We all need it in our life – balance – and it is no different for social media success. At the most macro level, social media balance means the right proportion of entrepreneurial spirit AND some old school business fundamentals. Let’s look at both sides of the coin.
On the entrepreneurial side, the most recent successful example comes from Oreo. Oreo showed their ability to think and react in “real-time” marketing as demonstrated in their now famous Super Bowl tweet.
Not bad for the number of retweets and favorites for a cookie.
I was reminded of Oreo this week in the article, “Oreo’s Real-Time Marketing Strategy Requires Entrepreneurial Spirit.” Oreo’s success comes from both fast thinking and creativity – now called real-time marketing. “Real-time marketing requires an entrepreneurial spirit, simple message, willingness to prepare and readiness and ability to act quickly. All the attributes of a startup.”
But there is another side required for success as well. And that is having a social business maturity. This comes from years of marketing and business experience. I thought of this when I read the recent report “The Evolution of Social Business: Six Stages of Social Business Transformation.” If you take time to read the report, it can be pretty scary. You are likely to find many deficiencies in your operations. But don’t be disillusioned. The most important thing is to know the direction you need to go for success and to methodically implement your plan to get there over time. Make sure you do EVERYTHING great. While speed is dictated for so many in this lightning speed digital world, greatness differentiates the winners and losers.
When I think of some of the greatest social marketing brands, I think of Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Ford. These are brands in the most crowded industries. They must be great to stand out. And they did not get great overnight. They have been committed to audience development via social marketing. They not only produce creative social implementations that create user response spikes, but they remain committed to listening and engaging with their audience. This keeps their audience connected and engaged for the long run.
As another point in case, I’ll give you an example from the agency I work at, Ryan Partnership … we manage social marketing for brands. As part of our ongoing social management, we use empirical data to drive continuous improvement. This past week I looked at data on social channel engagement for one particular brand. The data was extremely telling. Since we took over the social management for this account, we found a steady and consistent audience engagement. Yes there were a few spikes of engagement for specific posts, but more importantly, the brand’s audience is engaging regularly.
The point is that yes … a winning post that is executed in real time marketing is worthwhile, but even more important produces slow and steady growth on engagement. Why? Because continuous engagement leads to loyalty and establishing brand preference. Then compelling content leads to advocacy. Marketers need to unleash their audience and put their brand in the hands of their audience. This leads to social marketing success. You tell the stories of your brand, let your audience add their own slant to that story and motivate them to share with their network.
In other cases at Ryan, we have implemented creative marketing programs that result in strong incremental social following. You need it all … programs to drive spikes and continuous commitment to your audience to keep them engaged.
So when I talk about social media marketing balance, I am really highlighting two elements: 1) equal parts entrepreneurship and solid business and marketing foundation, and 2) standout posts, promotions, and sweepstakes to get immediate incremental awareness and following and at the same time continued value delivery to your audience. This approach keeps your followers engaged and attached to your brand, and motivates them to share.
Yes, the digital world dictates a need for real time marketing, but at the same time fundamental business and marketing practice will produce sustainable, long term winning results.
Make It Happen!