No bullSHIT guIde To SocIal medIa
DADI Awards 2010
In association with Leeds Live it Love it
celebrating and rewarding the digital industry
The DADI awards allow agencies, clients, teams and individuals in the UK to demonstrate just how successful their digital strategies are. Promoting the importance and need for effective and innovative digital strategies in today’s business environment, the awards will be open for entering in April. This is your chance to compete for a coveted DADI Award and have your work judged by our esteemed panel, including digital professionals from FIFA, Grey, Bacardi, Cheil Europe, Dolce & Gabbana and more.
You can register your interest for the awards at: www.dadiawards.com For questions or queries contact our dedicated events advisor Kimberley Baran on T: 0141 559 6078 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Remember Corporate and Elite MIN members receive a 10% discount on entries and tickets. www.marketingindustrynetwork.com
Organised by: DADI’s in association with: Headline partners: Sponsors:
If you would like to stand out from the crowd and promote your brand to a captive audience, you too can sponsor the DADI Awards. To discuss these opportunities please contact Lynn Lester on 0141 559 6074 or email email@example.com
tHe druM MAR.05.10 www.thedrum.co.uk
The no bullshiT guide To successful social markeTing
Welcome to The Drum’s No Bullshit Guide to Social Media. There is perhaps a need to publish such a guide due to the overwhelming quantity of bullshit being pedalled about Social Media currently. Like all new trends, experts are clambering over one another to proclaim their gravitas in the field, setting up their stall before the bubble bursts. But this bubble looks far from bursting. And many of these experts are offering little more than common sense and social awareness. Yet brands are already evangelising the power of social media, having required very little preaching to convert their commercial prayers to this latest marketing alter. The fact that it costs peanuts to establish a social media channel and enter this arena is, no doubt, one reason for the rapid success of social media. But while it might cost little to add this weapon to the marketing armoury, that is no reason to avoid real investment in this latest communications tool. For brands looking to operate within this social media sphere, traditional rules should not be broken. To be successful you must adhere to your markets brand values while maintaining true to your own. You must present a unified brand message, be creative in your communications and listen and react to your audience. In fact, as we also find through the pages of this supplement, more rules may even need added. Not only must a brand now be able to listen and react to an audience, It must do it quickly too. Brands must interact and, above all, be social. No longer can brands hide behind slick advertising campaigns and canny PR messages. Social media can make or break a brand. And without due care and investment, it is certainly easier to break than make. So, over the following pages find out what it is these social animals have learnt through working day-to-day on campaigns for clients in the social sphere. Without the added bullshit.
no bull guide03
Please send all your news, views and oPinions to firstname.lastname@example.org
04 Code CoMPuterlove
wHat is soCial Media?
Can it worK for everyone?
no bullshit guide to social Media
“Social media requires simple rules of engagement. The difficult and complicated part is producing an integrated digital experience that engages with consumers where, when and in a way they want.”
“Creative thinkers along with the geniusnous of techno
bods, need to be engaged to explore the realms of possibilities, the ideas, thoughts and attitude has to be driven from marketing and creative strategy.”
05 blooM Media
wHo Can you trust?
10 five by five
a disruPtive influenCe
PublisHer: gordon Young editor: richard draYcoTT email@example.com dePuty editor: gordon laing firstname.lastname@example.org news editor: sTePhen lePiTak email@example.com rePorter: cameron clarke firstname.lastname@example.org rePorter: john glendaY email@example.com rePorter: Thomas o’firstname.lastname@example.org dePuty grouP sales Manager: jo collins senior sales exeCutives: james mcgowan, chris morTon, VicToria swan events Manager: kaTY Thomson design & ProduCtion direCtor: nick creed design/ProduCtion: amanda dewar, jason bYers, debbie murdoch grouP sales Manager - Carnyx: emma sTewarT Managing direCtor: diane Young Head offiCe: 4Th floor, mercaT building, 26 gallowgaTe, glasgow g1 5ab tel: 0141 552 5858 fax: 0141 559 6050 ManCHester offiCe: 5 oak sTreeT, norThern quarTer, manchesTer, m4 5jd tel: 0161 819 5651 subsCriPtions: £150.00 Per annum tel: 0141 559 6060 original design: sTand Printed by: sTePhens & george magazines
tHe druM is published by rush media limited. The publishers, authors and printers cannot accept liability for any errors or omissions. any transparencies or artwork will be accepted at owner’s risk. all rights reserved. on no account may any part of this publication be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the copyright holder and publisher, application for which should be made to the publisher. © Rush Media LiMited and caRnyx gRoup LiMited 2009 issn 1752-6671
“If a social media campaign isn’t going to increase
“Disruption of traditional marketing is just one way
your bottom line, or your company’s reputation, it’s just fluff. And potentially expensive and detrimental fluff at that.”
that social media disrupts conventional brand communication and in so doing necessitates different attitudes and actions for brands to stay relevant.”
is blogging all just Hot air
12 saKe of doing soCial
“The viral effects of social channels are great when things are going your way, but when your service falls short of expectations, the same word of mouth can spread bad news very quickly indeed.”
don’t do soCial for
“If you are not delivering anything tangible, be it information, news, social commentary or even just links to other sites, then you’ve got nothing worth reading and nothing worth interacting with...”
soCial Media and retail
14 Contributor ContaCt
“To compile the No Bullshit Guide to social media, of
to subsCribe Call 0141 559 6060
”Once a business begins conversing with its customers it can use the channel for whatever it likes: sales, news, promotions, customer services, insight.”
course, we need some experts who know what they are talking about...”
