- Customer or Prospect on SM
- Your Social Marketing Hurdles
- Measuring Social Success
- Persona Is Biggest Challenge
- The MEDIA in Social Media
- Integrity in Social Marketing
- Deliver Key Messages 10 Times
Engagement is a media speciality — with the three pillars of content, context and persona being key success factors for successful engagement of the most valuable audiences.
Prospects Are Tougher Than Customers
The social media challenge facing companies and organizations is significant — especially in the engagement of prospects (a much more difficult challenge than engaging existing customers).
Let's take a look at the three big hurdles (content, context, persona) from the angle of comparing customer engagement vs prospect engagement.
With existing customers, the hurdles become smaller, with generating content becoming easier since context and persona are already established. The core business relationship provides an anchor -- creating context for your message delivery and also establishes your persona with the audience.
On the prospect engagement side, the hurdles are bigger to overcome:
- Consistent content generation: tougher for prospects because their breadth of focus is much wider than existing customers. Why? Because they’re earlier in their buyers' journey and operating at a more challenge level rather than product / purchasing level.
- Creating context for messaging: again, it’s the wider focal width of prospects that makes this bigger hurdle. Delivering marketing messaging into a prospect audience is much tougher — requiring the development of more context (via a wider stream of content).
- Developing personas: ones that expand access to audiences — prospects are very wary bunch — reluctant to welcome vendors to the party when they are opening up about their challenges and needs around business
People often look at social media networks and forget that the middle word is as important as the first.
In the end, Social Media is a form of media … and media runs on three key pillars:
— consistently delivered, high quality from the readers perspective and well delivered (platform)
— content spanning all the key areas of messaging that your company wants to create context for.
— relevant content creates context for messaging delivery
— take a look at fashion magazines — they are masters of creating context for their clients (designers and retailers) to deliver key content like new season fashions, latest trends etc)
— context is absolutely critical for allowing the delivery of a wider range of messaging
The messenger is as important as the message — or to put it more clearly the credibility of the messenger (on a topic basis) determines the attention and credence given to the message
Companies are more successful in engaging customers (than prospects) on social media — because all three of these pillars change in character in a vendor-customer context
But when it comes to reaching and engaging buyer audiences (prospects) from a marketing perspective, companies struggle or even fail to attempt it.
The reason: the standard that has to be met is that of a media or publishing organization — not a vendor or event organizer. Its an unnatural (and we hope to show) unnecessary transition for companies to make — when a readily available media partner can fulfill the same role more efficiently and effectively. Hence the role that Loyalty IP has successfully taken on itself.
Take a list of your key messages:
— all the ones about the strengths, offerings and success of your company
— anything that could be helping to drive your marketing efforts IF they got in front of qualified and receptive buyer audiences
How many of them are being delivered / seen by buyers?
— are there some that never get out at all
— is your only vehicle for consistent delivery of a lot of your messages via telephone?
How far are the penetrating into the ‘buyer-sphere’?
— peripherally — when they come out looking?
— predatorially — via intrusive email, calling or ad campaigns?
— naturally — via a consistent and committed content (media) publishing infrastructure
Is your effort at “equilibrium”?
— consistently generating content
— naturally allowing for the delivery of all your key messages
— building leveraging credible online personas to gain deeper access to audiences and engage at a better level
The key question
Is this an all or nothing scenario?
— We found that most vendors and event organizers we came across thought the answer was yes (it is all or nothing)
— we set out to change that — to provide companies with a middle ground by creating a media (publishing company) that served as a key resource to buyers and a key partner to vendors — providing them with shared social media infrastructure that allows them to gain access to the content, context and personas is “bit size” pieces — making social media marketing a tactical rather than strategic investment
Persona. The biggest challenge facing brands in the evolution of their marketing strategies is building social ready personas. And yet personas represent the key asset in building context and engagement with audiences on social media — and by extension opening up huge new channels for engaging, educating and converting prospects.
Running from their core tendencies.
Brands have been caught up in LCD marketing for so long that they’ve lost belief in anything strategic. Sadly, the strategic part is what makes the difference between SM ROI and that “big sucking sound” of money going down the drain.
We understand the persona game.
And we’re well on the way to building the personas that is the missing link in your social marketing strategy. So the question is : is a shared social infrastructure right for your company? A ‘what’ you ask? Social media and content marketing, both the central pillars of the new age of marketing we are currently in, both demand strong infrastructure. The purpose of this infrastructure is to identify, capture, adapt, combine and repurpose content into the vehicle for engaging your prospects on a regular basis. Infrastructure is built to allow efficiency, consistency and effectiveness is process which requires investment first and then delivers ROI second (only if the investment was done right).
