Social media has changed the way businesses engage with consumers—fans and followers don’t want to be told, they want to discover. It’s no longer a one-way (or even a two-way) conversation.
It’s now a multiplayer experience that relies on collective, thoughtful engagement.
Consumers have the tools, time and desire to be involved on a much deeper level than we’ve ever seen before. There are several distinct ways that you can take these ideas and build social media campaigns that use existing tools and technologies to achieve powerful results.
Today, brands big and small are homing in on the tactic of crowdsourcing, defined as the act of outsourcing tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor to an undefined, large group of people or community (a “crowd”), through an open call. Hidden within this utilitarian definition are powerful cultural drivers that can be catalyzed to achieve powerful social engagement and activation.
Altimeter Group‘s recent research reveals that integration, staffing, advertising and measurement are all key areas of focus for social media strategists in 2011.
Jeremiah Owyang, industry analyst and Altimeter Group partner who focuses on customer strategy, recently delivered the keynote Social Business Forecast: 2011 The Year of Integration. He offered some extremely valuable survey results, insights and advice for businesses looking to expand their social media plans in 2011.
The Integration Question
If you’re running a truly integrated program, congrats. You’re among the elite. Like the Marines, you’re part of the few, the proud, the enlightened.
But for everyone else, the question that constantly floats around boardrooms, ballrooms and conference panels is “How do I integrate all of this new social media with my traditional advertising and public relations campaigns?” Yes, social media is growing up, and in 2010, marketers don’t just want to know how to use Twitter and Facebook, marketers want to know how to integrate Twitter and Facebook into their advertising, direct marketing and public relations campaigns.
However, there are still many who are struggling to ‘sell’ social media to their executives. And as Doug Frisbie, Toyota National Marketing Manager says, “The price of inactivity is greater than the risks of anything we’d be doing in social media.”
How well do you really know your audience? Do you know their likes, dislikes, needs, fears, wants, and challenges? Getting to know and understand your customers and prospects is the key to growing your business.
With the rise of social media, the importance of knowing your audience has taken center stage. When you listen to your audience, your one-on-one engagement on social sites becomes effortless and ultimately you are able to deliver exactly what they want, when they want it. The real-time element of social media makes this possible. With simple online surveys you can take your social media program to an entirely new level.
Have you ever wondered how a business handles more than a million Twitter fans? Want the inside scoop from the largest retailer on Twitter?
Even if you’re a small business, there’s some great insight to be gained from Marla Erwin, Interactive Art Director for Whole Foods Market. Marla was instrumental in creating Whole Foods’ acclaimed social media program and the results have been phenomenal! For example, in the first year, Twitter.com/Wholefoods gained a million Twitter followers. It has now surpassed 1.75 million people.
If you’re not familiar with Whole Foods, it’s the leading natural and organic food store in the world with nearly 300 locations in North America and the United Kingdom.
Whole Foods Market is the most popular retailer on Twitter and is a leading example of Twitter’s power to build millions of relationships a single customer at a time. Here are key excerpts from our interview (you can listen to the entire exchange at the end of this article).
Yet, how do you pull off “authentic” while maintaining the company brand message?
It’s tough enough for a small business. What if you’re #2 on Business Week‘s best global brands list, with nearly 400,000 employees across 170 countries?
At IBM, it’s about losing control.
“We don’t have a corporate blog or a corporate Twitter ID because we want the ‘IBMers’ in aggregate to be the corporate blog and the corporate Twitter ID,” says Adam Christensen, social media communications at IBM Corporation.