or How do you add impact and efficiency without losing the soul of social media?
(the following is part of my kick-off today at Ogilvy London's Social Media Day)
Social Media is not a channel
Let's 'tick' off the true benefits of social media marketing to brands. Social media is not some new channel. Pity the poor brand who starts jamming content or ads down our throats without understanding the 'value exchange' necessary to earn our attention and participation.
Social media is not just a growing collection of technologies allowing us all to communicate, share, create and publish. I mean it is all that, especially for you and I - people who have discovered a new platform to express ourselves. We can connect with others who share some affinity no matter how niche that is (Will some of my fellow Nick Cave fans please help me figure out how to get a signed copy of The Death of Bunny Munro?).
Social Media = Word of Mouth
But what does that mean for brands and brand marketers?
Ultimately, everything social media enables is a new form of word of mouth. Whether I blog about my love for the new Ford Taurus, become a fan of Lance Armstrong Foundation on Facebook, tweet a link to Amex tix for the Rolling Stones concert, or pass a video of Nick Cave reading from Bunny Munro to a friend - it's all word of mouth. (disc: all clients)
And word of mouth trumps most other forms of communication in influence on many purchase decisions and opinions. For brands, social media is an imperative to embrace in any way they can the power of word mouth.
We need to help customers, enthusisasts, fans, "strangers with expertise" share about our products and the topics and ideas that bring us together with them. We want people to search in Google and find the endorsements of our advocates - third parties who say our products are good because they are.
Who are these third parties and how do we engage them so that they will authetically want to share? They are the new influencers.
What is Social IRM?
Social IRM is the discipline of managing relationships between influencers and brands. It's built on the principles of social media - respect, trust, and a true value exchange between brand and influencer. The goal of Social IRM is to activate genuine word of mouth online at a scale that can positively impact business.
We identify influencers by looking at data that tells us how conversational they are, how many people link to them, what their affiliations are, the combined reach of their social platforms from their blog to their Facebook page and Twitter handle. Seven different criteria come together to plot them on a map of relevance and influence. We build a segmented database of these influencers. For Ford we identified over 2 hundred influencers in 6 new segments we had never spoke directly to before....
How do we get them to talk? How do we get them to tell a friend how great the Ford Flex, Fusion or Taurus are?
Ford starts by making a great car. Never underestimate the power of a great product....and the risk of a lousy one.
We have to earn their attention, time and involvement. We have to offer them value. That brings us to the "Value Exchange" as my colleague Virginia Miracle would say.
Next: Engaging and adding Scale.....