How to Be in the Right 50% of Social Media Marketing Campaigns
How to Be in the Right 50% of Social Media Marketing Campaigns
by

Yesterday, CNET reported that Adam Serner of Gartner will be presenting on social media marketing next week with the prediction that while over 75% of Fortune 1000 companies with Web sites will attempt an online social-networking campaign, 50 percent will fail.

Personally, I think he’s being a little conservative in that estimate.  If as many as 50 percent of the Fortune 1000 social media marketing campaigns begun next year succeed, I’d be surprised.

I agree with Jason’s comment on the CNET article that for the most part, the problem isn’t so much that social media isn’t a good, viable communications channel for companies.  It’s that companies still don’t get many fundamental differences between traditional and social media, both at the strategy development phase and the follow-up phase of determining success or failure.  They radically underestimate the time frame it takes to get genuine results in social media, and they often don’t really grasp what those results ought to be.

Companies are still trying to shoehorn traditional media tactics in the front end of the process, and reacting with surprise when they don’t fit.  They often spend exorbitant amounts of time and energy trying to get traditional measurements out of these efforts, and finding it about as easy as getting milk from a billy goat. The problem isn’t techniques and tools–it’s that milk doesn’t come from billy goats.

So with all that said, I have had the chance to observe and be involved in social media initiatives that do succeed.  I’ve also seen several crash and burn, and been around for the inevitably-blogged autopsy.  So that said, here are 5 tips for making sure that your social media efforts in 2009 fall into the 50% that succeeds.

When Developing a Social Media Initiative for Your Company:

  • Keep in mind what users want to accomplish on social networks, and provide tools that help them do it. A great example of that is FedEx’s Launch a Package Facebook application.  They saw a need (users couldn’t send attachments via Facebook’s native messaging client), the need fit their core brand perfectly (fast, reliable delivery), and they reaped the rewards:  100,000 installs in 48 hours, 1st branded app to make #1 on Facebook’s Most Active page, and 0ver 50% of users returning more than 10 times after install.
  • Give customers a real voice, and LISTEN. The main problem with 99% of corporate blogs out there? They still don’t get that social media is a two-way communications medium. Dell finally got this, after several missteps, and now they’re on the road to making social media a communications channel that actually makes a difference in customer satisfaction.
  • Do your homework. Don’t just work from your traditional assumptions about your audience–ask them what they want.  Patrick at 10e20’s post about successful social media marketing makes a good point: if your audience is made up of readers, then give them text.  If they love video, give them video.  It seems obvious, but a lot of companies fail to ask the audience a question as simple and elemental as what format they prefer for content.
  • Stop looking for the flippin’ magic bullet.  Kodak’s social media team has enjoyed a lot of success this year with their Olympics-related work because at a fundamental level, they understand social media’s place as PART of an overall communications strategy.  Contrast that measured, long-view approach to the typical GMOOT attitude with which companies approach social media.  Which leads us to…
  • Think holistically, think long-haul, and remember, it’s “ready, aim, fire.” Know what you can expect to achieve with social media, and develop goals and measures of success accordingly. In fact, I would say don’t even think about a “social media campaign” until you’ve got a “social media communications plan” in place–or a social media section within your overall corporate communications plan.  I’m not saying you can’t have successful, short-term communications initiatives within social media. But doing it when you aren’t participating in an ongoing way–when you have no “home base” for two-way online communication between you and your customers–is like dropping in on someone else’s house party with a megaphone for the express purpose of announcing a big sale you have next week.  Sure, it’s timely.  It might even be the right audience.  But it’s sure as heck not going to be well-received.

So with those five suggestions as a lead, and bearing in mind that according to our survey, 39% of you guys feel you’re qualified to counsel others on social media, I open it up to the community for discussion.  What have you seen work?  What’s the recipe for an epic FAIL?  How do the CMOs out there make sure that if and when they bring their brand into social media, it’s going to be in the right 50%?

