What’s involved in a Social Marketing Strategy?

There is a lot of work involved in keeping a social marketing strategy fresh. It requires time and resources, similar to any other campaign, to ensure that the content (copy, images and video) are kept updated and all comments responded to. You can’t ‘set and forget’ social marketing, someone needs to be monitoring any noise/comments constantly. This is especially true if there is negative PR and press about brands.

There is so much to get right and it an evolving process where learnings are continuous. All learnings you get, whether positive or negative, help refine and develop what you need to be doing with social marketing. Similar to most things, the more mistakes you make the better you will get at social marketing.

A blog post written by Hjörtur Smárason suggests that there are six common mistakes made by companies in social marketing. They include:

  1. Not listening
  2. Not adding any value
  3. Faking it
  4. Using traditional media tactics in social media
  5. Building the network too late
  6. Not investing

A great example of a company wanting to get involved with social marketing, but not totally understanding the implications, is a large Australian telco. This telco invited feedback on one of their brand sites, but hasn’t got the processes set up behind the scenes to ensure any comments or feedback is taken on board and fed back into the company. They are trying to change things internally so they can listen to their customers and improve their service.

A company that has got it right is Dell with their Idea Storm. This is easily one of my favourite social marketing/blogging examples. When they initially started their blog, they got it so wrong and over time they have used their learnings to refine what they are doing. Dell dipped their toe into the water at the time when they were having problems with their batteries (in particular blowing up on planes). They needed to do something because people started blogging about how bad the customer service was and how crap the product was. Their first response was a blog called Direct to Dell. Unfortunately this was a one-way blog where all comments were moderated prior to appearing on the blog. This caused a lot of uproar and in response they developed Idea Storm, which helps to contain any negativity, generate new product development and monitor consumer sediment towards their products. BRILLIANT! The perfect customer service, research and product development tool.


There are five things you need to do before getting involved with social marketing:

  1. Understand the market – What is happening? Who is talking or making the most noise? Where are the noises being posted? Is it corporates or individuals talking the most? What are they saying about competitors? (see hints below)
  2. Define why – What is the purpose for getting involved? Is it commercial, CSR or other? What do you want to get out of it? What are the objectives? What is the vision? What are you hoping to achieve? Customer insights? Customer feedback? Customer learnings? Advocacy?
  3. Moderation – How is what you put out there going to be moderated? How often is it going to be moderated? When will it be moderated? Do you have the resources to moderate it? How will you respond to comments? Will you remove comments or respond to negative feedback?
  4. Feedback – How will the feedback be fed back into the company? Who will lead the project? Who will lead the response to feedback? How will you communicate that the feedback has been heard? How will you update the audience on the progress of the feedback?
  5. Maintenance – What else do you want to add? How often do you want to update/refresh content?


Before getting involved with social marketing it is critical to understand the space. There are several free tools available to help you know what consumers are saying about brands, including:

  • Dipity – after typing in a keyword (or your clients brand), it provides an overview of the word on a timeline – taking YouTube and Flickr into account. If you type in Qantas the images you see go back to photos taken in 1960, see details below:
Timeline of all Qantas tagged photos on Flickr using Dipity

Timeline of all Qantas tagged photos on Flickr using Dipity

  • Powerset – allows you to search through Wikipedia and track all of the content about a particular topic. Again Qantas was used for this search (see below) and it brings back relevant company information and comments about the airline.
Qantas results from Wikipedia using Powerset

Qantas results from Wikipedia using Powerset

Written by Dominique Hind

2 Responses to What’s involved in a Social Marketing Strategy?

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