By Steven Jeffes
Infrastructure Establishes a Social Media Foundation, Campaigns Capture Business
Many firms can say they can help your business in social media, all offering help in setting up Fan Pages, web pages, event and photo pages, groups, SEO, etc. All of this will help you establish a basic presence with Social Media as the bare minimum you will need in setting social media infrastructure, but very little of this foundation building activity will actually help you drive real business by now merely showing up on social media. What is needed to be successful in the realm of social media, after setting up this basic infrastructure, is architecting a robust campaign management program to help drive additional prospects, inquiries, build relationships, and drive actual new or repeat customers. A sample of the many social media components many firms will attempt to sell your company explains why most are not revenue generating, but rather basic infrastructure and foundation setting in nature:
ComponentDescriptionNet ResultFan PagesEstablishes a landing area about your organization and businessBasic Facebook web page to be discovered – infrastructureLinkedIn & Facebook GroupsEstablishes a group for people to join with a common purpose or affinityBuilding a basic presence on which people ‘might’ join – infrastructureLinkedIn EventsEstablishes events for direct 1st level contact to sign-up with intent to attendBuilding a basic presence on which people ‘might’ attend – infrastructureTwitter PagesEstablished a landing area about your organization and businessBasic Twitter web page to be discovered or ‘followed’ – infrastructureSocial Media Analytics or Sentiment Analysis ToolsDevelops listening posts at various social media venues and communities to gauge public sentiment about your company, products, brands, servicesDevelops intelligence on what conversations are occurring that are relevant to your business – infrastructureSocial Media Campaigns such as connection to me campaigns or fan campaigns that drive increases in fans, friends, or connections (refer to sample campaigns below)Drives increases in general audiences and in specific segments for campaign targeting and for sales closure.Increases the universe of potential customers and specific groups with affinity toward your specific products and/or services. Closes sales for your products and services
The bottom line with the above is that many activities will set up a presence within social media, but few activities drive real leads and closed business like social media campaigns. Social Media pages, events, groups, etc. all develop the repository (setting up the pool) for people to come to when asked, but social media campaigns actually drive people to sign-up, join, fan, friend, etc. (filling the pool with high quality water) that will then be captive for driving and closing new business. The following sections will look at some examples of how social media campaigns have driven increased prospects and real/closed business.
“Social Media Messages All Seems Like a Stream of Consciousness with No Rhyme or Reason”…
Several times in the past few months, several of my clients have commented to me that they see many firms putting out messages via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. that are mostly a stream of consciousness and seemingly have “no rhyme or reason”. My comments back to them was that, for many companies who do not know how to use social media effectively, that is the impact they are having – sending out uncoordinated and unfocused streams of consciousness without a consistent theme, goal, brand message, and in many cases annoying messages about mundane and uninteresting topics more about themselves vs. anything anybody else would be interested in reading. In essence, these companies are turning off the very people that they are trying to sell to via social media.
I was then asked if there was a way to change this so that companies were sending more coordinated, interesting communications that all made sense and built upon one another to generate a common and interesting theme. This would encourage people to read more, and more importantly, make them interested in potentially purchasing the company’s products and/or services. My response to this seemingly silly question was “of course there is.”
One of the main ways companies can end this stream of consciousness existence on social media, is to utilize a campaign planning template I use for all of my clients in order to facilitate a more professional and coordinated presence on all social media sites. Similar to the campaign plan/brief/planning template that many of the best of breed Marketing Automations software tools employ like Unica, SAS, Oracle CRM, SAP CRM, Chordiant and Alterian, this campaign planning template can bring order, clarity and relevancy to your messaging on social media sites. It can literally transform your presence from the realm of annoying, irrelevant, and to be ignored – or worse, de-friended, opteded-out, de-connected, etc. to being highly engaging, referred to via viral forwarding, and saved on ‘favorites’ list and other must follow mechanisms.
