Applying Word-Of-Mouth Lessons
By Chris Miller
If you haven't listened to the Radio Ink interview with word-of-mouth marketing expert Ed Keller, take a half-hour and do so. It's a solid perspective on how social media fits into your whole marketing plan. Keller observes that the value in social media has nothing to do with technology. It's valuable because people are social animals. Many of us want to be involved, on some level, with brands we like and trust.
Keller talks about holistic marketing, which is a great term. Being holistic is not just about being consistent, although it is a benefit to your customer if you've integrated your brand content across all your platforms. It's also important to make sure that what you tell them generally fits what they already know and believe to be important about you, and that it addresses what they are likely to say to themselves (internal voice) or to others about you.
SOCIAL WON'T DO EVERYTHING
What social media really excels at is giving your current fans a way to have more access to you. The first big hurdle in having a social media relationship with your listeners is that they have to choose to follow you. We just don't follow brands we don't know or don't care about, or that don't at least create a real spark of interest in some way. So, as part of your whole marketing mix, social media can have an important role. Make sure you're thinking of it as your "frequent flyer" channel instead of your "let's get some more cume" channel.
Companies that work to have a relationship with their frequent flyers -- their heavy users -- often keep a few key principles of loyalty marketing in mind. One is that you want these people as customers for life. Another is that you want to have the lion's share of their activity in your business category. So, if you're one of two Country stations in town, you want your Facebook page to be working to get your fans to make the overwhelming number of their listening occasions listening to YOU.
Furthermore, we all know the 80/20 rule, and our social media helps identify those people who are more likely to be the 20 percent of our fans who provide 80 percent of our listening. The cost is certainly right; using social media to keep existing fans happy is a whole lot cheaper than trolling for new listeners.
By the way, don't use a selling tone in social media. Think of it as pulling your biggest fans aside and whispering something special to them.
THE MYTH ABOUT ENGAGEMENT
Ed Keller makes the point that even though there's a ton of social media interaction going on, that activity is dwarfed by the amount of word-of-mouth comments that people make to each other about brands they use. Comments and "Likes" on your Facebook brand's page is sort of like callers to a talk show. They're an important part of the entertainment, but any good talk host or programmer knows you don't play to the phones.
The myth about engagement is that it has to happen in social media. Even if you're doing Twitter or Facebook just right, the vast majority of your fans will read your posts and the responses you get, enjoy them, and never respond themselves. If those people then listen more and tell others, in real life, how much they like you, you've accomplished something big.
Chris Miller has been a major-market PD in Atlanta, Portland and Cleveland. He now operates Chris Miller Digital, which he launched. Visit his website at www.chrismillerdigital.com.
Contact Chris via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org or 216-236-3955.
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