to keep the brand at the center of this gender discourse. Old Spice taps the hipster crowd. The ideological battle between the laddish view and body-positive feminism left untouched one other cultural opportunity in the personal care market. In the 2000s, a new “hipster” ideology arose in urban subcultures to define sophistication among young cosmopolitan adults. They embraced the historical bohemian ideal with gusto but also with self-referential irony. Ironic white-trash wardrobes (foam trucker hats, ugly Salvation Army sweaters) and facial hair (waxed handlebar mustaches, bushy beards) became pervasive. Brooklyn was chock-full of lumberjacks. Amplified by crowdculture, this sensibility rapidly spread across the country. Old Spice branding piggybacked on hipster sophistication with a parody of Axe and masculine clichés. The campaign featured a chiseled, bare-chested former football player, Isaiah Mustafa, as a huckster for Old Spice—“the man your man could smell like.” The films hit the hipster bull’s-eye, serving up an extremely “hot” guy whose shtick is to make fun of the conventions of male attractiveness. You too can be hot if you offer your woman amazing adventures, diamonds and gold, and studly body poses, all with aggressive spraying of Old Spice.
  68. 68. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in These three brands broke through in social media because they used cultural branding—a strategy that works differently from the conventional branded-content model. Each engaged a cultural discourse about gender and sexuality in wide circulation in social media—a crowdculture—which espoused a distinctive ideology. Each acted as a proselytizer, promoting this ideology to a mass audience. Such opportunities come into view only if we use the prism of cultural branding—doing research to identify ideologies that are relevant to the category and gaining traction in crowdcultures. Companies that rely on traditional segmentation models and trend reports will always have trouble identifying those opportunities. A decade in, companies are still struggling to come up with a branding model that works in the chaotic world of social media. The big platforms—the Facebooks and YouTubes and Instagrams—seem to call the shots, while the vast majority of brands are cultural mutes, despite investing billions. Companies need to shift their focus away from the platforms themselves and toward the real locus of digital power—crowdcultures. They are creating more opportunities than ever for brands. Old Spice succeeded not with a Facebook strategy but with a strategy that leveraged the ironic hipster aesthetic. Chipotle succeeded not with a YouTube strategy but with products and communications that spoke to the preindustrial food movement. Companies can once again win the battle for cultural relevance with cultural branding, which will allow them to tap into the power of the crowd. Douglas Holt
  69. 69. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in The One Thing You Must Get Right When Building a Brand
  70. 70. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in As usual, marketers are turning hype into hyperventilation. This time, it’s about the supposed end of marketing as we know it, thanks to the rise of social media and the shift of power to consumers. But it’s wrong to think we’re entering a world in which traditional marketing activities, and brands themselves, will become irrelevant. In fact, the opposite is true. Social media make it more urgent than ever that companies get the basics right, developing and reliably delivering on a compelling brand promise. It has always been risky for companies to disappoint customers, at least over the long term. But today the scale and speed of social media can make falling short instantly painful. Consider the internet-fueled backlash against Kryptonite’s expensive but easily picked lock and Dell’s flammable laptops. By the same token, companies that consistently deliver what they promise benefit mightily when social media amplify their reputation. The obvious danger is failing to keep pace with social media developments. But an equal, less obvious danger is getting distracted by them and losing sight of the fundamentals. We’ve long worked on marketing strategy with companies across industries; over the past 15 years we’ve focused on new media, and recently on social media marketing. And we’ve been directly involved in successful new-media start-ups, including one specializing in customer advisory panels and online brand communities. Our conclusion? The companies that will succeed in this environment are exploiting the many opportunities presented by social media while keeping an unwavering eye on their brand promise, and they are judiciously revising the marketing playbook rather than trying to rewrite it.
