How your business could use social media


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How your business could use social media

  1. 1. How your business could use social media – but probably isn’t Updated: June 2014 Guy Steele-Perkins, Founder & Director © 2014 Lucidity London l
  2. 2. social media isn’t just for interns The emergence of a powerful new communication platform that reaches well over 300 million consumers is nothing short of remarkable, but it also might not be the best time to hand over the keys to an intern to drive the conversation. Sure, these new platforms are the playground for the young and connected, but the user profile of most social networks is older than you might think, and its climbing quickly. 2 This just in, consumers are now spending more time on social networks than any other form of website, including porn. To make the most of this newly emerging opportunity to connect with your consumer, to shape your brand, and develop long-term customer relationships at a fraction of ‘above the line’ media costs, this opportunity simply can’t be squandered. “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 have been there for a long time. If your business isn't putting itself out there, it ought to be.” BusinessWeek, 2009
  3. 3. setting up an account is not a strategy 3 While the simplicity of social platforms can enable rapid growth, it can also create a false sense of accomplishment for those who don’t create a focused plan to leverage the power of these platforms for real business goals. Now is the time to take a moment and think about your overall business strategy and what role social media might play in hitting your objectives. The bad news, if you don’t currently know where your business is heading, then Regardless of whether you have one or one million friends, followers, or fans there are multiple ways your business could benefit from a more proactive social media strategy. social media might just be an express ticket to nowhere. Take a quick inventory of how you’re leveraging social media today:  Public Relations  Customer Support  Market Research  Brand Marketing  Promotions  Consumer Education  Sales  Product Development  Customer Relationship Management
  4. 4. 1. public relations 4 Social media platforms touch well over 350 million people world wide every single day. These platforms represents one of the most direct and immediate channels into the hearts and minds of consumers, voters, and the public media. For certain brands this platform can be a direct communication platform that enables brands to find supporters and evangelists (by filtering through organic posts) as well as identify dissenters, opposing threats and Social media platforms present a completely new opportunity to instantly deliver messages to millions of people. The impact on public relations is simply ground shaking. negative messages about you, your company, your brand, or your entire industry. How the various platforms are employed to shape the public perception, and to impact traditional media channels is part art, part science. Crafting compelling messages, and embracing transparency are the foundation for success.
  5. 5. 2. customer support 5 For a huge number of businesses there is a hidden cost that is rarely discovered until after it’s too late in the game. Long after the sale is made, this hidden problem can grow into a huge drain on profitability in the form of customer support costs. Good customer service is essential to maintaining a positive brand image, and it is a key strategy to eliminate product returns. Where traditionally customer support has been viewed as a cost centre, smart brands are starting to use social networks to help offload their support costs on to a community of super users. 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 also feel more connected to a larger pool of consumers who also use the same product or service. It’s hard to argue with a potential win/win scenario.
  6. 6. 3. market research 6 The value of good information is hard to measure. Launching new brands, developing new products, and effectively targeting a new pool of consumers requires knowledge that simply doesn’t exist inside the four walls of your company. Traditionally brands seeking market research have had to rely on expensive firms who pool consumer opinions, feedback, and insights into structured presentations that cost both time and money. Having access to tens of millions of consumers who are openly talking about their rational and emotional needs is a newly discovered goldmine for market research. Real time analysis of consumer trends, virtual focus groups, and other insightful interactions are all made possible at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods for gathering information. Sure, you’ll still need some sharp minds and effective tools to filter through all the garbage, but there is a reason commercial fisherman use a net instead of a hook. If you are thinking about changing directions, launching a new brand campaign, or just itching to know what consumers are thinking about your business, product, or brand, the answers are closer than you think.
  7. 7. 4. brand marketing 7 While this may be one of the most common ways that brands are currently using social networks, there are clearly those that ‘get it’ and those who don’t. The key difference comes from playing a behaviour-supporting role in the life of your consumer. It is your job to make their day a little better by enabling a social relationship with your brand. Want some simple pointers? Take Starbucks for example. They have launched a slew of social tools across a variety of platforms from Facebook Marketers should take notice of what they didn’t do; drown their fans in an over-caffeinated flood of chest pounding information about their product. to the iPhone. Each application provides some utility for the customer, from store locators, to pre-ordering your specially customized drink before you even get in line. While the sheer size of this new channel (and half a dozen triple lattes) can often get brands so excited that they can’t help but shout about their product, the real value is in the meaningful relationship that you can foster between the consumer and your brand.
