Hi! You’ve reached the marketing department. We no longer have to work because we have a social media strategy; 2.5 million Facebook users are doing our job for us! Yay!
Vegas baby, Vegas!
I have a revolutionary comment for you: social media and marketing go hand-in-hand. They’re not exclusive – think about that for a second.
Marketing is a process where you engage, interest and drive potential consumers to your service or product. The key word here is process; marketing involves strategy, research, selling, and so on. In the 21st century, that list usually includes social media.
In marketing, social media is a tactic, and all tactics require objectives. Think about it this way: would you go to your neighbour’s house, knock on the door and stand there stunned when she answers? I hope not (If you would, I’m glad you’re not my neighbour). You would only interact with a neighbour with a clear purpose or objective in mind, so why should your online marketing interactions be any different? Objectives drive strategy.
The first step in a marketing strategy is defining an objective, so what’s yours? Wanting to start a dialogue with consumers is not an objective – driving traffic to your site, increasing your search engine optimization or expanding a customer database are objectives. Keep in mind that online success is measurable, so your objective should be measurable too. Successful social media sites, such as Tim Hortons’ everycup.ca create a definitive and measurable objective, namely for people to tell stories of their interactions with the brand in their own words.
Having an objective is only the beginning. Do you have a strategy that allows users to respond to social media? If not, stop immediately. Don’t waste your time or that of your consumers. Some brands are inherently social, and can serve as a great object lesson; take one of my obvious favourites, Tim Hortons.
Tim’s has a pre-existing emotional attachment to their brand, which encourages consumers to participate with it. That seems easy enough to digest, but as marketers we understand that no matter what your brand, you have to market to achieve results (that’s why you have your job: to market). The only way to achieve your objective is to have a clear understanding of the tactics you will use to attain it. It’s up to you to make sure these tactics match your objective. This is your brand – control it. Remember: marketers are employed because people like to be sold to and directed. Guide consumers to your goal.
Let’s knock on our neighbour’s door again. She answers. Pause. This time I know what I want to say to get the answer I want to hear. I intend on directing this neighbour to: A) Tell me what her favourite ice cream is and why B) Tell me the name of three people who have tried it, or… C) Give me some sugar.
I don’t care what your objective is (as long as it’s measurable), but I care how you guide people there. Social media is not a free-for-all; there has to be a purposeful strategy that reflects your brand, which you control to suit that brand. Users don’t want to own your brand – they don’t want to feel they’re being forced to market your company. Instead, they want to participate with the brand. You would never allow a consumer to create 100 percent of your latest commercial, at least not without guidance, boundaries and objectives. Why should social media be any different? Give them something controlled and directed towards your objectives to participate in. This is your brand – use the necessary tactics to achieve your brand objectives.
Ryan Wolman thinks the web is the best toy ever. After 10 years as a web pusher, he’s dedicated to making epic creative work that gets results. Ryan’s called several Toronto agencies home, including 10plus1, Maclaren MacCann, and currently henderson bas as a lead creative. Ryan has created award winning online campaigns for clients including Molson Canadian, Nintendo, GM, Rogers and Mercedes.