Creating Meaningful Client Interaction via Social Media Marketing

February 4, 2010 at 2:10 pm 2 comments

by Rob Wolfe – Connected Places Global

In a recent discussion on LinkedIn, group members answered the question, “What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to social media marketing?” Three major themes seemed to emerge:

  1. The amount of time involved
  2. Creating measurable value/ROI, and
  3. Developing a strategy for creating meaningful interaction.

I’d like to address this third challenge and share some thoughts on and experiences with effective approaches for creating meaningful experiences and interaction with customers through social media. As Kimberlee Lucas, Motion Pictures and Film professional from Los Angeles puts it: “Social marketing says ‘I care about the people I am interacting with. I believe in what I am doing and want to share it with them.’ If you like and care about people, then you will take the time to listen to them, find out what they need, and will help them.”

I recently read a blog posting in which marketing expert Bernie Borges noted that marketers whose content draws people into an experience will stand out in 2010. Brands that design content strategies and campaigns around bringing their audience into an experience will enjoy more brand loyalty and more positive actions. “Seems to me that social marketing requires experiences that seem “anti-marketing” to people tuned in,” says John Kaegi, Executive in Residence at Jacksonville University. “If you can draw people into experiences that align with their values (shared values) perhaps in entertaining or educating them in some fun way, then you get to permission-based marketing.” He adds that the apparent problem with social media “is in the delicacy and tenuousness of the approach – do anything that runs counter to those shared values and you undo everything.”

Following are some ideas for drawing people in, considering their shared values, and using social media marketing to create engaging customer experiences for propelling business.

  • Angie Schottmuller, Director of E-commerce & Interactive Marketing at Taymark in Minneapolis-St. Paul:  Relevance to customer interests / pain points is one key to generating content sharing for creating meaningful experience. Social discussions have been very helpful for our brands in terms of obtaining voice of the customer, but the number of discussions is nominal compared to the amount of ‘shared content’. The fact a customer (or reader) chose to share our content really shows that it made an impression, and by sharing the content we gain brand recognition with a virtual recommendation. Because “viral potential” is key to growing brand awareness/recognition, it’s beneficial to always include a unique concept or fresh/exciting idea in blog articles. The traditional ‘this our product and how to use it’ is not very likely to be shared. However, ‘this is our product and 7 uncanny ways to use it’ has a unique spin that’s more likely to inspire sharing.
  • Eric Goldman, Inbound Marketing Executive & CEO at Gossamar Inc. in Toronto:  Among our biggest challenges is findings ways to bring our clients into a community, which is about enriching your customer’s experience in using your company and its products and services. We have used these techniques to accomplish this, as well as raise awareness, for ourselves and for our clients: — Using Twitter for customer support – this forges an online community around the tweets and the forums/blogs linked to by them, while providing people with rapid response times to their queries. — Searching Twitter specifically, looking for people interesting in the same things we are (Inbound Marketing, Sales and Marketing Automation and all related subjects like SEO, SMM, PPC, etc.). — Using our SM monitoring toolset to trawl the social media space, looking for people who write about, or are written up and cited as experts, or participate in discussions, all centered about our subject area.
  • Zeke Camusio, Internet Marketing expert and founder of The Outsourcing Company in Aspen, Colorado:  You want your customers and fans to create “user generated content” (UGC). UGC provides you with a unique opportunity to hear what’s on the minds of your customers and prospective customers, and allows companies to monitor their online reputations and respond directly to positive and negative comments posted by customers. Some suggestions: — Actively engage in forums and discussion boards. Interact with your customers and fans and create a strong online presence. Don’t be passive and just blast out content and expect to have a following! You need to be active and consistent on these sites. — Create contests featuring customers who use your products/services. Ask customers to send in photos or videos and share their experiences. Post on video sharing sites such as YouTube. — Encourage customers and fans to share their feedback of your products on consumer/product review sites. If you are on top of your product quality and customer service, this is an easy way to monitor your reputation/branding on these sites. (See Customer-Generated Social Media Marketing )
  • Michelle Judd, Sr. Marketing Manager, Global Communications at Ergotron, Inc. in Minneapolis-St. Paul:  We recently ran a promotion through Twitter to help drive traffic to an event and to build brand awareness through our social media sites (TwitterFacebookBlog ). We started tweeting before the show and directed people to a promo site that explained the details of the contest. We also used event PR as part of the mix, video blogging, and pre-and during the show blogging. Because we had a team of about six people tweeting/blogging, etc., the message was more personable because it was told through different voices. Let’s just say we learned a lot through the whole process of executing it. But what made it work, and what we got feedback on later, was that acknowledging the pain points to our followers and remaining “personable” throughout the campaign, we managed to “humanize the brand’ to the contestants. We gained more followers, created some fun around booth traffic, got the brand message out, and learned A LOT!

Rather than focusing on the content you want to deliver, focus on the experience you’re creating for the customer. “There’s a reason why social media is such a huge phenomenon,” says Camusio. It wouldn’t work without PEOPLE – your customers and fans! The biggest mistake companies make when launching social media campaigns is forgetting about the important role their customers/fans play.”

Acknowledgements: Thanks to my fellow members of professional networking groups, as well as fellow bloggers, for your insights and contributions, which are expressed and reflected in the content of this feature.

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Entry filed under: BUSINESS BEST PRACTICES, CLIENT EXPERIENCE / LOYALTY, MARKETING STRATEGY, SOCIAL MEDIA. Tags: , , , .

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