This campaign template also enables your campaigns to be successful in converting new business by be synchronizing them from a cross-platform perspective (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) such that present consistent and complimentary messaging that supports your overall brand strategy and campaign themes. Employing this facilitates your firm in building intelligence into your social media campaigns by pre-designing a campaign brief around key message themes for each platform. This template is a very small part of a Social Media Best Practice Design Methodology and toolkit that I have developed called SMARTE – The Social Media Adaptive/Responsive/Transcendent Enterprise. A sample of this Social Media Campaign Planning Template, which is part of this SMARTE methodology, (in summary form), is as follows:
Social Media Campaign Planning Template:
Campaign Brief: Theme, Goals, Tactics, Platform Targets, etc.Campaign Theme: Social Media for Automobile DealersCampaign Timing: May 1 – May 30thCampaign Periodicity: One message ever other day on each platformPlatforms: Twitter, LinkedIn FacebookCampaign Success Metrics: Ten Inquires, Two signed ContractsCampaign Goals: Convince automobile dealers and brokersCampaign Targets: Automobile Dealers and BrokersCampaign Tactics: Generate dealer general interest in social media from May 1-15; Communicate how to be success in social media from May 15-20; Communicate we know how to from May 21 – 30th.Lead Follow-Up: E-mail “Social media for dealers” white paper, dealer testimonials, and invite to June 15th Webinar – “Dealing for Dollars – A dealer’s social media success guide.Platform Specific Campaign & Message PlansLinkedIn Campaign Messaging Plan:May 1: Auto Dealers benefit from social media via 7% lift in sales in MarchMay 3: Dealers find that social media generated leads account for top 35% of most profitable customers.….May 16th: First steps to developing a highly effective dealership social media program: http://xys123.com…May 28th: Auerback dealership recognizes Edgeup Marketing for excellence in social media:http://abc711.comTwitter Campaign Messaging Plan:May 1: …May 3rd: …Facebook Campaign Messaging Plan:May 1: …May 3rd: …
The top part of this template under the heading “Campaign Brief: Theme, Goals, Tactics, Platform Targets, etc.”lays out the overall plan for the campaign and form the global parameters governing the campaign such as goals, timing, success metrics and KPIs, tactics, lead-follow up plan, etc. As part of my SMARTE methodology, I employ an SCAPE of Social Campaign Analysis, Planning & Execution methodology to plan and architect highly successful social media campaigns.
The bottom part of this template under the heading “Platform Specific Campaign & Message Plans” lays out the overall plan for the platform specific campaign messaging that support the campaign such as goals, timing, success metrics and KPIs, tactics, lead-follow up plan, etc. The development of this part of the template is also part of the SCAPE of Social Campaign Analysis & Planning methodology from the overall SMARTE Methodology.
Campaign Execution & Follow-Up
During and following the execution of these campaigns, a similar template governs the follow-up to all campaigns activities, leads generated, inquires, 2nd wave follow-up campaigns and needs to be carefully considered when developing the original campaign. In this SCARF or Social Campaign Analysis & Response Follow-Up template, all contingencies are accounted for in terms of plans needed to follow up on the campaign including the business rules needed to support the follow-up, the campaign resources required, the type of response required by segment, etc. I chose SCARF for this component since every aspect of the campaign response needs to be wrapped up and accounted for in order for the campaign to be considered actionable and successful.
Social Media Campaign Success Samples:
The following are a few sample campaigns I’ve executed via social media with this method that have netted huge results in very short periods of time that have helped me acquire several new contracts representing net new business for my firm:
A) LinkedIn – 15,000+ group members in ~1.5 years!
Consider the following real accomplishments I have accumulated in the realm of group management via the execution of intelligent and coordinated social media ‘connect to me’ campaigns:
- In the past year or so I have established and grown the following mega-groups on LinkedIn, each with over 1,200 members by leveraging effective social media viral campaigns:
a) Current and Former CSC Employees – 8,100+ Members
b) Lockheed-Martin Employees – 2,100+ Members
c) General Electric Current & Former Employees – 1,600+ Members
d) Capital District & Upstate NY Professionals – 3,200+ Members
e) IBM Current & Former Employees – 1,380 Members
When these groups were first formulated, I adopted an ‘invite a friend’ campaign for many of these groups whereby I encouraged and incentivize people to invite their friends, colleagues, associates, etc. to join these groups. The incentive to invite a friend encouraged each existing member to invite their friend, colleague, associate to the group to grow each of the group’s membership. Where I am still employing this campaign, the Capital District & Upstate NY Professionals is adding about 200 members a month across New York State. I also recently re-branded and expanded the group to include most of New York State – from Plattsburgh to Tarrytown and from the Berkshires of Massachusetts all the way to Rochester and Ithaca. Through this active campaigning, this group is now the largest social networking group in all of Upstate NY.
While the above numbers do not rival the number for some other broader groups categories like ‘Marketers’ or ‘Job Seekers’, the groups member drives above have done well given the limited and narrowly audiences for each group.
These group connections now enables me direct access to over 15,000 professionals world-wide that I can promote my consulting services. As a result, I have landed several consulting contracts through these LinkedIn groups worth $500k+, by using these now large social media groups as a sourcing area for new business – thanks directly to intelligent and **free** social media campaigning.