I’m all ears.

Image courtesy bizior on sxc.hu

About the Author

Kat French
Kat French is the Client Services and Content Manager at SME Digital. An exceptional writer, Kat combines creativity with an agile, get-it-done attitude across a broad range of experience in content strategy, copywriting, community management and social media marketing. She has worked with national brands like Maker's Mark, Daytona Beach Tourism, CafePress and more.
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  • This is a fascinating topic and even more dynamic responses. I enjoyed the Kodak chime-in; shows they're monitoring their brand and care about prospective customers.

    I'm troubled, though. I came across this article via a search on “Ready Aim Fire” vs “Ready Fire Aim,” and I wonder why there only have to be two choices. If those traditional terms are what firms have ALWAYS used, isn't now the time – as social media changes the concept of doing business from the accepted traditional to the new – that the strategy also changes?

    Why not create a new concept?

  • This is a fascinating topic and even more dynamic responses. I enjoyed the Kodak chime-in; shows they're monitoring their brand and care about prospective customers.

    I'm troubled, though. I came across this article via a search on “Ready Aim Fire” vs “Ready Fire Aim,” and I wonder why there only have to be two choices. If those traditional terms are what firms have ALWAYS used, isn't now the time – as social media changes the concept of doing business from the accepted traditional to the new – that the strategy also changes?

    Why not create a new concept?

  • This is a fascinating topic and even more dynamic responses. I enjoyed the Kodak chime-in; shows they're monitoring their brand and care about prospective customers.

    I'm troubled, though. I came across this article via a search on “Ready Aim Fire” vs “Ready Fire Aim,” and I wonder why there only have to be two choices. If those traditional terms are what firms have ALWAYS used, isn't now the time – as social media changes the concept of doing business from the accepted traditional to the new – that the strategy also changes?

    Why not create a new concept?

  • This is a fascinating topic and even more dynamic responses. I enjoyed the Kodak chime-in; shows they're monitoring their brand and care about prospective customers.

    I'm troubled, though. I came across this article via a search on “Ready Aim Fire” vs “Ready Fire Aim,” and I wonder why there only have to be two choices. If those traditional terms are what firms have ALWAYS used, isn't now the time – as social media changes the concept of doing business from the accepted traditional to the new – that the strategy also changes?

    Why not create a new concept?

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  • Great article and insights. I work for Bazaarvoice, and we enable companies like Wal-Mart and Best Buy to gather and display product reviews on their site. And yes, they do read through negative reviews and make changes – we've seen a lot of companies take this feedback to heart. We're all about our solutions being 100% measurable, and focus there.

    It's sometimes a slow road, but we advise and encourage businesses to read, respond, and react to what they're customers are saying. That's the only way to win.

    I'm new to this blog but I'll be back. Check out http://www.bazaarblog.com for more insights on social media and how companies are using UGC on their sites.

  • Great article and insights. I work for Bazaarvoice, and we enable companies like Wal-Mart and Best Buy to gather and display product reviews on their site. And yes, they do read through negative reviews and make changes – we've seen a lot of companies take this feedback to heart. We're all about our solutions being 100% measurable, and focus there.

    It's sometimes a slow road, but we advise and encourage businesses to read, respond, and react to what they're customers are saying. That's the only way to win.

    I'm new to this blog but I'll be back. Check out http://www.bazaarblog.com for more insights on social media and how companies are using UGC on their sites.

  • Great article and insights. I work for Bazaarvoice, and we enable companies like Wal-Mart and Best Buy to gather and display product reviews on their site. And yes, they do read through negative reviews and make changes – we've seen a lot of companies take this feedback to heart. We're all about our solutions being 100% measurable, and focus there.

    It's sometimes a slow road, but we advise and encourage businesses to read, respond, and react to what they're customers are saying. That's the only way to win.

    I'm new to this blog but I'll be back. Check out http://www.bazaarblog.com for more insights on social media and how companies are using UGC on their sites.

