In the article, The Six Essential Principles for Social Media Success in Financial Service Firms, provided by Actiance (which can be accessed through the AMA at http://www.marketingpower.com/), a few gems of useful information lie within a jumble of common sense. Though the article claims to focus on “Financial Service Firms” almost all of the information is too general to be applied to any specific sector, it’s really just an intro to social media marketing.
The article does effectively lay out the challenge of using marketing is social media: Effectively engage clients and consumers, make content worth passing on, and capitalize on trust of those engaged with the media. Further it establishes what makes social media so useful – connecting on a personal level with your companies followers.
The article argues that the intimacy of social media is what makes it a unique medium for marketers. Further it finds that a variety of voice makes content more engaging and personalized; less of a commercial center than a community one. A struggle many have with social media is the ability to keep constant and fresh updates going online. It is unlikely that any firm could fully produce new, relevant, and exciting content at the rate that users demand. Here appears one of the gems, by having pre-approved media a company can avoid awkward untimely posts that cause a lost of interest, and fewer people to return to the page. An excellent example of this is the Facebook page for the GoPro video camera. Every day they have a contest to give away everything they make. They announce the winner daily giving the page new content, and a reason for fans to return the page daily. THEN (and here is the other gem) they customize the post, mentioning where the individual is from and then broadcasting events in that area that they are partnered with, or where they think it might be cool to use the GoPro camera. This is that key customizable, personal, touch that social media provides, and if its results you’re after, these daily posts receive hundreds of likes, dozens of shares, and at least as many comments. Each of these responses creating stories in hundreds of other people’s news-feeds. Talk about significant consumer engagement!
However, the article also warns that social media tends to parallel corporate culture. If upper management doesn’t see the medium as a part of the overall strategy, doesn’t know how to use it, or is just kept out of the loop, the project will lag. Conversely, if it is embraced by the top, social media has a much better chance to excel.
There are a number of additional ways the company can reach its followers beyond Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-in. Product sales and review sites are also important places to connect, or at least further understand attitudes towards your product. Not only do they give you information about your customers, what else they buy, and feedback on your product, but you can also use that information to customize your posts, to target your audience in a way that is unexpected. Amazon.com’s facebook page is another example to look at. Amazon has access to information readily available about what products are hot, which items are bestselling, and much much more. They then promote the products and ideas that consumers are thinking about – making not only a personal connection, but also content that is worth sharing, liking, and commenting on.
Lastly, a benchmark is needed to determine the effectiveness of the social media. Data on likes, comments, shares, and “other clicks” all have different values. By establishing goals and tracking increased engagement one can see whether or not the material is being useful and how many people are truly engaged with the media. This information should be used to shape future posts based on what content is most attractive to the audience.
Again, not a super in-depth article, nor one on financial service firms, but one that is a useful introduction with a handful of good ideas.