B) LinkedIn – 3,000 connections in ~1 year!
By utilizing the group template function of LinkedIn, I employ and ongoing campaign to send a personalized message to everyone who joins one of the above groups to connect to me and to follow some of my activities as follows:
Welcome to the “Capital District and Upstate NY Professionals” Group!
I am the President, Founder and Group Manager for the “Capital District and Upstate NY Professionals” Group and I’d like to welcome you to the group. Please feel free to reach out to me if you might need any assistance from this group and/or any of the members of the group. Good news – this group just surpassed 3,200 members since I formed this group in late last July! **We are now the largest (and most active) social networking group in Upstate NY!!**
Please invite me to your network if we are not already connected http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenjeffes. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/steven.jeffes, Twitter: http://twitter.com/SocialSteven
Also – check out my brand new blog on Social Media at: http://stevenjeffes.wordpress.com/
Please send the following link to your friends and colleagues to invite them to this group:http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/153859
Lastly, please also check out my career profile website (Social Media & Marketing Subject Matter Expert) at http://www.Stevenjeffes.com and my consulting company website at http://www.edgeupmarketing.com and my awards/client letters at: http://www.stevenjeffes.com/stevenjeffes_awards.html. I am also an adjunct professor at Excelsior College teaching an array of Business & Technology classes.
Steven M. Jeffes, LinkedIn Founder & Group Manager
(518) 339-5857 (Cellular, message)
Capital District & Upstate NY Professionals – Upstate New York’s Largest and Most Active Social Networking Group
Through this “connect to me upon joining” campaign, I now have built over 3,000 first line contacts on LinkedIn in approximately a 1 year period of time by soliciting a connection to me from everyone who joins the above groups. In addition, everyone invites me to connect with them, which totally precludes me from using up any of my limited LinkedIn invites. This pool of 3,000 highly accomplished current and ex-professionals from Lockheed-Martin, IBM, GE, etc. now become my audience for business development activities for my consulting services.
C) Facebook – 4,400 friends in four (4) months!
As a result of intelligent campaigning, I have now amassed 4,400 Facebook friends in a four (4) month period of time – almost unheard of according to many Facebook experts. Many people take several years to accumulate this many friends and 5,000 is currently the lifetime limit you can have on Facebook. Through an intelligent execution of Facebook Friends campaigns, I amassed this many friend in the period of October 1, 2009 and January 31st, 2010 – just a four month period of time. Through a ‘suggest a friend’ campaign, 3,800 friends were referred to me, all of which were highly correlated to the needs and interests of my marketing, CRM, and social Media consulting business.
In addition, most of these 4,400 friends are businesses and not persons as is typically the case and include the following business categories:
Albany NY Businesses, Appliances, Architects, Ashville NC Businesses, Auto Dealers, Banks & Credit Unions, Bridge & Port Authority, Brokers, Chambers of Commerce and Convention & Visitor’s Bureaus , College & Education, Computer, Construction, Contractors, Cosmetics, Culinary, Dental, Energy, Environment, Equipment, Fire & Police, Fishing Charters, Foods, Furniture, Gifts, Golf, Government, Health, High School, Hospitals & Medical, Hotels, HR & Recruiting, Insurance, Jewelers, Library, Limo & Transportation, Manufacturing, Media & Films. Metals, News, Not For Profits, Optical, Payroll, Pharmaceuticals, Politics, Pools & Spas, Printing, Professional Friends, Public Interest, Real Estate, Recycling, Restaurant & Wineries, Roofing, Security, Spas, Sporting Goods, Stadiums & Arenas, State & National Parks, Supermarkets, Technology, Travel, Utility Companies, Veterans, Yacht Companies
Personalized Campaigns – Messaging Specific to Each Group:
As a result of being able to save my Facebook friends into the above customized business categories, I can personalize campaigns and messages to individual businesses within these industries. For example and as a result of having a great deal of business experience with pharmaceutical companies in the area of CRM and social media, I just launched a customized campaign to Pharmaceutical companies with the title of “Social Media in the Pharmaceutical Industry – Mastering the Four C’s: Challenges, Concerns, Considerations, Capabilities. Based on this campaign, I am now planning of delivering several workshops on the topic to several pharmaceutical companies.
Social Media Campaign Success – Similar Stories?
The above shares a small sample of the success I have enjoyed planning and executing campaigns for my own firm and for other companies. I would open this blog up for people to share their own success stories in social media campaigning and to share insights on what other methods, campaigns, tools, and techniques you have utilized to drive social media campaign success for bottom line results