At Kompani Group we believe in empowerment. Whether it is our clients or our own team, we view it the same way. We always strive to arm all of our stakeholders with the best tools and the best information. As B2B marketing evolves at break-neck speed it becomes increasingly evident that CMO’s are buying into this philosophy. The game is not about jazzy ads, but about delivering meaningful information to the marketplace. Our good friends at Desantis Breindel have written a spot-on white paper on this topic. In keeping with their philosophy that “content is the gift that keeps on giving,” we are sharing it with you.
One of the upcoming Online Marketing tactics.
Social Online Marketing is done by using Social Networking websites, which is part of the Web 2.0. Social Online Marketing is not only a popular and effective strategy of marketing, but it is easy and fun. By promoting yourself and your company into the online community (outside of your own website) you are participating in Social Online Marketing.
Social Networking Sites
Social Online Marketing requires the use of Social Networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Digg, Blogger, Twitter and YouTube to add/edit content for others to be able to access. Information placed on such sites allows consumers to not only view it, also link to it and/or post their own comments about it. The end result of Social Online Marketing is to increase visibility on Social Networking Sites, create inbound links, and increase traffic to your website which can be tracked through analytics software.
Not only are Social Networking sites useful for Social Online Marketing, their content can also be informational to their viewers. Social Networking sites can allow people to catch up on trends in the Internet world. There are many blogs for example that offer information solely on Internet news. Social Networking sites don’t just give information on the Internet; they can also give readers access to almost any information imaginable.
Enter Social Online Marketers
Although consumers are in control of Social Networking websites, they don’t have full control; Social Online Marketers can also participate in these sites.
Customers don’t necessarily want to be marketed to all the time, but they want to be communicated with, which can be done through online discussions. Consumers are out there expressing their thoughts, opinions, recommendations and complaints about your products regardless and not accessing/engaging in these conversations is ignoring an excellent opportunity. By engaging in conversations with your customers and hearing their thoughts, you can get feedback on what changes/improvements your product can use as well as give you an opportunity to address their views through your comments.
All the hype of Social Online Marketing is causing an exponential growth in users and its possible uses as a powerful online marketing tool.
A Research Tool
Before starting your Social Online Marketing campaign it is important to think about what exactly it is that you are marketing. Brainstorming about your Online Marketing goals should include research of your target demographic and your key competitors.
Once able to locate your target audience it will enable you to answer key points that define what Social Online Marketing tactics will be successful. The following are questions to keep in mind about your users when determining how to proceed in your campaign: where do they spend a majority of their time when online? (or sometimes even when offline) and what are their hobbies, interests and needs?
By researching your leading competitors you can gain knowledge of how they have tackled Social Online Marketing. Whether competitors have published in wikis, posted on blogs or created a Facebook Fan page they should all be easily traceable through their website. Many Online Marketing attempts can be found just by performing a link search of their website.
You can create a custom Social Online Marketing plan for your website since you now know who your consumers are, information about them and what your competitors have done.
Although Social Online Marketing is relatively easy to perform, it is nearly impossible to engage in every single website out there, nor is not necessary (in most situations) to use every form of Social Online Marketing.
The more relevant avenues your campaign exhausts the more likely you are to have a successful results, which more often than not means the more time you have to spend on your Online Marketing campaign the better your results will be.
There are massive amounts of Social Online Marketing websites currently available, with literally hundreds of new ones emerging each month making it even more impossible to access them all.
Examples of Social Online Marketing websites include, but are not limited to:
- LinkedIn is a Social Networking website that revolves around networks of professionals. Your professional network of trusted contacts gives you an advantage in your career, and is one of your most valuable assets. LinkedIn exists to help you make better use of your professional network and help the people you trust in return. Their mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. They believe that in a global connected economy, your success as a professional and your competitiveness as a company depend upon faster access to insight and resources you can trust.
- Facebook is another Social Networking website that gives users the ability to keep in contact with friends. People can publish notes, upload photos, view news from friends, join networks and so much more. By posting a photo of your brand on your companies Facebook page it allows friends to view your product and hopefully generate traffic to your website.
- YouTube is a video sharing/distributing Social Networking website. It allows visitors that don’t register the ability to watch videos or those who do register the ability to access the websites full potential, offering many of the applications that sites like LinkedIn do. YouTube is one of the fastest growing and largest Social Networking communities currently available, so it is a great avenue to perform Social Online Marketing.
- Blogger is one of the more popular blogging networks among WordPress, Medium and others. By commenting in open-ended conversational marketing it allows the community to have a lot of control over conversations. Social Online marketers can create their own blog to share specific information to the community and plug their own product/brand.
In most Social Online Marketing communities it is recommended to not start out by promoting your brand or website. If you start out by “spamming” you are likely to get kicked out of that social community. Not only could the site administrators ban you from their site, but it could also scare consumers away from your direct online marketing tactics.