04no bull guide
www.thedrum.co.uk MAR.05.10 the drum
what is social media? Social media is a medium that brands are eager to employ. Cost effective and seemingly simple, how could it go wrong? Code Computerlove offers a best practice guide.
s a phenomenon not unfamiliar with hype, acronyms and of course a bit of bullshit it’s easy to see how social media got swept up in the same way. So much fluff has been written on the topic, so many articles blogged, tweeted and retweeted by social media ‘experts’, most based on the same misguided idea that social media is a bolt on to other communication activity. It’s quite boring, unhelpful and clogging up my search results with rehashed bullshit. Instead advice needs to be based on integrating social media into agency culture and thinking. Social media isn’t the phenomenon - the shift in society, behaviour and the way we advertise because of social media is.
“social media requires simple rules of engagement. the difficult and complicated part is producing an integrated digital experience that engages with consumers where, when and in a way they want.”
Remember one of social media’s advantages is that it offers direct engagement with smaller more defined groups of people. Unless you’re targeting kids or bands for example, there is no need to have a profile on MySpace. on what you use; Facebook connect, live twitter streams on blogs/sites (a good example of this is the New York Times) or access via mobile. The new guidelines to creativity: If you want messages to work in social spaces they need to fit with the behaviours acceptable online: think honesty, playful, raw, experimental, unguarded, helpful, collaborative and personal. A good example of a brand’s social activity employing these themes is Mini Coopers’, Mini Space. Monitoring: Just as you would conduct consumer research offline, online insights should be constructed from online research of what your consumers actually do and say online. You could pay for access to monitoring tools such as Radian 6 or BrandWatch, but in our opinion you need to use more than one tool to get the best out of them. Offline importance: Don’t forget online campaigns can start offline. Worrying about content? Crowd source videos from stunts or events, get them to capture something meaningful, or get the users to do something offline that will make them share online. This advice can bode you well in social media, but the real skill is coming up with a strategy for a client that uses social media in the most unique and innovative way, and which fits in with an overall digital experience.
What should you consider?
Social media channels and related tools need to be used to execute an overall communications strategy. They are not stand-alone nor should they be a set of tick boxes. Think of social media this way and you’ll end up with a Facebook page that says nothing about your brand, isn’t in keeping with the overriding brand strategy or other media campaigns at that time, doesn’t have remotely interesting content but is just promoting last season’s products, doesn’t really give users a want or need to join and therefore remains a lifeless exhibition of how unpopular and un-innovative your brand is for the world to search, view and comment on. It would probably be better if you hadn’t had bothered. Likewise trying to exist in every social network out there will have a similar result (never trust a company that has a long list of social media badges displayed on their site).
What mistakes are being made?
Social media requires really simple rules of engagement. The difficult and complicated part is producing an integrated digital experience that engages with consumers where, when and in a way they want. The main fundamentals when considering social media are: Exchange Value of Content: People in networks exchange ‘stuff’ called social currency. This can be knowledge, links, images, jokes, videos, widgets, gossip; you name it, but people need something to share. It gives them a reason to commune and kudos within their network. Make sure you have content your social network wants to share and make it easy for them to do so, ‘share this’ buttons are a basic solution to this. Integration: Make sure that all digital activity comes together as a flawless digital experience that complements any offline activity. Integration among any digital channels you use is also a good idea depending
thE DruM MAR.05.10 www.thedrum.co.uk
no Bull guIDE05
who can you trust? Just like it was in the heady days of the internet boom, many are clamouring to be the first social media experts, the ones to make their fortune and get out before the bubble bursts.
’ve worked in digital since 1999 and I’ve seen many things change. The thrill of learning a new way to reach customers, and the desire to produce tangible ROI for clients, hasn’t changed since those first days. This passion is what makes digital marketers want to use new platforms such as social media. We are used to applying those learning’s to the benefit of our clients. According to Wikipedia (Malcolm Gladwell) it requires 10,000 hours of experience to be counted an expert at anything; no one has had enough time to do this in social media marketing, meaning there truly are no experts. Anyone who claims to be such is misleading themselves and their clients.
