Social Media Applied to the Traditional Advertising Agency
Social Media: It’s a Love Story
“Your customers live Online – move in with them.”
The intent of this document is to go outside of the techie’ things of Social Media, which, is easy to get lost in. Instead, we'll lean to offer a foothold on what Social Media can mean on the human level, whether business, or otherwise for which it was designed. Imagination is your most prolific asset. Social Media, in its most basic form boils down to: “How would you like to be treated by a good friend?”
The technology that drives Social Media simply provides a means to acquiring an end, or, rather, a beginning of that thing we call "relationship." In broad strokes, it is an end that is defined primarily by the following: (a) What “special” Community do we want to be a part of? (b) What will our Community involvement strategy be? (c) What are the appropriate Social tools to help us become a part of this Community? (d) What ways do we listen? (e) How can we become involved and contribute within the Community? (f) It's your voice, so, what is the first thing you want someone to do when they arrive at your Social Presence and/or Website? (g) How do we continue, nurture and grow our involvement in the Community?
Social Media Strategy and Foundation:
Based on an organization’s core contributory mission within a specific Community, a Social Media Strategy may be built around the philosophy of “helping people is good business.”
The soul of the strategy is generally defined by four fundamental questions:
1) What is our core contributory mission to the people in this “special” Community?
2) How can we as an organization become a part of and contributor to the Community?
3) What should our “Socializing” look like?
4) What will success look like?
This breaks down to:
- Discovery of what we specifically bring of value to a particular Community.
- Discovery application.
- Introducing ourselves.
- Socializing / acceptance / conversion / on going discovery.
How to Begin: The Broad Strokes - in Detail
- Community(s) of Interest: Selecting the Community you want to be a part of.
- Listen with intent.
- Define: In general, what way(s) will you become involved/help/participate in these Community(s).
- Primary Social platforms to be used to arrive at desired goal(s). Why these platforms?
(Generally, the Social Platforms will be chosen for you by the "communities" you chose to participate in.)
- Secondary Social platforms used for support. (Why these platforms?) You may find a secondary platform out of almost nowhere becomes a primary. Adding/modification of Social platforms.
- System Creation to help build followers/friends/other.
- Are disclaimers needed citing expressions from individual, rather than the organization, etc?
- Simple guidelines.
- Who will be the enterprise “engagers” to begin with?
- Level of engagement - i.e. closeness.
- What, overall, will be the content shared to encourage engagement within the Community(s) chosen by the enterprise that it would like to become involved with? (This most likely will be determined and evolve via the conversations you'll have within the community, as in life.)
- Designation of “Crisis” response responders – (“watchdogs”).
- Stay observant, open-minded, and ready to adapt, and keep it professionally fun. Social Media is truly “social,” and, a true “community culture.”
- Monitoring / Testing / Reporting / Insights / “Capturing” an Opportunity / Keeping the fires stoked. Capture potential trends, up-and-coming community niche watch/popularity, insights, patterns, correlations, hidden nuggets in plain sight, what - not so much why, and the invaluable ability to respond in real-time.
- Measuring: e.g. what forms of content are people (hopefully) engaging with you on, and or sharing, or, other? Such as: video, blogs, helpful tips, Online forms, white papers, FB posts, Re-Tweets, SMS, contests, survey, causes, coupons, deals, other. Content popularity, e.g.: “people seem to like this video…” What content seems to be growing in popularity? What content seems to be not as popular, etc., etc.
- What content incites passion - positive or negative.
- Authority building – making your presence known – positive impact intent.
- Press Releases.
- Connecting the dots.
- Training / Consulting.
- What will success look like?
- Thinking ahead. Preparation for 2-3-5 years down the road. What could the “Social” landscape be like? What will our Social presence and involvement possibly look like? What would we like it to be?
Broad Strokes Quick Picks:
- Engage/respond, converse, monitor, measure.