What is the next step? Initiating contact with your customers is important, but it is just as useful to continue to keep contact with them. You can’t just start something and not finish. Starting posts on a blog is great, but you need to show users that you are not just visiting, but are there often to listen to them. Customers are likely to add comments or thoughts to your posting which would in turn require a response from you.
Social Online Marketing sites are useful, but their content needs to be easily accessible by searchers. By making access to your Social Online Marketing attempts possible through a link on your website it makes less work for your users to view them.
So you were able to define your audience, locate your customers on the Internet, build a social relationship with them and promote your brand and website through Social Online Marketing. How can you tell if your Social Online Marketing techniques are working? Most analytic software allows goals to be set up and allows for the monitoring of conversion rates. (Note that you need to know what you are measuring first)
When just beginning your Social Online Marketing campaign it is recommended to perform one technique at a time. If using more than one Social Online Marketing technique it could be hard to tell which one elicits what results. To be certain which tactics work best, you should start your campaign by performing one Social Online Marketing form at a time. If you start a multitude of tactics at one time it will more than likely give you an excellent result, but will leave you wondering which one is better for me.
On the other hand, if you are familiar with Social Online Marketing and know which forms are necessary for your campaign it is best to perform more than one tactic at a time. By promoting multiple forms of Social Online Marketing at once it will give you quicker results than marketing just one at a time.
Case study: Blackband project
Owner: Camacho Cigars, Authors: Dylan Austin, Gianni D’Alerta
Before we started this project we planned and built the following two sites for Camacho cigars – www.camachocigars.com and www.socialcigar.com (at first we did not reveal that Camacho was behind this site). Through the two sites we built a subscriber list of 4,500 people in less than one year. Since then we have also built www.room101cigars.com, and we are currently working on a new revolutionary social networking platform and corporate site for Camacho Cigars/Davidorff.
Kickoff of the BlackBand project:
To start off, here is an excerpt from the press release, post project:
“The campaign objectives for Camacho included the creation of an engaging, opt-in viral marketing campaign, a successful permission–marketing opportunity as an outlet to sample yet to be released products. A four-part web-series was created without mention of Camacho until the final “reveal” episode. The viewers followed the satirical Independent Cigar Review Bureau, a fictional agency, whose sole purpose was to educate the world about cigar selection, as they used humorous, guerilla-style tactics to enlighten three characters that represented the most common cigar misconceptions”
- We launched the site with this page: http://www.blackbandproject.com/home-temp/
- We blasted Camacho’s mailing list of 1000 and the social network we created while I was at Propeller of 3500 people, not as Camacho but as the fictional company. The amazing thing was that the idea was so interesting that we had a very low spam report. We also ran rich media banner ads that actually played a trailer of the project on the websites the banners resided.
- Once the person signed up they would get one episode a week that would build upon the myths and misconceptions of cigar smoking. The Buzz just keep mounting… people passing the links to their friends… it was huge… in the online cigar world.
- After they registered they immediately received their first “mission” http://www.blackbandproject.com/d57s-1/
- A week after that http://www.blackbandproject.com/6ku6-2/
- A week later http://www.blackbandproject.com/hr4s-3/
- And then the conclusion http://www.blackbandproject.com/b7x3-conclusion/
- We gained 15,500 new subscribers! With that permission to market to them anything in the future. They are already expecting more from Camacho, and we won’t disappoint them.
- Every cigar website was buzzing about the project, we even got more hits on our Black Band Project site in one month that Cigar Aficionado.
- After the last video was sent… a month later people got 3 cigars in the mail. So for a whole month, every week… the conversations where about the black band project. Then when the cigars shipped, another huge buzz.
“From day one, the campaign captivated the cigar industry and generated sweeping buzz across the country, with thousands of cigar enthusiasts discussing who was behind “The Black Band Project” on social media outlets, including Twitter, Facebook, and cigar-industry message boards and blogs.
- 15,000 leads
- 4,000 people got the cigars (people who watched all the videos)
- 15% overall sales increase after the launch of the new product.
In a great article about Social Media ROI, author Erik Qualman provides some concrete examples that show how powerful this medium for communication is. Consider however a brand cannot only rely on only one vehicle approach to get in the mind of its prospects, it requires a multi-pronged to be effective. An integrated effort that hits on multiple levels strengthens any one avenue. Here are some noteworthy examples that Erik uses
Gary Vaynerchuk grew his family business from $4 million to $50 million using social media. Gary’s eccentric personality and offbeat oenophile knowledge have proven a natural path to success with his Wine TV Library. Vaynerchuk found first hand that $15,000 in Direct Mail = 200 new customers, $7,500 Billboard = 300 new customers, $0 Twitter = 1,800 new customers.
Dell sold $3,000,000 worth of computers on Twitter
eBay found participants in online communities spend 54% more
These are some startling and inspiring facts. If you are currently utilizing social media, what has been your measure of success?