Yesterday I joined Aaron Strout, CMO at Powered, Kyle Flaherty, Director of Marketing for Breaking Point Systems, and Host Robert Collins at Social Media Breakfast Boston. I know what you’re thinking. Not another social media event. Not the same week in the same city already hosting two social media conferences.
However, the good news is that we’re no longer talking about platforms. No more presentations about Twitter and how to build a following. No more lectures about how we have to listen first and “join the conversation.” Instead, we talked about stuff you can accomplish, for your brand and business. We suggested ways to inspire and mobilize a community, not just trick them into following you. And, I hope, we reminded people that the end game isn’t being in social media, it’s what you do with social media.
I approach social media as both a participant and a marketer. The former is about giving, sharing, engaging and becoming, as Chris Brogan says, a trust agent. The latter is about making something happen: learning and engaging, encouraging participation, generating and distributing content, inventing experiences, mobilizing followers to act.
My presentation was simple: Five things that work. Here they are. (On Slideshare you can see the presenter notes for each slide.)
Good content works
Too many brands and marketers think all you have to do is be there. Talk, listen, connect. That works, true. But if you want to generate some buzz, get people talking, call attention to your brand, or simply get your community involved, you need good content. Even if it’s just a dumb video that your security camera captures.
Inventing an experience works
Put on your own concert, mash up some media, give a party, complete with entertainment. That’s what we did with Brandbowl. This analog to digital event inspired 10,000 people to join us, stimulated conversation and learning, generated lots of content and insight regarding SuperBowl advertising, and generated over 144 million impression via Twitter and press coverage. It may be a discrete event, but it gave our community something to participate in and remember. Both good reasons to stay members of our community.
Letting people have a voice works
There are two ways to do this. One is to simply let it happen, on Twitter or Facebook. The other is to actually create the platform and invite people to share their voice. Give them the microphone, call attention to their content, celebrate what they have to say. Almost any company could do this with and for its customers on a blog, on Youtube, on a Ning site. We did it for Gen Y’ers with TNGG.
Conceiving ideas that generate content works
I took that label from Faris Yakob; it’s another way of saying, “Get others to tell your story for you.” There are numerous ways to do it. Art of the Trench, Este Lauder’s avatar, the Bread Art Project. It’s about as simple as you can get, but in the digital age when you can’t buy share of voice (it’s infinite), when your customers want to participate rather than watch, when asking for information yields far more positive response than requesting goods or services, it’s most effective way to increase visibility and turn your community into a medium.
Conversation strategy works
Obviously SoMe is not about broadcasting or farting out messages. It’s about engagement. So get good at it. Forty percent of people in social networks fan or follow a brand and while they do want coupons and incentives, a bigger reason is that they are customers (they like you, don’t let them down) and are hoping you’ll provide them with useful or entertaining content. Good place to start: one-third questions and conversation; one-third useful content; one-third a little bit of selling, And don’t be there every day. You’ll bore them.
Oh, and let me not forget the magic formula, inspired by Stacie Kinzer’s Tweenbots: Break things down into small pieces so people will help. Give community members psychic reward for participating and contributing. Trust the community. Don’t be afraid to ask. Smile, be optimistic and be passionate. It’s contagious.
Anyway, as always, here’s the presentation, complete with notes. Hope you’ll share your ideas for what works, too. Thanks for reading and participating. And for joining us at SMB17.