• • • • •
New traffic sources New marketing opportunities New PR opportunities New revenue opportunities New ways to increase your market share
3. It’s risk free Hell no! There are plenty of high profile stories about social media blunders the most recent of which is the Vodafone twitter sensation. However most of us are likely to face less exciting problems; 1.You might not like the conversation I recently visited a top 100 UK brand whom I won’t name who have been encouraged to ‘do it’ by their agency and have launched a Facebook page. However they are finding that around 50% of the interactions are customer service issues. Instantly this has soaked up around 2 weeks per month of their digital team’s time dealing with these complaints. The lesson here is to look before you leap, get your strategy and resource ready for what will come. 2.You don’t really have the time – I think the biggest risk for most companies dipping their toe in social media marketing is just this, they only dipping their toe. Reaching a critical mass in the campaign can take time and a lot of effort. A lot of companies will be ‘too busy’ to see through their aspirations. What engagement they achieve in the early stages will wane as they are distracted elsewhere and the campaign will peter out.
So who can I truSt?
A good online marketing professional or agency can use the skills and experience they already have to work with you on a profitable and productive social media campaign. As agencies we need to be up front with our customers, we need to be open about this being new, what our experience really is and that we need ‘brave’ clients who are prepared to learn with us. It is possible to smell a social marketing bullshitter, just look for the following 3 common lines;
Bloom Media’s alex craven says: “there is no such thing as a social media expert.” Below: Bloom won awards for its social media work for anglian home Improvements
1. Everybody’s doing it As far as we’re concerned there are only two reasons to “do” social media; Money Reputation If a social media campaign isn’t going to increase your bottom line, or your company’s reputation, it’s just fluff. And potentially expensive and detrimental fluff at that.
how can I avoId the bullShIt?
2. It’s easy A social media campaign requires your company to be out there talking to your customers, whether that’s via an agency or directly. Internal resource is nearly always essential. Any agency that doesn’t make it clear that you will need one or all of the following, is not telling you the whole story; • Change to job descriptions • New HR policies • New staff • New customer service processes • New cross departmental working practises • New software to understand • New jargon • New KPI’s to report on • New budget required
Success in social media marketing needs you to be upfront and honest, so you need your agency to exhibit this also. Ask what experience do they really have? Make them talk through the detail, speak to the clients they are talking about, and get their side of the story too. We have been running social media marketing campaigns for our clients for almost 4 years now, but really only in earnest for the last 18 months. Last year we won an award for ‘best use of social media’ but I’m going to tell you straight, we aren’t experts yet. We are probably one of the most experienced Social Media marketing agencies in the UK but this still feels very new. Understanding the possibilities of the technology in social media marketing is one thing but implementing an actual campaign is totally different. Given how few clients have really made headway in social media marketing, there seems to be a disproportionate number of ‘experts’. It is the client experience that counts.
06no bull guide
www.thedrum.co.uk MAR.05.10 THe dRuM
Is BloggIng All Just hot AIr ?
Blogs play a “big, fat part” in any social media strategy, but build it and they will not always come... Is a loyal human following always the key to a successful blog? Equator’s Martin Jordan looks at the key behind a good blog and how to make it work best for your brand. What is its aim? And do you have a plan?
ocial Media has definitely become the buzz phrase of the moment. A big, fat part of that social media sphere is blogging. And for those who’ve slept through the last few years, it’s up there with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, SecondLife and a whole lot of other things too contrived to mention. So, if you’re sitting pondering whether Social Media is for you or for the dustbin, let’s take a hot air balloon ride through blog country.
simple websites made well
Well, seeing as how we’re floating above reality for a bit, we should start by looking down on the big numbers that make blogging a buzzword of the moment. There are 200 million blogs in existence in the world. Ok, that’s a lie. Given that another commonly held stat tells us that there’s 120,000 new blogs being created every day, that number is fast becoming a piece of history. Estimates reckon that there are 1.4 million blog posts created every day and that too is a lot of new content. But there’s also the people that’ll tell you that a huge proportion of these blogs lie dormant, twiddled with by a curious user and then dropped like a stone. Secondly, there’s also a whole lot of people out there who valiantly start a blog and religiously add to it every day and yet nobody comes visiting. Inevitably, they too throw in the towel when they realise they’re presenting to an empty theatre.
There are a number of key aspects to blogs that give them longevity and strength. At their most basic level, they offer the user a really fast and simple way to get a web presence. A quick visit to Wordpress or Blogger and you can have your own basic website up and running in 5 minutes. No need for hosting, domain repointing or FTPing - just a simple interface that allows anyone to get a web presence. They are easy to build, easy to administrate and easy to dress up. Wordpress has dozens of different ‘themes’ to give the blog a nice look and, if you choose to host the blog on your own server with the free Wordpress software, then you can customise it down to the finest detail. And when you consider that some of the FREE themes out there could pass for megabucks websites, the low-cost, high-speed attraction of blogs suddenly becomes fiscally tangible.
so who’s right?
