This guest post is from Liz Perman, a senior manager with SmartBrief’s association relations team, who is attending the IAB MIXX Conference and Expo in New York this week.
As popular as social media is, there are still a lot of obstacles to overcome before an initiative gets off the ground. Alan Wolk, creative strategist of The Toad Stool, outlined some of the biggest hurdles a company has to clear on the path to social success in his “Case Studies in Social Media” panel at MIXX, before turning to three groups of brand marketers for lessons on how they made social media work.
There are six major obstacles a company has to cope with before it can achieve social success, Wolk said.
- Luddites — who still think that the Internet is just a fad.
- Magpies — who are constantly searching for the next bright, shiny object.
- Lawyers — who want to wrap lots of red tape around your promotions.
- Hogs — who won’t share existing content with social media campaigns.
- Misers — who think social media is free and won’t devote any funds to it.
- Lousy Products — that won’t stand the test of the crowd.
Here’s how three famous brands got their social projects up and running, despite these hurdles.
Cheetos: Stephanie Charlebois, senior communication strategist at Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, and Pete Spande, senior vice president of sales at Federated Media.
Cheetos wanted emphasize the brand’s association with fun and playtime. They created a digital toy box to give constrained adults a license to play. They partnered with Federated Media to create ads that were fun and memorable, without being over-the-top or offensive. The ads were then distributed on sites where adults go when they want to relax, such as Boing Boing and Mashable. Panelists noted that marketing needs to be representative of how you want the world to see your brand.
General Mills: Dave Eisen, marketing manager, baking division at General Mills, and Laura Fortner, senior vice president, marketing and insights at CafeMom.
The Betty Crocker brand found huge social media success with everything from developing birthday-party planning groups that shared video tutorials and stories, to the development of a widget that enabled moms to send customized cupcakes to their friends. Panelists said the initiatives worked because they were transparent, relevant, authentic to the brand and engaging to the community. The company also used tools to measure the impact of the campaign.
Bank of America: Adam Turinas, executive vice president, client engagement at Organic, and Jennifer McDonald, digital marketing executive at Bank of America.
Through research and data collection, Bank of America realized that Twitter was the right social media venue for them, since it opens up a new way to provide customer service and collect feedback. While some people tweet about good Bank of America service experiences, Twitter is also a space for people to vent about bad experiences, and it can even turn into a venue for finding resolutions to problems. Bank of America realized that this poses a unique opportunity for them to engage with their customers when they are most frustrated and turn the experience around so that formerly angry customers become brand evangelists.
Image credit, Kdow, via iStock