What social media can do for your dialogue marketing

So-cal­led soci­al media is cur­r­ent­ly one of the hot­test topics for media and trend fore­cas­ters. The fact is: accord­ing to a stu­dy by Niel­sen, an increa­sing num­ber of peop­le world­wi­de spend more and more time in soci­al net­works such as, Face­book, MyS­pace and Twit­ter. Sin­ce 2009, the num­ber of users has also increa­sed by more than 30 per­cent. In its “2010 Email Mar­ke­ting Bench­mark Report”, MarketingSherpa.com con­clu­ded that only email mar­ke­ting and soci­al media could regis­ter a bud­get increa­se last year. A lot of com­mo­ti­on wide­ly. But is this jus­ti­fied? What is the new medi­um real­ly about?

Three the­ses on soci­al media:

Firstly: social media changes direct marketing.

Dia­lo­gues are held open­ly here. Public con­ver­sa­ti­ons of com­pa­nies and brands with custo­mers or bet­ween custo­mers requi­re a new way of thin­king and above all, cou­ra­ge for open­ness and publi­ci­ty. Here, one of the lar­gest han­di­caps of Ger­man com­pa­nies in con­trast to US com­pa­nies beco­mes appa­rent. Many Ger­man com­pa­nies asso­cia­te nega­ti­ve opi­ni­on with soci­al media. Howe­ver, the fear of tho­se in char­ge is real­ly ungroun­ded as all opi­ni­ons find their way onto the inter­net, any­way. Con­se­quent­ly, com­pa­nies should only ask them­sel­ves, whe­ther they are opi­ni­on for­ming during this exchan­ge.

Secondly: social media boosts networking between companies and their customers, as well as between customers themselves.

The lar­gest oppor­tu­ni­ty howe­ver is not in the dis­tri­bu­ti­on of pro­mo­tio­nal messa­ges, but rather in the “lis­ten­ing”. If custo­mers com­mu­ni­ca­te their requi­re­ments, express their pro­duct expe­ri­ence in wor­ds and “live with” brands, this offers an enor­mous poten­ti­al to impro­ve the under­stan­ding of the custo­mer and his deman­ds. Whoever uses this poten­ti­al, can con­vert con­su­mers and custo­mers into real fans and mes­sen­gers.

Thirdly: people do not use social media as a parallel world, but to transfer their real social network onto the web.

It is important the­re­fo­re, to inte­gra­te this con­tact point in the mar­ke­ting mix in order to esta­blish con­tacts and com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on. Soci­al media pre­sent their spe­cial bene­fits through the pre­vious­ly men­tio­ned two points and above all through the high degree of per­son-ori­en­ta­ti­on of the ser­vices them­sel­ves.

I want social media, as well – how does it work?

Such a ques­ti­on could well lead you down the wrong path. More important are the ques­ti­ons about why and what for. If we reflect on the three the­ses, soci­al media can open up the exi­ting poten­ti­al for direct mar­ke­ting. The most important aspect is the above men­tio­ned per­son-ori­en­ted focus of the ser­vices. This is about the indi­vi­du­al user, not the scope of an ad space. The­re­fo­re, soci­al media must be unders­tood and imple­men­ted as part of the who­le CRM con­cept. What is pos­si­ble and how you can go about it will be exp­lai­ned in this brief over­view out­lining some of the pos­si­bi­li­ties and examp­les:

Show your presence: create a network

What has pro­ven use­ful for email opt-ins can’t be bad for soci­al media. Refer to your soci­al net­work sites from all your exis­ting con­tact points. But only if you have some­thing exci­ting and above all have cur­rent topics the­re. To pro­mo­te a pure “I’m in the­re” pre­sence doesn’t make much sen­se. Only brands, our users would like to “adorn” them­sel­ves with, have the chan­ce to gene­ra­te fans via a simp­le web cam­pai­gn. View soci­al media as part of a com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on stra­te­gy and show your con­tacts this pos­si­bi­li­ty.

Engage users: SWYN

Sha­re With Your Net­work (SWYN) but­tons are no more than soci­al book­mar­king, but they are easy to imple­ment. Howe­ver, con­si­der that peop­le only for­ward things that are real­ly exi­ting. SWYN can pro­mo­te a who­le news­let­ter or only indi­vi­du­al arti­cles or lan­ding pages. But let’s be honest: Most news­let­ters are not suf­fi­ci­ent­ly exi­ting nor con­tem­pora­ry to requi­re for­war­ding. In addi­ti­on, news­let­ters as collec­tions of indi­vi­du­al messa­ges are often not gra­nu­lar enough for typi­cal soci­al net­wor­king messa­ges. It is the­re­fo­re more pro­mi­sing to deve­lop spe­cial actions, which inci­te tar­ge­ted for­war­ding in soci­al net­works. An examp­le would be a custo­mer-recom­mends-custo­mer pro­mo­ti­on, which spe­ci­fi­cal­ly rewards the inter­me­dia­ries of leads from soci­al net­works. Extend cam­pai­gns: con­tent push in soci­al net­works You can extend cam­pai­gns in soci­al net­works direct­ly via indi­vi­du­al soci­al net­work accounts. News or mai­lings are gene­ral­ly published via teasers on the indi­vi­du­al pages and pro­files on Face­book, MyS­pace etc. using inter­faces such as the ELAI­NE Soci­al Net­work Pro­xy Ser­vice. This type of redis­tri­bu­ti­on is usual­ly very simp­le. More important is the spe­ci­fic pro­ces­sing of the teaser, i.e. the messa­ges for soci­al net­works whe­re com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on is most­ly per­so­nal, more authen­tic and above all less pro­mo­tio­nal.