  71. 71. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Leverage Social Media Most companies have cottoned on to social media as tools for engagement and collaboration. Marketers at leading companies have created lively exchanges with and among customers on sites such as OPEN Forum (American Express), Beinggirl.com (Procter & Gamble), myPlanNet (Cisco), and Fiesta Movement (Ford), tapping into participants’ expertise and creativity for product development. Of course, social media can also boost brand awareness, trial, and ultimately sales, especially when a campaign goes viral. More important for most companies, however, is that through social media they can gain rich, unmediated customer insights, faster than ever before. This represents a profound shift. Historically, market research was product- rather than customer-centric: Marketers asked questions about attitudes and behaviors relevant to their brands. More recently we have seen the rise of ethnographic research to help them understand how both a brand and its wider product category fit into people’s lives. Social networks take this a step further by providing powerful new ways to explore consumers’ lives and opinions. Procter & Gamble was an early adopter of social media; now all its businesses have sites aimed at specific markets and communities. Its feminine care group, appreciating the need to listen to rather than talk at customers, made sure that Beinggirl was less about its products than about the tribulations of 11-to-14-year-old girls—embarrassing moments, hygiene concerns, boy trouble. The site’s main value to P&G is not that it drives product sales but that it illuminates the target consumers’ world. Similarly, Amex uses OPEN Forum to learn about small-business owners, and Cisco uses myPlanNet to better understand the new generation of developers. These sites work because participants are
  72. 72. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in engaged with the brands, find the platforms authentic, and trust one another. The companies create active communities by ceding some control—in our experience, often the hardest adjustment for marketers. FoR Procter & Gamble, the main value of Beinggirl.com is not that it drives product sales but that it illuminates the target consumers’ world. P&G recently encountered firsthand the dark side of social media—the speed with which they can spread damaging messages. After the company introduced Dry Max technology into its Pampers product line last year, promising extra protection and a less bulky diaper, Rosana Shah, an angry customer whose child had developed diaper rash, created a Facebook page dedicated to putting pressure on the firm to withdraw the product. Other reports of rashes and blisters followed, and by May 7,000 parents had joined Shah’s campaign. Confident in its product’s performance, P&G stood firm. Its long experience in the category had taught it that some proportion of babies will always suffer from rashes, and the frequency of such problems hadn’t changed after the introduction of Dry Max. Aided by its well-established social media network, Pampers Village, and its Pampers Facebook page, the company made its case sympathetically but clearly. It responded to all complaints, offered advice to parents, and explained why the product wouldn’t be withdrawn. In September the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that it could find no link between Dry Max and the occurrence of diaper rash.
  73. 73. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Far from curbing P&G’s enthusiasm for social media, this incident helped the company hone its approach. It plans to use greater prelaunch engagement through these channels in future to clarify expectations and enable an even faster and more effective response to any unexpected backlash. Toyota, too, deftly used social media as part of its crisis management during the sudden-acceleration recall. It set up a team to monitor and respond with facts to rumors on Facebook and elsewhere, and created a Twitter presence for COO Jim Lentz. The team identified online fans and sought permission to distribute their statements through Toyota channels. Drawing on the company’s brand reputation—the reservoir of goodwill earned over decades of delivering on its promise of quality, reliability, and durability—it used social and other new media effectively to neutralize much of the hostility. By March 2010, when the recall was in full swing, Toyota sales were rebounding, with Camry and Corolla topping the list of all passenger-car sales. Enhance the Playbook Although any company’s decision about whether and how to use a new tool is situation- specific, all companies should incorporate social media into their marketing playbooks. But what’s the best approach? Our analysis of the strategies and performance of a diverse range of companies suggests that great brands share four fundamental qualities:  They offer and communicate a clear, relevant customer promise.  They build trust by delivering on that promise.  They drive the market by continually improving the promise.  They seek further advantage by innovating beyond the familiar.
