And for them and other brands to successfully leverage the power of social media efforts spreading virally and generating robust word-of-mouth brand buzz, they will benefit from thinking beyond social media as a brand promotion platform or regular mainstream media channel.
As such, it will be important to address these six catalysts (Cs) of social media marketing: channel and concentration, connecting, content, conversation, community and communication. Here are details:
1. Channel and concentration – know what you want to accomplish: is it fans, news service, product and technology demonstrations, thought leadership or a mix? Then select and concentrate on a channel accordingly. Facebook is your fan building channel, YouTube is your product, technology and celebrity endorser demonstration and testimonial channel and Twitter is your news service for product introductions and brand events. Also consider Digg and StumbleUpon to drive people to your story. Don't forget a brand blog that can promote your expertise and build your position. This guide for CMOs is very informative on evaluating social network sites.
2. Connecting — social media marketing is building relationships not simply conducting transactions.You know the formula: become likeable, trustable and then you can sell. Connecting is about two-way, engagement and interaction. It's also about making your customer and influencer important and offering them a reason to become engaged. Special offers work, but many fail because they don't sustain a bond. Strong, compelling helpful content and conversation are the aim.
3. Content — your organization can be full of content that is compelling, and attracts and keeps viewers and generates customers. Think about 4Ps that make up your organization: products, promotions, processes and people. All of them are content sources. Still struggling? Review questions you might get from your website, customer service calls, sales team, media and YES, customers. Search competitive websites and capture questions they receive. Brian Clark offers this sound advice to generate strategic content.
4. Conversation – many social media experts now call conversation your brand. Conversation is about subjective ideas, objective facts, other people and oneself. It is the soul of word-of- mouth marketing and drives purchase decisions and can be measured as such, says a new McKinsey report. Conversation is not simply commercial photo contests on YouTube or auditions for your website. Those can start conversation, but they are one offs. Consistent and engaging conversations with tech, Tour and marketers on hows, what and whys of brand inside and out are more powerful in building conversations.
5. Community — you can start to see a chain or correlation of my Cs. Community is where you "build and not milk" your most important asset — your loyalists, your ambassadors and evangelists. If they are passionate about your brand, its technologies and your commitment to connect, they will join together, participate and convert other brand passionistas and customers. This is more than your email marketing list (although this community must be represented). It is a group that you can allow special, inside and behind the scenes access to engage them. Here is some strong advice on building a community by Nancy Strauss. It focuses on B2B but the ideas apply to B2C communities.
6. Communication – you built it, now you have to communicate and promote it in all communications from ads to PR to catalogs to POS and packaging. Don't forgot how to supercharge by integration with email, social and mobile applications as Dan Foortan proposes. This is how you build links, web site traffic and yes, e-commerce.
So golf brands' experimentation is exciting and concerning. They have to think beyond using social media marketing to simply blast brand messages in a different channel and shun the investment and ROI that these 6Cs will produce.
Otherwise, they will become frustrated and then misjudge the power of social media marketing to generate and spread buzz and then build business.
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