Saturday, April 4, 2009

Social Media Connections 2

Following on from my earlier post on Social Media Connections, I was having a look to see what brands and businesses are really doing out there when it comes to Social Media. Facebook, of course, is scattered with brands, businesses, products and people, some by individuals and some by the companies themselves. Having been involved in several Social Media integrated campaigns on both Facebook and Bebo, I familiar with how this works, and it's clear that for a lot of the activity out there, it is after thoughts more then planned, integrated and result-driven activity.

The truth is that the vast majority of business are still treating Social Media as a buzzterm, as something that needs to be included in digital campaigns because "it's what the kids are doing these days". Anyone with half a braincell can tell that's not the way to approach any digital marketing channel. Digital provides marketing channels unique in their ability to be tracked, optimised and reported on. Generally all metrics are available, and all of them should be used. So what am I getting at?

Basically, very few people get it. When it comes to making social connections between brands and consumers, there are very few good examples to quote. The best example of late is Powerade's Never Give Up. A social connection is a two way communication. If it's one way and is just you blasting marketing messages at people it's definitely not social. Never Give Up as a campaign, created real interaction with the public and this drove overall results.

Surely there are others out there doing similar? Well another interesting example I found was of BMW in China. BMW has launched an exclusive social network for its drivers in China. Not a Facebook Page or Bebo profile, but it's own social network. There new site is designed to engage with China’s 150,000 BMW drivers. This is a worldwide first for the brand in an effort to bolster brand loyalty. According to Brand Republic, BMW chose to build its own site instead of creating pages on existing social networks to avoid privacy and security setbacks, and to have the autonomy to build the network according to the technical needs of them and its users.

But, is this a good idea? It would seem to me that what BMW have done here is to create a new Bebo with BMW branding. Aside from blasting its marketing messages at users, it doesn't serve to connect with those users. I don't deny that there is potential goodwill for a service that is being offered for free but is there any potential to actually connect with these people. I don't think so. So here is an example of a campaign which will never do any more then provide a platform for Interest Generators to connect. Potential brand benefit is ultimately very low.


Kevin Dunne said...

Hi Christian, I really enjoy your blog. Mind if I add you to my blogroll?

In relation to what you say about businesses treating social media as a buzz term, I totally agree.

A while back I met Joe Rospars, New Media Director of the Obama campaign and one of the founding partners of Blue State Digital.

Joe agreed to do a small interview for my blog. One of the questions I asked was "What determines if a company or brand should use social media".

Joe said, "Every company or brand should start to take advantage of the benefits of social media. In a year or two this probably won’t even be a question".

Christian Hughes said...

Hi Kevin, thanks for the comment (and compliment). I just read your Joe Rospars post - great interview! I'd be very happy to be included in your blogroll, and more then happy to do the same.

When campaign planning these days, it's a very rare product/service that can't benefit from Social Media. It may vary from campaign to campaign but there is generally always benefit from some level of activity.

Kevin Dunne said...

Hi Christian, thanks a million for adding me to your blogroll. Much appreciated.

Christian Hughes said...

Not at all - always happy to help another Irish blogger, especially a marketer ;)