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The Final Word on Social Media Marketing


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Get answers to your burning questions on social media from the pros at The Starr Conspiracy:

Should I go all in on social media?
What is my target audience for social HR?
What are the best practices for social media marketing?
How can I improve my brand through social media?
What kind of messaging works best in social media?
What’s best for a communication strategy?
What the hell are process and infrastructure?

Published in: Business
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The Final Word on Social Media Marketing

  1. 1. The last word on social media marketing1412 W. MAGNOLIA AVE.,76104200 FORT WORTH, TX STE leveraging social media marketing 817 204--4347 FAX 878 0400 MAIN for brand and demand MANGUM | McCARRON | MITCHELL | SMITH | STARR
  2. 2. the last word on social media marketing BY LAURIE RUETTIMANN, STEVE SMITH AND BRET STARR So, Go All In?Chances are, someone The Starr Conspiracy is a full-service marketing agency for human capital management companiesin your company that sell software and services. We build brands by telling the truth to our clients, to their customersis tweeting and and to ourselves. We promise an unyielding pursuit of the truth as we work to unravel the mysteries of our clients’ idiosyncratic buyers. And we enhance our clients’ market positions by thinking, writing,Facebooking on designing and developing.behalf of your brandto engage industry For those of you who don’t know us, we talk on the phone. A lot. We talk to analysts, vendorsinfluencers and reach and meat-and-potatoes HR professionals. Everyone has one question for us.your target marketcommunity. Odds “Should we go all in on a social media marketing strategy?”are, your efforts are So what do we mean by “social media marketing?” We’re talking content that attracts attention andneither centralized encourages readers to share it with their social networks. A company’s message spreads from user tonor tied to your user and presumably resonates because it is coming from a trusted source, as opposed to the brandintegrated marketing or company itself.1 Lots of companies are attracted to these channels because they are a powerfulstrategy. It’s like megaphone. A viral video can reach millions overnight. They are also drawn to it because it is cheap asherding cats – but hell. The barrier to entry is low, low, low.less cute. Chances are, someone in your company is tweeting and Facebooking on behalf of your brand to engage industry influencers and reach your target market community. The problem most companies face is that while an employee might be doing something great on your organization’s behalf, it’s being done by a loose group of early adopters. The efforts are neither centralized nor tied to your integrated marketing strategy. We know you’ve asked yourself – Should we try to create a social media marketing plan? Should we try to control it? How do we find value in these efforts and tie it to our business goals and objectives? And we know that your prior attempts to get a handle on social media marketing have been painful because it’s labor-intensive. You must identify employees who have tactical technology-related skills and the execution ability to use social media tools. They must be strategically competent, to carry the voice of the organization forward and to respond to questions in real time and participate in industry conversations. 2 1 Yeah, I used Wikipedia. So shoot me. MANGUM | McCARRON | MITCHELL | SMITH | STARR
  3. 3. Like Bill Clinton, we feel your pain. Social media marketing represents a new media opportunity — just like the good old days when fax machines were used to drive demand generation2 — though we also see tremendous disequilibrium in the social media market. But once you see the opportunity and understand that it’s important to make a concerted effort to take advantage of this, you will understand that early adopters have a unique opportunity to jump in front of their competitors and grab market share that is not available through traditional media. So the answer is “yes” — go all in on a social media marketing strategy. ­ Your Target Audience: Social HR Here at The Starr Conspiracy, we know and love Human Resources. We don’t say this lightly, because the function has an ongoing public relations problem on its hands. The typical HR professional is seen as frumpy, lumpy and risk-averse. On the path toward innovation, HR is seen as an obstacle. We believe that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Human Resources community is both very large and very diverse in terms of skill sets and roles.The biggest myth The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are nearly 1 million Human Resources workersabout Human in America.3, 4Resourcesprofessionals is This includes traditional HR functions, such as HR generalists, corporate recruiters and compensation/that they’re not benefits specialists; however, the data also include training managers, labor relations professionals andsocial. That’s so compliance coordinators, who oversee initiatives such as FMLA and affirmative action programs.not true. The biggest myth about Human Resources professionals is that they’re not social. While some HR departments have a reputation for being anti-social on a gossipy level, your average HR professional is active on a social network — either on a personal or professional level — and carries a smartphone with her at all times. Ther e are appr oxim ately 904, 900 HR profe ssion als in the Unite d State s acco rding to SH RM and the U.S. Bure au of Labo r Stati stics . 3 2 We’re old. 3 Google it. I dare you. 4 That picture that looks like a neuron map of Bret’s brain before he started drinking. Oh, that was so, so long ago. MANGUM | McCARRON | MITCHELL | SMITH | STARR