  • KatFrench

    I would agree, conditionally. Optimized, fast and simple UI is going to be a more important element for B2B communities–but I think even consumer communities are going to have to pay more attention to streamlined UI, as EVERYTHING gets leaner and meaner in the upcoming months.

    But thanks for the well-thought-out response.

  • KatFrench

    I would agree, conditionally. Optimized, fast and simple UI is going to be a more important element for B2B communities–but I think even consumer communities are going to have to pay more attention to streamlined UI, as EVERYTHING gets leaner and meaner in the upcoming months.

    But thanks for the well-thought-out response.

  • KatFrench

    Indeed I am! Thanks for the response, Gavin. :)

  • KatFrench

    Indeed I am! Thanks for the response, Gavin. :)

  • Online communities for business are different than consumer communities. while listening is a good start, it is not enough to make B2B communities succeed. Building online communities for business are much more difficult than consumer communities and have entirely different success measures.

    For professionals to spend time and to make contributions, the online community or professional network but fundamentally accelerate their business processes… it must make their work easier and allow them to do things online faster and better.

  • Online communities for business are different than consumer communities. while listening is a good start, it is not enough to make B2B communities succeed. Building online communities for business are much more difficult than consumer communities and have entirely different success measures.

    For professionals to spend time and to make contributions, the online community or professional network but fundamentally accelerate their business processes… it must make their work easier and allow them to do things online faster and better.

  • Online communities for business are different than consumer communities. while listening is a good start, it is not enough to make B2B communities succeed. Building online communities for business are much more difficult than consumer communities and have entirely different success measures.

    For professionals to spend time and to make contributions, the online community or professional network but fundamentally accelerate their business processes… it must make their work easier and allow them to do things online faster and better.

    • KatFrench

      I would agree, conditionally. Optimized, fast and simple UI is going to be a more important element for B2B communities–but I think even consumer communities are going to have to pay more attention to streamlined UI, as EVERYTHING gets leaner and meaner in the upcoming months.

      But thanks for the well-thought-out response.

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  • Long time no see, Gavin. Thanks for the comment and glad it can help. Kat will be thrilled her stuff made it down under!

  • Long time no see, Gavin. Thanks for the comment and glad it can help. Kat will be thrilled her stuff made it down under!

  • servantofchaos

    Love this post, Jason. We are talking to some big brand folks here in Australia this very evening and will be pointing out this article.

  • servantofchaos

    Love this post, Jason. We are talking to some big brand folks here in Australia this very evening and will be pointing out this article.

  • servantofchaos

    Love this post, Jason. We are talking to some big brand folks here in Australia this very evening and will be pointing out this article.

    • Long time no see, Gavin. Thanks for the comment and glad it can help. Kat will be thrilled her stuff made it down under!

      • KatFrench

        Indeed I am! Thanks for the response, Gavin. :)

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  • Thank you for sharing all of your insight into social media. Your observations are pretty spot on. Web 2.0 is still new enough that we are all still stumbling around, trying to figure out how to run before we know how to walk. The new methods of communicating are still being worked out too. I particularly liked the analogy of someone walking into a house party with a megaphone. Seen that approach a few times. Never works. Even when the audience happens to be the crowd that would most likely benefit from the announcement. On that note I should identify myself. I work for Veeple.com. We are introducing our tool into the online video community. There is a definate need for this tool to exist in order to take online video into it's next evolution of interaction. Question is how to introduce the tool into a community that has been getting along without it. People need to be introduced to it so they can start using it, but introduced to it without being put off by the approach. After clickable video becomes the norm, the introductions to the tool will seem less like a sales pitch for a new product. Right now we just want people to adopt the new tools for getting their online video to be more interactive so the market will create itself. Appreciate the advice you gave and look forward to more.