It’s no surprise that many are cynical about many aspects of internet trends. We all remember how Second Life was going to be the next big thing and we were all running around in our virtual world looking like a virtual Adonis buying virtual sneakers from a virtual Nike store with real money. Everyone from IBM to Accenture wanted to have a presence there to join the 2 million plus users. Now, there’s typically only 50,000 people on there. Is blogging going to turn into another vast virtual landscape to sink your real money into, only to find there’s no-one there? Well, thankfully not. Not quite anyway...
search engines like a good blog
Secondly, the structured way in which blogs are technically designed makes them fine fodder for the search engines. Everything about a blog is generally SEO friendly... they are content-rich, they are structured into hierarchical themes, information is tagged and collated and, at a technical level, the HTML that they’re built from is well-ordered and Google friendly. So, getting a blog (or blogs) out there guarantees you a presence somewhere on the search engines pretty quickly. At Equator, we regularly use blogs as a core part of our SEO strategy, both on and off the client’s
ThE drum MAR.05.10 www.thedrum.co.uk
nO bull guidE07
The Curious Fellow: One of the Equator blogs compiled by creative boss James Jefferson
“iF yOu arE nOT dElivEring anyThing TangiblE, bE iT inFOrmaTiOn, nEws, sOCial COmmEnTary Or EvEn JusT links TO OThEr siTEs,ThEn yOu’vE gOT nOThing wOrTh rEading and nOThing wOrTh inTEraCTing wiTh...”
site. This approach ensures we can develop quality links to the site and it also extends the client’s site. Ok, so we don’t set out to expect humans to read every post every day but benefit the search engines and users is great. A number of our bloggers are becoming personalities in their own right as the blogs get followed by readers with a genuine interest in what we’re blogging about!
so where can you go wrong?
blogs can genuinely extend your site
For all people who want to rank in Google, everyone knows content is king. And this can sometimes be hard to achieve with a typical commerce site. Realistically, you want to present the customer with the information they need to buy the product in a salesfocused fashion and piledrive them into the buying engine. It often doesn’t give you a lot of space to add the content you need to get ranked. Staple a blog to the side of your site and all of a sudden you have a place to add rich content that can be linked back and forth to the main content of your site. As well as this, the blog can take a conversational and informal tone that would be inappropriate to your main site and help give your brand the personality it needs.
With all this opportunity and ease with blogging, why is it that there remains so many blogs that are left abandoned and so many corporate and consumer blogs gathering dust in a dark corner of the web? It comes down to their strongest point being their weakest. Their innate ease of setup and ease of use means they can become throwaway. People get a blog, build it and start to dump content on it without thinking what the ultimate purpose of it. If you’re just going to get on there and tell everyone what you had for breakfast, what got on your nerves or how great your company is, it’s not going to get traction. Equally, if your blog has no obvious or consistent topic, it’s never going to rank for anything. To genuinely make blogging work for you, you need to give it AND yourself a solid objective. What purpose does the blog serve? Who (or what) is your audience? What is the point you are trying to make? If it’s intended for humans, what benefit do you expect to give them? If you can’t answer these questions don’t bother starting. The only thing worse than not having a blog is having a bad / empty one. Talking about your day does not court controversy and social interaction unless your life does that on its own. Roaming on and off topic makes it hard to read and hard to follow – it doesn’t give a reader any reason to follow you and you wont build up a circle of followers and
like-minded thinkers. And if you are not delivering anything tangible, be it information, news, social commentary or even just links to other sites, then you’ve got nothing worth reading and nothing worth interacting with – the crux of the whole social media thing. Now, if you’re also pondering Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or anything else in the social media world, you might want to consider those questions all over again. What is often wrong with blogs are often what is wrong with everything in Social Media. Someone tells you that you NEED a facebook page, you NEED a blog and why everyone else is doing it. But does anyone stop to tell you WHY you need it and WHY the world needs you to give it to them! Get Social but PLAN it first!
martin Jordan is the marketing director for Equator
08no bull guide
www.thedrum.co.uk MAR.05.10 the drum
Social mediaand retail The potential power to be harnessed by retailers when operating in the social media sphere can only be felt when the conversation begins. But used well, this medium can be a real multiuse tool for retail marketers, claims John Rivers, social media director at moolah.
ast week I tried not once, but twice, to buy a DVD from WH Smiths. Given the hammering that the High Street has taken in the last 18 months you would have thought they wanted to sell it to me. Apparently not. Twice I took the DVD from the shelf to the counter where one of the staff would then have to run back upstairs only to return five minutes later to tell me that they were “sorry, but we don’t have that DVD”. I tried my best to remain calm though questions like “If you don’t have it, why on earth is it on the shelf?” and “Not only that, but it’s number 1 in your DVD chart, so what gives?” kept forming in my mind. Aware of the huge queue behind me, I left the store and instead of complaining there decided that I’d ask Smiths’s Twitter instead.
“once a buSineSS beginS converSing with itS cuStomerS it can uSe the channel for whatever it likeS: SaleS, newS, promotionS, cuStomer ServiceS, inSight. providing it handleS all of thoSe aSpectS correctly, fairly and in a tranSparent manner the permanency of the internet guaranteeS that pr collateral for yearS to come.”
