Before every NBA playoff game, all of the TV and radio analysts discuss their “Keys to Winning” that night’s game…and it’s usually sponsored by a car manufacturer. While that is a nice little sponsorship tie-in, the basic premise of knowing what you need to do going into a new venture, be it a playoff game or a social media campaign, is rock-solid.
With millions of Tweeters and Blippers and Facebookers and Diggers crawling around the Web, they provide tantalizing prospects for us publicists. However, there are two things you must have for your social network to be beneficial for you as a PR pro or for your clients. In honor of those gimmicky NBA playoff rants, here are The Two C’s To A Winning Social Networking Campaign!
1) Connections – If your client gives $1 million to charity and you don’t send out a news release or even a photo of the check presentation, nobody will know about it (in theory). Much like building a media list, each social networking tool you use has to have an audience, or connections. These are the lifeblood of any social network…the people paying attention to you!
One of my clients, California Tortilla, started a customer e-mail newsletter about 10 years ago, so when they opened a Facebook account four years ago, launched a YouTube campaign (www.youtube.com/caltorthq) and started on Twitter in the Fall (www.twitter.com/caltort), they were prepared. They had a vast network of 80,000 loyal customers already paying attention. They went from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 very easily, with just a few e-mails encouraging customers to follow them in new ways.
You need to maximize relevant connections, as well. If you are a one-store clothing shop in Baltimore, you want to have as many potential customers in your geographic area following you online. That’s not to say a real estate agent from Germany won’t one day purchase your products, but you should spend the majority of your time connecting with people who are or will be consumers.
Here is a great link on resources to help you grow your network: http://twittersecrets.blogspot.com/2009/04/building-your-network-on-twitter.html
2) Content – You are what you eat post. Posts to your network, be it Twitter, YouTube, Facebook or any other medium, should be:
4) Or a combination
If you Tweet “I’m walking to the bathroom,” that’s not particularly entertainment or educational at all (and thankfully not interactive!). However, if you Tweet “I just heard about a hot new club called XXXXX opening downtown next week. Who wants to do the Cupid Shuffle with me??” that has some entertainment value (funny at the end), some educational value (information about new club) and some interaction (promoting discussion).
You don’t need all of these to have an effective post.
Entertainment: A friend shared this link with me last week, and I made sure to send it to my network: http://playhimoffkeyboardcat.com/. Nothing but entertainment there, but it quickly spread across the Internet, garnering mainstream publicity. Same goes for the “2 Girls, 1 Sub” parody video from Quiznos.
Educational: When the Swine Flu pandemic was sending us into a downward spiral of panic, government agencies like the CDC used social networking to spread information. It became a fast, effective way of getting the word out in a…no pun intended…viral fashion.
Interactive: There is something strange in our DNA that makes us want to voice our opinion on just about any topic (hence, the advent of online social networking!). We can’t resist answering a question asked of us. After the Preakness, I asked the women in my network if they felt any female empowerment because Rachel Alexandra, a female horse, won the race. It sparked a hot debate that encompassed many people and several points-of-view.
Try to incorporate as many of those characteristics as possible into your posts and see what happens!
This new frontier of social networking is growing and evolving every single day. More and more people are signing-up for the ride—especially in the PR world—even if they aren’t as tech-savvy as those of us who have more accounts than we can maintain. They know that this is the next step in marketing – creating a boutique media outlet of your own.
While those NBA analysts suggest how a team can win a game, the actual outcome of a Game 7 is fairly unpredictable. However, applying these two basic concepts to your growing social network will help you and your clients win in online marketing.
Mike Schaffer is a Senior Account Executive, Brotman-Winter-Fried Communications