Social marketing seems to be the hot topic these days. It is in various marketing awards, clients are all talking about it and it is now an important part of many agencies’ planning philosophies.
However, what is social marketing and how do we do it right?
Usually, an account (microblog, kaixin001, RenRen, QQ space) is the first step. Consumers will not search or inquire online intentionally for a corporate branding site or an official microblog, unless they have something to complain and need a platform to do so.
To guide the audience, we need to think seriously about ‘what to say’ and ‘how to say’. The former refers to the ‘content’, while the latter refers to ‘communications.’
It sounds easy but why do many enterprises still encounter bottlenecks in social marketing? Why are there so few visitors to the site? And how to encourage participation and interaction? These are the problems causing marketers headaches.
To create a clearer idea, we have drawn a 3D graph. It will help you define where you are standing. Are you adopting the ‘3D communication’, ‘flat communication’, or standing at the original point without any improvement?
As you can see from the graph, the three dimensions are content, communications, and guidance. The original point is ‘brand accounts’. Now we can get a relatively clear positioning.
However, most enterprises are still focusing on self promotion. It is like someone who keeps on talking about himself and how great he is. Enterprises must have a point of view on issues affecting their products, customers, and industry than just talking about themselves. But how to integrate the two is something we should consider.
To reiterate, consumers need you to tell them you do have such a platform and why they need to engage on this platform. Good content is important for building long-term relationships. But if you want to achieve positive results in a short time, you must provide appropriate guidance to your audience, not only on digital media, but creating an integrated plan using other kinds of media. Good products need to be advertised, so do good platforms. To attract the audience is only the first step. To interact with good content is the key to keep your audience.
We can discover different kinds of positioning in the 3D graph for different enterprises. No. 1 represents enterprises that have content but lack communications or guidance. No. 2 represents enterprises that have the right balance of the three dimensions. The results they achieve will differ greatly.
Case Study: COFCO
COFCO is a leading grain, oils and foodstuffs import and export group in China and one of its largest food manufacturers. It is known as a smart user of social marketing channels. Its two digital campaigns (Lohas and COFCO Production Team) were very successful. In 2010, the food giant started to use a new social tool – microblog – to create a campaign named ‘Better Life @ COFCO’. Let’s look at how it used 3D positioning to define the brand and deliver the right messages.
3. Guidance: The major media for ‘Better Life @ COFCO’ is Sina microblog. We also integrate other channels in the pre-notice stage to attract attention. For example, the video sites are the popular sites that we are all very familiar with. So we make optimal use of the video sites at the beginning to enhance awareness. And the “self promotion” function of microblog also acted as an efficient motivator in the process.
3D positioning is only a judging tool of social marketing. To ensure good performance in all three dimensions, the whole team needs to work continuously on the key topic of ‘users’ experience’. We should take the role of the audience, thinking what they might be interested in and doing what they might practice. Think seriously about how to deliver the brand spirit to the audience instead of repeating advertising messages. In this way, your target audience will react to you with the same passion and enthusiasm. Isn’t that the real meaning of social marketing?