There are some brands that have figured out how to win the Internet. Some, like Burger King, have been at it well before the spread of social media (see: The Subservient Chicken). Others have capitalized on one great idea (see: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, Dollar Shave Club). For the other 99% of us scrounging for resources, time and creative opportunities, virality becomes a false metric of a successful social marketing plan.
Many traditional marketing professionals will tell you that brand perception is a major indicator of campaign success, but often times, perception and awareness do not track equally upward. If your marketing plan seeks only to increase consumer awareness, there is a high chance your campaign will veer off-message and into water deeper than it is ready to ford. Worse yet, it can miss the mark and become the butt of the joke.
Great product design provides simple solutions to sometimes complex problems. Our automotive experience continues to get more gadgety. This is a trend that has not yet peaked, as evidenced by the strong turnout of automakers at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
In the quest of digital one-upmanship, brands seek to penetrate into the newest, hottest network to demonstrate their total command of the binary sphere. We marketing managers hear it constantly from our bosses: What are we going to do that’s DIFFERENT? If your brand isn’t already doing it right on the networks it’s committed to, what do you think will happen when you try to take on a new account with untested best practices? Often times, these startups are great opportunities for individual personalities, but we cannot excel in an environment lacking analytics and outreach tools. How are we supposed to deliver ROI?
While Social Media Managers everywhere are being called into meetings to brainstorm guerilla marketing tactics for an SXSW-esque activation, there are paying or potential customers out there looking for a little bit of feedback and appreciation. For many of us, we got into this field because we love people and ideas. When there’s a product or movement we’re excited about, we want to communicate and network in as real a way as possible, breaking down the fourth wall of corporate jargon and promotions.
Take a look at your social media team’s experience and you might be surprised to find that many of us have worked in consumer-facing jobs at restaurants, coffee shops, music stores or venues. We are skilled at materializing market research through conversations with real people. If your team lacks customer service experience, you should add it to your shopping list immediately.
As previously mentioned, we’re social creatures that love to be around new people, that’s why we do the work we do. If your organization is keeping your content producers and outreach team locked up in an ivory tower, you might as well shut down the whole program.
Anjali Mullany writes in Fast Company that “your company will never be truly social if you silo social activity within a consultant or a staff manager.” Most heads of companies will tell you that they just don’t have time for social media. “That’s what I pay you for,” they’ll say. If your social media efforts have plateaued, perhaps you should pursue some internal innovation. Try partnering us with unexpected realms within the company to produce a new approach to marketing efforts. Even for an outside consultant, a few days spent in production, shipping, accounting or the boardroom can revive authenticity and initiate deeper levels of outreach.
We know that our work is temporal and we understand that “what’s cool” will change next week (see #2). Your social management team is focused on brands and ideas that stand the test of time. We stand by our work and we want to market a product or idea that will stand up to the test of time. The incoming generational trend towards purchasing American-made, high quality products with lifetime warranties transcends the here and now of our industry. We want to talk about our brand’s legacy. We want to create a presence that goes beyond the confines of pixels and hashtags. Let’s stop talking and start building.