- 25 years in advertising, direct mail, public relations and digital media, enabling successful launch of integrated social media and content programs
- SVP/Partner at FleishmanHillard, a global marketing communications firm with 80+ offices. Created the firm's integrated marketing strategy and services practice for Visa, Bayer, Kaiser Permanente, Electronic Arts, AT&T, AT&T Interactive (now YP), Hyatt
- Earlier clients include: AT&T, Jelly Belly Candy Company, Autodesk, Cisco, Sun, Ross Stores, Salesforce.com, John Muir Health, Hewlett Packard, Restoration Hardware, PeopleSoft, 21st Century Insurance
- All 7 Best Practices
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- Session Summary Report
- Post-Session Engagement
Digital, Social and Content Marketing
- Businesses are just beginning to comprehend the impact of social media on the fabric of their models and value.
There are companies that use social media primarily for marketing purposes and customer interaction but the growing trend is that social media and social methods are adopted across the enterprise.
The primary driver is that social media and methodologies are used by such a large percentage of employees and can be applied for so many different functions, that the traditional model of a corporation having an internal voice and an external voice is being transcended.
According to Altimeter Group (http://slidesha.re/1cqjFyJ), there are at least 13 areas across a business that may deploy social technologies with ROI. These include:
- Corporate communications/PR
- Customer support
- Social media
- User experience
In larger, more matrixed organizations, the transformation to social business must be mandated by executive leadership, but all indicators are that this is a trend that cannot be ignored.
- Marketing content is less about interrupting and more about interactivity and common interests.
The practice of content marketing allows companies to own an area with their expertise and content that is interesting to their audiences. Instead of interrupting a customer and asking him or her to endure a sales pitch, they are effectively acting as trusted advisers in a category.
In the emerging trend of co-creation, marketers actually rely on advocates to be a part of the content from the beginning.
Marketing methodologies that move away from the traditional model of interruptive advertising and toward the proliferation of content of interest have a long tail on search engines.
Since discoverability is cited as 80 percent or more of any marketing equation, the shareability of content and the power of its linking back to owned properties is emerging as extremely important.
Just a few types of content that are proving popular with audiences include:
- Written pieces of varying lengths, including tweets, articles, eBooks
- Infographics and other visualizations
- Interactive infographics, where overlays of data (aka “mash-ups) illustrate a point
- Motion graphics and explainers
- Creative uses of social platform APIs
- Webinars, podcasts and other series options
- The emergence of data and analytic tools, commonly referred to as “big data,” is allowing organizations to laser-target their communications to influencers.
In the past, identifying influencers was a manual and difficult process. Tools to identify editors at large publications became commonplace (for example, Cision or Vocus), but the landscape of influencers is changing.
Today, there are four types of influencers.
- Traditional media
- Very large “meat-eating” blogs
- Hybrid crossovers from traditional media (those that have made a name online and offline)
- Individuals with large followings
As we move down this list of influencers, each of them becomes more and more focused on a niche audience. The trend is creating a category of tools to allow marketers to identify and connect with niche specialists.
Before connecting, big data tools can aggregate many activities and interests of the players, allowing for meaningful connections and the ability to tailor content for the interests of specific specialists and experts.
- Because the culture of behavior in social media is a mystery, a guide is necessary.
Social media presents a specific culture that is not open to blatant sales pitches or PR pitching. Influencers expect a mutually beneficial connection across various social media channels and the longtime requirements of authenticity and transparency are magnified.
In the absence of cultural sensitivity, companies are subject to “blog justice,” which is a public shaming on a scale that was, in the past, unthinkable.
- Real time marketing is a real trend - and difficult to execute.
Some studies point out that close to 50 percent of social media participants expect a response within an hour. That’s a big change from the machinations of the “closed” company model. And it reflects on the fact that marketing executives have their work cut out for them in terms of expectations from customers. In fact, David Meerman Scott talks about popular culture integration with social media leveraged for a corporation requiring the acknowledgement of a five- to 20-minute window before an activity is stale.
Even more complex is the ability to add paid media to a real-time campaign. If the tweet is that fresh, relevant and working, companies can now promote it. Or if a phrase is taking off, companies can get mercenary in search marketing and buy it right away. In fact, every element across the spectrum of paid media, earned media (public relations) and owned web properties can, and should, have a contribution to real time marketing efforts.
Structuring a team around this kind of responsiveness, especially at scale, is just the beginning. Some firms can use time zones to assist. Others have developed “on-call” practices. But it takes not only a savvy marketing and a social media blackbelt, it also requires creative firepower, analytics to support activity, media-buying relationships and capabilities and more.
In conclusion, it has been demonstrated that almost all metrics around propensity to buy, attitude toward a company and much more trend dramatically positive when real time marketing is done correctly. However, the field is new, relatively unstructured and deeply interdisciplinary.
- Community management is an essential role in this era, but it is ill defined.
Once the platforms and channels are open, the one thing at the heart of a successful social media effort is the community management function. The community manager has the following responsibilities:
- Creatively and proactively assist those who engage with us.
- Serve as the initial point of contact for inbound requests from online company properties and the web at large.
- Identify and analyze issues, patterns and trends in customer requests and product performance.
- Transfer the information to the appropriate departments so that they can respond accordingly.
- Monitor online conversations and participate in them to build brand visibility and thought leadership.
- Coordinate authoring and creation of blog posts, articles, podcasts, videos and screencasts – whatever media appropriately – to convey our message.
- Identify and engage advocates with discussion starters, polls, contests, etc.
- Proactively escalate issues, observations, opportunities and insights to the executive team.
- Communicate issues, opportunities and insights to the company at large.
- Stay up to date on new social media tools, best practices and how other organizations and companies are using them, so the company can continue to be an early adopter of these technologies.
- Participate in professional networking by interacting with peers and influencers and attending events.
This is a very large job — it is really at the controls of what would previously be known as the public relations and corporate communications front line.
Right now, the common trend is to extensively train these employees. There are several training organizations that are emerging, and they are synchronizing the expectations and requirements for successful community management.