  • Thank you for sharing all of your insight into social media. Your observations are pretty spot on. Web 2.0 is still new enough that we are all still stumbling around, trying to figure out how to run before we know how to walk. The new methods of communicating are still being worked out too. I particularly liked the analogy of someone walking into a house party with a megaphone. Seen that approach a few times. Never works. Even when the audience happens to be the crowd that would most likely benefit from the announcement. On that note I should identify myself. I work for Veeple.com. We are introducing our tool into the online video community. There is a definate need for this tool to exist in order to take online video into it's next evolution of interaction. Question is how to introduce the tool into a community that has been getting along without it. People need to be introduced to it so they can start using it, but introduced to it without being put off by the approach. After clickable video becomes the norm, the introductions to the tool will seem less like a sales pitch for a new product. Right now we just want people to adopt the new tools for getting their online video to be more interactive so the market will create itself. Appreciate the advice you gave and look forward to more.

  • Thank you for sharing all of your insight into social media. Your observations are pretty spot on. Web 2.0 is still new enough that we are all still stumbling around, trying to figure out how to run before we know how to walk. The new methods of communicating are still being worked out too. I particularly liked the analogy of someone walking into a house party with a megaphone. Seen that approach a few times. Never works. Even when the audience happens to be the crowd that would most likely benefit from the announcement. On that note I should identify myself. I work for Veeple.com. We are introducing our tool into the online video community. There is a definate need for this tool to exist in order to take online video into it's next evolution of interaction. Question is how to introduce the tool into a community that has been getting along without it. People need to be introduced to it so they can start using it, but introduced to it without being put off by the approach. After clickable video becomes the norm, the introductions to the tool will seem less like a sales pitch for a new product. Right now we just want people to adopt the new tools for getting their online video to be more interactive so the market will create itself. Appreciate the advice you gave and look forward to more.

  • KatFrench

    I think it largely depends on the blogger in question (which is part of the highly personal nature of social media).

    But I think, in terms of scale, most bloggers will be willing to accept a couple of mea culpas as brands travel the road to social media enlightenment. As long as the mea culpas come–and it's not just “Well, can't you just act like a media company?”

    In other words, I think most bloggers will accommodate a SHORT learning curve–as long as there's evidence actual learning is occurring. But that's just my $.02.

  • KatFrench

    I think it largely depends on the blogger in question (which is part of the highly personal nature of social media).

    But I think, in terms of scale, most bloggers will be willing to accept a couple of mea culpas as brands travel the road to social media enlightenment. As long as the mea culpas come–and it's not just “Well, can't you just act like a media company?”

    In other words, I think most bloggers will accommodate a SHORT learning curve–as long as there's evidence actual learning is occurring. But that's just my $.02.

  • KatFrench

    Absolutely! It's all about the human connection.

  • KatFrench

    Absolutely! It's all about the human connection.

  • It's not uncommon for bloggers to write off PR, marketing and other pros who disregard personal preferences when pitching promotional material, especially if said pros are pestering bloggers. Considering a fair amount of companies are unaware of ethical (and even standard) social media practices, do you think bloggers will allow a certain margin of error for these Fortune 1000 companies who aren't keen on appropriate practices, expecting that these companies will realize their downfalls, reeducate themselves, and try again with proper pitching practices? Or do you think a company gets only one chance to properly communicate with bloggers before it's considered an everlasting dud in the social media realm?

  • It's not uncommon for bloggers to write off PR, marketing and other pros who disregard personal preferences when pitching promotional material, especially if said pros are pestering bloggers. Considering a fair amount of companies are unaware of ethical (and even standard) social media practices, do you think bloggers will allow a certain margin of error for these Fortune 1000 companies who aren't keen on appropriate practices, expecting that these companies will realize their downfalls, reeducate themselves, and try again with proper pitching practices? Or do you think a company gets only one chance to properly communicate with bloggers before it's considered an everlasting dud in the social media realm?

