It’s The Community, Stupid!

According to   of ClickZ, companies debating social marketing tactics are probably centered on the wrong issues. The organization needs to focus on how to support and enhance the social media community, not the firm. 

Marketers have followed consumers to social media because advertising requires large numbers, and it’s where consumers are. But consumers on social media tend to be interested in themselves, their family, and friends. They are there to socialize, not be bombarded with marketing messages. 

What Marketers Need to Know About Social Media

Five pieces of research show social media content is just social engagement.

1. Consumers are on social media just to talk. For marketers, while Twitter may be useful at building hype around a product or event, it yields insufficient information from which to make predictions.  Princeton researchers analyzing sentiments expressed in tweets about popular new movies and their ratings found that buzz from Twitter was not sufficient to predict movie sales. By contrast, Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb have been used as predictors of movie quality and box office potential.  What does this Twitter research mean for marketers? People on Twitter want to engage and have conversations, and, in general, these exchanges tend to be more positive than negative. This means marketers engaged on Twitter have the ability to change prospects and customers’ impressions by increasing the number of positive interactions.

2. Consumers indulge in social media to satisfy their need for attention. People are on social media for their own internal motivations, which aren’t fully known to them and aren’t always positive! Based on JWT‘s research on Social Media’s Seven Sins, people crave social media attention. They feel their lives would suffer without constantly checking what’s happening in their social circles. 

3. Consumers are becoming more selective about with whom they associate on social media platforms. While about two-thirds of Americans are on social media networks, according to Pew Internet Research, members are getting more savvy about their public, social media presentation. As a result, more members delete friends from their networks and remove comments. This translates to increased selectivity across social media platforms including Facebook.

4. Consumers associate with brands on social media to get savingsIt’s like going out with someone just to eat out not because you want to be with them. Almost 70 percent of consumers expect some form of coupon or discount for following a brand on Facebook, according to research by The CMO Council and reported by eMarketer. The second reason is that they want to engage with other customers.

5. Consumers who like your brand aren’t necessarily more likely to purchase from you. While about 60% of Facebook users “liked” a brand in the last six months, according to research by eVoc Insights and reported by eMarketer, for almost half, the act of “liking” a brand had no influence on their purchase decisions.


How Can Marketers Break Through To Inwardly Focused  Social Media Consumers?

You need Social Media because:

  • Social Media occupies one out every five minutes online 
  • Social Media sites are among the top sites visited.

To craft a strategy that responds to these hurdles while enabling you to be active in this engaged media, here are five social media marketing tips.
1. Have social media guidelines. Develop a set of guidelines to lay the groundwork for what your employees can do when they represent your firm and what they can do when they’re acting as individuals.

2. Train your staff to be able to respond in a timely manner when needed. Educate your employees on how to respond to prospects, customers, and the public on social media. Make sure that your staff can respond using a variety of platforms in the event of an emergency.

3. Do your homework to know whom you’re addressing. Before implementing a blogger outreach or answering comments on your firm’s social media site or blog, take a moment to look the individual up. It can shed some insights on where they’re coming from, what they’re asking, and give you some idea of how influential they are.

4. Respond calmly and deliberately. If the comment or issue is irritating, take a cooling off period, and don’t try to help the problem by addressing it under a full head of steam. 

5. Have a PR crisis plan ready in case of emergency. Be prepared with a back-up plan and  ensure that it is up to date with everyone’s cell phone number.

Social Media platforms are important to marketers because they provide the context for public social discourse and are a form of media customers can’t get enough of.  But to maximize your impact, meet customers on their turf on their terms.

Snap! Principle of Social Media Planning:

Converting fans and followers to buying customers means valuing the community.