The Early Days of Social Media
When social media first began to emerge as a marketing tool, it was relatively easy for brands to break through and connect with consumers.
Consumers were curious about why brands were online and what they were talking about – there were not very many of them after all.
Social Media Enthusiasts and advocates gave the early brand participants a lot of credit just for showing up. People liked JetBlue just because they cared enough to be on twitter.
There wasn’t a lot of noise in the earlier days of twitter. There were only a few million people using the service and hardly any brands. People didn’t spam DM you or try to sell you stuff all the time. It was easy to be heard if you had a good message.
Gimmicks worked better because they were new. When Zappos joined twitter a few years ago they built their following by giving away free shoes. People often talk about how popular Zappos is, but it didn’t happen by accident. Today, brands offering prizes to follower is frowned upon and considered lower engagement marketing.
Why Things Have Changed
As social media has evolved, things have changed. What works and doesn’t work changes all the time as the mediums mature and evolve.
With more brands (and more people) participating, social media has become cluttered and automated. According to Facebook there are:
- More than 3 million active Pages on Facebook
- More than 1.5 million local businesses have active Pages on Facebook
- More than 20 million people become fans of Pages each day
- Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans
With all of this noise, how does your brand break-through and stand out?
What it takes to be Successful in Social Media Today
Today it takes more to be successful in social media. You can’t just create an account, try to be nice to people and expect to see marketing miracles.
Social Media today requires a great creative execution. How will you creatively engage your consumers? What interesting or useful content will you provide them with?
If you look at some of the brands getting it right these days, they have a strong strategy, great execution and creative ideas on what to do with the medium.
Here are some examples:
PetCentric on Facebook
Petcentric on Facebook ran pet photo contests on Facebook using Flickr. They had one of the most active Facebook fan pages I have come across. Now, they have gone so far as to create an app for the photo contest.
Key Learning: Great creative idea (pet contest) start simple (use Flickr/Facebook) take it to the next level after success (app)
Many people think that BtoB brands can’t succeed in Social Media. They can. Hubspot is a great example. They have tools, blogs, webinars and a twitter account that all position them as the clear leader in Internet Marketing. I have called into a number of their webinars, to listen to industry experts talk about marketing and social media.
Key Learnings: Use multiple touchpoints to reach customers, become the thought leader, give free valuable information, talk about what your audience is interested in instead of your product.
The Key = Creative
These days the key to social media success is strategy and creative. Understand your target audience and what they are interested in (hint: it probably isn’t your product). Come up with something interesting to engage them with. Do more than just show up.