4 Social Marketing Best Practices


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What are your customers saying about you?

With customers spending more of their online time on social networks, your next step should be obvious: market accordingly. That means courting customers on Facebook, Google+, Twitter or anyplace online where customers or potential aficionados of your products and services gather.

Of course, most organizations already have CRM practices and programs in place. So the question is: What’s the best way to overlay social marketing awareness?

The answer is to first recognize that you’re either managing your brand on social networks, or leaving customers behind. Accordingly, the next step is to just jump in — though preferably, backed by a plan.

4 Social Marketing Best Practices

How can organizations ensure that they have a social marketing strategy that offers the most bang for the buck? Based on Innoveer’s extensive CRM experience, we recommend focusing on these four areas:

  • Brand management: Employ the right processes for monitoring, protecting and promoting brands via social media
  • Demand generation: Generate interest in a company’s products or services using social technology
  • Social product influence: Monitor social networks to track product perception and use that feedback to improve products
  • Content creation: Enable customers to create and share content in a way that relates to your organization’s products and brands

Here’s more about each best practice, and how to put them into play:

Social Networks Mean Easy Brand Management

Brand management is a fancy way of saying “influence.” As in, you want to be sure that people stay happy and positive about every aspect of your brand. As a result, you need to get in front of people who function as influencers.

Take the VirginAtlantic Twitter feed, which regularly responds to problems or observations posed by its customers. Meanwhile, audio equipment maker Bose uses its Facebook page as a way to not just promote its brand, but gather feedback about what will make its products better. Arguably, the best examples of social brand management involve pages devoted to unique products and which not only market, but also serve as sales funnels or service channels.

Brand management on social networks, however, requires brand monitoring — who’s saying what? — and in some cases would ideally trigger a trouble ticket in the service system, or become a potential lead for marketing to review. To handle those types of situations, as well as to keep tabs on who’s saying what, many companies work with Innoveer business partner Radian 6, which enables them to listen to customers on social media channels, and then engage with them via Salesforce.com.

Demand Generation Drives Sales

Generating demand via social networks can be easy: British Airways tweets that it’s running a 24-hour sale on flights to India. Asset management firms can remind customers when it’s the end of the year, and time to make final additions to their retirement accounts. Real estate brokers can use social media to advertise when they have new leases on offer.

The bigger business picture here is that demand generation should serve as a sales funnel. That way, you’re not just creating interest and demand, but also a call to action for what people should do next.

Social Product Influence Manages Expectations

Using social networks to track how your products are perceived, then using that feedback to make product improvements, makes for easy and inexpensive intelligence-gathering.

Keeping an eye on social networks, and active influencing, can also help to prevent brand fallout. For example, if your company manufactures pharmaceuticals, and consumers are reporting on Twitter that they’re experiencing lots of side effects with a new drug, or if business partners have been unable to procure supplies of the drug — due to supply chain issues — then you need to address those concerns at the source (in this case, on Twitter).

Content Creation Channels Aficionados

Allowing customers to create or share content around a company’s products or brands is a great, inexpensive way to stoke a fan base. Coke, for example, allows people to make their own drinks on Facebook. Meanwhile, Apple offers forums where customers troubleshoot each others’ product and software issues (for free), as does Citrix. Those forums involve service, but as a prospective customer, the forums’ existence (warts and all), and knowing that no potential problem was likely to fail to draw support, could clinch a deal.

Now, why not extend this content creation model to pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturing, financial services, or even for selling car insurance? Content creation may not be appropriate for every industry, but every organization needs to think about whether content creation might help them better market their products and services.

Outcomes First, Technology Second

One note about each of the above best practices: Each asks — in business terms — the end state that an organization is trying to achieve, whether for demand generation, content creation, product influence or brand management. And the actual techniques or technology used to support these business goals may look quite similar.

But rather than just “doing social marketing,” it’s important to first define explicit business goals for each social marketing best practice. By focusing on these outcomes, and then putting the right techniques and technology in place to help, you’ll ensure that your social marketing activities are resulting in tangible increases in both customer satisfaction and sales.

Learn More

Why become a social business? With more than 800 million people using Facebook, and 175 million on Twitter, you’re either courting them, or you’re missing out.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user CEBImagery.com.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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