Use contacts: generate leads

Through the exten­si­on of cam­pai­gns and the encou­ra­ge­ment of dis­tri­bu­ti­on, more and more peop­le will have con­tact with your com­pa­ny and its infor­ma­ti­on. But how can the­se con­tacts be used effec­tively? Our tar­get is always the medi­um-term con­ver­si­on into a direct per­so­nal dia­lo­gue. Howe­ver, the gene­ra­ti­on of real leads and direct mar­ke­ting opt-ins from soci­al net­works is a spe­cial chal­len­ge requi­ring sophisti­ca­ted tac­tics. Depen­ding on the con­text (B2C or B2B), you may pre­sent not only your news­let­ter or the pure tar­get infor­ma­ti­on with the dis­tri­bu­ti­on of infor­ma­ti­on via SWYN, but a spe­cial ver­si­on inclu­ding a refe­rence to the sub­scrip­ti­on opti­on or a ver­si­on which only allows full view after regis­tra­ti­on. Links to other ser­vices after sub­scrip­ti­on to e.g. a news­let­ter and spe­cial actions for lead gene­ra­ti­on (e.g. pro­duct sam­ples or com­pe­ti­ti­ons) can be embed­ded direct­ly on the indi­vi­du­al soci­al net­work sites. Use the “herd instinct” of soci­al net­works e.g. by poin­ting out how many peop­le have recent­ly beco­me fans or how many new par­ti­ci­pants were in the com­pe­ti­ti­on on a spe­ci­fic day.

Anticipate new approaches

The­re is one vital point in which soci­al media mea­su­res and email mar­ke­ting hard­ly dif­fer. For both forms of mar­ke­ting, the right approach regar­ding custo­mers is a decisi­ve cri­te­ri­on. Even if the pre­con­di­ti­ons, such as the for­mat, are con­ceiva­b­ly dif­fe­rent, ques­ti­ons such as who are the infor­ma­ti­on recep­tors, what do they want and how do they com­mu­ni­ca­te are the same in both cases. Soci­al net­works are about radia­ting a stron­ger per­so­na­li­ty ins­te­ad of approa­ching peop­le with sof­ter, asep­tic com­pa­ny PR. It is about an authen­tic, cur­rent dia­lo­gue, which is exclu­si­ve­ly tun­ed to the custo­mer per­spec­tive.

Create measurability

A core issue of mar­ke­ting in soci­al media is how to mea­su­re actions and suc­cess. This is part­ly due to the (still) limi­ted tech­ni­cal pos­si­bi­li­ties at the begin­ning of the evo­lu­ti­on of this medi­um, but also depends on the hete­ro­gen­ei­ty of the ser­vices, which – above all – are used par­al­lel. The­re­fo­re, no clear chan­nel divi­si­on is pos­si­ble. Howe­ver, the topic deve­lops rapidly. The Federal Asso­cia­ti­on of Digi­tal Eco­no­my (Bun­des­ver­band Digi­ta­le Wirt­schaft e.V., BVDW) has recent­ly defi­ned the para­me­ters of the capa­ci­ties for soci­al net­works. Dif­fe­rent pro­vi­ders of tracking tools also offer bench­mar­king of scope, ent­ries, con­ver­si­ons and simi­lar. Important is among other things the meti­cu­lous tracking of leads and the assign­ment to the par­ti­cu­lar net­works.

If we take into con­s­i­de­ra­ti­on the actu­al focus of all mar­ke­ting activi­ties in this con­text, i.e. the indi­vi­du­al per­son, this can easi­ly beco­me con­fu­sing. Last but not least, this may be about iden­ti­fy­ing an unknown con­tact in dif­fe­rent ser­vices and app­li­ca­ti­ons in order to bench­mark it for the opti­mi­sa­ti­on of lead gene­ra­ti­on. This may be to address him or her spe­ci­fi­cal­ly on lan­ding pages or to ana­ly­se the user enga­ge­ment as a who­le. The new gene­ra­ti­on of artegic’s ELAI­NE Online Dia­log CRM mas­ters the­se tasks based on anony­mous pro­filing. The aim is to iden­ti­fy con­tacts in soci­al net­works at an ear­ly sta­ge, rei­den­ti­fy and trans­fer them into a pro­fi­le buil­ding pro­cess for CRM and dia­lo­gue mar­ke­ting.

Conclusion

As in many other sec­tors, the bench­mar­king of tar­gets and suc­cess still requi­res exten­si­ve tasks in this very young mar­ke­ting disci­pli­ne of soci­al media. Never­theless, many tar­gets can be rea­li­sed with ade­qua­te stra­te­gy and care­ful plan­ning. Whoever pla­ces the human being in the cent­re and adap­ts the design of the indi­vi­du­al activi­ties accord­in­gly, stands a good chan­ce of for­ging long-term custo­mer rela­ti­ons out of appar­ent­ly loo­se, not very spe­ci­fic con­tacts.