Megan McQ’s Musings

Posts Tagged ‘Social Media

juggling

The other day I met with Lou, President of ValueStar, a customer ratings and reviews service from confirmed customers. (Disclosure: personal acquaintance).

The directory service provides companies (such as Company XYZ) the opportunity to have Company XYZ’s previous customers rate their experience on ValueStar’s Web site. This service varies from other social network rating systems, because it ensures that actual customers of Company XYZ are rating the company. Of course, it’s up to Company XYZ to complete quality work to obtain good reviews, and not all of the reviews on the site are positive.

Lou and I were discussing social media and it was enlightening to discuss the marketing element of a directory service, due to the variety of constituencies such service like ValueStar has to reach.

On the one hand, ValueStar has to draw customers to their web site and ask them to review a company with whom they have had an interaction, and use the companies listed on the Web site. On the other, the company has to obtain companies seeking the marketing opportunity ValueStar has to offer.

The problem arises where Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) strategy is concerned: How does one company diversify their message to such different constituencies? It would seem an IMC campaign that unifies messages across platforms would leave something to be desired for each constituency ValueStar is trying to reach. Juggling the communication needs of either constituency would be dangerous.

Because I’m an advocate of using the same communication messages across platforms, here’s my take on the situation:

Everyone is a customer of some sort. At some given time, we’ve all been the purchaser in a transaction. In my opinion, then, I think that ValueStar should focus its marketing efforts to the customers of the “Company XYZ’s” on the Web site. Utilizing a SM strategy that fosters genuine human interaction, ValueStar could cultivate relationships with this constituency and encourage them to become reviewers and users of other companies listed on the site. (Insert the 80/20 rule here). This communication strategy would inevitably include company owners and marketers who will see the value in the site, and want to become certified and listed on the directory.

A social media campaign would then be able to identify the business owners among the primary communication target. A specific, tailored message could be constructed for these new constituencies. Due to the highly-specific nature of these messages, they should resonate with the constituencies–eliminating the need for message repetition. After all, that’s the whole purpose of social media: building meaningful relationships with potential customers, and reach those customers with valuable messages.

But that’s my take, anyway. I’m curious to hear your input on this type of communication campaign.

photo via Mark Pummell

The Blog-off contest at Community Marketing Blog ended on the 30th of May.

Over the course of the two week competition, I ended up posting 3 times. These posts ranged in scope. One covered mobile advertising (or ‘app’vertising). It discussed the recent trends in the mobile marketing industry and how companies can increase brand awareness through effective mobile applications.

The second post talked about journalism in the social media era. I talked about how traditional journalism is being replaced by citizen journalism and how I thought this was a good thing in terms of marketing and branding campaigns. Citizen journalism increases transparency and strength of message from influencer bloggers.

My third post talked about the importance of digital monitoring due to digital WOM (word of mouth). It also touched on how companies must understand their online digital conversation before they engage their customers online.

I learned a lot from this competition. I’m proud of the conversation that was generated in the comments as well as how many people read the posts!

In my next post, I’ll talk about some of the ‘blogger best practices’ and my strategy for the competition.

Also, I’ll write a post and let you know who the winners of the contest are. If I am picked to be a permanent writer to the blog, I’ll have a press release with my bio sent out to 1+ million people on Linked-In and other prominent industry blogs. It will be very exciting.

Okay, Okay, the title of this post seems contradictory with the entire purpose of this blog. But just hear me out.

On Monday, The San Diego Business Journal wrote an article after an interview with Michael Olguin, who heads Formula PR. Formula PR was ranked No. 1 on the Business Journal’s 2008 Public Relations Agencies List.

OlguinThe article discussed Olguin’s opinions on social media, who does claim that social media is as important as any other element of PR. However, he doesn’t think that social media is for everyone. According to the article:

Olguin is a firm believer that Internet media, whether it’s social networking, online versions of print publications, or columnists and reporters who maintain their own blogs, is vital to his business. But he also concentrates his client roster on national firms, or locally based companies that are national.

I agree with this framework completely. There are a lot of companies who are hearing a lot of buzz words and want to get active in the sphere. But companies may not benefit from having a social media presence, especially those in the B-2-B sector. I also think that Olguin is wise to implement social media campaigns for national firms and companies.

However, I do think that all companies should understand social media. Just because an active presence on the sphere may not be in the cards for your integrated marketing communications right now, it doesn’t mean that companies can just ignore the sphere altogether.

This is especially true for companies who are B-2-C. Chances are, your consumers are talking about your company on online communities. Companies should therefore instill a social media monitoring system to be aware of the online conversation and the ‘loudest’ allies and opponents. Having this system in place will make the entrance into the social media sphere more seamless as it becomes necessary.