* Posted by Patrick Berry
Here’s the Colossal Squid excerpt from the SoDA 2010 Digital Marketing Outlook (p. 53). I co-wrote it with co-founder Steve Slivka.
We have been approached on more than one occasion by advertisers wanting to jump in with both feet and make a brand commitment to social media. What they oftentimes find is unsettling in discovering the need to learn a bit more about requirements that help brands flourish in this space. This tongue-in-cheek article is written in good fun and dedicated to them.
Of course we are grateful that a key outcome of the rush to Social Media is how it supplanted the incessant buzz on SEO/SEM – two of the least dynamic acronyms in the buzzword compliant world of digital advertising. With that said, this article is not interested in extolling the virtues of social media. There is probably great information within this document from other SoDA agencies already making this point. If you need to be sold on your participation at this point, you are probably much better off waiting for the next big digital trend. The POV here from Colossal Squid Industries is to deliver the bad news that you (and your company) are simply just not ready for social media.
So here we present for your consideration the Top Ten Reasons Your Company Is Not Ready for Social Media.
10. You want to know everything about your consumer. Now.
Answer this – would you like to know everything possible about the 15 people that presently visit your site, or a little bit less about a lot more people discussing your brand? Social media is like dog food. Bite-sized chunks over time. Also, if you are going to create your own community, be prepared to drive to it (more on this later).
POV: Investing in social media requires a leap of faith. It’s about making your brand relevant within the space versus shoving traffic down through the purchase funnel. It can be about that, but not until you’ve shown some value and built some trust. Key performance indicators lie not in Google Analytics but in social media monitoring tools like Radian6 and others. Much can be learned by listening to organic conversations.
9. Facebook isn’t big enough.
You want to build and own your own branded proprietary social media network. Congratulations. Starting your own business is an exciting and challenging gambit.
POV: Be prepared to provide wares for this value exchange proposition including compelling content, moderation, tips and other helpful stuff. Car dealers advertise for people to visit their lot. So will you. Online media drivers, including rich media advertising, Facebook apps, and other promotions will make your new business a success.
8. You are not staffed for social media.
If social media is your brand interacting with consumers at a micro level, you better be ready to participate. It goes beyond Tweeting about spectacular holiday sales. Social community demands moderation to stimulate discussions, respond to comments and create an open, genuine dialog with your consumers. Yes, dialog means talking back. A LOT. More harm than good can be done by hosting a party, then slipping out the back door to catch a movie once the guests have arrived. Content creation within branded networks or mainstream avenues, including Facebook, requires production time and dollars.
POV: Account for dedicated and motivated additional staffing who can speak in the appropriate brand voice.
7. Social Media cuts across verticals in your organization.
Can your company draw from resources across the entire company to respond to customer or PR needs? In real-time? Everyday? That’s a lot of silos to work across. Don’t count on Bob from accounting or Jean from legal to help out on conversing to your 18-24 demo.
POV: For real-time social initiatives to succeed, you need an advocatewithin your organization that is a key decision maker, and has a Batphone to key stakeholders. They are the champion for your content. And you’ll need to pick up that Batphone from time-to-time.
6. Real-time means like – NOW.
Social media requires real-time responses that cannot be forecasted. If you have a smashing success on your hands then congratulations; you now have an even worse “predicament.” More people, more hardware, more analysis, more internal meetings, more funds requirements. Well – can’t get any worse, right. Guess again. You’ll
now need to do battle with … (#5 below).
POV: You need trained moderators who can speak in a genuine voice on the brand. “For real” genuinely. It’s okay to post, “I don’t know.” Be for real. Have a conversation with the customer.
5. Procurement will freak.
“You need extra funds approved for what project by when?”
“Aren’t Facebook and Twitter free?”
Chances are if you must expand scope to build on timely conversations your procurement department (tag teaming with legal) might not accelerate this process. Plan accordingly, whatever that means.
POV: Pick up the Batphone for this one.
4. Click to Purchase.
Retailers are happiest when they are selling things. You’ll have a hard time justifying all that social media cash without an omnipresent click-through to purchase.
POV: There’s no need to divert traffic to your site if they can purchase within the social media space.
3. You can’t own the Internet®.
We just knew legal would make another appearance. You’re so excited about owning the ideas that come from your community that you need to let it foster and grow. Let go of your perceived intellectual property rights in favor of participation and trust. Consider tangible and intangible incentives for compensating community contributors for their ideas.
POV: Conversation comes from the exchange of ideas. Ideas come from people. You cannot own the Internet. Sorry.
2. “Advertising Honesty” is not honesty.
We’re talking “honesty honesty.”
POV: Don’t be afraid of negative dialogue. It’s an opportunity to be responsive and be a good listener. Score points and reinforce brand values with your customers. It’s about people.
1. Be worth it.
Be useful. Be engaging. Be worth their time. You may end up even being helpful.
POV: With all the chatter across the digital spectrum your customers will come back to you if you’re truly helpful. Value exchange. So what does 2010 hold for social media? Well, the great part is that the industry can pretend to know, but it is truly in the hands of the people. Listen carefully and respond. They will appreciate it and your brand will reap the rewards.
About Colossal Squid Industries:
We’re an independent digital creative agency. We help extend brands across fragmented digital channels. Interactive, social, branded games, augmented reality – whathaveyou. Brands include Kimberly-Clark‘s SCOTT brand, Viva, Kmart, Coke Zero and Nexxus. You can find us at colossal-squid.com
We’re proud to be a Society of Digital Agencies member.