  • It's not uncommon for bloggers to write off PR, marketing and other pros who disregard personal preferences when pitching promotional material, especially if said pros are pestering bloggers. Considering a fair amount of companies are unaware of ethical (and even standard) social media practices, do you think bloggers will allow a certain margin of error for these Fortune 1000 companies who aren't keen on appropriate practices, expecting that these companies will realize their downfalls, reeducate themselves, and try again with proper pitching practices? Or do you think a company gets only one chance to properly communicate with bloggers before it's considered an everlasting dud in the social media realm?

    • KatFrench

      I think it largely depends on the blogger in question (which is part of the highly personal nature of social media).

      But I think, in terms of scale, most bloggers will be willing to accept a couple of mea culpas as brands travel the road to social media enlightenment. As long as the mea culpas come–and it's not just “Well, can't you just act like a media company?”

      In other words, I think most bloggers will accommodate a SHORT learning curve–as long as there's evidence actual learning is occurring. But that's just my $.02.

  • Fantastic post. The issue is also with the fact that companies seem to understand the “media” part but not the “social” part. People talk to people,interact with people. No one wants to have a conversation with a PR peice – for the same reason people don't like 800 numbers with 10 options!

  • Fantastic post. The issue is also with the fact that companies seem to understand the “media” part but not the “social” part. People talk to people,interact with people. No one wants to have a conversation with a PR peice – for the same reason people don't like 800 numbers with 10 options!

  • Fantastic post. The issue is also with the fact that companies seem to understand the “media” part but not the “social” part. People talk to people,interact with people. No one wants to have a conversation with a PR peice – for the same reason people don't like 800 numbers with 10 options!

    • KatFrench

      Absolutely! It's all about the human connection.

  • Autoresponder screwed me on this. Disqus is also not working right. I'll delete this later.

  • Autoresponder screwed me on this. Disqus is also not working right. I'll delete this later.

  • Autoresponder screwed me on this. Disqus is also not working right. I'll delete this later.

  • Autoresponder screwed me on this. Disqus is also not working right. I'll delete this later.

  • KatFrench

    Yup. Listen, respond, repeat. :)

  • KatFrench

    Yup. Listen, respond, repeat. :)

  • KatFrench

    danny – I think campaigns can</em< work, but only WITHIN the framework of an ongoing strategy, and only after you've spent some time establishing a trustworthy presence.

    Think of it this way. How many bloggers do “series” posts? A blog series is effectively a “campaign;” a short-term, focused communication strategy centered around a specific topic or message.

    Also, the study from Sarner is, I believe, only dealing with Fortune 1000 companies and their plans to conduct marketing efforts in social media next year, so new business failure rates wouldn't really apply to that particular study, as far as I know.

    That said, I completely agree that there IS a tendency to view social media exclusively from a tactical, “ad campaign” viewpoint, and that IS a big part of the problem with perceived success rates.

  • KatFrench

    danny – I think campaigns can</em< work, but only WITHIN the framework of an ongoing strategy, and only after you've spent some time establishing a trustworthy presence.

    Think of it this way. How many bloggers do “series” posts? A blog series is effectively a “campaign;” a short-term, focused communication strategy centered around a specific topic or message.

    Also, the study from Sarner is, I believe, only dealing with Fortune 1000 companies and their plans to conduct marketing efforts in social media next year, so new business failure rates wouldn't really apply to that particular study, as far as I know.

    That said, I completely agree that there IS a tendency to view social media exclusively from a tactical, “ad campaign” viewpoint, and that IS a big part of the problem with perceived success rates.

  • KatFrench

    Thanks so much for the comment, Krista. Your point about being where your customers are is spot-on. I also do think it has to be both talking AND listening.

    It's tempting to just “monitor” social media–but doesn't that effectively make you an eavesdropper, and slightly creepy? And taking the other tack–talking without listening–just makes you look like a jerk.

  • KatFrench

    Thanks so much for the comment, Krista. Your point about being where your customers are is spot-on. I also do think it has to be both talking AND listening.