I was impressed. Through acknowledging my complaint, I’d be validated as a customer. Further to that they wanted to know what the problem was and how they could help. More tweets were exchanged and Smiths said they would look in to the issue for me. Simply by engaging me in conversation, Smiths had restored my faith in them as a company and a retailer I would use again. Because of this conversation I also didn’t mind when this message appeared in my Twitter stream: understand the medium. It’s not enough to use social media as a ‘push only’ channel because that only does the same job as a press advert or a billboard site. Having the conversation adds an extra dimension to your communications. What is that extra dimension? It’s PR. The polite tone, the competency in dealing with complaints, the ability to talk on a level platform with the customer - all of these things are doing a PR job. By clicking on to WH Smiths’s page anyone can instantly see that Smiths presents itself as a friendly, professional organisation that values customers. No story was needed to create this impression, no pictures of charity events or details of a new biodegradable plastic bag, simply the dayto-day engagement of a business with its customer base. And that’s the true value of social media for retail, to understand that once a business begins conversing with its customers it can use the channel for whatever it likes: sales, news, promotions, customer services, insight. Providing it handles all of those aspects correctly, fairly and in a transparent manner the permanency of the internet guarantees that PR collateral for years to come. A few tweets may not seem like much, but given time they’ll all add up to form an online profile of your business that stands alongside your website, your press releases and all your other marketing. Don’t get left behind, the opportunity is there to chat to your customers right now and open up a whole new marketing channel too.
I posted this and began following them. To their credit, Smiths responded to me within 90 minutes.
Smiths were running a competition through Twitter, not only that, it was directly linked to their half price Authors of the Decade on-site promotion. Simply put, I was being marketed to through a channel I’d been using for customer services. This wouldn’t work with a phone call, nor through an email exchange, but because of social media’s openness and relatively passive nature, Smiths were able to deal with an upset customer while running a promotional marketing item. Smiths understand the trade-off of marketing through social media, being that if someone asks you a question, you respond. By getting involved and conversing you
John rivers, Social media director, moolah www.twitter.com/johnrivers
tHe DrUM MAR.05.10 www.thedrum.co.uk
no bUll gUiDe09
Can it work for everyone? Don’t just jump on the bandwagon, remember the bigger picture before embarking on a social media rampage. It’s no longer about because we can, but about finding the right solutions to what was once an ‘impossible dream,’ says Vivid’s Rachel Emson.
anity versus Sanity – the social media phenomenon – quick spread the word. So what if social sites have over taken porn as the number one use of the internet? Why do we care? When porn was number one did we all want to create a porn site to flog our products and services? Everyone asks how can we get into social media, no one is asking why should we use social media. As my mum used to say, would you jump off a bridge because someone else did? Arguments dominate the domains with who should ‘control social media’ – PR’s, strategists, in house, dedicated social media companies, digital agencies…What’s happened to marketing, integration, return on investment, measurability, accountability and creativity? In a rush to jump on the social media bandwagon, in a frenzy of tweets, fans and virals, ideas are being shoehorned into fit 60” and 140 words, ads are being thrown up on YouTube and VSS’s (Very Short Sentences) tweeted every five mins. Social media is not social marketing and it is not a replacement for advertising or design and should not be used as such. The very purpose of social media is to be social, so whilst hard sales pitches are a no-no, what you do get is an opportunity to share more, build knowledge and nurture relationships in a relaxed environment. But equally social media is not about ‘having a twitter profile’ and telling the world what your CEO had for breakfast or having a page that is never updated or holds content that bores. It’s about adding value.
Can social media work for everyone? Creatively yes – there is a solution to all problems. Technology does allow boundaries to be broken and spread to be wider than ever before. Perhaps an application that makes it easier to offset carbon footprint, be aware of how much you are drinking. Personalised support if you’re giving up smoking, or to be warned in the event of a flood. Social media pages can become a hub for latest fashion trends, entertainment or business news; they can save time, energy and improve knowledge & awareness in one
easy hashtag or @ and create credible brands. But the real question is, is social media the best way to reach your objective? Social media is not free, setting up pages perhaps, but time, messaging, applications, moderating, responding is all time if not money and engaging with video or application content needs to be both considered, executed well and measured . Ask yourself why are you doing this? What is the over-arching objective? Is it the best way to communicate with your defined audience? Gaining insights into customers, creating ideas that work for them and gaining victories measured by engagement and end results of actions – purchasing, persuading to choose a product/service or creating behavioural change. It’s not simply about click throughs, views, friends or followers who couldn’t care less and don’t interact – for that is vanity and not sanity, and a bit like having a turnover of several million but a profit of zero. Does 1million YouTube hits from people who couldn’t care less about your brand work for you more than 100 who are actually potential customers/ listeners or advocates? Would you ignore creative strategy for a press advert, yet happily go tweeting with no plan of what you are saying to whom and where? Technology is another tool, in the same way print, out of home and broadcast are. Yes it is vast, yes it is global, but if your message isn’t then a) why should you care b) why should they care. Social media needs to deliver more a ‘ha ha that was good/funny/shocking’ it must have purpose. Yes social media can be an incredible asset,
used correctly it can build, enter into dialogue, engage and empower brands, create loyalty, interaction and up sell messages, products and services, ensuring that it is your brand firmly established in your audiences front of mind, in a relaxed and social setting. But never forget great messages can spread very quickly as can bad. If you want to have a social page to let people know about social events, share your successes and updates, if you have time and energy to invest then why the hell not. But if you want to use social media to your advantage then please look at the bigger picture before embarking on a social media rampage.