  4. 4. While it makes sense to reach HR professionals through traditional media, such as direct mail and list buys, The Starr Conspiracy sees limitations by relying solely upon that approach: 1. Most associations exist to collect member demographic information, repackage that information and sell it.Human Resources 2. SHRM is the largest HR association in America. There are 175,000 national members (with anprofessionals are additional 75,000 global members), and it represents about 18 percent of the total availableplugged into a meta- advertising market of 1 million U.S.-based HR professionals.layer of social media. 3. Right now, email marketing is a common way to reach HR professionals; however, only 25,000By the time they read SHRM members can be accessed via email through purchasing their names/accounts.about your product 4. The Starr Conspiracy estimates that all industry & association media combined only reachesin a traditional trade about 30 percent of the total available market.5publication, or by the In short, there is no email list that gives you access to the nearly 1 million Human Resourcestime they meet your professionals out there; however, the opportunity to reach your buyers is greatly expanded whensales representative you use social media a conference, it’sold news. And increasingly, Human Resources professionals are plugged into a meta-layer6 of social media. By the time they read about your product in a traditional trade publication, or by the time they meet your sales representative at a conference, it’s old news. Traditional media is an indicator of mainstream adoption, which means that you need to be at the vanguard of thinking in the HCM industry. You need to share ideas far ahead of where the market is today. So should you go all in with a social media marketing strategy to reach Human Resources professionals? Which of the following online social networks you use in a persoonlincapacity? orks do do WhichWhich of the followingeonline ess networks do do of the following onlin busin business networks Which of the following nal e social netw youinuseprofessional capacity? city? you use a in a professional capa you use in a personal capacity? NICHE NICHE NICHE NICHE NONE NONE NONE NONE R TWITTE TWITTE TWITTER R TWITTER OK FACEBO FACEBO FACEBOOK OK FACEBOOK IN LINKED LINKED LINKEDIN IN LINKEDIN 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 80% 90% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 0% 0%10%10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 60% 70% 80% 90% 76% of HR professionals use Facebook in a personal 0% 10% 20% capacity. 85% of professionals utilize LinkedIn. capacity. 85% of HR HR professionals utilize LinkedIn. 76% of HR professionals use Facebook in a personal 4 5 Just because you add up the total size of all lists doesn’t mean that it’s useful. There is the law of diminishing returns. If someone is on the SHRM list, they’re probably on other lists, such as ERE or HCI. So there’s a lot of overlap of email addresses and names in the HR community. 6 Wow. Big word. That means they get information from lots of sources and channels. Not that you need me to tell you that. MANGUM | McCARRON | MITCHELL | SMITH | STARR
  5. 5. Yes. Do it. • Expand your brand, reach and exposure. • Create and connect with an audience to spread your message. • Unlock new sources of demand and turn inquiries into sales meetings that result in signed deals.You need a You need a coordinated social media marketing strategy that ties into your marketing goals and linkscoordinated social directly to a comprehensive sales strategy, and that’s the reason why most HCM firms fail at social media marketing. First and foremost, you need a comprehensive business strategy. Full stop. Then you needmedia marketing to tie social media to your business goals. Good luck with that. And then you’ll need to integrate socialstrategy that ties into media into a marketing plan. All the way. There must be a line item on a spreadsheet. You need a budgetyour marketing goals to buy a robust social media workbench, build an audience through proven channels and support yourand links directly overarching marketing a comprehensivesales strategy, and It seems daunting. We know it does.that’s the reason Our first recommendation is to stop trying to reinvent the wheel and start following best practices.why most HCM firmsfail at social media The Starr Conspiracy knows how to do this. And we’ll share a few with First andforemost, you needa comprehensivebusiness strategy. Best Practices in Social Media Marketing It’s so easy to advise people to follow best practices. When is that EVER bad advice? Whether it’s social media marketing or fixing a flat tire, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about the simple tasks in life. The Starr Conspiracy believes in talking about business goals and objectives before we ever have a conversation with you about social media. We are interested in outcomes before we ever prescribe a tool. And when we talk about strategy, we home in on four primary components: • Brand – Your consumer and employer brand should enhance reputation, recall and recognition. • Message – Very simply, the world must know how you are different from everyone else. • Communication Strategy – Most companies have no content generation strategy and aren’t measuring and analyzing what’s 5 being said about their brands. • Process & Infrastructure – You should only work with tools that focus on measurability, conversions to sales, and analytics. Freeware just won’t do. MANGUM | McCARRON | MITCHELL | SMITH | STARR
