Social media marketing IS measurable if you use it as it was intended. However, it means that companies can no longer operate in a vacuum and expect a successful launch of a new product or service.
I have clients contact me all the time asking how they can utilize the social media universe to boost their business. Thanks to a lot of the so-called “gurus” out there, they’ve been hoodwinked into believing there’s a one-size-fits-all solution. Social media can be a great marketing tool but like all other marketing methodologies, every situation requires a unique strategy.
Take for instance the most brilliant use of Twitter I’ve seen yet. Kogi Korean BBQ-To-Go, the LA fast food street vendors, use Twitter to supply fans with up-to-the-second information on where their trucks will be next. Fast moving social media for fast moving food. I have yet to see another company that “gets it” like they do. Is that the answer for everyone? Not a chance.
Could Twitter work for General Motors, General Mills or General Electric? It’s possible if it were part of a campaign designed around a particular product or service launch.
If General Motors wanted to generate long-term excitement about a new electric car they were engineering, they could have a combination of engineers, designers, researchers, technicians, testers and test drivers blogging about their progress, difficulties they encounter, solutions they develop, and team dynamics (gossip) to keep the story fresh for reporters and the public. Each of their posts would be automatically uploaded to Twitter to keep a never ending stream of posts available for the curious.
That would also alleviate the biggest complain we get from clients. “My people don’t have enough time to blog every day or even three times a week.” It’s all about leveraging social media according to your abilities and integrating it into your daily product and service development process.
General Electric could do the same thing if they ever get to work on another nuclear power plant. To keep the public interested and informed and to combat fear and ignorance, they could post interesting stories about the day to day development of the plant, human interest stories about the real people involved, and post certifications and safety documents.
I recently was invited by a “marketing firm” to attend a taste test for a series of microwaveable food products. The products actually sounded interesting. Unfortunately, I knew nothing about them because of the tendency of marketers to try to filter out all “distractions” to get to your “opinion.”
While taste tests have their place, treating a food product like a sterile laboratory experiment does nothing to generate excitement and interest. In my opinion, (and no one is claiming humility here) they would be much further ahead engaging the public through social media right from the first concept meeting, through the development phase, right up through packaging design and launch, getting up to the minute feedback from potential customers, press, food networks, food magazines, the mind boggles. Imagine the launch of any product that the public feels they were heavily involved in the development of?
Public taste tests with free food. Contests throughout the development phase. Imagine using Twitter to notify people where and when the trucks will be arriving in hip locations, or better yet, giving out clues as to where the trucks will be with cool giveaways and free food testing? Hmmm…sounds familiar…
Companies have operated in secret for so long, that it’s extremely difficult to get them to trust the public to help them develop a good product or service. Developing a product in secret and then pasting a marketing plan over it is the most difficult and failure prone way to launch a product or service.
Engaging the public throughout the whole process so that when you release it YOU KNOW that you have a saleable product with an already developed fan base is how you can exactly measure the effects of social media marketing.