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9 Ways Your Business Could Be Using Social Media But Probably Isnt

The team at North social breaks out 9 ways that brands could be using social media, but probably aren't. A good read for anyone wondering how the world of social media might have an impact on their business.

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9 Ways Your Business Could Be Using Social Media But Probably Isnt

  1. Nine ways your business could be using social media, but probably isn’t. © 2009 north venture partners, llc | |
  2. social media isn’t just for interns “ For companies, resistance to social media is futile. Millions of people are creating content for the social web. Your competitors are already there. Your customers The emergence of a powerful new This just in, consumers are now have been there for a communication platform that reaches well spending more time on social long time. over 300 million consumers is nothing short networks than any other form of of remarkable, but it also might not be the website, including porn. If your business isn't best time to hand over the keys to an intern putting itself out there, it to drive the conversation. Sure, these new To make the most of this newly emerging ought to be.” platforms are the playground for the young opportunity to connect with your consumer, and connected, but the user profile of most to shape your brand, and develop long-term social networks is older than you might customer relationships at a fraction of think, and its climbing quickly. „above the line‟ media costs, this BusinessWeek, 2009 opportunity simply can‟t be squandered. 2
  3. setting up an account is not a strategy While the simplicity of social platforms can media might just be an express ticket to Take a quick inventory of how you are enable rapid growth, it can also create a nowhere. leveraging social media today: false sense of accomplishment for those who don‟t create a focused plan to leverage o Public Relations the power of these platforms for real Regardless of whether you have o Customer Support one or one million friends, o Market Research business goals. Now is the time to take a o Brand Marketing followers, or fans there are moment and think about your overall o Promotions business strategy and what role social media multiple ways your business o Consumer Education could benefit from a more o Sales might play in hitting your objectives. The proactive social media strategy. o Product Development bad news, if you don‟t currently know o Customer Relationship Management where your business is heading, than social 3
  4. 1. public relations Social media platforms touch well over 350 messages about you, your company, your How the various platforms are employed to million people world wide every single day. brand, or your entire industry. shape the public perception, and to impact These platforms represents one of the most traditional media channels is part art, part direct and immediate channels into the science. Crafting compelling messages, and hearts and minds of consumers, voters, and Social media platforms present a embracing transparency are the foundation completely new opportunity to the public media. For certain brands this for success. instantly deliver messages to platform can be a direct communication platform that enables brands to find millions of people. The impact on public relations is simply supporters and evangelists (by filtering ground shaking. through organic posts) as well as identify dissenters, opposing threats and negative 4
  5. 2. customer support For a huge number of businesses there is a Where traditionally customer also feel more connected to a larger pool of hidden cost that is rarely discovered until support has been viewed as a consumers who also use the same product after it‟s too late in the game. Long after the cost center, smart brands are or service. It‟s hard to argue with a potential sale is made, this hidden problem can grow starting to use social networks to win/win scenario. into a huge drain on profitability in the form help offload their support costs of customer support costs. Good customer on to a community of super service is essential to maintaining a positive users. brand image, and it is a key strategy to eliminate product returns. The net effect of this strategy is often two fold. Consumers get the support they need (at virtually no cost to the brand) and they 5
  6. 3. market research The value of good information is hard to Having access to tens of for gathering information. Sure, you‟ll still measure. Launching new brands, millions of consumers who are need some sharp minds and effective tools developing new products, and effectively openly talking about their to filter through all the garbage, but there is targeting a new pool of consumers requires rational and emotional needs is a a reason commercial fisherman use a net knowledge that simply doesn‟t exist inside newly discovered goldmine for instead of a hook. If you are thinking about the four walls of your company. market research. changing directions, launching a new brand Traditionally brands seeking market campaign, or just itching to know what research have had to rely on expensive consumers are thinking about your business, Real time analysis of consumer trends, firms who pool consumer opinions, virtual focus groups, and other insightful product, or brand, the answers are closer feedback, and insights into structured interactions are all made possible at a than you think. presentations that cost both time and money. fraction of the cost of traditional methods 6
  7. 4. brand marketing While this may be one of the most common platforms from Facebook to the iPhone. While the sheer size of this new channel ways that brands are currently using social Each application provides some utility for (and half a dozen triple lattes) can often get networks, there are clearly those that „get it‟ the customer, from store locators, to pre- brands so excited that they can‟t help but and those who don‟t. The key difference ordering your specially customized drink shout about their product, the real value is in comes from playing a behavior-supporting before you even get in line. the meaningful relationship that you can role in the life of your consumer. It is your foster between the consumer and your job to make their day a little better by brand. Marketers should take notice of enabling a social relationship with your what they didn‟t do; drown their brand. Want some simple pointers? Take fans in an over-caffeinated flood Starbucks for example. They have launched of chest pounding information a slew of social tools across a variety of about their product. 7
