Social currency for a brand can grow in two ways: slow and steady or slingshot.
The slow and steady growth is more likely sustainable, but as most campaign metrics (and marketing metrics) utilize a traditional purchase funnel, slow and steady efforts often fail to hit key "awareness" benchmarks.
Slingshot tactics are far more gimmick-heavy and generally reach scale quickly, but they generally go dark a couple of weeks later. These are campaigns in every sense of the word. Give out a few free Macbook Pros on Twitter and watch your follower counts soar. Give away seven free iPhones and watch your brand become a trending topic. Create that incredibly creative Facebook application or visualization of the conversation, and hold up your scaled short-term engagement as your success.
But is Slingshot-value real social value? It this where most brand will play in the space?
Probably. As dirty as it sounds, Slingshot Marketing is going to be much of what we see in social over the coming few months. The strategic vision, budgets and dedication to doing social right just aren't yet there. Yet. But with the inclusion of some basic marketing know-how, your slingshot shiny objects can be of value.
Here are a few basic principles:
- Build ongoing social support into all activation budgets. If you can't perform customer support triage, it will be very difficult to inspire a new consumer perspective towards the brand. This doesn't need to be expensive, but it does require some training and strategic setup.
- Build for an ups and downs, not starts and stops. Your brand doesn't need to be inspiring new conversation everyday, but it does need to be present, real, relevant and responsive to the conversation 365 days a year.
- Slingshot Marketing/shiny objects should speak to your core brand value. Don't give away an iPhone when you are selling a low-tech pair of socks. Connect your shiny objects to the brand value prop. Make your promotions speak to your messaging.
- Invest in personalities and relationships. Always have a twitter account available for following, and a brand page on Facebook where people who engage with the application can gather for current engagements and future activation.
- Level set with key stakeholders that this is a shiny object, not a full social strategy.
- Setup your measurement, learning process and KPIs in advance.
- Listen to the conversation. You just may find a few advocates and opportunities.
- Setup a follow up lessons-learned session before you start.
- Always bring ideas for a more strategic plan as a next step. Neither you, nor your clients will find continued success in gimmicks in place of real marketing.