Why it Pays to be a Social Media Maven
There have been a few interesting articles and studies regarding the social media world recently. "The World's Most Valuable Brands. Who's Most Engaged?" engagementdb.com conducted research on the world's 100 most valuable brands, including Starbucks, SAP, Toyota and Dell, evaluating how well they are engaging their consumers through social media, and if that engagement has a direct impact on revenues and profits.
Their conclusion? The most valuable brands in the world are experiencing a direct correlation between financial performance and what they term "deep" social media engagement. Deep social media engagement means they are actively interacting with customers, instigating discussions and responding to questions or concerns. Social media is the tool for businesses to respond efficiently to a customer's request, thereby growing brand loyalty from a company's tribe of followers.
This study broke the 100 top brands into four different social media user types.
Mavens: Companies that have a robust strategy and dedicated teams focused on social media, and also make it a core part of their market strategy.
Butterflies: Companies that have initiatives in many different channels, but tend to spread themselves too thin, investing in a few channels while letting others languish.
Selectives: Companies that have a very strong presence in just a few channels where they focus on engaging customers deeply when and where it matters most.
Wallflowers: Companies that are slow or just getting started. Trying to figure out social media by just testing a few channels, cautious and uncertain.
Which description does your business/brand fall under? Consider this: even in this down economy, the Mavens saw revenues grow an average of 18%, while the Wallflowers saw revenue drop 6%. Surely, there are many other factors involved in those numbers, but out of the 100 companies studied, the ones that were both deeply and widely engaged in social media surpassed their peers in terms of both revenue and profit performance by a significant difference.
Companies spend a lot of time and money to build relationships through branding, customer relations, marketing and advertising, all in the hope that it will lead to increased sales. Social Media needs to be approached in the same relationship-heavy way, and not used as a one-way, direct marketing medium. When used correctly, social media should build your brand, drive traffic to your website, build loyalty from your tribe of followers, build an email list and drive sales growth.
With that said, here are four keys to a successful social media campaign:
1. Be in it for the long haul. Don't just jump in and never go back. Remember that this is a conversation, and that conversations require more than one person.
2. Pick your channels carefully. Determine who it is that you want to speak to and go find them. Every channel is not a great fit for every business, so take a look at your business/brand and find the appropriate channels.
At Toyota, the social media team realized there would be a lot of early resistance to having a Toyota blog. Instead, they started with a YouTube channel that showcased content Toyota already had on hand. Next came Twitter, mainly because it leveraged the corporate communications work that the Toyota team was already doing. They reasoned that it would be hard to get in trouble with 140-character postings. Today, the Toyota team works very closely with outside blogs (which are not affiliated with Toyota), by providing access, information, and support. Toyota also recently published Facebook pages for Lexus and Prius in conjunction with their outside agency.
3. Spread engagement to employees beyond your social media team. This is a big job and you can't expect one employee to handle the load. Encourage other team members to tweet about relevant topics, engage in conversations, and support the community. This includes you, too.
4. Be consistent with your social presence. You have an established brand and identity; make sure that carries over to your social space. Also, be consistent with your messaging. If you commit to tweeting twice a day, then tweet twice a day. If you commit to having a weekly blog, update it weekly. Remember, this is a conversation, and if one person stops talking, the other one will turn around and walk away.
Stuff We're Into
Think you know what the hot new Twitter topic is going to be? Now you can put your (virtual) money where your mouth is. Through pretweeting.com, users can make a virtual profit by buying and selling words on Twitter. Predict what's going to be hot before it blows up on Twitter and make a killing (though no actual money is required). Check out the site's research and tips sections for expert advice on word trading.
Incredibly addictive Incredibox is an interactive website that allows users to mix their own human beatbox sounds. The site is super fun and super simple, even if you're bad at mixing. Just drag and drop different sounds onto beat boxers to create your own music.
Mobile Banking with USAA
Don't have time to run to the bank? No worries. USAA Federal Savings Bank has an app for that. Just snap a photo of your check with your iPhone, hit a few buttons and, bam - the money is deposited into your account. Technological magic.
USAA iPhone App
Pixar animator and Lego fan Angus MacLane spends his free time designing and building Lego models of his favorite superheroes, sci-fi characters and other legends from pop culture. These CubeDudes, as he calls them, are surprisingly realistic and totally sweet. Try really hard and pick your top three favorite.
CubeDudes on Flickr
Remember The Alamo?
Well, we sure do. And after months of hard work in the mission's basement, Door Number 3 is set to launch a new membership program for the treasured landmark on behalf of The Daughters of The Republic of Texas. Look for Allies of The Alamo in late fall. That gives you just enough time to go get fitted for a coonskin cap.
Fresh off the assembly line, here's a glimpse at some new work from Door Number 3.
Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders
Shown: front cover and partial inside of invitation.
Behold, new pro bono work on behalf of Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. Door Number 3 was honored to handle all the creative marketing materials supporting their Second Annual Birthday Bash.
Aramco Services Company, a US-based subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco), has selected Door Number 3 to handle their recruitment efforts throughout North America. The multi-faceted campaign will include brand positioning and creative strategy, print, online, radio, user-experience design and the development of all-new marketing materials.
If we had tails, they'd be a-waggin'. Door Number 3 is proud to handle the rebranding of one of Austin's beloved icons - the Austin Humane Society. A new logo, web experience, collateral materials and on-site signage will be the first items off the assembly line; all in an effort to educate and help raise funds for Central Texas' premier shelter.
Donating in droves. Yes, that's the latest word from our client, The Blood Center of Central Texas. Door Number 3's television, print and online campaign, Redeem Yourself, has contributed towards even greater success: The most recent TV flight resulted in an increase of 48.5% more people showing up to donate, with an increase of 36.6% for those actually qualifying to donate, versus the same time last year. Fixed sites (not including mobile sites) were actually up 65%.
Finally, if you just can't get enough of Door Number 3, try stalking us on Facebook.
Client Shout Outs
American Bank of Texas, Eddie V's, and Chef Beck.
Big congrats to our American Bank of Texas client, Mark Few. Mark, VP of Operations at ABT, was recently honored with the coveted Excellence in Leadership Award by the Independent Bankers Association of Texas. The award recognizes Mark's leadership at ABT (which has grown from two branches to 16 since he joined in 2000), his community and the banking industry.
We're grabbing our bibs and bellying up to new client, Eddie V's Restaurant Group, which includes their namesake Eddie V's Prime Seafood, Wildfish and Roaring Fork restaurants. Owners Larry Foles and Guy Villavaso, do what they do so well, and we're very happy to be helping them promote their three unique dining experiences in the Orange County, Scottsdale, Houston, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio markets. Monday, October 5, they launched their 12th restaurant, an Eddie V's, in the new CityCentre area of Houston. Number 13, another Eddie V's, will be open in Dallas soon. Congrats!
Door Number 3 client, Hotel Palomar in Dallas, is the site for a new reality TV show, The Naughty Kitchen, with Chef Blythe Beck, premiering this fall on the Oxygen Network. Ms. Beck is the sassy new executive chef at the Palomar's acclaimed restaurant Central 214. Never without her signature pink chef's coat and a shock-and-awe vocabulary, she's known for dishing it up and out. She's dubbed her cuisine "sexy new American." Seconds anyone?