  8. 5. promotions With the power of direct communication to Some of the most successful (number of friends) they created a consumer comes the responsibility of promotions have employed the memorable promotion that had a powerful crafting compelling promotions that get power of the network itself to viral effect (for every friend that was cash registers to ring, put more butts in create a fan base that didn‟t exist sacrificed they got a message telling them seats, and create a contagious pass along prior to the promotion. why; a free Whopper sandwich from Burger effect. Smart, effective promotions don‟t King). require you to have a million fans before One great example is a Burger King activation. When brainstormed and built promotion that asked consumers to sacrifice right, these efforts can be the key to 10 friends (un-friend them on Facebook) in doubling or tripling a smaller social order to get a free Whopper. By playing presence overnight. with the core emotional driver of the user 8
  9. 6. consumer education The consumer interaction process as follows Brands should be leveraging the Unlike 30 second ads, social networks a continuum of excite > educate > motivate interactive capabilities within present a platform where you can share > convert. While there are plenty of great social platforms to educate and information over a longer period of time. examples where promotions or marketing motivate their consumers Leverage that time effectively and you can campaigns can execute all of these functions through discussion boards, “ask educate consumers about even the most in one fell swoop, more often than not you the expert” buttons, threaded complex solutions. need to think strategically about how you‟re discussions, and other media going to bring your consumer along the path tools like video, images, and to a point where they‟re „ready‟ to buy & reference quotes. that‟s where the education phase often gets overlooked. 9
  10. 7. sales Integrated retail applications can let you This newly born ability to sell is where there are cool kids and not so cool shop at a virtual fashion show, order a pizza, starting to catch on and more kids. Life comes full circle with the addition or download the latest album from your and more retailers are beginning of the shopping mall style checkout favorite band from right inside Facebook. to reap the benefits of enhancing counters. Smoothie anyone? With the ability to integrate transactions and their curb appeal inside the revenue generating applications into social social shopping mall. media platforms comes all of the challenges that online retailers face today, only things The good news is real estate is still cheap, are a bit more tricky working inside the four and you can always be just one click away walls of a social application. from your customer. Plenty of people compare social networks to high school 10
  11. 8. new product development We‟ve already talked about market their business identify innovative new directions for their research, and what role social media can innovative new market companies. Cisco set up a program that play to help streamline and strengthen opportunities, and even assist awarded the winner of their challenge (to customer development. There are several with development of new find a $1B opportunity) with a $250,000 other ways that social media can be used to product concepts. cash prize. By leveraging the reach of social directly impact the product development media, these companies have been able to process. harness the brain power and innovation Market leaders like SAP (software) and from minds that exist well outside the walls Cisco (hardware) have recently completed of their building. Some companies have started programs where they leverage social media to leverage a public pool of to draw upon the collective wisdom of collective brainpower to help crowds to identify new products and 11
  12. 9. customer relationship management One of the most interesting things about Where list building was a major tactic for proverbial 15 minutes of fame stretched to social media is the longitude of the building an inexpensive platform for 15 years or more. One can only imagine relationship with the consumer. marketing to consumers over the last few what impact a persistent network of millions years, social media presents an equally of fans could have. What would it mean if a powerful long term strategy for keeping pop band like the Back Street Boys had a While nobody can predict the customer relationships in tact tomorrow and persistent social network that represented lifetime membership to the beyond. The impact of the platforms over even half of the buyers of the 100 million latest social sites, it seems that time has not been fully realized, but the records they sold? Maybe we‟d still be there is a chance that they could projections look interesting. With pop music listening to Lou Pearlman‟s next big boy outlast consumer‟s email and stars, authors, and companies building band instead of Blink 182. street addresses. networks of millions of fans we may see the 12
  13. 10. yet to be discovered… Okay, it‟s true, we told you there were 9 any don‟t fret. This market is changing From emergency contacts (like twitter sites categories of how you can use social media daily, so stay tuned to what‟s coming next. set up to stream news after an earthquake) to impact your business and life. or simple tasks like family management (”I‟ll pick you up from soccer practice at The exciting part is that we have 6:00″), we‟re just starting to scratch the We lied, there‟s 10. Because of the yet to uncover even half of the surface of what will evolve in the near rapid evolution in this market, we decided ways that these emerging future. Nearly every day thousands of new to nominate a 10th category and have applications and disruptive applications are launched, and thousands coined it „yet to be discovered‟. Hopefully technologies will impact both more are being drawn up on white boards the 9 other examples we pointed out inspire consumer and corporate life. around the globe, so stay tuned… some ideas around how social media could impact your business, but if you didn‟t see 13