Any strategy is about looking at media and how it works, dwell time, messaging. How can we creatively deliver our brand to our audiences in a surrounding that they feel comfortable with. Social media is no different, if it fits with the plan then creative thinkers along with the geniusnous of techno bods, need to be engaged to explore the realms of possibilities, the ideas, thoughts and attitude has to be driven from marketing and creative strategy. Creativity is about insights, informing, driving actions, thinking of the new with purpose, solving problems. And remember social media is not solus, it’s about synergy and falls as part of an integrated mix. It’s no longer because we can, it’s about finding solutions to what previously has been an impossible dream.
vivid’s MD rachel emson says that social media still relies on creativity to be successful
10no bull guide
www.thedrum.co.uk MAR.05.10 the drum
disruptive influence the changing media environment means that our
brand toolkit has had to be restocked. tools like ‘listening’ and ‘engaging’ are now more crucial to the effective marketer than ever before. However, argues Graham freeman at five By five, social media is not just about marketing, but about the way we communicate across every part of our business.
he 60s and 70s were about products and services marketed to ‘captive’ audiences in front of TVs watching set programmes at set times. In the 80s and 90s, audiences became segmented and brands gained balance sheet value. Then it all went digital with access to information and on-line shopping. Now, almost without us noticing, brands have gone social. The trade-off for the exponential opportunity this represents is loss of ability to control communication, audiences and content. This is the new world we call social branding. Brands are still a central part of marketing communications, so ‘sub-social’ brand investment was worthwhile. But with everyone now contributing to brand reputation, good or bad, brand management has become more complex, harder and uncertain. We have entered uncharted territory – so what’s in our brand tool kit has to change too. Differentiating, compelling and true propositions, consistently delivered in often unknown touchpoints in this social world, are constantly under the ‘authenticity’ microscope. This uncontrollable audience focus drives our need for careful strategic navigation rather than tactical reaction, otherwise our brands risk disappearing into a dark hole of oblivion. Social brands are about conversations; listening, engaging and managing reputation. Communications have leaped from one way traditional campaigns to infinite relationships. The iconic enabling symbol of our age is the iPhone; not just a cool looking device, it’s about connectivity. And ownership tells everyone you inhabit the connected world. A world where our brands need to live. Connectivity has unleashed the powerful new concept of social branding and its impact has only just begun! To survive, brands, now more than
“disruption of traditional marketing is just one way that social media disrupts conventional brand communication and in so doing necessitates different attitudes and actions for brands to stay relevant. ”
In this environment social brands need to clearly differentiate through enduring compelling and true propositions; augmented by demonstrating openness, transparency and authenticity. Brand currency is enhanced through detachable and user generated content and uncontrollable user advocacy. Brand advocacy ‘people-powers’ social brands with audiences, as if watching X-Factor, deciding whether propositions are really relevant – if not they bomb, there’s nowhere to hide in this environment. So let me ask again, what’s in your brand tool kit now? If it’s anything like ours, along with traditional marcomms it will include some new goodies; strategies for managing online reputation and engagement with influencer networks, brand outposts to put the brand where audiences are and social currency to make our brand valuable in a new world. It includes ‘listen and engage’ measurement tools with realtime dashboard modelling to make sense of this new rich vein of engagement, guiding informed decision making on our brand’s journey. Importantly, we will include an engagement programme for internal as well as external audiences because social branding is not just about ‘marketing’ it is about the way we communicate across every part of our business. Like it or not, we’re all on this social brand journey and our success will rely on making informed choices enabling us to build social currency and become trusted sources of engagement. Scary or exciting? You choose. It’s your social brand’s future.
Graham Freeman, Brand Planner, Five by Five ever, need to be relevant and be trusted, whenever and wherever, passive or active, always reliable in delivering and exceeding expectations, but never ever inaccessible, People are now only one click away from perfect jobs, ideal products and damning reviews. ‘Brand utility’, where the brand creates something useful to you, has created new dimensions of connecting people with friends and others who work, study and live around them (e.g. www.facebook.com), aggregating product offerings and simplifying complexity (e.g. www.comparethemarket.com) or providing personal choice (e.g. www.spotify.com’s access to instant, simple and free music access). This disruption of traditional marketing is just one way that social media disrupts conventional brand communication models and in so doing necessitates different behaviours, attitudes and actions for brands to stay relevant.
THE DRUM MAR.05.10 www.thedrum.co.uk
no bUll gUiDE11
12no bull guide
www.thedrum.co.uk MAR.05.10 The drum
don’t do social for sake of doing social
We’ve seen a lot and heard even more about how social media channels can help solve problems you didn’t even know you had. after 12 months of living with one of the hottest topics to hit the world of marketing since the invention of the printing press, freestyle interactive shares a few of the key reoccurring themes that have come their way during the last 12 months while working with clients on social media campaigns.
