Thanks everyone for your great responses to my first post. Online Social Marketing 101 - Case Studies
As mentioned in my previous post when I set out to create campaigns for different businesses using Online Social Networks it really had never been done at the time. I ended up creating three very different campaigns with three very different goals. A movie cinema wanted to increase foot traffic, a credit union wanted to attract younger members, and a government body wanted to reach the public. I later went on to help create campaigns for an insurance company, and then got sucked into a campaign for a media production company.
There was no reference point, no case studies to research and apply recommendations against yet all campaigns were a tremendous success in their time. I've identfied some of the "rules" that I learned in the development of these campaigns. I've written them in consideration of how I would be approaching the development of one of these campaigns if I were developing one for a Dealer.
Rule #1 - Respect the Medium
MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube are the networks that get the most attention for these sorts of things. There are etiquette rules on what members will and will not tolerate. It's important to understand that in social networking if I agree to become your friend (knowing you are an organization) I consider that a form of payment. I am giving you something valuable - my attention. If you aren't returning that respect with something great (think give aways and really awesome promotions) then I am not interested.
Rule #2 - Remember the Universe Doesn't Revolve Around You
Marketing 101 teaches that when you develop anything for a customer you have to answer their question "What's in it for me?" That's a good start but just because you provide some special incentives and promotions does not mean I am going to join your network. Imagine the 20-something who is a power-user getting an invite to join your network. They are going to say "Let me get this straight, I'm going to join your social network so you can spam me with advertising and special promos? As if!" If that's all the value that you are giving then they may as well just call you up and give you their email address so you spam them there as well. Would YOU give your email address for that sort of thing? If you answered no, then don't expect your customer's to do the same.
Rule #3 - Make it a Destination
If I were a Dealer looking to leverage Online Social Marketing I would be taking a look around my local community to discover how I could create a social network that would have numerous reasons for people to join. Every community must be considered before a campaign is developed - and what works in one community will not
work just down the road.
For example, imagine you are a dealership in a small community in the county near a major city. On the weekends most people drive into town to go the movies, grab dinner, and relax. You are not on a major roadway which hasn't been a huge problem because your "Joe Dealer" and everyone knows you for the most part. The problem is that you want to grow and attract people from the city and other outlying smaller communities to your dealership.
Here's what I would investigate for a potential campaign.
I'd work with the dealer to join forces to create an online social network with some local business like a Cinema, a Restaurant, and a Local Community Advocate who will articles of interest on how to build a stronger community.. I'd ensure that every week there was some sort of giveaway from the businesses that required people to logon to the site in order to qualify. Now it's important the give aways be REALLY great ones and I would have the "pick up" of the tickets be at the Dealership.
When they arrived to pick up their free movie passes, or free dinner at the restaurant, I would take the opportunity to do some unexpected things. Simple things such as telling them if they are going "out on the town" that you'd love the opportunity to detail their car when they come in to pick up the tickets.
I would be sure to take tickets of the whole thing and post to the website. Visitors would be interested in joining the network because of the opportunity to win and the interesting content that is truly local about their community.
The dealership would win by building community partnerships and creating the opportunity to develop relationships with people they would not normally.
Rule #4 - Commit to Making it Unique
No matter what campaign you develop it's important to understand that online social network is not like creating an ad and sending it out everywhere. It's intensely personal and requires a commitment to be actively involved on a daily basis. It is only with this active participation that you will know how to create a campaign that makes sense for you.
What works for one will not work for all!
All the best,