  14. how to get started Let‟s face it, in the complex and ever- front strategy before lighting the fuse. In evolving world of social media, it‟s easy for order to help some of the „not so early‟ even the best of us to take a wrong turn and adopters out there plot a course of action, get lost. That‟s why it it‟s essential to first we‟ll offer up our four step process. create a highly-targeted social media strategy with clear, achievable goals; The 4 step process: whether it‟s product development, 1. Plan consumer awareness, PR, or even offline 2. Build foot traffic and purchase. To fully leverage 3. Promote emerging social media tools and techniques, 4. Measure it requires that you put together a smart, up- 14
  15. think like Jane Goodall The North social team spends quite a bit of big helping of inspiration by simply We‟d encourage you to check time trying to keep our callused thumbs on observing those brands that are currently out the Custom Facebook Page the pulse of what the latest and greatest making the most of their social presence. gallery and see what some of the campaigns, strategies, customizations, and One of the easy ways to get up to speed is to best creative minds and integrations. Sure this emerging media take a look at what other brands are doing, innovative brands in the world platform is still brand spanking new, but and see what works and (more importantly) have been able to conjure up. there are already smart insights that we can what doesn‟t. pull from what is happening in this space today. While your brand might not have the resources or the will power to blaze new trails into this digital frontier, you can get a 15
  16. plan Our planning process typically takes a few Evaluate Identify weeks where we work to clearly define the Evaluating your brand and business Indentifying the right strategic opportunities business goals, and unfold a crystal clear objectives, your business assets, your for best leveraging your assets and map of how we plan to get to the finish line consumer, and your overall brand resources, so you can focus on building leveraging the best tools and resources positioning to help guide and structure each meaningful customer relationships, increase available. This „strategy immersion‟ process social media engagement so that is can be organization effectiveness, and grow your breaks down into two main components. tied back to a business goal. social platform effectively. 16
  17. build From custom pages & content to influence on what consumers feel (and say) Work on it 24/7 promotions & contests, you‟ll probably about your brand. Building up a social media presence is need a team of talented creative types to put great, but it‟s only one half of the equation. together all of the essential ingredients you Momentum is generated by dedicated need to create memorable and meaningful Build great stuff headcount that maximizes and manages all social brand experiences. But whatever you Tap a team of designers and developers to of your brand‟s activity, which includes both do, don‟t confuse social media as another build custom Facebook and Twitter pages, inbound and outbound messages. opportunity to shout about your product. applications, and promotions that Really take the time to dial in your creative seamlessly integrate with the look, tone, and communications; as the images, words, and feel of your brand while inspiring content that you choose have a massive meaningful social interaction. 17
  18. promote If you‟re going to take the time to concept work on is the overarching content strategy events, user-generated content contests, e- and deploy an interactive promotion, take that will be employed to help position your couponing campaigns, and product full advantage of the social web and watch brand for success. Skip this step in the giveaways. These promotional efforts it spread. If you want to be a hit at the party, process and you can quickly find yourself should center around great content, but don‟t shuffle around the room handing out on the outside looking in. Remember, in ultimately leverage integrated sharing and brochures explaining the features and social media, content is king. promotion technologies that give your functions of your product. The way to message the best shot to grow organically. develop a large and loyal following is by Create compelling content first inspiring people so they‟ll want to connect with your brand. A major Deploy a wide range of engaging component of the project planning that we promotional campaigns, including: exclusive branded content, sweepstakes, 18
  19. measure One of the core components to creating Regardless of the focus of your social Real time reports value through social media is your ability to strategy, the ability to track, measure, and By listening in you‟re able to 1) mine measure the impact. We leverage real time listen to millions of consumers in real time insights for new opportunities; 2) identify API‟s and the latest reporting tools to pull in presents a strategic opportunity that has key influencers; and 3) understand how our and analyze millions of daily updates, blog never existed before now. Hint: If you promotional campaigns are fairing. posts, and mentions about your brand. Each aren‟t tuning into what consumers are Identifying the tone of what‟s being talked is tracked for both volume, sentiment (good saying about your brand, your industry, your about online (positive, negative, neutral), to or bad context) and changes in volume or product, and your competitors, you‟re uncover timely truths which enable you to sentiment. With robust measurement in missing the point. build better products, promotions, and place you can clearly see the impact your customer relationships. brand has across the social platform. 19
  20. let’s talk shop Don‟t be afraid to ask Our clients range from start up ventures to global brands. If you think that you might benefit from a conversation with a Partner at our firm, please don‟t be afraid to drop us a line, we‟d be happy to talk shop. Please feel free to follow North on Twitter, join us on Facebook, drop us an email, or just give us an old fashioned phone call. 20