Everywhere around us, social media dominates the conversation. Big centralized corporations and brands have traditionally always been the first movers in these trends. But when supporting distributed marketing organizations, social media has been a tougher nut to crack. How much control should the brand have (or can the brand have) on what their Small Business partners are communicating at the local level? To what extent can they monitor the conversations, and help guide their local marketing partners to put their best foot forward. Its actually not as complex as one would think.
Many of the fundamentals and norms of Corporate brands marketing in the social world remain the same for small businesses. And with the proper technology, brands can empower (and monitor) their local marketing partners to ensure success. In no particular order, the right toolkit should help drive the following:
- Authenticity. The social web is made up of social creatures - we all want to interact with a person or entity we know to be authentic - there is no substitute. Interacting with unedited personalities is key. Ghost writing, when not done properly, is a sure-fire way to hamper results.
- Familiarity. People enjoy engaging with people familiar to them - family members, friends and/or local relationships. Familiarity is why social media has become so tremendously popular. Social media has exponentially increased a person's capability to manage more relationships. Its no wonder why local conversations generate 6 to 10 times more response than national content. People prefer to engage with people - much less so brands. Anytime you can put an actual person with a pre-existing relationship to your audience behind the brand, you are much more likely to get them to listen. This means moving the conversation to local.
- Expediency in Response. Who wants to interact with someone that takes their time in addressing an issue? People are "wired-in" 24/7 - they expect their companies to follow suit. Virality is instantaneous - if you don't respond to something negative or positive within an acceptable time-frame, you lose social street-cred.
- Engagement. Your audience has a voice and wants to have a say in your business. Engaging them tells you that they care, and can also help give you a competitive edge in your business. For example, getting customer feedback on a new product and better understanding what your customers want.
- Honesty. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it. Be truthful with your audience.
- Long-term Focus. As with all marketing, know the life-time value of your customer and make sure you resonate that view with your audience. Focus on increasing fans and followers. Social media is a chance to keep your customers "plugged-in", versus other marketing mediums which is all about the one-time response for that specific campaign.
By keeping all of these fundamentals in view, the proper tools can push these fundamentals to a localized social media. These tools should make your local efforts easy - for your brand and the local marketing partners who represent it.
About the Author
Jared is the Chief Executive Officer of SproutLoud. Since 2006, he has been primarily responsible for strategic direction of the Company, as well as the oversight of SproutLoud's Partner ecosystem. Prior to SproutLoud, Jared worked in Thomas Weisel Partner’s internet and online advertising investment banking practice in San Francisco. He served as the lead analyst on a number of Corporate Finance and M&A deals including Newscorps’ buyout of Intermix Media (Myspace.com). Jared graduated with a B.A. in Finance and Marketing from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. Jared has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and is a member of the Young President's Organization (YPO). Jared has been honored as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Entrepreneurs by South Florida Business Journal and a Top 50 Entrepreneur by Business Leader Magazine. Jared lives in South Florida with his wife and two sons.More Content by Jared Shusterman