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Social Media - Making Friends & Influencing People
make friends how to inﬂuence people and BBH Asia‐Paciﬁc’s guide to harnessing the power of engagement marke;ng
THE RATIONALE Social media con;nue to a>ract more buzz than a stadium full of vuvuzelas – here’s why: • Social media sites have more than 1 billion users worldwide 1 • Facebook alone has more than 640 million users 2 • QQ is nearly as big, with 635 million users in China alone 3 • In March 2011, Facebook has nearly 150 million users across Asia, with 1.5 million new users joining in the past month alone 4 • Consultancy Vitrue calculated that each one of a brand’s fans on Facebook is worth the equivalent of US$3.60 in earned media value 5 SOURCES: 1. ESTIMATE BASED ON REPORTED USER FIGURES FROM VARIOUS SOCIAL NETWORKS; 2. FACEBOOK; 3. TENCENT; 4. SOCIALBAKERS; 5. VITRUE.COM
THE NEXT FRONTIER With compelling numbers like these, the key ques;on has evolved from ‘why should we consider social media?’ to ‘how can we harness its potenPal?’ The ﬁrst step is to see social media for what they are: an addi@on to all the exis;ng ways we can interact with people and share value with them. Cri;cally, they’re not a silver bullet: social media won’t replace other media, won’t make a bad product good, and won’t perform any ‘magic’; they’re simply one more (albeit very powerful) tool we can use when it’s appropriate to do so.
ENGAGEMENT MARKETING 101 1. Start with people, not technology 2. Create conversa@ons, not campaigns 3. Use content to inspire discussion 4. Deliver real value to audiences 5. Listen before you talk 6. Tell people about your eﬀorts 7. Be prepared for awkward situa@ons 018. Be responsive and adapt as you go 19. Take things slow and steady 10. Be in it for the long term
1. PEOPLE, NOT TECHNOLOGY Facebook, Qzone and TwiUer aren’t the answer; they’re simply ways of implemenPng the answer. People ﬂock to these social networks because they perceive value in what they oﬀer. That value is most likely social engagement: the opportunity to talk with their friends and share things that ma>er to them – photos, videos, links, their moods and observa;ons on the world, etc. Understanding their mo;va;ons is key to understanding how we can add value to our audiences and be a welcome part of their social media experience.
“Content isnt king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, youd choose your friends ‐ if you chose the movies, wed call you a sociopath. Conversa@on is king. Content is just something to talk about.” Cory Doctorow
2. CONVERSATIONS NOT CAMPAIGNS The tradi;onal brand communica;on model relies on a>en;on‐grabbing tac;cs to win people’s a>en;on, but does li>le to sustain that a>en;on once the ‘campaign’ is over. However, this leads to periods of diminished engagement, when brands can lose value and compe;tors can close in. However, by supplemen;ng these ‘ﬁreworks’ with more in;mate ‘campﬁre’ conversa;ons*, brands can sustain engagement over longer periods of ;me, while adding addi;onal value to rela;onships with their audiences. * More on this topic from John Willshire (@willsh) here: hUp://bit.ly/1sLMjM
3. CONTENT AS INSPIRATION Having said that, content is s;ll as important as ever, but its role must evolve to help us take advantage of new opportuni;es. Its contribu;on shibs to inspiring conversa;ons – crea;ng ‘water cooler’ moments that give people something to talk about and enrich their own rela;onships. We can s;ll share content in tradi;onal, mass‐ broadcast channels when appropriate; the key change is crea;ng that content with an end goal of conversa;ons in mind.
4. SIZE ISN’T EVERYTHING As we shib our focus away from an ‘interrup;on’ model, brands will no longer need to rely on high‐impact ac;vi;es. Something as simple as a short status update can s;mulate considerable levels of conversa;on and build brand aﬃnity. Similarly, short video clips with modest produc;on quality are perfectly suitable on social sites, dependent on the task they’re designed to address. Even ‘user‐generated content’ can work. The trick is to share only content that adds value from the audience’s perspec;ve, and recognise that there are many poten;al ways to do this – from epic TVCs through to simple replies to Facebook comments.
5. LISTENING IS THE NEW TALKING In spite of some latent fears around privacy, ac;ve users of social networking sites tend to share a wealth of valuable informa;on about their interests, habits, and brand preferences. Such informa;on is oben worth just as much (and some;mes more than) expensive market research. And as with many areas of social media, the only cost in taking advantage of it is the ;me it takes for someone to collect and analyse it. However, to con;nue to beneﬁt from these insights, brands must earn the trust of their audiences, and only use shared informa;on to mutual advantage.
6. LET THEM KNOW YOU EXIST No ma>er how well though‐out or engaging a brand’s social networking presence is, it can’t achieve its objec;ves unless people know it’s there and how to ﬁnd it. Raising awareness of your social media property and highligh;ng the value it can add to its intended audience are the cri;cal ﬁrst steps on the path to success. Crucially, people need to understand why they should give you any of their ;me – as with everything else in marke;ng, that must be about their needs ﬁrst, not the brand’s.
7. BE PREPARED Brands can’t expect to please all of the people, all of the ;me. Inevitably, something, somewhere will go wrong. The trick is to accept this reality, and be prepared for when it happens. This means having a clearly ar;culated alert and response process that ensures the right people can deliver the right reac;ons in the right places at the right ;mes. Although such processes won’t prevent problems, they can mi;gate the risks, and avoid molehills becoming mountains.
8. READY, FIRE, AIM Because they are a ‘real‐;me’ medium, social networking sites allow brands to become highly responsive in their communica;ons. Best of all, social media provide the perfect environment for a ‘test‐and‐learn’ approach – trying a variety of diﬀerent approaches and tac;cs at minimal cost, and adap;ng the overall strategy to make best use of the subsequent results. Building an experienced, dedicated team to look aber the brand’s social media ac;vi;es ensures it can take advantage of every opportunity, however tac;cal or transitory.
MEASURING UP The key to making the most of that ‘test‐and‐learn’ opportunity is knowing what we set out to achieve in the ﬁrst place. While there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ metrics when it comes to measuring social engagement, every brand should set clear and realis;c goals for what it expects its social ac;vi;es to do. Simple before‐and‐aber measurements of the relevant metrics will provide enough insight into whether ac;vi;es are doing what you hope – and best of all, you can gain these insights through the same social channels at only a modest cost.
“You can’t hurry love, No, you just have to wait; Love don’t come easy, It’s a game of give and take” The Supremes (1966)
9. ONE STEP AT A TIME Few brands (if any) will achieve overnight success in social media; deep, meaningful rela;onships take ;me to build. However, the rewards are well worth the eﬀort. Crucially, though, we need to take things at a pace the audience is comfortable with. Some;mes, they’ll ini;ate that rela;onship for us, crea;ng their own brand ‘fan’ pages. Other ;mes, it may take many months to build the desired momentum. However, this is a long‐term medium, so that’s ﬁne – provided the audience perceive value in what you’re doing, it’s all worthwhile.
10. SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT IS FOR LIFE… Brands can’t achieve success in social media by dipping in and dipping out – it’s a long‐term commitment that requires con;nuous eﬀort. However, as with all valuable rela;onships, that extra commitment will likely deliver correlated rewards too. $ Cri;cally, though, brands should remember that social media are a business investment, and must ul;mately build the brand’s value if they are to jus;fy their place in the marke;ng mix. As such, it’s paramount that brands iden;fy the best people and partners to help bring their ac;vi;es to life.
Simon Kemp Engagement Planner, BBH Asia‐Paciﬁc simon.kemp@bbh‐asiapac.com.sg @eskimon