Today, we talk about the future of social media from the point of view of the marketer. I’ll admit that this is my favorite area. I have been directly involved with this part of the industry for more than 10 years, but I feel like I have always been keen on what it takes to push product. For some mysterious reason, I didn’t major in Marketing in college; I majored in History with the purpose of going on to law school. I also have a photographic memory when it comes to my field. What that means is, coupled with my decade of sending billions of great emails, I remember every marketing campaign that I have ever seen. Pretty scary combination, don’t you think? Me too, but don’t let my experience intimidate you. Social media is going to be a breeze in the future if you just listen.
Listen to your customers. Listen to your customers. Listen to your customers. A baseball player from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Wee Willie Keeler, was once asked about the secret to hitting. Keeler said, “I keep my eyes clear and I hit ’em where they ain’t.” What else can you say? If we asked Mr. Keeler the same kind of question about marketing, I think he would cock his head to the side, spit some tobacco juice, and then say, “Go where the customers are.” Wee Willie Keeler would be as on target about marketing as he was about hitting a baseball more than 110 years ago.
This is certainly an oversimplification of marketing, but good advice. The best form of advertising or promotion is the one that reaches the most potential customers. Notice I said potential and not customers. This is one of the biggest mistakes I have watched companies make in the email marketing world. Blasting email out to as many receipients as possible is never the right strategy in email marketing. The consequences are just too great. The same strategy is a good one to follow in the social media arena. Where are your customers?
There are hundreds of ways to be social. That’s the reason social media excites me so much. As a company, how should you decide how to target your customers in the social arena? You need to first know the tools, or contract with someone who knows the tools. You should have a relationship directly or indirectly with someone who has been on a social networking quest. If you haven’t lived the sign-up process, the day-to-day ease of use, the extra marketing collateral, or the traffic from these mediums, how can you make the right decision? You don’t need to be everywhere, you just need to be where your customers are.
I would say the necessary elements for everyone in the social space are pretty basic.
- Blogs – So much more to discuss here later…
- Interactive chat options
- Email (you better believe it)
- Mobile apps
- Google Alerts
Start with this list and do it well. If you are going to be on Twitter, BE on Twitter. Use a strong Twitter tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. Actively search for mentions of your product and company, both good and bad. Respond in a public forum to engage your followers. If you screwed up, admit that you screwed up and make it right. Tell me, a follower, when you do something good that may interest me. Say something funny once in a while. Tell me that your name is Bob and not “Acme.” I want to know you have people dedicated to making sure that I am happy. That makes me come back. That makes me retweet your posts and become a fan of your Facebook page. That “cool factor” makes people download your app to their iPhone because they can take you anywhere.
I saw a great example of Twitter customer service last weekend. A friend of mine posted to Twitter that the club level of the hotel he was staying at wasn’t as nice as the rest of the hotel. Within minutes, the hotel was asking him via Twitter what they could do to make the experience better. That happens to me and I am a customer for life, even if you don’t do anything substantial to improve my experience.
Just be there for customers. Be flexible. Things are going to change and change fast. Who knows what the next Twitter will be? You better know before your competition does.
Hi, I am Kevin. It is very nice to meet you. How can I help you today?
Social networking at it’s best…