Four Full Contacters ventured across Fort Point Channel this past Tuesday to listen to a panel convened for Mashable’s Social Media Day. Professionals in tech, venture capital, and yes—the burgeoning industry of gourmet, hand-made, Sea Salted Bourbon Caramel donuts—discussed the ever-evolving ways in which brands use social media.
In honor of the panel’s preferred pastry, here are a half-dozen thoughts that stuck with us:
- Challenge yourself to measure social media in terms of your business objectives. If you can’t pay your payroll with re-tweets—or your rent with page views—then why measure those things so ferociously? There’s a purpose to understanding engagement, sure, but challenge yourself to identify the metrics that your business really cares about. In other words, tie social to your bottom line.
- Ask “why” as much as a child. If you’re new to social media or exploring new channels, take the time to ask yourself “Why are we doing this? Why should we be on <insert social platform>?” If you can’t make a solid case (that aligns with business objectives) it might not be the right platform.
- Be wary of building on rented land. If you spend resources building a base of followers on <insert social platform of choice>, know that the community you’ve built is only as actionable as the social platform allows it to be. For example, brands that invested in growing the size of their Facebook communities via acquisition campaigns are now at the mercy of the platform’s algorithm for content delivery. Furthermore, if you want to reach more of the people you’ve acquired, you may need to pay to have content reach them. Social media can be a great communication tool, but maybe consider using it as a tool to ask your community for their email as well.
- Consider old-fashioned email marketing. What was once newfangled and then archaic is now increasingly effective. Why? The proliferation of smartphones. Now that we can read emails on the train, in line at the grocery store, and everywhere in between (except the driver’s seat of your car, please), we’re consuming more of them. So hoard email addresses, build your distribution list, and start a newsletter—it’ll actually get eyeballs, it’s free, and you own your email community (i.e., it’s not going away, read “be wary of building on rented land”).
- “Social media can be as important as a food ingredient, and for our business, it is.” – Josh Danoff, Owner, Union Square Donuts
- Endow your people with the virtues of your brand and empower them to speak freely. Nothing kills a timely tweet quite like layers of approvals within the marketing organization. Don’t treat social media as you do the rest of your marketing communication, with rounds of feedback and layers of approvals. Instead, take the time to find smart community managers who embody your brand, allow them to earn your trust, and empower them to post at will.
Special thanks to General Assembly and Mashable for hosting, and panelists Steph Parker, Jay Acunzo, Erica Ayotte, Kara Hendrick, and Josh Danoff for their insight and candor (and, of course, donuts).