The opportunity is big and one your company can’t afford to ignore — missing out will only grow in its damage to your long term prospects — it is the future of marketing. But the investment (both financial and time) is also big — and its non negotiable. So its time to start thinking about execution and how shared social media infrastructure can be a key part to making the effort a combination of reasonable investment and high probability of success.
Why does the media exist? You can dive deep into that question — and focus on higher reasons like ‘providing an unbiased view of events’ or ‘to bring together creative people to create new and valuable ‘content’ across formats.’
All of that may be true but from the business perspective, media exists for on reason: advertising. It may be hard to stomach, but any business person knows that ‘what pays the bills’ is the core reason for existence of a media organization. What’s great is that it doesn’t have to be so cold or calculating that it lacks the flair of media.
What Media Companies Deliver
When great content is brought together in a coherent, focused platform — like a TV network or a radio station — it also creates opportunities for marketers to reach a specific audience with context and personas that can deliver their messages to that audience.
What does this have to do with social media marketing? A whole lot because the challenge facing companies trying to engage ‘prospects’ (not existing customers) is somewhat similar to the construction of a successful traditional media outlet.
If you want to deliver messages to audiences — you have to:
- build a content infrastructure that is much wider than your own company’s focus areas,
- take a long term approach to building context for the delivery of your key messaging and
- develop ‘personas’ which will given access to prospects (ie. their attention on social media).
That’s why we built Loyalty IP — because it isn’t feasible for most companies to create the ‘media’ infrastructure needed to fully tap the potential of the web and social media for reaching prospects. We knew that there was an opportunity for a different kind of external partner (that is not an agency) to provide real strategic value to vendors.
Integrity is always important but its importance multiplies in social media — particularly because trust lost on social media spreads like wild fire — and recovering trust is extraordinarily difficult.
So if you're wonder what the art is on social media (for businesses): it's the ability to balance focused marketing strategy with integrity — particularly as it applies to challenges like delivering marketing messages over social media.
Two Distinct Approaches
There are two ways to go about building a ‘high integrity’ social media effort:
#1: The Reactive Approach:
Monitor everything closely and keep fixing things when they go off track.
#2: The Proactive (Media) Approach:
Walk around the wall -- the one that makes companies comprise their integrity — and instead take a media approach: t which moves the content generation machine so far towards the needs of the buyer that the problem solves itself. You won't have to compromise your integrity to gain prospect attention.
So why isn’t every company taking this approach?
Ultimately, the the economics are questionable for an individual company to pursue a full media approach. It may be the ideal approach as a methodology, but companies run off ROI and profit potential and that's lacking in this approach.
We’ve taken on this challenge for several reasons:
- Skills — we have the business experience, writing skills, content infrastructure experience, publishing experience need to makes this a success.
- Love the space: we love the loyalty industry for several of its attributes: a) it's strategic yet tactical b) it's tech driven but not dependent and c) it combines the cutting edge of social with the traditional business values of customer centricity
- Opportunity: there are 1000s of vendors with great messages and millions of buyers needing that content to make decisions. All that's missing is PCC — persona, content, context — and we’re experts at building them.
- Economic equilibrium: with our model, the economics just make more sense for vendors. There are incremental spending options that fit companies of all sizes, allowing a company can deliver 1 message or many — depending on their budget.
10 TIMES? Vendors in the loyalty space are amazed when we promise them that we’ll deliver most of their key messaging to targeted audiences as many as 10 times. What a contrast they say compared to the number of times most of their messages get delivered now: zero.
If you set the bar higher....
That’s literally the standard we set for ourselves 2 years back -- when we set out to create a new media presence in the loyalty and incentives space. One of our key goals was to give vendors a multitude of opportunities to deliver many of their key marketing messages -- especially those that are currently “stuck on the shelf”.
If you read our articles for vendors on a regular basis, we keep repeating ourselves about the three pillars that are required to create those message delivery opportunities:
CONTENT | CONTEXT | PERSONA
Media Companies Are Built For These Three Challenges
Like most media companies, that is what we do best — create those three pillars for companies to leverage for message delivery. It would be worthwhile for your company to take the opportunity to test what we mean by becoming one of our registered vendors and including more of your messaging in our content streams.
To get started, setup your vendor account here on our portal and start uploading your key news releases, product announcements and other messaging that your company is looking for more ways to deliver to more targeted audiences of prospects. Then you can sit back and see how your most difficult to deliver news releases gain visibility using our 'media' approach.