There is a famous cartoon – on the internet, nobody knows you are a dog – that depicts the web as being the great equalizer. To an online consumer, there’s no difference between the emerging companies in this room, and the biggest players in your space.
That said, my friends at JESS3 poked a little fun at this in our social media playbook – yes while nobody may know you are a “dog” on the internet, the public is pretty good at sniffing out marketers.
… so rather thank give you an overview of the tools you need to use social media to your advantage (and not smell like a marketer), instead I am going to focus on helping you understand …
… where to place the nail.
The backdrop for all of this counsel is thisinfographic. The Content Grid. It’s something I created with JESS3, my partner firm, and it looks at who in a company should be creating content, and where that content should be distributed for maximum impact on the sales funnel.
Content is – once again – king in marketing. You cannot log onto twitter without seeing some discussion about content marketing, or inbound marketing, or social media marketing – in other words, a branch of marketing that puts substance and engagement above some form of product-centric interruption.
But content alone isn’t enough. Any number of accelerants are needed for content to spread. Let’s talk look at a few. Un-gated content is essential. Though the sales person in you may want to capture the name and contact info of the people who are consuming what you publish, in the end, installing a form will only blunt its spread. You need to trust that the people who find your content truly compelling will come back to you when they are in the market for what you sell.Influencers. There is some debate out there as to whether or not influencers really exist. They do. Get the right person to talk about what you do and it can change the course of your business. Without question, influencers trigger a disproportionate spread of content, especially in social media. My hypothesis is this: The people in the middle of social media’s bell curve are so eager to be recognized by those at the far end of the spectrum, that they do whatever it takes to grab their attention. Typically that translates to retweets, blog post comments, Facebook likes, video sharing. You get the picture.Remember that you need to decentralize distribution of your content. The social web is like a BYOB party – you need to bring your content with you wherever you go. I’ve found that even our very best content is consumed OFF of our site at about 2x the rate of it’s on-site consumption. You need to take your stuff with you “into the wild.”
Think of these four social marketing priorities as the agenda for the rest of this session.
The first priority is to begin viewing customer service as a form of marketing. Providing remarkable support is, without question, a way for companies to increase brand awareness. It’s also a way to turn a detractor into a promoter, which, for anyone who embraces NPS, is a two point swing. The most famous example of a company who has turned support into a form of marketing, of course, is Zappos. But there are others …
Service is baked into the brand for many of the most successful companies. It’s the first stated value for Zappos, who consistently surprises shoppers with unexpected overnight delivery and “above and beyond” service. I remember hearing a story told by CEO Tony Hsieh in which he was out partying with friends and called Zappos support, and, without saying who he was, persuaded the service person who was unfortunate enough to receive his call to help him find an open pizza parlor near his hotel. Remarkable service, of course, predates the social Web. Best Buy’s “Twelpforce” team provides instant – and remarkable – service across social outlets. LLBean’s “return any product any time” has led to generations of word of mouth. And GoDaddy, despite the fact that apparently they are up for auction, has made its living by demystifying domain buying by making sure callers are quickly routed to an actual person.
Going back several years now, a local grocer in upstate New York was losing $20K each Thanksgiving giving away turkeys, many to first-time shoppers, in order to compete against big chains who’d moved in. So they created a remarkable loyalty program that hyper-rewarded its most profitable shoppers. Here are some of the perks of being a frequent shopper. The family who ran the grocery actually pick out and deliver Christmas trees to their most loyal customers. They give store-wide discounts after major storms to help customers restock their fridges. They focused on only their frequent and most profitable shoppers, and found that average transaction amount among their loyal shoppers increased by 25%. Imagine if they’d kicked off this program in the age of social media?
The second priority is the emphasis on the “real time” benefits of social media. David Meerman Scott has a book coming out on this very topic. I’ve read a galley copy and it’s a veritable “how-to” guide. In the book, Meerman Scott asks, “How would you react RIGHT NOW, if” (and then poses a series of challenges and opportunities, such as ….)
The last one was particularly relevant for Eloqua. Recently a competitor of ours *was* bought (then another one after that). Rumor of the acquisition started in the early evening. Our CEO, Joe Payne, and I knew that if we were the first to comment on the news, our statement would become part of the story. So we were up at 1:00 a.m. trading versions of a blog post back and forth. We went live first thing in the morning and this emphasis on speed …
… resulted in a ton of PR. So much so that David Meerman Scott himself blogged, “Real Time Blog Post Gets Eloqua CEO Tons of B2B Ink.”
