The Three Rules for Making Social Marketing Work


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John F Moore recently wrote in his blog, and Paul Greenberg concurred, that we need to move beyond just Customer Service for Social CRM. Today I am privileged to have Allen Bonde write a guest post on Social Marketing. In case you don’t know Allen, he was the head of his own research group (The Allen Bonde Group) while I was at Gartner (he was one of the few people outside of Gartner that it was OK to read). We also worked together at eVergance, where he was the CMO, and he is now starting his own consulting firm (EvokeCRM). He has a well established career as a CMO, and knows more about marketing in the this new world that I would ever care to learn.

As someone who recently completed a stint as CMO (with our esteemed blog host) and is now spinning up a new consultancy focused on the convergence of social media, marketing and CRM, I’ve been thinking a lot about the rules of social marketing (loosely inspired by the “immutable laws” books from Ries and Trout). I also think that despite the current buzz around cool ways to use Facebook (see the new Vitaminwater app) or Twitter (see Esteban’s Comcast interview) or other social tools to connect with customers, things are getting a bit too “frothy!” Perhaps businesses and marketers just may want to take a breath and look at not only what works with social media and CRM – but also where it misses the mark. After all, from a service and sales perspective, social media really is just another channel (mostly!).

So…here’s a starter-set of 3 rules for social media marketing, with more to come. I’d love your feedback and ideas for additional rules.

1) Social marketing is a cornerstone for Social CRM

It’s not just the marketing of your Social CRM project (still really important). It’s the marketing potential in SCRM. If all relationships begin with a discussion – a core belief behind many of the marketing program I’ve created over the past decade – social media is arguably the ultimate discussion starter. From forums, to reviews, to feedback, social media can “fully activate the brand” as pointed out in a recent post. But I think it’s even more than that when combined with multi-channel marketing and CRM. Communities may in fact define your brand. And your products. And what makes your products fun or useful or even impossible to live without. That’s why core aspects of marketing, from targeting to messaging to feedback, need to be in your SCRM efforts from the start.

2) Each social channel has its own persona

This is where the old mantra about brand consistency kind of goes out the window. The roles a company and its employees (and customers) play on a corporate blog vs. a personal blog, or on Facebook vs. LinkedIn, really are quite different. The audience in many cases is unique, and the expectations about how personal (or not) the exchange is or what information or offer is being made requires very different tones and even authors. In other words, each channel (or site) has its own persona. Take Twitter for example: somewhat friendly, connected to a lot of people, but short attention span. A great listener, and good source of breaking news, but kind of anonymous (followers are NOT = friends).

3) Social campaigns get better over time – and with more connections

Just as the effectiveness of social networking grows with the size of the network, social campaigns and the “Community Marketing Model” I’ve started to define gets better over time. Each new post or review offers additional perspectives for the community and potentially additional data points for social search or other analytics tools to capture insights and improve the experience (and kick-out leads). At the same time, I have found that the effectiveness of social marketing campaigns is improved with more “cross links.” For example, using LinkedIn for promoting regional events has worked well for my team. Inviting LinkedIn connections to follow us on Twitter for real-time event updates works even better.

What other rules would you suggest?

Allen Bonde
Evoke CRM

Esteban Kolsky
ThinkJar, LLC
Esteban Kolsky is the founder of CRM intelligence & strategy where he works with vendors to create go-to market strategies for Customer Service and CRM and with end-users leveraging his results-driven, dynamic Customer Experience Management methodology to earn and retain loyal customers. Previously he was a well-known Gartner analyst and created a strategic consulting practice at eVergance.


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