Creating marketing and public relations campaigns within a social media context requires some new steps– and greater attention to steps that hopefully have always been considered.
Here are eight ideas to “social mediafy” your campaigns.
1. Know what’s relevant and current: First, know what your audience cares about. What issues, topics, ideas are front of mind. Not what your company wants to talk about, which is usually your own products and service features/functions (boring), but what people are already concerned about and interested in. Do this by analyzing the digital ecosystem for your category — blogs, tweets, news articles, YouTube videos, Digg posts/rankings, Google searches, etc. What’s most popular, triggers the most responses? If you have a corporate blog or a customer forum — what are the most popular topics?
2. What’s the business goal: Before doing anything, clearly understand the intention of the campaign. Is it to develop preference for your brand vs. another? Change a perception about your company? Make people more aware of the company’s expertise in a particular area? Help people understand an issue that is an obstacle to sales? Generate leads? Make your brand more likable? The more specific you can be, the more effective your program will be — and the easier it will be to measure it. I see far too little time spent on this important step. “General Awareness” is too superficial — nor does it guide how to execute.
3. Formulate a provocative point of view: What’s your take on a topic of current interest to your audience — and how does your point of view connect with your goal? Make the point of view is fresh, thought-provoking and even provocative. As word of mouth author Emmanuel Rosen points out in an interview with Sean Moffit of BuzzCanuck, one of the worst practices in marketing is having nothing interesting to say. My research has found that there are nine themes that people like to talk about; here’s more on “The Nine Best Story Lines for Marketing” from Guy Kawasaki’s blog. My favorite is taking a contrarian or counterintuitive view. Done right, this approach creates interest, debate and longevity — and can help address a number of goals.
4. Put that point of view together in a shareable form: Take your point of view and develop it in a form (or multiple forms) that people can easily share with other people — eBooks, videos, ChangeThis manifestos, blog posts, presentations, white papers. And put those not just on your own site but where people are browsing — YouTube, SlideShare, Delicious, etc. Some recent examples of content easy to share: Disney Park’s “make your own personalized video,” which you can then share with friends. IBM’s “Art of the Sale” mainframe videos by Tim Washer. And a great white paper, “EMC/One: A Journey in Social Media” by Chuck Hollis. Having some thing makes it easier to share. Of course, it needs to be interesting enough that you want to share it with your colleagues and friends.
5. Get your views out into the ecosystem: Now stir things up and let people know about your point of view– and where they can go to learn more. Use Twitter, Facebook, blogger outreach, Slideshare.net, YouTube, Digg, Sumbleupon and all the many, many other places out there.
6. Stay in the conversation: As people start talking about the topic, stay in the conversation, adding new perspectives, answering questions, providing other people/places about the issue. Set up Google alerts at a minimum to keep up with the conversation and post responses to what;s being said. The days of dropping a press release, talking to some media, and calling it a campaign are over.
7. Repackage: Take the highlights of what ensued and repackage them to further achieve your goals — use for customer newsletters, sales presentations, management reports, in employee communities/Intranets.
8. Measure what sticks: Lastly, learn from all the issues you initiate. Which garnered the most interest — and why? What fell flat? Was it the topic — or was it the execution. This execute-and-measure-and-learn is the only way to find what works for your audience — and is an ongoing education for you.