Sure, we do not need another article highlighting the linkage of social media and Sandy – The Hurricane, but I found a great example that reinforces the key elements of social media marketing success. And the shining scenario strangely comes from government officials. When was the last time you learned something about marketing from the government?
The case in point comes from two elected officials that demonstrated leadership and lack thereof. One leveraged digital technologies and one did not. Specifically, I call attention to the leadership of Newark Mayor, Cory Booker, and the lack by New York Senator Charles Schumer.
It is common practice for elected officials to show up on location at disaster areas to “survey and extend help.” I watched Schumer on the news November 1st addressing residents whose homes were destroyed by the storm. When questioned when help was on the way, he simply replied, “I will find out.”
Then there is the plight of Mayor Cory Booker. Booker, too, traveled the streets of his hard hit city, Newark, NJ. But Booker is a politician that has changed with the times. Armed with his mobile device, he texted and tweeted in action. His audience knows how to get him … simply tweet to him. And get this. He actually listens. Booker not only listened he acted. He heard the needs of his audience and literally delivered diapers, milk, and juice. (Cory Booker reaching out to Sandy victims video coverage.)
So what do marketers need to learn from Booker? Yes, that’s right … a government official serves as an example for businesses.
There are three key elements required for successful social media marketing:
1) Commitment – it is a prerequisite before social even starts. Companies and brands need to have a thorough commitment to delivering service and value to their audience. You cannot expect your social manager to deliver success without the entire organization committed to their audience. The social manager really is the messenger of the brand. If the brand is not truly committed to their audience, there is no chance that the messenger can drive success.
2) Listening – brands need to really take time to hear exactly what their audience is asking for. I always like the saying – “we have two ears and one mouth so we need to listen twice as much as we speak.”
3) Acting – this is a key element that so many miss. Social engagement is limited if there is no action behind the commitment and listening. The difference between Schumer and Booker are dramatic by the pure fact that Schumer was sympathetic and listened, but did not act. He literally looked like a deer in headlights when confronting Sandy victims. Conversely, Booker looked like a super-hero delivering to the audiences’ needs. If social managers do not have the power to act (based on organizational commitment and listening) their engagement is less than effective. I have seen many brands take too much time to determine responses and actions. This is a clear indication of a lack of commitment.
The reality is that all brands’ audiences are active on social media. Marketers need to determine how they leverage this cultural evolution to the benefit of their target market. There needs to be a strategic marketing shift where marketers have a much greater emphasis on the audience and their motivations, wants, needs, and turn-offs. And the right approach to accomplish this needs to be a company-wide holistic mentality of Commitment-Listening-Acting.
Make It Happen!