Step Three – Social Media for Inbound

08 Aug
August 8, 2012

Just a few more weeks of summer, and then back to more frequent writing and posting.  Already the summer has been busy, and I’ve had numerous great conversations and discussions with other CMO’s about inbound marketing.  At the CMO Council Advisory Board meeting in New York, we discussed some very interesting ideas surrounding “Uplift Marketing” and “Precision Targeting” – more on those later.

Meanwhile, my penultimate post in this series, on the elements which create valuable and effective inbound marketing strategies, is focused on the social media aspect of driving inbound.

Social media itself is defined in many ways and many modes depending on the audience, the product or service, and even the culture of the company attempting to generate results using this element to drive inbound traffic.

If you have products that directly tie to an altruistic concept which lights up people’s interest and enthusiasm, you are way ahead in starting your social media program.  I recently heard Mark Phillips of GE Healthcare speak at Frost and Sullivan’s MarketingWorld exposition.  Not only are the products his group are developing fundamentally valuable in providing health benefits, but they are delivering special products to traditionally under-served and remote parts of the world to provide for better health.  Then Mark and his team create the marketing assets around providing that value, and send them out into the world.  Videos on YouTube of GE Healthcare products and people are heartwarming and compassionate.  Those elements alone create an environment which facilitates forwarding and commenting.

But it is not only those altruistic and socially responsible positions that can leverage social media.  Any and all B2B and B2C companies can identify, amplify, and socialize one or more elements of their brand to their audience in a compelling and interesting manner.  I have seen numerous examples from Starbucks on Facebook to Obama on Twitter.  I am sure you have all encountered some aspect of these social media assets in your travels, and found some to be compelling, or at least interesting.

The key to getting it right is to align message with audience, then proliferate assets to social media properties (LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook, Blogs, comments, etc.) which fit that audience’s propensities.

My favorite analogy is one of a “river of information”, which some of you have heard me write about in the past.  The river needs to be populated with bits and pieces of content in differing lengths, types, formats, and messages.  The audience then “dips into the river” based on their own preferences and needs when and where they are most interested, and absorb the messages in the media or format they are most compelled by.  So, the successful strategy gets back to the basics – understand the audience, their needs, their psyche, and where they hang out.  Then proliferate your messages accordingly.

One more summary post in this series to come, then onto different subjects.

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