Know your objective
Social media is like any other marketing activity, it needs a clear business objective! You need to be considering the part of the brief that asks: Why are we doing this? What do we hope to achieve from this campaign? You might not know how to get the results you want, or even what’s possible, but that’s why you employ an agency - to help you work these things out. Make sure the objectives are clearly understood and agreed before you kick off. Your objectives in the social media space should be no different to any other bottom line business objective, and more often than not, you’ll find that they augment everything else you’re doing. Just getting involved for the sake of getting involved will lead to disappointment, and I guarantee not everyone involved at the client and agency will have the same expectations. When it comes to objectives, think about the familiar faces: raising brand awareness, influencing brand perception, driving traffic to your website. They’re all still relevant! Remember, doing social for the sake of doing social, is not a sound business objective!
“The viral effecTs of social channels are greaT when Things are going your way, buT when The brand chucks ouT a poor producT, or your service falls shorT of expecTaTions,The same word of mouTh can spread bad news very quickly indeed.”
panacea, it’s a new and potentially very useful, tool in your toolbox, but a tool amongst many nonetheless. Social sites are a great way to build brand quickly, using ‘word of mouth’, and it’s even possible to pick up sales leads if you’re targeting the right environments. They’re also one of the best places to listen & learn about customer satisfaction & pick up genuine customer service issues, and of course to influence brand reputation, particularly if you have a stake in wider issues like the environment or sustainability. But, remember social’s only part of the mix and should be planned, together with your agency, alongside more traditional channels like email, search engine optimisation strategy and placed ads. Think about how your target audience uses social media as part of their wider journey, a journey that incorporates brand websites, search engines and traditional media as well as social media websites. Understand and plan integrated campaigns that understand how these channels fit together for the consumer.
if you do nothing else with social media in 2010, maKe sure you implement a social media monitoring service
choose the right tool for the job
Matching the channel to the job has always been a part of your skill as a marketer. Social media is not a global
It’s your job as a marketer to understand what’s interesting and important to your target audiences. Chances are your consumers are already talking somewhere online, and it’s your job to understand how this relates to your brand. Understanding what’s going on across the social landscape is also the first step towards formulating a plan for getting more actively involved. It’s basic stuff: first understand what the audience is doing, then formulate a strategy to engage with this audience. There’s a lot of software out there designed to measure
THE DRUM MAR.05.10 www.thedrum.co.uk
no bUll gUIDE13
Freestyle Interactive’s Andy Wood has learnt valuable lessons in social media having worked across a number of client campaigns in the last 12 months
social media activity, targeting keywords relevant and important to your brand. Like any analytics software, in the right hands, it can revolutionise your understanding. But remember, data is not the same as intelligence. It’s crucial that what’s measured empirically is backed up with desk research and is brought together with your business objectives by those people who know your brand and customers best. Though tools and automation can help resource your social media efforts, human input into this process is key.
Create the debate
environments that are most relevant and comfortable for them, which probably doesn’t mean the corporate website. But that’s ok, you need to worry more about creating the right content, then finding the right social environments to put this content so that it reaches the right people. Don’t worry if you don’t have a branded blog environment, chances are it’s not what your audience want from you anyway. Remember, the really exciting opportunity here is getting to hear all those quiet consumer voices that up until now have been largely unheard, you just need to know where to look and how to listen.
Social media channels provide a great opportunity to kick start the debates that are important to your brand. But remember, you don’t always need to own the environment where the debate takes place. Corporate systems are like Milton Keynes, efficient on the face of it with lots of well thought out signposting, but pretty boring and uninspiring when you get right down to it. Companies don’t do social media, people do. Even when your CEO is talking as the face of your company, it’s the man we’re all listening to and that’s fundamentally different to all the other marketing channels your business uses. It’s important to remember that people want to interact with people, not marketers, and they want to use the
develop a Crisis management plan
All brands are afraid of negative social commentary, and with good reason. As a global extension of the traditional peer group word of mouth that could make or break a brand, social media channels have the power to severely damage your reputation over night. The viral effects of social channels are great when things are going your way, but when the brand chucks out a poor product, or your service falls short of expectations, the same word of mouth can spread bad news very quickly indeed, ask anyone Googling Toyota over the past two weeks! In these situations having
a crisis management plan in place to deal with these issues can significantly limit the damage done. Policy, procedures, content, a plan for where to post this content, as well as a good understanding of who should be doing what can save you days of negative publicity. Also, remember it’s pretty hard to hide from a genuine mistake when the weight of consumer voice is against you. I have to say in the majority of cases where social communities are listening to negative commentary about a brand, and a good number are joining in, there’s usually substance to the criticism. In these situations honesty is often the best policy, admit your mistakes and most importantly deal with them and most of your customers will understand. Ultimately you must remember, you really have no choice but to engage, because with or without you these online conversations will continue to go on. Andy Wood is a Director at Freestyle Interactive. He’s worked in the digital industry since 1997, inhouse and agency side. His core responsibility is the development of digital strategy for clients and the continued development of the agency offering. His special focus is centered on helping clients find the most effective way to integrate digital marketing, including the complexities of social media, into their wider marketing communications plans.
