{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

Social media is here to stay. And for many brands, that means that a social marketing strategy is not optional.

As it evolves, marketers will need to evolve how they exploit the opportunities created by social media. Here are three techniques that brands will probably need to think beyond to succeed in the coming years...

Bribes

Let's face it: social media isn't new anymore. In many consumer markets, most major brands have a social media presence and there's significant competition for consumer attention.

To capture that attention, some brands resort to bribery. From giveaways to 'retweet-this-for-a-discount'-style promotions, the logic is obvious: if we find a way to compensate consumers for promoting us, they'll love us even more.

Unfortunately, the returns on this marketing technique are diminishing because it's a technique that is not only overused, but generally poorly executed too. To stand out in the crowd today, campaigns need to be thoughtful and creative.

Trying to "bribe" consumers is neither and bribes aren't likely to generate the kind of meaningful, sustainable results that brands are seeking in the first place.

Crowdsourced products

Even before the advent of the internet and social media, the smartest companies listened to consumers, and incorporated their feedback into the product development process. Social media has, however, given companies new ways to gather feedback and democratize product development.

Not surprisingly, some companies have taken advantage of social media to put product development in the hands of consumers in ways never before imaginable.

You've seen the contests: help us develop a new [insert product name]! In some instances, crowdsourcing product development actually results in a decent product.

Far too often, these campaigns are little more than a marketing stunt that won't produce new products that are worth keeping around, defeating the stated purpose.

Charity piggybacks

When tragedy strikes, there's a very good chance that there will be vibrant discussion on Twitter and Facebook. Unfortunately, this makes tragedy a mouth-watering target for businesses with a broken moral compass. Sometimes, trying to exploit tragedy takes the form of a despicable tweet.

Other times, it takes the form of a charitable offer that isn't structured well.

Take, for example, Microsoft's recent offer that it would donate $1 to Japanese earthquake relief efforts for every retweet of a tweet promoting a link to a page on Microsoft's Corporate Citizenship website -- up to a paltry-by-Microsoft-standards $100,000.

For obvious reasons, Microsoft's attempt to do good didn't go over too well, and instead of improving its image, Microsoft has arguably damaged it.

The lesson: if you're going to do good works, do them and by all means share them with others. But think twice about trying to tie how much you contribute to the exposure generated by a social media marketing campaign.

Patricio Robles

Published 24 March, 2011 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2390 more posts from this author

Comments (14)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Avatar-blank-50x50

roberta ward

Your comment about the charity issue is particularly pertinent at the moment. When disaster struck Japan, Twitter was awash with folks raising money. The trouble with that, good though it is in some respects, is that twitter users get fatigued very quickly when the same issues are tweeted over and over by various brands. Thus it tends to be that the campaign has less effectiveness-if that is what it was intended for.
Great insights.

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Nick Stamoulis

I'd be willing to best that most of the companies on Facebook have offered a "Like us to get X" deal, seen a huge spike in Likes, only to watch the number dip back down once the promotion was over. Bribes may be good for short-term attention, but do they really have a lasting impact? There has to be a reason other than getting a coupon or free sample to keep users engaged with your brand.

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Richard Fullerton

Thanks Patricio, good article which I've re-tweeted.

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ehsan Tweets, Blogger at Freelance

Great article! Totally agree with the points mentioned.

I tend to disagree with Roberta Ward, although made a good point, but unfortunately the intentions aren't as pure as you may think :( Some charities in recent news stories proved themselves untrustworthy and charity supports by brands deem to be more of image building and misleading tactics!

Agree with Nick Stamoulis, but I would like to add the fact that with the presence of Social Media and citizen journalists' authority and the support of their audience may question the old school short-term vs. long-term objectives! Short-term objectives which doesn't serve the interests of a business's long-term objective would do more harm than good.

Good work and I hope brands start the journey of change.

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Heather Baker

Totally agree - organisations can no longer get away with this stuff thanks to the public nature of social media.

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

P Dombowsky

Interesting article - can't say I agree with the inclusion of crowdsourcing in the list. While I do think companies that do this have to be genuine in their communication about such programs and what happens, but customer driven product and service development is not a gimmick. Ask the salesforce.com community - they have driven the features for that platform for the past few years.

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

James

Hi, it's true that RT comps etc. are already starting to look a little hackneyed (just a bit) and we're definitely getting to the stage where it's out-and-out bribery - 'Like us now and we'll give you £100!' then our flowery SM metrics can look better in next month's report!

However, this is pretty much what everyone knows already, problem is not all brands on SM have the budget to do a big, interesting, exciting marketing campaign, so they resort to these kinds of tactics because they aren't seeing return anywhere else (i.e. a concrete increase in followers to show the client, even if the followers are all compers).

Personally I'd much rather see a post detailing some more interesting approaches to SM marketing on a budget rather than nay-saying about existing practices.

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Unika Hypolite

The points made on this post are factual. The reality is that it is all a matter of execution. At the end of the day social media is simply an online channel in which you can execute your brand building activities in a dynamic fashion. Therefore the basic tenets of brand building still apply. one must be ENGAGING, AUTHENTIC, sense of CULTURE, RELEVANT, RECENT, FOCUSED, CONSISTENT, EVOCATIVE.

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

consultor para empresas

The companies have to think about what social media has point in common with their history, their business model, their weaknesses. After that, they should start slowly with one or two social media strategies, learn with mistakes and make good things happen.

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ryan Clifford

Patricio,

Nice post! You mention the following:

"You've seen the contests: help us develop a new [insert product name]!...

Far too often, these campaigns are little more than a marketing stunt that won't produce new products that are worth keeping around, defeating the stated purpose."

Any suggestions for doing this better, for a company that really wants to generate new/useful/creative ideas? How about a hackathon/contest type of format?

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Aaron Beashel

I must say I disagree with the final point, somewhat. In Australia, suncorp and youngcare carried out a 'like us and we'll donate to this charity' campaign. The campaign was a huge success (I wasn't involved so I don't know the exact numbers) but it earned some credible commendations.

I think the key differences between this successful campaign and microsofts failed campaign are timing and point of view.

When a natural disaster of that scale occurs the world bands together and gives unconditionally, clearly moved by the tragedy unfolding. When everybody is giving without expectation of return, someone who wants something back looks cheap. Choose a charity that isn't front of mind, and you'll look good by comparison rather than bad.

The other key difference in the suncorp/Youngcare was the point of view. In this case, youngcare was the one seen to be Promoting the campaign, and by doing so took the focus off the 'like' and put it onto the donation and the charity in general, subtly creating goodwill for Suncorp rather than blatantly promoting themselves. Perfect example of unmarketing.

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Infinite Listings UK Business Directory

Great article - anything that helps users understand social media marketing, instead of blindly (and badly) swamping with offers and -eww - charity mugging, can only help out in the long run!

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Angela

Good article telling us marketers what not to do. But what are the alternatives?

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Chappers

Disagree about bribes.

Of course any competition when overused will become tiresome - if a retweet competition is executed well then there's no reason why it can't help to building a following. The brands who implement their campaigns poorly and relentlessly will only end up shooting themselves in the foot and getting themselves ignored.

For example I dont find the @hollandspies (no I'm not associated with them) monthly competion perfectly unobtrusive.

Despite it's power, Twitter is still very crude and hard to implement competitions with. To dismiss it just because 'everyone's doing it' is a mistake in my opinion.

over 5 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.