- Kinds of engagement: what are they engaging (sharing) with: forms, helpful tips, video, blogs, white papers, chat, email, other. Is authoritative value being built or extended upon?
- Guidelines: who – level – crisis – type of engagement (this could be very fluid).
- Alert Setup: competitive recon, what people are saying about you – what they are not saying - crisis response.
- Linked-in profiles/involvement.
- Pure Marketing: Contests – Surveys – Causes – Giveback – Press Releases - Deals, Timing, Other.
- Be realistic – keep expectations in line.
- Listen – observe behaviors. The Internet is the most powerful monitoring tool devised – so far.
Addressing the Social Media Conundrum at the Organizational Level:
Some organizations may have a top tier team in place for analytics, monitoring, technical, content, design, and presentation, but, it stops there, and yields to a kind of scratching of the heads asking “what do we do now?” The expertise is in place, but where do you go from there?
Answer: A Social Media Strategy is now needed:
The need at this juncture is tie things together with a Social Strategy to hang your shingle on, fend off, and then dissolve the head scratching so you can move forward. This strategy should be based on the “Community” you want to become involved with, and, how you intend to contribute. The Social tools applied always support the strategy - unequivocally.
There’s an old saying: “Strategy without action is a daydream. Action without strategy is a nightmare.” With Social Media, this can be so true. It’s best at times to temporarily put the “Social Technologies” that powers our “digital connectedness” to the side, and let the imagination do its thing.
Plant Your Social Media Strategy Flag Around the Philosophy of "Helping People is Good Business" – and Own Something:
Keeping in mind this is truly a Social/Community thing, not so much “broadcast,” here are few examples of what to build a Social Media Strategy around, based on the Community, and what you have to offer to a specific Community that’s of unique value, perceived, or otherwise:
- Being a Friend
- Being a Good Friend
- Sensational / Sensationalism
- Off –The-Wall
- What Makes You Extraordinary
- What Makes You Worthy of My Recommendation
Of course this could be a combination, but, always aligned with the primary, or core Social strategy. Focus of the “Social Voice” is important, obviously, just like branding – what do you want to be known for within your “special” Community. It's a Universal Paradox: “More focused the message, the wider the reach.”
Strive to become an Influencer yourself in the Community. How? Be Extraordinary. Then, existing Influencers will come your way, and, come from Social regions you may never expect. Fight the urge to chase the influencers, (don’t ignore them either), establish the mindset of you becoming the influencer who is sought after.
* No one, or thing can “create” a Community – the Communities are already there.
* You can’t control the conversation, but, you can control the most important part of
the conversation - yours.
* A person doesn’t recommend a brand to friends because they care about the brand; they recommend a brand because they care about their friends.
* The software behind the scenes is designed to mimic human nature itself.
* Social is forcing an issue with brands (and winning) to “fall out of love” with themselves, and, to
instead, fall in love with their customers – on an unprecedented level.
Primary Social Channels Legend:
Google = Interests, and Everything Else
Facebook = Relationships
Twitter = Interests
Pinterest = Lifestyles/Interests
YouTube = Almost Everything
FourSquare = Lifestyle (Mobile)
* Google Plus = Relationships
* Email = Communication
* SMS = Communication
* Website = Marketing
Alternative Social Channels Legend:
* Daily Motion (Third largest video site in the world)
* Meta Café (Short form video)
Advertising, by its nature, already “knows.” Applying what the Advertising Agency already knows in a different environment is what can “throw” a communicator. To draw a parallel, an astronaut knows how to walk, but, walking on the moon takes an adjustment. Once a communicator “gets” Social, all advertising, marketing and communication efforts will be looked at differently.
... Or, an Ad Agency can just go out and buy Social exposure like any other media purchase.
(But, that may not be enough soon.)
"Advertising is the invitation - Social is where the party is."
(We want to thank someone for this current truism, but, we can't recall who.)
*Image courtesy of AMC's Mad Men
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