14nO BULL gUIDE
www.thedrum.co.uk MAR.05.10 ThE DRUM
A sOCIAL BUnCh The No Bullshit Guide to Social Media was brought to you by the following companies, who can be counted as some of the few experts in this rapidly developing field of communication. For more information and news on the digital industry, see The Drum’s website www.thedrum.co.uk.
We are a search and social media led digital agency. We have two core principals, be really nice people and be really, really good at our jobs! We have been doing digital since 1999 and have picked up awards and commendations for technical innovation, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media Marketing. Some of our clients include: • ebuyer.com • Brita • Anglian Home Improvements • Pickfords Bloom Media 357 Roundhay Road, Leeds LS8 4BU T: 0113 2350229 W: www.bloommedia.co.uk Twitter: @bloommedia
Established in 1999, Equator is one of the UK’s leading full service digital marketing agencies. Its award-winning creativity, blue chip marketing experience and technical expertise provides its clients with a comprehensive skill set ranging from concept through to delivery. As a full service digital agency Equator has the capabilities to offer its clients a completely integrated service. The services that it offers span across many disciplines and are supported by a team that has the expertise, depth of experience and proven track record to deliver results. With over 50 Employees and a client base of both national and internationally recognised brands Equator’s reputation as a leading digital agency is no surprise
Equator 144 Elliot Street, Glasgow G3 8EX T: +44(0)141 229 1800 W: www.eqtr.com Twitter: @equatoragency
Manchester based Code Computerlove is one of the UK’s top independent digital marketing agencies. Code’s social media services are an integral part of its brand communication strategies and creative solutions for clients including Matalan, Durex, Original Source, Berghaus and First Group. Its social media experts collaborate with planning, SEO, creative, user experience and delivery teams to ensure its integrated campaigns travel through the social space for free and maximise the opportunities this interactive digital channel presents. The agency is also at the forefront of digital technologies, developing social networking applications to enhance brands’ social presence. For more information visit www.codecomputerlove.com
Code Computerlove Ltd Jutland House, 15 Jutland Street Manchester M1 2BE T: +44 (0)161 276 2080 W: www.codecomputerlove.com
the DrUM MAR.05.10 www.thedrum.co.uk
no bUll gUiDe15
Vivid is a boutique full-service creative agency delivering the big idea that works cross media; through • Planning and insights, • Creative strategy, design & digital • Campaigns that communicate above, below, on and through-the-line We listen, question, understand, encourage & listen again. We create solutions. We change perceptions. We drive actions to promote & position, products, places & policies Our biggest asset is our clients! The clients that we love to work with and have been sharing happy and successful campaigns with recently are; Northwest Regional Development Agency, Environment Agency, Science in Sport, The Library Theatre Company, Smokefree North West, Our Life and Visit Chester and Cheshire ( just to name a few!)
Vivid 5 Century Street, Deansgate Locks Manchester M3 4QL T: 0161 819 5140 W: www.viv-id.co.uk Email: Rachel@viv-id.co.uk Twitter: @vividmanchester
moolah is a results focussed social media agency from the Lucre PR Group. With experience ranging across retail, travel, entertainment, financial services and telecoms, moolah is dedicated to helping maximise the opportunities and ROI from social media channels. We work in a friendly, easy-to-understand way that helps you clarify the best social media approach for your business. With teams based in both London and Leeds we have clients across the UK. To help you make more moolah why not give John a call on 07584 148169 or email him on email@example.com. moolah T: 0113 243 6086 T: 07584 148169 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @johnrivers
five by five
Five By Five create content that engages people, because bold ideas make profitable brands. Graham Freeman, brand planner at Five By Five’s role is to provide insight and strategic brand positioning to guide our creative output. In his career Graham has worked on both sides of the Atlantic for national and international B2B and B2C clients including telecoms, financial services, retail and automotive. Graham’s agency history included Brand Union and Fitch both WPP Group companies where he worked on accounts for Motorola, Vodafone, Rolls Royce, Reuters, Corus, Prudential, Vodafone and GNER. Five by Five 4&5 Grosvenor Square Southampton SO15 2BE T: +44 (0)23 8082 8525 E: email@example.com W: fivebyfivedigital.com Twitter: @FbFdigital
Freestyle Interactive is one of the largest full service digital agencies in the UK, and the largest in the Midlands. We bring together digital strategy and straight forward business logic to deliver tangible results for businesses and brands. We provide strategic planning, creative design and technical build across a full range of digital services. Freestyle Interactive Harwoods House, Ashorne, Warwickshire CV35 0AA T: +44 (0)1926 652832 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.freestyleinteractive.co.uk Twitter: @freestyleint