    It's tempting to just “monitor” social media–but doesn't that effectively make you an eavesdropper, and slightly creepy? And taking the other tack–talking without listening–just makes you look like a jerk.

  • Great post Kat. I agree with you and think that companies need to base their campaigns and activities based off of the customer and not them. There social media campaigns may evolve based off of customer feedback and in fact that is the way to adjust and improve a campaign.

    Craig
    http://www.budgetpulse.com

  • Great post Kat. I agree with you and think that companies need to base their campaigns and activities based off of the customer and not them. There social media campaigns may evolve based off of customer feedback and in fact that is the way to adjust and improve a campaign.

    Craig
    http://www.budgetpulse.com

  • Great post Kat. I agree with you and think that companies need to base their campaigns and activities based off of the customer and not them. There social media campaigns may evolve based off of customer feedback and in fact that is the way to adjust and improve a campaign.

    Craig
    http://www.budgetpulse.com

    • KatFrench

      Yup. Listen, respond, repeat. :)

      • Autoresponder screwed me on this. Disqus is also not working right. I'll delete this later.

  • The main problem is with people like Sarner looking at social media from a “campaign” point of view in the first place.

    You want social media to succeed – use it as a strategy, not a campaign. There's a vast difference.

    Also, Sarner fails to mention that more than 50% of all new businesses fail within the first 12 months, so I'm trying to see his logic in using specifically social media for his figures – perhaps because it's such a buzzword and therefore attracts easier attention?

  • The main problem is with people like Sarner looking at social media from a “campaign” point of view in the first place.

    You want social media to succeed – use it as a strategy, not a campaign. There's a vast difference.

    Also, Sarner fails to mention that more than 50% of all new businesses fail within the first 12 months, so I'm trying to see his logic in using specifically social media for his figures – perhaps because it's such a buzzword and therefore attracts easier attention?

  • The main problem is with people like Sarner looking at social media from a “campaign” point of view in the first place.

    You want social media to succeed – use it as a strategy, not a campaign. There's a vast difference.

    Also, Sarner fails to mention that more than 50% of all new businesses fail within the first 12 months, so I'm trying to see his logic in using specifically social media for his figures – perhaps because it's such a buzzword and therefore attracts easier attention?

    • KatFrench

      danny – I think campaigns can</em< work, but only WITHIN the framework of an ongoing strategy, and only after you've spent some time establishing a trustworthy presence.

      Think of it this way. How many bloggers do “series” posts? A blog series is effectively a “campaign;” a short-term, focused communication strategy centered around a specific topic or message.

      Also, the study from Sarner is, I believe, only dealing with Fortune 1000 companies and their plans to conduct marketing efforts in social media next year, so new business failure rates wouldn't really apply to that particular study, as far as I know.

      That said, I completely agree that there IS a tendency to view social media exclusively from a tactical, “ad campaign” viewpoint, and that IS a big part of the problem with perceived success rates.

      • Autoresponder screwed me on this. Disqus is also not working right. I'll delete this later.

  • Hi Kat. Krista from Kodak. Thanks for the mention. Ditto Stephen's comments on conversation. To your point about negative feedback, to steal a line from my colleague Tom Hoehn, the worst thing someone can say about your company is nothing. If you're not improving, you're not providing value to your customers. Why social media? We feel it's important to be where our customers are. To not just talk, but listen.

  • Hi Kat. Krista from Kodak. Thanks for the mention. Ditto Stephen's comments on conversation. To your point about negative feedback, to steal a line from my colleague Tom Hoehn, the worst thing someone can say about your company is nothing. If you're not improving, you're not providing value to your customers. Why social media? We feel it's important to be where our customers are. To not just talk, but listen.

  • Hi Kat. Krista from Kodak. Thanks for the mention. Ditto Stephen's comments on conversation. To your point about negative feedback, to steal a line from my colleague Tom Hoehn, the worst thing someone can say about your company is nothing. If you're not improving, you're not providing value to your customers. Why social media? We feel it's important to be where our customers are. To not just talk, but listen.

