How To Get Social With Your Marketing

Everything is going “social.” First we had social media and social networking, then the social customer and now social CRM. I’ve always believed in using the right technology to enable a customer-centric approach. When I started to see “Social CRM” appear as the latest buzzword in social media, I realized it was a great way to describe being customer-centric in today’s online world.

Paul Greenberg, founder of the 56 Group, describes the social customer perfectly when he notes that customers are now communicating outside traditional channels, and that who and how they trust is different than it used to be.

While I don’t think traditional marketing techniques will go away, I do think organizations that don’t integrate social media tools into their marketing mix are in trouble. It comes down to using new techniques to reach the same objectives: building awareness, trust and brand loyalty and ultimately sales.

For those who are hesitant to jump into social media, here are a few ways we’ve integrated social media into our marketing mix:

Inject some fun: To increase technical decision maker traffic to our booth at the Interop trade show, we created a character, Johnny Lee Ross, leader of the fictional heavy metal band MotherBoard. We used him in our pre-marketing materials, which included videos posted on YouTube, email messages, direct mail pieces, a Twitter account and a Facebook page. We had a 35% improvement on quality of the audience visiting our booth and a 57% improvement at our VIP event where Johnny was our featured guest.

Embrace new platforms: To extend an existing campaign onto a platform that is being strongly adopted by our target audience, this week we launched our Qwandary iPhone app. It features a problem solving game we’ve also been running in print and online, giving us the opportunity to have an additional touch point in a fun way.

While we have a way to go before social CRM fully matures, I do think small incremental steps will go a long way to reach the new social customer.

My advice: Inject some “social” into your marketing efforts and see where it takes you.

When it comes to being social with your customers are you a leader or a follower? Or somewhere in between?

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