How brands market through social media

Rebecca Weeks Watson · September 23, 2009 · Short URL:

Experts offer tips about how to create, manage, and measure a social media campaign

"Trying to remove something from the Internet is like trying to remove urine from a swimming pool."

And, "You can't just aim to get people from Facebook to your destination. People are the destination."

These are just two of the quotes I heard today at Adweek's Social Media Strategies event in San Francisco, where high-profile marketers and agencies convened to discuss strategies and tools being used to connect with consumers. Some of the best speakers were executives from Sprout, Ogilvy, appsavvy, icrossing, Facebook, and Media6Degrees.

Other opinions and tips I heard include:

  • If everyone agrees that word of mouth marketing is one of the most important tools for marketing products and services, why wouldn't they leverage social media?
  • There are many components of social media: entertainment, thought leadership, customer service, etc. So there's no one solution fits all. Before getting into the approach or platform, first you must consider what your objective is and then determine where and how you can achieve it.
  • One approach to starting a conversation or relationship with consumers is to offer value and utility (i.e. Mad Men Myself tool).
  • It seems social media is held to a higher standard. Why? Because it's modern and digital media is very measureable. Also because it's tearing down marketers' reliance on traditional media. Clients are challenged by measuring social media because it doesn't fit their old model and they don't know how to combine the old and new. Ogilvy's PR team has a metric called conversation impact that is used to quantify campaign results.  
  • What metrics are being used to evaluate a social media campaign's success? It depends on the client's initial objectives. Typically companies are moving beyond reach and volume and instead evaluating (and soon pricing) based on cost per engagement (time spent, video view, opt-in to a newsletter) or cost per action (i.e. used an application, forwarded a link, visited a microsite, etc.). Razorfish has developed a custom pass-along measurement metric. A Facebook executive said they measure the value of a social media brand campaign based on a combination of three elements: social distribution, interactions, and paid media.
  • A moderator asked panelists, "What's the next Twitter?" Meaning, what's the next hot company in the digital media space? Responses were video overlays, augmented reality, virtual currencies and location-based mobile tools.
  • When it comes to crisis, people immediately call a PR person. But customer advocates and community participants can be stronger feedback mechanisms than one PR person.
  • Some confessions about bad advice: "Focus on the numbers. I don't agree with this now. Instead, find people and create engaging conversations only with those who truly matter to your business." Another one: "I used to think social media efforts wouldn't last forever. But I realize today that they do. There's value in conversations and campaigns that happened a year ago."


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