Social media and business strategy: Integrating around a dynamic website

Part 3 of 3.  The KickApps
seminar I attended last month yielded a wealth of information, from
both advisors and corporate marketing people, about what to do with
social media if you're a company.  For the next three posts, I'm
sharing what I took away from the afternoon.  [To become a member of
KickApps own social network, click here.  You'll be able to watch the videos of the seminar presentations.]

These brief points are compiled from the excellent presentations made by Alex Blum of KickApps, Dylan Boyd of eROI, James Mastan of Blue Rain Marketing, Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester, and Sandy Carter of IBM.

Integrate social media into every campaign

  • Always integrate — never segregate — social media, and always think of it as an element of your overall marketing effort.
  • Make listening to the user — consulting the user — a key activity during product development.  And do a lot of betas.
  • Identify the folks who seem to influence the rest of the community and converse with them.

Identify the elements appropriate for your marketing strategy

  • Figure out which tools are used by the majority of your stakeholders — users, customers, influencers.
  • Learn the language — the words — your customers use to talk about your product
  • View downloads as a metric; they are a measure of interest.
  • Add widgets and an RSS feed.
  • Put your own people on the website.
  • Choose metrics carefully.  Be particular about the metrics that tell you the most about what you
    want to know.  There's no one formula.  You have to play with this a
    bit.  Start by building a profile of the qualities and credentials that
    define a credible response from a customer or stakeholder.  In other
    words, for metrics, build a credibility engine that gathers the most
    important comments.

Identify the tactics appropriate for your marketing execution

  • Put tips and tricks in headlines around the site, including related sites such as blogs and networks.
  • If you have a boxed product, do an unboxing video — they're big right now.
  • When you create a community, start small.  Identify the alpha users
    — they will be the influencers over time.  Give existing members the
    ability to extend beta invitations.  Use pin-coded invitations and even
    handwritten notes. 
  • As the community grows, find community managers from within it.  
  • Pilot changes to your website in a contained environment — and
    remember that looking home grown is appropriate if not advantageous.
  • Avatars have five times the click through rate than regular ad-style features.
  • Twitter is food for announcements, Facebook is food for the persona.
  • When you're doing gift certificates, start small and ratchet up the value — it creates anticipation and demand.

The bottom line:  Understand the new basics of marketing as rendered by social media

No one is an expert — some of this is by instinct.

Be transparent about your features.  For example, if a character is a persona or fictional, say so; just make sure it has a unique voice.

Make sure your tone is pitch perfect for the stakeholders with whom you share ideas and information.

If you're a sales person from way back, just remember that this is a long sales cycle — but it's potentially just as rich.

Communicate personally to help each person in your community feels special.

Think
lifestyle — understand intimately the people that are interested in
your brand, products and services and build a set of experiences around
their expectations and behavior.

Listen
to the voice of the user/stakeholder/customer and incorporate their
wishes in your strategy.  One way is to create an advisory council
whose conclusions will speak volumes to the company folks who don't
necessarily want to take the next step forward with building a more
social website or building social media into a marketing strategy.

Always keep people at the center of this equation — and make sure the technology you use serves them.

When
adding talent to your team, look at case studies of what they've done
in the past and consider them in the context of what you want to
accomplish.  The magic of social media comes not from the tools but
from what you do with them — how you tailor their use to your specific
situation.  This magic needs no slight-of-hand.

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