A few things happened in the past couple of weeks or so that reinforces my position that social media, in it of itself, is a waste of time. Social media requires a strong marketing foundation to pay dividends.
One example was noted by Lisa Barone in her article, “No, You Shouldn’t Wait To Start Using Social Media For Your Business.” She talks about a recent Forrest Report that indicated that only 4% of online adults use location-based mobile service (foursquare, gowalla, SCVNGR). Advertising Age went on to state that Forrester Analyst “Melissa Parrish believes that male-oriented brands should forge the way and other marketers should hang back until these apps get bigger audiences.”
Now let me say that I rank Forrester as the top analyst company I have worked with and I have much respect for Advertising Age, but this is stupidity. What marketers need to do is get their companies to take leadership, rise above the noise, set precedence, and drive innovative initiatives that capture mindshare, engagement, and connection with their target audience.
How can this be accomplished with LBS (location-based service)? At a high-level, let me give you a couple of examples …
With LBS, you have someone “checking in” at your location. What a great opportunity for you to engage with them and have them share your engagement with their friends. Do you want to offer them something special? Do you want to extend a “package” to them if they invite their friends to come? Get a little creative and think about what it means to have someone state, “I am here” on your court and how you can turn them into further advocates.
Old school marketing teaches us the 4Ps: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. New school social media turns into 4Cs: Content, Context, Connection and Community. (via DuctTape) Apply this to LBS.
Product – your offering
Price – how your offer your product (package for bringing in “customer’s community”)
Place – your location
Promotion – what you offer when they check in
Content – the communication you provide when someone checks in
Context – the “content” applicable when checking in
Connection – an engagement when your customers check in
Community – having your customers extended to their friends
Okay. Maybe a bit contrived to support the model of old school meets new school, but you get the idea. There really is something to be said about leveraging the new power of social media with some old marketing fundamentals.
I’ll give you one more example of mixing some marketing into LBS for a product or service. Think about the payoff of “seeding where you want your audience to go.” Think about building a promotion where you direct your audience where you want them to go (and checking in) to reinforce your brand. You run programs, loyalty levels, incentives, etc when your audience goes to various locations. Here the power is in your hands as you guide users and reward them for their actions. Pretty powerful marketing done correctly.
In my second example of the Yin Yang of marketing and social media, I site a recent HP Labs study looking at popularity and influence. Basically, the report adds some data to what many of us already know – popularity does not mean you are an influencer. The project behind the report looked at some of the most popular Tweeters and empirically showed that there is little correlation to their degree of influence.
If you are a brand, you want to capture the positive mindshare of those that have influence on your target market’s behavior. In old school marketing, we often identified influential analysts and set up a PR campaign to spread the word on our product/service. The concept remains strong and effective, but there is a new field of execution with social media. Don’t get me wrong. Having an extremely popular following is very important to a brand. But from a marketing perspective, that is the result you seek, not the strategic execution.
These are just a few examples to define the required tight integration of marketing and social media. While “the concept of yin yang is used to describe how polar or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn,” marketing and social media are not so opposite. But the problem that I come across all too often in social media is the confusion people have between a desired outcome and the steps to get there. If you combine proven (still applicable) marketing fundamentals to social media, you will find “how they give rise to each other.” “There is a perception (especially in the West) that yin and yang correspond to good and evil. However, Taoist philosophy generally discounts good/bad distinctions as superficial labels, preferring to focus on the idea of balance.” Get the marketing/social media balance right.
Make It Happen!