    • KatFrench

      Thanks so much for the comment, Krista. Your point about being where your customers are is spot-on. I also do think it has to be both talking AND listening.

      It's tempting to just “monitor” social media–but doesn't that effectively make you an eavesdropper, and slightly creepy? And taking the other tack–talking without listening–just makes you look like a jerk.

  • There seems to be a spontaneous realization in the marketing community that branding is a very sterile and limiting approach.

    However, in a business culture that is designed around shareholder value and short-term gain, conversations are dangerous. I would say that the desire to have a conversation decreases near exponentially the larger a business grows.

  • There seems to be a spontaneous realization in the marketing community that branding is a very sterile and limiting approach.

    However, in a business culture that is designed around shareholder value and short-term gain, conversations are dangerous. I would say that the desire to have a conversation decreases near exponentially the larger a business grows.

  • KatFrench

    Robin – Absolutely! This is more alchemy than science at this stage of the game. It's definitely an iterative process. But truthfully, so is every type of marketing. Pay Per Click management is an iterative process. Nothing is “set it and forget it” these days.

    Although I will say that as often as not, you discover that the effort reaps unexpected and different rewards, rather than just fails to deliver the outcomes you were shooting for.

  • KatFrench

    Robin – Absolutely! This is more alchemy than science at this stage of the game. It's definitely an iterative process. But truthfully, so is every type of marketing. Pay Per Click management is an iterative process. Nothing is “set it and forget it” these days.

    Although I will say that as often as not, you discover that the effort reaps unexpected and different rewards, rather than just fails to deliver the outcomes you were shooting for.

  • Kat, you're right that companies think about this in terms of direct response — “If I do X, then X% of people will respond.” I think the reason is because social media are interactive media, and the only other example they can compare it with is DM.

    I've spoken with a number of social media ad network folks too, and what they say is customers have mass media expectations and want to blow the numbers away, when in fact the goal is really to be more targeted, and so numbers are generally smaller. I personally have a problem with social media advertising (that's a different story), but this issue speaks to the same idea you raised, that expectations are for some kind of immediate return on investment.

    Another thing to remember is that even with the best strategy and planning, your predicted outcomes can be off. Expect to make adjustments over time as you learn, instead of ditching something after just a few months. This is new territory, you have to be willing to stomach the uncertainty.

  • Kat, you're right that companies think about this in terms of direct response — “If I do X, then X% of people will respond.” I think the reason is because social media are interactive media, and the only other example they can compare it with is DM.

    I've spoken with a number of social media ad network folks too, and what they say is customers have mass media expectations and want to blow the numbers away, when in fact the goal is really to be more targeted, and so numbers are generally smaller. I personally have a problem with social media advertising (that's a different story), but this issue speaks to the same idea you raised, that expectations are for some kind of immediate return on investment.

    Another thing to remember is that even with the best strategy and planning, your predicted outcomes can be off. Expect to make adjustments over time as you learn, instead of ditching something after just a few months. This is new territory, you have to be willing to stomach the uncertainty.

  • Kat, you're right that companies think about this in terms of direct response — “If I do X, then X% of people will respond.” I think the reason is because social media are interactive media, and the only other example they can compare it with is DM.

    I've spoken with a number of social media ad network folks too, and what they say is customers have mass media expectations and want to blow the numbers away, when in fact the goal is really to be more targeted, and so numbers are generally smaller. I personally have a problem with social media advertising (that's a different story), but this issue speaks to the same idea you raised, that expectations are for some kind of immediate return on investment.

    Another thing to remember is that even with the best strategy and planning, your predicted outcomes can be off. Expect to make adjustments over time as you learn, instead of ditching something after just a few months. This is new territory, you have to be willing to stomach the uncertainty.

