In short, over the last 12 months, social media has moved from an "end" to a "means." For most organizations, this meant a change in the standards used to evaluate their social strategies. Digital marketers could no longer flash auto-generated reports from their social dashboard of choice at weekly meetings, highlighting the psychographic buckets of their Facebook fans or the number of comments on their page or, yes, even the week-to-week increment in Facebook "likes."
A renewed focus on connecting social to other digital data touchpoints emerged, as evidenced by the number of startups and digital agencies rebranding and adopting social CRM as part of their value proposition, as well as the acquisition of social marketing platforms by CRM companies (i.e. Buddy Media by Salesforce and Vitrue by Oracle). The reconfiguration ultimately benefited the brands. But a new problem arose, namely understanding what exactly social CRM meant and how it tied to a sensible ROI metric -- if at all.
Thankfully, a few trends and best practices ultimately surfaced.
Social moves away from a mass media model to a more targetable medium
Two market winds propelled this new course. First, social CRM matured from solely customer relationship marketing on a Facebook or Twitter brand page, for instance, to customer intelligence informed by users' social profiles. Soon, the view through the social lens amplified, and the focus moved from broader conversations occurring on the brand and product level to more actionable customer-level analytics. Who is my customer online? What is the profile of my customer offline? What are their interests? Who are their friends?
How news outlets misused social media to break news and branded the wrong young man as a murderer of 20 schoolchildren, seven adults (including his own mother), and himself. It was the accused man's brother.
Facebook doesn't kill people. The media using Facebook kills people's reputations. And several outlets added insult to the injury of a young man who just lost his brother, his mother, and any semblance of privacy for the foreseeable future.
Any news outlet worth its salt rushed to Google and Facebook and Twitter the minute we heard the supposed name of the gunman in a horrific shooting death of 28 people, including 20 children, as many as seven adults (likely including his own mother), and the shooter himself, in the kindergarten classroom and halls of the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. In the rush to find answers, sometimes someone's online identity and social web can provide clues.
There were lots of hits online for Ryan Lanza, the name being bandied about as that of the shooter. There was a correctional officer, a few kids. And then there was this 20-something-looking guy dark glasses and what could have been a trench coat. (It should be noted that there are several people named "Adolf Hitler" on social media, too, but it doesn't mean Nazi No. 1 is alive and tweeting.) There was even some military game-themed stuff on this one Ryan Lanza's Facebook page. His hometown was listed as Newtown, CT. But he lived in Hoboken, New Jersey.
I was once asked by a client how to determine if an idea for their product and service had market potential and if there was a cost effective way to measuring them.
My answer was the following, "A good business model starts with understanding your niche, defining your value preposition, talking to your prospect and testing your assumption. This is commonly referred to as conducting a minimum viable test.
The great news about a minimum viable test is that the products and services are able to be tested easily within social media in a quick and efficient fashion.
If you are able to use social media as a market assessment tool as well as get market feedback; it is a win-win situation and makes social media a very advantageous tool in business.
Within social media research, there are 3 key areas to focus on:
The Story of 21st Century Brussel Sprouts: Years ago, Brussel sprouts were stinky, bitter, boiled little cabbages that our mothers forced us to eat. Yuck! Today, they're a gourmet treat—halved, brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with garlic salt, roasted, and served in the fanciest restaurants. What happened? Branding!
What is branding?
1. Soul-searching. Start here. Who are you? What's the core of your organization? What makes you unique? Why should a prospective client/customer choose YOU, not your competitor?
2. Logo/tag line. Figured it out. Now you're ready to tell the world. Your logo and tag line should reflect who you are. But make no mistake, your logo is NOT your brand. It's only the visual symbol of it.
If you're a new-age business owner, professional, or non-profit, chances are you've heard about Content Marketing as an alternative to traditional advertising.
What exactly is Content Marketing?
1. Gifting your target audience with FREE, useful information ("content")—blogs, e-blasts, newsletters, white papers, website copy, YouTube videos
2. Focusing on narrow topics on which you are expert (no selling, please)
3. Publishing on a regular basis–monthly, weekly, whatever you can manage
4. Establishing thought leadership so when potential customers, patients, or members need what you offer, they think of YOU, not your competitors
How does Content Marketing save you advertising dollars?
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