  8. 8. 5. promotions 8 With the power of direct communication to consumer comes the responsibility of crafting compelling promotions that get cash registers to ring, put more bums on seats, and create a contagious pass along effect. Smart, effective promotions don’t require you to have a million fans before activation. When brainstormed and built right, these efforts can be the key to doubling or tripling a smaller social presence overnight. Some of the most successful promotions have employed the power of the network itself to create a fan base that didn’t exist prior to the promotion. One great example is a Burger King promotion that asked consumers to sacrifice 10 friends (un-friend them on Facebook) in order to get a free Whopper. By playing with the core emotional driver of the user (number of friends) they created a memorable promotion that had a powerful viral effect (for every friend that was sacrificed they got a message telling them why; a free Whopper sandwich from Burger King).
  9. 9. 6. consumer education 9 The consumer interaction process follows a continuum of: excite > educate > motivate > convert While there are plenty of great examples where promotions or marketing campaigns can execute all of these functions in one fell swoop, more often than not you need to think strategically about how you’re going to bring your consumer along the path to a point where they’re ready to buy and that’s where the education phase often gets overlooked. Brands should be leveraging the interactive capabilities within social platforms to educate and motivate their consumers through discussion boards, “ask the expert” buttons, threaded discussions, and other media tools like videos, images and reference quotes. Unlike 30 second ads, social networks present a platform where you can share information over a longer period of time. Leverage that time effectively and you can educate consumers about even the most complex solutions.
  10. 10. 7. sales 10 Integrated retail applications let you shop at a virtual fashion show, order a pizza, or download the latest album from your favourite band from inside Facebook. With the ability to integrate transactions and revenue generating applications into social media platforms comes all of the challenges that online retailers face today, only things are a bit trickier working inside the four walls of a social application. This newly born ability to sell is starting to catch on and more and more retailers are reaping the benefits of enhancing their appeal inside the social shopping centre. The good news is property is still cheap, and you can always be just one click away from your customer. Plenty of people compare social networks to where there are cool kids and not so cool kids. Life comes full circle with the addition of the shopping centre checkout counters.
  11. 11. 8. new product development 11 We’ve already talked about market research, and what role social media can play to help streamline and strengthen customer development. There are several other ways that social media can be used to directly impact the product development process. Market leaders like SAP (software) and Cisco (hardware) have recently completed programs where they leverage social media to draw upon the collective wisdom of crowds to identify Some companies have started to leverage a public pool of collective brainpower to help their business identify innovative new market opportunities, and even assist with the development of new product concepts. new products and innovative new directions for their companies. Cisco set up a program that awarded the winner of their challenge (to find a 1 billion dollar opportunity) with a $250,000 cash prize. By leveraging the reach of social media, these companies have been able to harness the brain power and innovation from minds that exist well outside the walls of their building.
  12. 12. 9. customer relationship management 12 One of the most interesting things about social media is the longitude of the relationship with the consumer. Where list building was a major tactic for building an inexpensive platform for marketing to consumers over the last few years, social media presents an equally powerful long term strategy for keeping customer relationships in tact tomorrow and beyond. The impact of the platforms over time has not been fully realized, but the projections look interesting. With pop stars, authors, and companies building networks of millions of fans we may see the proverbial 15 minutes of fame stretched to 15 years or more. One can only imagine what impact a persistent network of millions of fans could have. What would it mean if a boy band like Take That had a persistent social network that represented even half of the buyers of the 100 million records they sold? Maybe we’d still be listening to Nigel Martin-Smith’s next big boy band instead of One Direction. While nobody can predict the lifetime membership to the latest social sites, it seems that there is a chance that they could outlast consumer’s email and street addresses.
  13. 13. 10. undiscovered 13 Okay, it’s true, we told you there were 9 categories of how you can use social media to impact your business and life. We lied, there’s 10. Because of the rapid evolution in this market, we decided to nominate a 10th category and have coined it ‘yet to be discovered’. Hopefully the 9 other examples we pointed out inspire some ideas around how social media could impact your business, but if you didn’t see any don’t fret. This market is changing daily, so stay tuned to see what’s coming next. From emergency contacts (like twitter sites set up to stream news after an earthquake) or simple tasks like family management (“I’ll pick you up from football practice at 6pm”), we’re just starting to scratch the surface of what will evolve in the near future. Nearly every day thousands of new applications are launched, and thousands more are being drawn up on white boards around the globe, so stay tuned… The exciting part is that we have yet to uncover even half of the ways that these emerging applications and disruptive technologies will impact both consumer and corporate life.
