The Keys to Using Social Media as a Marketing Platform
It starts with brand evangelism.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: You can read the complete version of this post on McCarthy’s blog here.]
Social media platforms—Facebook in particular—are passing through a network-generated inflection point: More people create more content, creating more engagement, attracting more people.
A look, for instance, at the last year of traffic shows just how strong Facebook’s growth has been: up 159 percent in traffic over the past year, and continuing to show steady month-over-month growth. The service has benefitted particularly from growth in usage among adult, making it a more alluring focus for marketers.
Overall activity on Facebook, in terms of usage, is remarkable. The key factor here is the content generation: the more content users place on Facebook, the richer and more textured the communities become. With 850 million photos uploaded in the course of a month, and another 24 million pieces of content shared, and 3 billion minutes of uses every day (up three-fold from the year before)…that’s an incredibly rich and active network.
The ultimate question for brand marketers isn’t really how to use social media platforms for traditional corporate brand strategies. That is a legacy hub-to-spoke strategy, where content emanates from one central point.
Today’s marketplace is most effectively a series of links and connections. For a brand marketer, the opportunity is to build thousands of interlinked networks, and to give all of your connections in the networks access to content and information that will be interesting and useful to the different conversations.
Making Brand Evangelism Part of a Company Culture
The beginning of those networks are your brand evangelists. And, if you are building your company culture the right way, the foundation of brand evangelism should come from your own employees.
Thinking about this framework for social media marketing casts a different light on the responses garnered by The Aberdeen Group to a survey about marketing objectives for social media. The responses show the shift away from traditional brand marketing syllogisms to a new, conversation-centric form of marketing.
E-Marketer’s CEO Geoff Ramsey gets at the essence of the issue with his commentary: “If you’re going to build a community, don’t center it around your product, but rather on something deeply relevant to a particular consumer group,” Ramsey said. He also suggested keeping fans of your brand pages happy by giving them a lot of content and letting them share the love with others.
But there’s further to go. If you have a cohort that considers their participation with your brand part of their lifestyle, and you can help them integrate that aspect of their lifestyle into their social media content, then you can use these exploding platforms to enhance and enlarge the role of your brand in a series of inter-connected networks.
That’s powerful. And it has to start with you and your colleagues.