A more celebrated example of the value of real time – and one particularly relevant to a small business – is Calton Cases. They were a supporting character in the United Breaks Guitars drama, and they were able to use their small size and their commitment to “real time” to create a huge advantage. Less than 12 hours after Dave Carroll posted his now infamous song to YouTube, the CEO of Calton Cases reached out to Dave Carroll with an idea for a co-branded product. TWELVE HOURS. (Incidentally, it took more than two months for United to meet with him.)
The public’s appetite for content is insatiable. But they don’t want information about your products per se. They want your knowledge. When it comes to spreading value on the social Web, that’s the most important distinction to make. What you know maters infinitely more than what you sell. So what does any of this have to do with Gallagher? Here goes: Gallagher is my working metaphor for content marketing. He was famous for taking something huge – namely a watermelon – and smashing it with a giant wooden hammer. Well, my partner Leslie Bradshaw of JESS3 and I joke, “It’s watermelon smashing time” when we create a great piece of content, which we then break up into smaller bits – blog post ideas, tweets, slides for SlideShare, pictures for Flickr, facts to share with your Facebook fans … you get the idea. Nobody can create enough original content to fill the public’s appetite. The key is to get the most mileage out of the content you invest in.
Here’s an example from Eloqua. We took our 42-page internal social media playbook – which I believe Kate will make available to you all – and released it publicly. But that was just one step in the content process. Statements from the playbook were used as tweets, sections of it became bylined articles, we squeezed multiple blog posts out of it, submitted it for various industry awards, and Leslie and I are off doing speaking engagements about it. And now that the heavy lifting has been done, next year we’ll refresh it and do it all over again!
The reason why you need to get the most out of each piece of content is because content on the social web has an impossibly brief shelf-life. This chart from social listening platform Sysomos says that only 6% of all tweets get retweeted … and of that 6%, 92% of the retweets happen in the first hour. Oh and 85% of the time, one RT is all you get. As hard as it is to get noticed, it’s even more difficult to sustain interest.
Again back to the Social Media Playbook, we sustained attention in a few ways. We staggered distribution. We didn’t post it on every site at the same time. We delayed some communities and added the playbook later, creating a few smaller lifts once the initial attention died down. We also circled back a couple weeks after the launch and published a blog post publicly thanking everyone who had tweeted or blogged about the playbook. This too revived attention. One aside, however: apparently putting over a thousand “@” symbols in a blog post is not a good idea. It awakened spammers and the comments field ended up getting flooded throughout our blog as a result.
Just this week we released an animated video all about “The Future of Revenue” – to get people talking about a new category we’re creating called “Revenue Performance Management” … and of course we published it everywhere – or blog, YouTube Channel, Vimeo, even had it featured on SlideShare
But more importantly, we are also repurposing it for our traditional marketing efforts – it’s become an email marketing campaign to our prospect database. It will be played on the big screen at our user conference, we are even planning to create a Moleskine notebook featuring an icon from the video on each page – a sales give-away.
The last priority has to do with ethics. As some of you may be aware, last November the FTC updated its “Guides to Testimonials & Endorsements in Advertising” for the first time in a generation. The conclusion is basically this: if there is “consideration” – cash, products, special privileges – between a blogger (or tweeter or reviewer) and a company, then anything that blogger writes about the company needs to contain proper disclosure. Already there have been a number of instances in which brands and their agencies have found themselves in hot water over comments made on blogs and product review sites.
The message to marketers is this: if you let the bull out of the barn, you are responsible for what the bull does.
Here are some basic rules to keep yourself out of hot water.
Eloqua Social Media Essentials
Beyond the Tools<br />Social Media Essentials<br />Joe Chernov/@jchernov<br />Director of Content, Eloqua<br />Co-chair WOMMA Member Ethics Advisory Panel<br />
Unadvertised specials</li></li></ul><li>“How would you react<br />right now if ___?”<br />
… your product became tax free<br />… your company was named “best place to work”<br />… a customer raved about you on a top site<br />… an industry analyst said you are hard to deal with<br />… your CEO was fired<br />… a competitor was bought<br />
A Few Ethical Best Practices<br />Do disclose / require disclosure of commercial relationship<br />Do respect the “rules” of the venue (no astroturfing)<br />Don’t request a positive review (honesty of opinion)<br />Don’t demand the removal of negative review<br />Don’t make quid pro quo offers to bloggers<br />Don’t forget that clients/employers = material relationship<br />