  14. 14. how to get started 14 Let’s face it, in the complex and ever-evolving world of social media, it’s easy for even the best of us to take a wrong turn and get lost. That’s why it it’s essential to first create a highly- targeted social media strategy with clear, achievable goals; whether it’s product development, consumer awareness, PR, or even offline footfall and purchase. To fully leverage emerging social media tools and techniques, it requires you to put together a smart, up-front strategy before lighting the fuse. In order to help some of the ‘not so early’ adopters out there plot a course of action, we offer up our four step process. 1. Plan 2. Build 3. Promote 4. Measure The 4-Step Process
  15. 15. plan 15 Our planning process typically takes a few weeks where we work to clearly define the business goals, and unfold a crystal clear map of how we plan to get to the finish line leveraging the best tools and resources available. This ‘immersion strategy’ process breaks down into two main components. Evaluating your brand and business objectives, your business assets, your consumer, and your overall brand positioning to help guide and structure each social media engagement so that is can be tied back to a business goal. Evaluate Identifying the right strategic opportunities for best leveraging your assets and resources, so you can focus on building meaningful customer relationships, increase organization effectiveness, and grow your social platform effectively. Identify
  16. 16. build 16 From custom pages and content to promotions and contests, you’ll probably need a team of talented creative types to put together all of the essential ingredients you need to create memorable and meaningful social brand experiences. But whatever you do, don’t confuse social media with an opportunity to shout about your product. Really take the time to dial in your creative communications; as the images, words and content that you choose have a massive influence on what consumers feel (and say) about your brand. Find a team of designers and developers to build custom Facebook and Twitter pages, applications, and promotions that seamlessly integrate with the look, tone, and feel of your brand while inspiring meaningful social interaction. Build great stuff Building up a social media presence is great, but it’s only one half of the equation. Momentum is generated by a dedicated community manager that maximizes and manages all of your brand’s activity, including both inbound and outbound messages. Work on it 24/7
  17. 17. promote 17 If you’re going to take the time to create and deploy an interactive promotion, take full advantage of the social web and watch it spread. If you want to be a hit at the party, don’t shuffle around the room handing out brochures explaining the features and functions of your product. The way to develop a large and loyal following is by first inspiring people so they’ll want to connect with your brand. A major component of the project planning that we work on is the overarching content strategy that will be employed to help position your brand for success. Skip this step in the process and you can quickly find yourself on the outside looking in. Remember, in social media, content is king. Create compelling content events, user-generated content contests, e-couponing campaigns, and product giveaways. These promotional efforts should centre around great content, but ultimately leverage integrated sharing and promotion technologies that give your message the best shot to grow organically. Deploy a wide range of engaging promotional campaigns, including: exclusive branded content, sweepstakes,
  18. 18. measure 18 One of the core components to creating value through social media is your ability to measure the impact. We leverage real time applications and the latest reporting tools to pull in and analyse millions of daily updates, blog posts, and mentions about your brand. Each is tracked for both volume, sentiment (good or bad) and changes in volume or sentiment. With robust measurement tools in place you can clearly see the impact your brand has across the social platform. Regardless of the focus of your social strategy, the ability to track, measure, and listen to millions of consumers in real time presents a strategic opportunity that has never existed before now. Hint: If you aren’t tuning into what consumers are saying about your brand, your industry, your product, and your competitors, you’re missing the point. Real time reports By listening in you’re able to 1) mine insights for new opportunities; 2) identify key influencers; and 3) understand how our promotional campaigns are fairing. Identifying the tone of what’s being talked about online (positive, negative, neutral), to uncover timely truths which enable you to build better products, promotions, and customer relationships.
  19. 19. 19 Our clients range from start up ventures to international brands. If you think that you might benefit from a conversation with us, please don’t be afraid to drop us a line, we’d be happy to talk shop. You can call us on +44 (0) 208 241 3730 , drop us an email or visit our website at Don’t be afraid to ask