    • KatFrench

      Robin – Absolutely! This is more alchemy than science at this stage of the game. It's definitely an iterative process. But truthfully, so is every type of marketing. Pay Per Click management is an iterative process. Nothing is “set it and forget it” these days.

      Although I will say that as often as not, you discover that the effort reaps unexpected and different rewards, rather than just fails to deliver the outcomes you were shooting for.

  • KatFrench

    Stephen – Your response reminds me of a post from Ian Lurie yesterday.

    Companies are dead scared of having direct conversations with customers. Because let's face it, every company has room for improvement, and negative stuff is going to come up. And typically, there's a reason for the negative stuff, else it'd be fixed.

    Jason swears he's had a company tell him “People are talking about us on the internet. How can we make them stop?” and I've had at least one former client who said essentially the same thing.

    That's just it. You can't make them stop. And your silence is not only deafening, it's damning.

  • KatFrench

    Stephen – Your response reminds me of a post from Ian Lurie yesterday.

    Companies are dead scared of having direct conversations with customers. Because let's face it, every company has room for improvement, and negative stuff is going to come up. And typically, there's a reason for the negative stuff, else it'd be fixed.

    Jason swears he's had a company tell him “People are talking about us on the internet. How can we make them stop?” and I've had at least one former client who said essentially the same thing.

    That's just it. You can't make them stop. And your silence is not only deafening, it's damning.

  • The problem, and you hint at it in this post, is that companies and organizations don't understand that having a social media initiative means that they have to have a conversation with their customers.

    I talk about companies thinking in terms of brands, which is a vision of their company that they create and control.

    What social media is about is reputation and trust. And to gain that trust, a company has to break free of the closed-source idea of the brand, and develop trust with their customers. This only happens through a conversation, and by participating as a relevant and thoughtful member of a community.

    Companies have to start seeing social media as a way to pitch their brand, and start seeing it as a way to engage and listen to their customers. And if they really listen, the reputation and trust will naturally follow.

    smp

  • The problem, and you hint at it in this post, is that companies and organizations don't understand that having a social media initiative means that they have to have a conversation with their customers.

    I talk about companies thinking in terms of brands, which is a vision of their company that they create and control.

    What social media is about is reputation and trust. And to gain that trust, a company has to break free of the closed-source idea of the brand, and develop trust with their customers. This only happens through a conversation, and by participating as a relevant and thoughtful member of a community.

    Companies have to start seeing social media as a way to pitch their brand, and start seeing it as a way to engage and listen to their customers. And if they really listen, the reputation and trust will naturally follow.

    smp

  • The problem, and you hint at it in this post, is that companies and organizations don't understand that having a social media initiative means that they have to have a conversation with their customers.

    I talk about companies thinking in terms of brands, which is a vision of their company that they create and control.

    What social media is about is reputation and trust. And to gain that trust, a company has to break free of the closed-source idea of the brand, and develop trust with their customers. This only happens through a conversation, and by participating as a relevant and thoughtful member of a community.

    Companies have to start seeing social media as a way to pitch their brand, and start seeing it as a way to engage and listen to their customers. And if they really listen, the reputation and trust will naturally follow.

    smp

    • KatFrench

      Stephen – Your response reminds me of a post from Ian Lurie yesterday.

      Companies are dead scared of having direct conversations with customers. Because let's face it, every company has room for improvement, and negative stuff is going to come up. And typically, there's a reason for the negative stuff, else it'd be fixed.

      Jason swears he's had a company tell him “People are talking about us on the internet. How can we make them stop?” and I've had at least one former client who said essentially the same thing.

      That's just it. You can't make them stop. And your silence is not only deafening, it's damning.

      • There seems to be a spontaneous realization in the marketing community that branding is a very sterile and limiting approach.

        However, in a business culture that is designed around shareholder value and short-term gain, conversations are dangerous. I would say that the desire to have a conversation decreases near exponentially the larger a business grows.