Archive for April, 2011

Tut… tut… social media gone bad

DATE: April 8th, 2011

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Your Tube, Four Square, Diggit, blogs…. marketers are scrambling to understand social media platforms.

We all have heard stories of success.

Barefoot just engaged a new client because someone followed the twitter feed to our blog. We hired a great account manager from the UK and the relationship started from the blog. I was able to invite 100 people I hadn’t seen since I was 23 because Facebook connected me.

But there are some core mistakes that marketers make when using social media:

1. Using it as traditional ad space.

Social Media is not a mystery. It’s a digital format the increases the opportunities to engage in dialogue. DIALOGUE (am I shouting?). Social Media is not a huge banner ad that shouts from the top of a web site. Social Media is not outdoor placement that pushes customers to the store. Social Media is an amazing opportunity to actually engage in conversation with your customers or donors. But too many marketers have been speaking in a vacuum for so long, that they no longer understand the art of conversation.

2. Using Social Media to talk…

and talk and talk and talk. When my daughter was 3 she talked incessantly. I would answer noncommittally, because, frankly, I wasn’t listening. Even at 3 she wasn’t stupid. She would place her little fingers on my chin and yank my face to hers — “Mom, I’m talking to you.” If the conversation is one sided, it will not be effective — and, by definition, is not a conversation. We blithely toss the word “engage” in marketing conversation. We know that we need to “engage” our customers. Few of us do.

3. Considering Social Media free…

Be very, very careful that you understand the brand impact in Social Media. Great Social Media requires strategy, brand accuracy and time. Casual approaches to Social Media will, at best, be innocuous. At worst, damage your brand.

4. Tossing out random messages…

Successful Social Media has personality. That is incredibly difficult to develop for large brands that are run by corporate boards. There is little that strips personality as effectively as board solutions. Effective Social Media requires being, at the very least, a little interesting. Research, humour and passion all contribute to personality in Social Media.

5. Purposeless conversations…

“I’m at Starbucks” is not a conversation or interesting. Social Media for business should be purposeful and contributing to results. That means you have to set goals and measures. Understanding what you want from Social Media is critical. Tracking it is even more important.

Social Media isn’t new — conversations that express ideas, pitch products and compare experience have happened from the beginning of language. Social Media has opened a broader door. Today, I can exchange ideas with a broad range of people, from a broad range of experiences because Social Media brings people together.

Engaged Consumers

DATE: April 5th, 2011

Marketers help invent the future, taking the hand of consumers and introducing them to new products. The internet has changed the way we market – or, if it hasn’t, it should. The web gives companies the opportunity to engage their customers before they buy. The web gives consumers the ability to research, compare and check out the average user’s opinion.

Marc Menesguen, L’Oréal’s managing director, strategic marketing says:  “A new ‘moment of truth’ happens before consumers go the store. It’s a broader view of the shopper journey.” He goes on to argue that beauty is the oldest social network in the world.

So they have partnered for You Tube star Michelle Phan, an Asian-American make-up advisor. She inspires and informs women on the essence of beauty. Partnering with her positions Lancôme as a leader, engaging customers and potential customers in their produce.

Basically, the beauty industry is leveraging the power of digital. Women are going digital to self-educate about make-up. A digital on-line beauty advisor is available 24/7, to all time zones and for all generations.

Menesguen astutely observes that the purchase funnel has shifted – in today’s tech savvy market place the purchaser is already making their purchase decision as they browse through You Tube videos, learning from on-line mentors.

From the customer perspective, Phan is not a representative of the make-up giant. She is an expert on beauty, inspiring and instructive. Before the customer invests in product purchase, they seek advice from their mentor of choice.

Engaging your audience is not new.

But the way you engage the audience has changed. In this case, Lancôme didn’t create their own expert; they listened to their audience, joined the conversation and invited the “expert” to join them. They investigated the interest of their customers and understood where they are going for help.

This is critical.

Simply creating an on-line expert and feeding your customers with information is not engaging them or inspiring them. You need to watch and listen, build partnerships, visit their digital favourites, understanding where they are going for information. Then you need to be creative about investing into those areas to build stronger bridges to customer trust.

In the past, people wrote books, were interviewed, were researches. Today, in many ways, it’s easier to bring that knowledge and research to your customers. There is a strong common link through digital technology.

Lancôme’s goal is to have all marketers digitally savvy in 2 years.

That’s just a little scary for me – two years, in the digital world, is a very long time. By that time, tablets will have settled in and the mobile world expanded. The most challenging part of today’s marketing landscape is developing the ability to respond to changes quickly and effectively – just one step before the consumer.

Frankly, most of us are sadly out of step.

Discover how L’Oréal is taking advantage of a teaching moment with Michelle. .