Repeat after me: “I do not control my brand. I DO control how I react to how others relate to my brand.”
It’s kinda like life. Easier said than done. . . or accepted.
The fundamental reality that sending marketing campaigns into social networks is not a controllable exercise has turned out to be a very difficult thing for marketers to adjust to. There is inherently less control in social. There is more learning involved in social; very public learning. Frankly speaking, you have to have thick skin, and you have to be willing to experiment because this stuff is all new.
That’s why we call it the Social Revolution. At Moontoast we try to avoid buzzwords, but sometimes it’s hard for even us to do, as one of our Moontoaster’s friends pointed out to him (and us) to demonstrate just how much we don’t control the conversation anymore. . .
Revolution: (2nd definition from Dictionary.Reference.com) “a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure, especially one made suddenly and often accompanied by violence.”
So, it’s clear here that social structure is core to the term ‘revolution’. It makes sense that social networks could result in a revolution. But what we are referencing is the radical and pervasive change in the way that consumers relate to and choose allegiance to a brand. This shift has been sudden. And to some online marketers, the shift could be described (with a little poetic license) as violent indeed.
So how exactly does one lead in a revolution? Here is a short list to live by in your efforts:
First, you have to acknowledge that the revolution is happening.That means that your expectations of your campaigns can only be bolstered by experience in running them in social. If you haven’t been doing a lot of work here, expect for the first 6-12 months to be learning. And not optional learning, but required learning. The Social Revolution requires it.
Measure your learnings both quantitatively and qualitatively.It’s a strong advantage of the Social Revolution that your feedback is not just numbers in a funnel, but it’s fully equipped with thoughts directly from people as they interact with your brand offer. There is a huge benefit to this, so don’t miss out on the qualitative learnings.
Accept that results will come in many forms.These are relationships you’re dealing with here. Not relationships as in CRM (which we all know is acronym-ese for sales funnel), but relationships as in “keep things fresh and new or I will find someone (or some brand) who will.” Don’t always drive for the hard sell. Mix sales with contests with games with conversations with polls with pictures and video and more. The more diverse your array, the more insightful your learnings will be.
You may have noticed that in each one of those points, learning was a key point of focus. That is, in fact, how you lead in the Social Revolution. Retrain yourself (and your brand’s team) to remember that you aren’t in control anymore and you must learn what your fans want before you can deliver it to them. The only way you will be successful is by being brave enough to try new things, but smart enough to know that the goal is to learn, not to be successful every single time. Your ability to learn and adjust will send a message to your fans that you are paying attention, and they will repay you with the most valuable currency they have, their attention.