Archives for April 2011

POV Buzzinga! is a forum for collaboration and discussion of advertising, public relations and marketing principles, issues and happenings. It's designed to provide thought leaders, industry professionals and college students a platform for expression of intellectual works and random ramblings. Most importantly, connect to the conversation.

A few ground rules: Be thoughtful, engaging and express a point of view.

April 23, 2011

Like Walls: Does it dilute your brand?

Trending in social media are Like walls, whereby a brand’s Facebook landing page requires an obligatory "Like” before access to the main page is granted. And why would someone "Like” a page if a nexus to that brand doesn’t already exist? It’s usually because the brand is offering incentives or another compelling reason.

Christopher Heine in his article "Want This Facebook Offer? Better 'Like' Us First” poses the question as to whether this tactic dilutes the brand’s fan base.

So is "fan-gating” the one-night stand equivalent of social media? It certainly could be but, then again, it might just be a way for savvy marketers to megaphone messages out to a larger public and create meaningful relationships.  

Sure, some will unlike you right away after they’ve achieved the incentive (not every one-night stand is epic) but for those who stick around to smell the morning coffee, it’s a chance to make a good second impression. In other words, you’ve got their attention so give them a reason to stay and engage with your brand.

April 17, 2011

Marketing Within the Framework of Social Media

Published in the Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal, December 2010

If nothing else, 2010 will be remembered for its bonanza of social media frenzy. Facebook exploded with a vengeance, Twitter chirped its way into mainstream American business, and blogs became personal megaphones. What's more, YouTube, Hulu and Ustream videos knocked primetime networks onto their collective backsides.

Yes, it was a very good year for new, hip and edgy but not so good for tried, true and tested.

But even this newfound blitz of marketing in the moment with its plethora of emerging technologies couldn't change one core principle that remained untouched: Content is still king.

For any business, content is what differentiates it from competitors. It's the connection that resonates with customers, followers, viewers and users. It is storytelling, brand differentiation and a company's lifeblood all rolled into one. Content is the essence of the experience.

Social media engage users and build communities giving the old adage "any friend of yours is a friend of mine" new context. Interactions are relationship-based and operate with the same third-party credibility that has long been the hallmark of public relations. It's PR to a higher power with its ability to engage audiences and pull them into a brand's conversation.

As with any great evolution, when social media finally move beyond strategy and tactics, listening and monitoring, metrics and ROI, creative content will elevate to take its rightful place in the social media marketing mix.

That's not to suggest that relevant content is exclusive to social media platforms – it's quite the opposite. Content remains the centerpiece of newspapers, magazines, broadcast programming, advertising and online platforms.

And it's not to say that social media are the answers to all marketing woes. They simply aren't. Rather, they should be strategically placed within an integrated and comprehensive marketing mix environment that includes applicable components of traditional media.

So how do you make social media work for your business? First, understand social media's fundamental principal: They are commitments. When your business sets up a Fan page or Twitter feed, users expect more than a mere presence. Content must be relevant and the style must be engaging. Give users a reason to connect with your brand and care about it enough to engage in the conversation.

Create Relevance

Not all online buzz is noteworthy nor does it require attention. However, social media have turned everyone even remotely associated with your brand into a potential ambassador, for better or worse. Listening and responding appropriately are key to managing your company's reputation and fostering a relationship with current and potential customers. Understand where users are in the awareness/interest/desire/action continuum and align your strategies to drive users to take a particular action.

Build a Following

The prevalence of relevant links is important to cross-pollinating online content to rank higher in search results, and capture and keep audience attention. Social media are about cultivating relationships and building a loyal fan base of individuals interested in what you have to say and offer.

Analyze the Competition

Just as a business monitors conversations occurring with their own customers, social media offer ways to examine conversations involving competitors. What are the advantages and disadvantages of competitive product offerings as compared to your own? Where does your company fall within the industry as compared to your competition? What insight can be gleaned as to how customers make decisions regarding products or services?

React Quickly

Taking an industry-wide approach, social media provide the means to identify trends and changes as they occur. Shift happens and being among the first to spot trend changes allows a company to react quickly and maintain a competitive advantage.

Personalize the Message

Marketers have always tried to put the right message in front of the right people, but with mixed outcomes. Social media allow companies to customize their messages to reach specific target audiences through the communication channels users prefer most.

Bottom line, engaging content and monitoring social media conversations are paramount to an online strategy. They not only enable companies to combat negative setbacks, but also identify and develop opportunities, and solidify relationships. Interactions become a function of the experience the audience has with a brand. Make it a good one.

Let's hope 2011 sees the rebirth of marketing budgets, ad buys and content-rich social media efforts. It's time to move the proverbial needle forward to full throttle.