Last month, over 250 marketers and small business owners gathered at the Social Fresh conference in Tampa to hear from 32 nationally recognized social media experts. Here’s some of the most common questions we heard.
What should my brand talk about?
Help your target audience find relevant information—not only about your brand, but about their passions. For Fiskars scissors, that passion is scrapbooking.
Maggie Fox from the Social Media Group in Ontario pointed out that “You can’t just aggregate, you must also curate. Help people find valuable information about your brand. Sites that [put lots of social media feeds about the brand on their homepage], but don’t filter them are useless… I have Google for that.”
How do you know when you’ve achieved social media success?
Its not just about having more followers than your competitors. A social media campaign, like any medium, needs a clearly defined strategy that fits in the overall brand strategy. What you are trying to accomplish with a campaign—sales, awareness, discussion or even just goodwill—should define the end goals of any social media effort. It’s more important to find and develop relationships with 5 people who are really passionate about your brand and what it has to offer than to have 5,000 fans who could really care less.
Whats the next big thing in social media?
Chris Barger, the Social Media Director for GM who is responsible for their early and active involvement in the social media realm had two predictions:
1. Combining SM with location awareness
This is mostly applicable to restaurants and other retail locations. Users “check in” on their mobile phones when they are at a location. The person who checks in to that location the most is named the “mayor”. Some stores are offering discounts, etc to the “mayor” of their stores. You can also leave reviews of the store, and discover where your friends are hanging out. The most popular sites for this are currently FourSquare and Gowalla.
2. Brand integration with SM gaming
Currently, lots of time is being spent on games like FarmVille and MafiaWars that are integrated into social media platforms like Facebook. Why not integrate your brand into these games or develop games around your brand that allow users to interact with their existing social media network?
Social Media isn’t everything.
One thing to remember—90% of word of mouth still happens offline. Use social media to help start conversations and engage with consumers—but don’t let it replace good old fashioned face-to-face interaction and other offline approaches.