  6. 6. Social media marketing strategies look completely different if you are trying to generate leads versus trying to create brand awareness, recognition and recall. So it is critical to understand where your business has been during the recession and where it’s headed in the next decade before you implement any best practices. You don’t know a “best practice” from a hole in the wall if you haven’t done your homework to understand brand, message, communication strategies, and process & infrastructure. It’s time to get to work.Internet users are Your Brand, Only Bettervisual. We believein examining your When The Starr Conspiracy begins a social media marketing engagement with any potential client, we zero in on your brand and try to understand the visual impact your organization makes on the industryexisting graphic and in the marketplace.elements in an effortto understand what Internet users are visual. We believe in examining your existing graphic elements in an effort tothose elements are understand what those elements are saying about your organization. Is your logo standardized acrosssaying about your multiple platforms? Does your color palette reflect your brand promise? What tools does your companyorganization. use to promote the brand? Is your brand promoted consistently? What are your competitors using? We support and encourage the implementation of brand standards, brand guides, and content libraries and resources. It’s also important to document your company’s social touch points so you know who’s talking about you, who is using your logo, and where your traffic is coming from. One common way to understand how your brand is represented online is to conduct an online reputation review. With a robust social media workbench, you can see how your brand looks out on the social web, whether you have the right relationships with the right people, and how you are being rated and evaluated in the marketplace. Your brand exists online whether you manage it or not. It’s time to take control. Messaging The Starr Conspiracy is lucky enough to employ a group of amazing writers: Journalists. Bloggers. Pulitzer Prize nominees. Superstars. As part of any social media marketing strategy, we cannot underestimate the importance of an authentic voice, great content and an engaging audience. 6 But content is king. MANGUM | McCARRON | MITCHELL | SMITH | STARR
  7. 7. Content is where the rubber meets the road in social media. Amazing communication and lead generation strategies get stuck in neutral because companies become overwhelmed by the expansiveness of social media. If you take a look at Brian Solis’ Conversation Prism,7 you can see that the social web represents a diverse conversation and is much more than Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And with 90 percent of Human Resources professionals having access to one or more social networking platforms, it is important to strategically optimize your content for multiple sites.You should absolutely This might seem familiar to you, but the No. 1 question we receive around messaging is very simple: “Dohave a social media I need a blog?”marketing strategy, This question is often a proxy for a bigger question, which is, “Should we be involved in social media?”but having a blog isup for debate. We will You should absolutely have a social media marketing strategy, but having a blog is up for debate. We willgive you the most give you the most honest answer we can give you: “It depends.”honest answer we can We know you hear that answer from everyone, so we have a few questions for you.give you: “It depends.” What’s the key differentiation behind your blog? How does it contribute to the broader conversation? Are you willing to make the blog unique and address the central questions your buyers are asking? Don’t blog if the message is about selling software and services. It’s boring. Talent, people issues and the changing nature of the workforce are the No. 1 business issues we are trying to solve in the 21st century. The Starr Conspiracy can help you address those issues with great content. THE CONVERSATION PRISM 7 7 Yes, it’s supposed to make your head hurt. MANGUM | McCARRON | MITCHELL | SMITH | STARR
  8. 8. We also believe that authenticity is key to interesting content. We could tell you to find your voice, like a schlocky life coach, or we could ask you some very pointed questions. 1. What does your brand voice look like? An exercise in determining your brand’s voice is not just a hippie journey toward self-awareness and self-actualization. What is the physical manifestation of your brand? Are you better suited to creative blogs, in-depth white papers or wacky YouTube videos?Everyone is just as 2. Has your audience given you permission to be real? If not, ask for it. Being raw and beingconfused as you authentic are two different things. Informality isn’t always appropriate, but being authentic is.are when it comes 3. Are you a likeable expert?8 Companies underestimate the amount of institutional knowledgeto social media. So they possess. Buyers have pains that your products can address. You can speak to thosethere’s a window pressure points on your social media properties and become part of the Thank You Economy.9of opportunity that When you think about messaging, be generous. Think about what you can give away. Thank yourshould last for the readers, be genuine and offer knowledge. Stop asking to close the deal and let your customers discovernext 18 months or so. your brilliance on their own. They will.You can make big gainsif you act now. Give it away, give it away, give it away now. Communication Strategy All great communication strategies start with awesome content generation and messaging campaigns. Once you start working on content, what’s next? The Starr Conspiracy thinks a lot about communication strategies. Whether it’s engaging with HCM thought leaders or reaching out to potential buyers through traditional media, we know a few things about your target market. Your buyers — HR professionals and members of the C-suite — love gravy. That’s right. Like a night out at Golden Corral, they want the ham, the roast beef and all the fixins. If you throw in the dessert bar and unlimited trips to the emergency room, they are in heaven. In short, your buyers love a little sumpin’ extra. When you get an opportunity to present yourself in front of your potential clients, the key is to over-deliver. Give them your brand promises and then go one step beyond and give them more. And while you’re at it, make it easy for your audience to find you — think SEO for headlines, metatags for photos and repeat key phrases so you’re found on Google searches — and when they find you, celebrate your good fortune by giving them amazing content. 8 8 9 We love you, Gary. Please send wine anytime. MANGUM | McCARRON | MITCHELL | SMITH | STARR
