Smartphones and social technologies now connect us in global word-of-mouth networks of unparalleled passion, influence and marketing potential. This development has changed media. It has changed marketing. In January, we posted Media Logic’s 11 Predictions for Retail Marketing in 2011. We felt retailers would be among the first businesses to move decisively into the social world, to counter the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities. How’d we do? Let’s examine our 11 predictions one at a time.
Does sentiment drive openness or does openness drive sentiment? There is no easy answer to this “chicken or egg” question. But there is no question social media is opening up (a quite public) window on the relationship between top retail brands and their customers. And though it is not necessary for retailers to prioritize openness – say, by defaulting likers to a “Top Posts” Facebook wall – not doing so (or being unable to do so), particularly when key competitors can, says something about a brand and offers clues as to how that brand operates in social space. Media Logic has just completed a quick analysis of the relationship between brand sentiment/passion and the willingness of brands to prioritize customer posts on an open Facebook wall. We examined brands in three retail sectors – Department stores, Discount and Value stores and Hobby stores.
Let's clear up one thing: Yes, "Conversation Manager" is a real title at Media Logic! In fact, Conversation Managers supported by Zeitgeist & Coffee, our collaborative platform for real-time marketing, are exactly what makes it possible for us to deliver our modern social marketing services: Influencer Marketing, Managed Community Marketing and Social Promotions & Social Stream Marketing.
We work hard at Media Logic to remain neutral in our reporting on the state of marketing for a social world. There is a lot of good news and a lot of great ideas to spread around. We don’t need to be hogs. And honestly, we think “rising Likers lifts all boats.” But we have to admit that it does feel pretty good to tell you that at 21 percent, the fastest-growing major brand on Facebook for the week ending June 5 was none other than our founding retail account FYE. It also feels pretty good to report that the third fastest-growing brand, Cabela’s, is a Media Logic client, too. Against some pretty mighty odds, FYE has been growing its FYEGUY social persona at a prodigious rate as of late. In our recent webinar, FYE Naked, we boldly predicted that growth wouldn’t stop – that it would spike. That prediction came true when back-to-back Facebook-based social promotions, Angry Birds and Tech N9ne, drove the big percent increase in Likers and our Zeitgeist & Coffeesm-managed social effort earned FYE the highest Facebook engagement score among 100 tracked brands.
You can glean a lot of valuable data from mechanically analyzing the social stream. You can listen in, engage and counterpunch with a comment or a tweet. If you’re aggressive and swift, you may even shift sentiment a degree or two. However, monitoring has so little value as anything but a starting point for a reactive marketing strategy, we have to ask why tools that do it seem to be the only ones that exist. Why is monitoring and reflexively reacting the priority?
Preventing mistakes like the infamous Chrysler F-bombWhen an individual representing Chrysler tweeted a derogatory remark about Detroit, a city Chrysler is invested in promoting, there was someone to fire, and there was an agency to let go. Still, at the end of the day, the public holds the brand itself responsible for its social media streams. Chrysler will take the brunt of the impact. As a result of the controversy, social media marketing takes a bit of a beating, as well.
As recently as just two years ago we were all okay being marketed to. Passively. And in nothing like real-time. No longer. Technological changes, specifically in mobile devices and social media, have driven a rapid evolution of our marketing culture. Today, in addition to up-to-the-second information, consumers expect sincere two-way communication between themselves and the businesses and organizations with which they would like to have relationships. Owned media – websites, social sites, stores, etc. – must now take the strategic point, ahead of traditional advertising and public relations, in branding and promotions. It’s all very exciting. But the time and resource demands of real-time engagement through owned media is stressing – and often breaking – established marketing budgets, protocols … and relationships. To meet the challenges and take advantage of the incredible communication opportunities now available, Media Logic created Zeitgeist & Coffee, a real-time marketing collaboration and management platform.
B2C brands are discovering the remarkable reach of social promotions. Pepsi has reported that every entry in its Refresh Project generates, on average, 5,000 votes. That means the 5,000 projects Pepsi had approved and posted to its Refresh site by June 2010 generated 25 million direct engagements. And those 25 million represent only the tip of the iceberg relative to the total media reach generated by the 5,000 posters who promoted their causes through their own social networks. Social promotions, defined here as any intentional social engagement – queries, polls, contests and other structured invitations to interact with a brand – seed the social landscape, trigger interaction and inspire sharing. Their success is changing how brands look at social media – reducing fears and opening minds.
Is it HIPAA-noia? A fear of lack of control? Whatever the reason, most medical marketers have been late to the social media party. All that, however, seems to changing according to a recent article on Portfolio.com: “This is new territory for medical marketing. Ten years ago, it was innovative if hospitals had websites. Now, medical institutions area tweeting, creating Facebook pages, making videos for YouTube and posting photos on Flickr.” While we cheer this growing acknowledgement of social media as a marketing tool, we wonder about the effectiveness of most hospitals' efforts as they "dip their toes into the water." Are they building engagement? Are they forming communities? Are they advancing their brand and differentiating?
Media Logic is working with Atlantic Medical Imaging (a multi-site radiology/imaging practice based in New Jersey) to establish thought leadership, create engagement and preference among patients (and prospective patients) and referring physicians, and ultimately drive utilization. At the center of the strategic social marketing effort is a blog featuring information on the benefits of low dose radiology, a key differentiator for the practice. We also use Facebook and Twitter to create a fan base, encourage interaction and drive traffic to the blog. Even though the effort has just recently launched, we have used “best practice” techniques we have learned through our work with highly regulated industries such as banking and insurance to build-in security while optimizing engagement. Here are three key elements we believe are important in using social media for medical practices.