social marketing

Five Essential Components of a Social Campaign

I don’t normally do “how to” posts.  But lately I have a problem – people keep asking me to “tweet this” or “promote” something. And in general I’m happy to do that. BUT.

I can’t help if what you want to promote socially is not inherently social to begin with. So what makes something social? Four things. There’s a dizzying array of superlative talent interpreting and expanding each of these items, but you must have all four in some form. Two out of three wont’ work. Each is an opportunity for you to think through what you’re doing and make it important to someone. Anything left out and you’re letting potential relationships slide right past you.

So here it is. The five crucial components to any meaningful social marketing campaign.

1. Something to talk about.
I can’t talk about something that’s essentially a slogan or tag line. Its not conversational. So please – give me something to say. Are you changing the world? DO you have an interesting point of view? Have you don’t something with someone that was notable? Give us a topic of conversation. If you’re unsure about how to create a topic of conversation, the best way to start is to either a) talk about someone else (like a customer) or b) ask a question (what’s important to you?). Imagine yourself in a social situation – would you talk about it? Because that’s what social media is – a social situation.

2. A destination.
If I hear about this out there in the face-tube-twit-blogosphere, and I’m interested, where am I going to go to find out more? You need a destination that aggregates all of the content that you are distributing and tells your whole story in a cohesive, meaningful way. When I get to your destination, my first reaction should be “wow” not “what?” Your destination is probably a website. It should be obvious how this web site relates to the conversation, and how to go further in the discussion. Does your destination tell a clear story?

3. A way to engage.
Your destination must provide a way to engage – to ask a question, share a comment, thought or link, try something, do something. This is often called a “call to action.” But if you have a “call to action” with no action available other than “buy now” or “have someone call me” then you aren’t trying to engage people, you’re just pitching them. Many people aren’t ready to buy on their first visit – and few want a sales person to call them (do you?) so there needs to be another choice for those who are somewhere else along the relationship path.

4. A way to stay engaged – or build an ongoing relationship.
Give me a way or reason to stay in touch, or let me give you a way to get in touch with me. Subscribe to the blog, sign up for updates or a newsletter or a series of events. Let me learn about upcoming events. Give me a way to keep track of you, and to participate in an ongoing fashion. Otherwise I might forget about you. A blog makes this easy – especially with a big SUBSCRIBE HERE button on top.

5. A way to tell others about it. You have to have the Tweet, In Share, Like, and very importantly email buttons on there. Don’t forget. Don’t forget that especially in a B2B setting, your goal isn’t to educate and win over the person in front of you – its to give that person what he or she needs to educate and win over the next person they talk to. Make sure your message is clear and your assets are sharable.

In someways this may be what “pull” boils down to or what “inbound” marketing actually means. Create interest or meaning, create a place for that meaning, a way to express what it means to them, a way to act on that meaning and a way to sustain and share that meaning.

the most powerful marketing feature on facebook

Its brilliant. viral marketing is now passive. its voyeur marketing. its marketing nirvana.

The News Feed on Facebook. I “friend” people I like and/or admire (or who like and/or admire me). I visit my home page, and I get snippets of what they are doing. Joe joined a new group or made a new friend or became a “fan” of a new brand or product. “Gee”, I say to myself, “Joe’s a pretty savvy guy, I wonder what that group is, who that person is, what that brand is”.

And there it is. I’m checking it out because Joe checked it out, and Joe didn’t have to take the active role of advocate. I am interested in what he does, so I can follow it passively.

I’m not sure if this was the original intent of the News Feed, but I think its the very most powerful form of viral marketing I’ve seen. Why? Because Joe doesn’t need to take the step of endorsing something. It’s his interest in something that is conveyed. And since I’m interested in what he’s interested in… it works. And I don’t need to become some smarmy “brand ambassador”. And as a marketing person, I don’t need to go find some way to incent or create some a “viral feature” that doesn’t really match my audience. Its gorgeous.

Even better! The Facebook Beacon application. Its a fantastic opportunity. I’m integrating this into my client’s project TODAY. The Facebook Beacon lets you make actions on your site feed into the News Feed on Facebook. Yes. If someone buys something, watches a video (I hope this works, I’m going to try it later and let you know), posts a comment or what have you, it will post to the News Feed. Yes, they’ve made it opt-out and privacy respecting. But the facebook audience is really into sharing. They don’t opt-out in droves.

So – what you get is a tool. If you create engagement on your site, you’ll be spreading the news of that engagement among your users’ friends. Without that user needing to do anything.

It’s perfect. For companies that have been trying to reach a younger demographic through social networking, and have had some trouble knowing where to start, it provides a great, low effort, low risk opportunity. I am going to be working with this quite a bit over the next few weeks, and I’ll report the results.