  9. 9. And no matter where you choose to stake a presence on the social web, don’t be afraid to repurpose your content in a smart way. A white paper might have five blog posts. A blog post might have five tweets within it. A Twitter campaign might make good headlines for a blog series. It’s all very circular. So pick your key social media properties, establish a presence and extend the shelf life of your content by repurposing your information in a smart and sophisticated way. And one more thing ... Expect fast results, but don’t expect overnight results. Nothing good in life is easy — except eating mashed potatoes and green beans at Golden Corral. Process & InfrastructureWe have one piece of When you think about how much time your company spends worrying about social media, it adds upadvice for you: Free fast. You could be on a beach, enjoying a fruity cocktail and watching the waves crash onto the sand. Instead, you are wondering about your company’s position in the marketplace and hoping that youris free for a reason. one-off social media campaign will generate enough leads to keep the lights on for another month.You don’t mess aroundwith freeware when The Starr Conspiracy wants to see you on the beach, and the best way to get there is through a robustit comes to sales and and organized process & infrastructure plan that supports your social media marketing automation. Let’s begin with tools. They are your best friend when it comes to process & infrastructure. There are so many available to you. Take your pick. Expensive. Moderately priced. Free. Who doesn’t want a free tool to automate publication, measure engagement and spit out an Excel report with a fancy pivot table? We have one piece of advice for you: Free is free for a reason. You don’t mess around with freeware when it comes to sales and marketing automation. Those tools cost money, and you build that expense into your annual budgeting process. Social media marketing is labor-intensive and complicated, and the temptation to download free tools to make your life easier is alluring. We are here to tell you that your life won’t be easier. Those free social media tools can misrepresent data and, in the hands of an unskilled technologist, breach security and put your brand at risk. When it comes to the underlying process and infrastructure behind social media, you need an investment of time and labor. You need a human to use the technology and to make thoughtful decisions about how your brand is represented on the social web. And you need a real person — or a team of people — to apply critical-thinking skills when analyzing the constant stream of data that will pour in from social media. 9 Free is free. Cheap is cheap. You can go the free route, but we suggest that you either budget for a robust social media workbench or budget for contract services. If not The Starr Conspiracy, then someone else. But it must be done. MANGUM | McCARRON | MITCHELL | SMITH | STARR
  10. 10. Conclusion: Let’s Wrap This Up So what does all this mean? You’ve got to make some decisions.Everyone is just as One of the seismic shifts in marketing from The Great Recession was the shift toward social.confused as you Advertising spending for traditional (print and broadcast) media declined by 43.1 percent between 2008 and 2010, while digital program execution grew by 53.2 percent.10 The world is going social.are when it comes You’ve got to deal with social media. Sothere’s a window Now, here’s the good news. Everyone is just as confused as you are when it comes to social media.of opportunity that So there’s a window of opportunity that should last for the next 18 months or so. You can makeshould last for the big gains if you act 18 months or so. When you are ready to talk social media marketing, give us a call. We’ll start with an in-depth auditYou can make big gains of your current efforts. We’ll then join you for a two-day seminar to discuss our findings, present alignedif you act now. social properties to you, provide a base level of training and make strategic recommendations to move your organization forward. From there, you can advance on your own or use our turn-key social media marketing services. The choice is yours. Good luck! 10 10 IDC. Marketing Investment Planner 2011: Benchmarks, Key Performance Indicators, and CMO Priorities. MANGUM | McCARRON | MITCHELL | SMITH | STARR
  11. 11. About The Starr Conspiracy The Starr Conspiracy (formerly Starr Tincup) is a full-service marketing agency for companies in specialized market segments. We build brands by telling the truth (to you, to your customers and to ourselves). We promise an unyielding pursuit of the truth as we work to unravel the mysteries of your 1412 W. MAGNOLIA AVE.,76104200 FORT WORTH, TX STE idiosyncratic buyers. 817 204--4347 FAX 878 0400 MAIN We enhance your market position by thinking, writing, designing and developing. And talking on the phone. We talk on the phone a lot.Contact: Laurie RuettimannPhone: 817-204-0400Email: laurie@thestarrconspiracy.COM MANGUM | McCARRON | MITCHELL | SMITH | STARR