  74. 74. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in These basics don’t sound like rocket science, but we’ve been surprised by how many companies still fail to get them right. Social media can be used to reinforce all four, even as they make them more urgent. Look at how Virgin Atlantic Airways has used social media to buttress the branding basics. The customer promise. Customers expect innovation, fun, informality, honesty, value, and a caring attitude from VAA. This promise is reinforced at every customer touch point, from marketing materials and the call center to travel agents and, increasingly, travel websites. VAA scans these sites (along with less obvious ones such as Camping.com and Mumsnet.com) to learn what people are saying. Where there is misinformation, the company rarely has to provide a correction, because site visitors usually do so themselves. Like other companies, VAA uses social media to check that the brand promise is both understood and relevant. It also works to keep all its social media activities true to and in support of the brand values. For instance, the most-read section of its Facebook page includes travel tips from crew members—communication that comes across as honest, informal, and caring. The most-read section of Virgin Atlantic’s Facebook page includes travel tips from crew members—communication that comes across as honest, informal, and caring. Trust. Obviously, trust is mainly about operational execution—service delivery. But keeping customers informed when things go wrong can prevent a slipup from becoming a trust-
  75. 75. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in eroding PR disaster. Customers expect airline websites to be accurate and up-to-date. But during the volcanic-ash crisis last spring, VAA’s website couldn’t keep pace with the rapidly changing situation, so it used Facebook and Twitter to communicate with customers. This was well received by some, but VAA learned from irate callers and site visitors that it needed to do an even better job of providing information in a crisis. The company is modifying its site to include a “rapid response” link to real-time VAA updates on Twitter and Facebook. It sees the various social media as complementary: Fergus Boyd, Virgin Atlantic’s head of e-business, told us, “Twitter is no more than a sound bite. Facebook can be an article. The website is for in-depth detail. They all need to signpost each other.” Continual improvement. For VAA—and for most companies—the biggest social media opportunity lies in gathering insights to drive continual incremental improvements. For instance, since its founding, in 1984, VAA has built its brand on the customer’s total experience, from her initial search for a flight to her safe return home. The proliferation of travel blogs has reinforced this emphasis. When the company learned that its loyalty-scheme members were complaining online about tedious, redundant requests for security information, it created a secure opt-in service to eliminate the problem. In response to online-community suggestions, it launched a system to arrange taxi sharing on arrival with passengers from the same flight. None of this represents a shift in strategy: The brand promise hasn’t changed, but social media dialogue has enabled VAA to keep improving its offer.
  76. 76. Intelligent Social Media Marketing www.kacharagadla.in Innovation beyond the familiar. VAA frequently wins awards for innovation—such as its in-flight entertainment systems and “premium economy” class. Fresh insights from social media reinforce this aspect of the brand. For instance, Facebook interactions helped the company appreciate an important but largely unrecognized segment: consumers planning a big trip. Their planning starts well in advance and involves extensive discussions with other travelers, so VAA launched Vtravelled, a site dedicated to inspirational journeys. Customers moderate the conversation and exchange information, stories, and advice. They can create a Trip Pod, a personal scrapbook of ideas for a dream trip. VAA enters the discussion using a traveler’s tone of voice, not pushing a product but offering advice. The site leads to some sales, but its main benefit to VAA comes from brand reinforcement and novel customer insights. In an open innovation initiative, VAA in 2008 partnered with the UK’s National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts to launch VJAM. In a daylong workshop it presented a diverse group of VAA customers, IT developers, and social digerati with this agenda: “Social networking meets travel—magic happens.” Many ideas bubbled up at the workshop, and many others were submitted privately. Nine of them were short-listed, six received funding for proof of concept, and three have become products: the Flying Club and Facebook Flight Status app, a first for any airline; Taxi2, the aforementioned cab-sharing service; and VAA’s first iPhone app, called Flight Tracker, which includes real-time aircraft positions—also a first for any airline. Keep Your Eye on the Ball VAA would not claim mastery of social media in brand building—no firm yet can. But here’s our advice, based on the dozens of early successes and failures we’ve studied:

×