Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Social Media Simplicity Toolkit

New York Internet Week is upon us again. On Monday morning, there was a panel hosted at the Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan Chelsea titled, “Social Media Simplicity Toolkit: How to Avoid Over Complicating your Brand Online”.

The panel consisted of Stephen Zangre, Manager of Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook; Jared Feldman, CEO & Founder of Mashwork, a social media listening software solution; Myles Kleeger, General Manager of Strategic Brand Partnerships at Buddy Media; and Chris Phenner, Vice President of Business Development at digital advertising firm TBG Digital. Karen Robinovitz, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Digital Brand Architects acted as moderator.

The majority of the interactive discussion focused on brand presence on Facebook. Here are a few of the top takeaways from the discussion:

1. Less is More

All the panelists agreed: brands that keep things simple garner the most engagement. “More complicated is not the best course,” Zangre said. He noted than a simple, sharable consumer experience is often better than an advanced, complicated custom application. For contests, promotions and sweepstakes, the lower the barrier for entry is, the greater the engagement from consumers will be.

Kleeger also reinforced that brevity is aligned with success. In a recent study conducted by Buddy Media, Facebook Wall updates that were under 80 characters in length received 27% more engagement from consumers.

2. Don’t Sell, Engage

“Hard selling is a big mistake,” said Zangre. “Brands, it’s not all about you here [on Facebook].” Brands have to give their target consumers something useful and interactive to continually win over their attention on the platform and hopefully turn them into brand advocates. Brands should be cultivating relationships with their consumers, not barraging them by simply broadcasting only self-serving messages.

Feldman put it best with an interesting quote: “You don’t follow a comedian’s page because they are funny – you follow them because you want to laugh.”

3. Know Your Target Audience

The inevitable question of “how does my brand get more Likes” was asked. Phenner, a self-professed ‘Likes arms dealer’, discussed how knowing who your audience is and what their interests are is key. Research is paramount. “Know what the people you want to target are interested in, and then give it to them,” Kleeger added.

4. Be Able to Answer the Question, “Why are we on this Platform?”

It sounds like a simple question, but many brands jump into Facebook and other social media platforms (due to hype, because their competitors are there, because they saw an article about it) without being able to answer, “What does your brand want to accomplish by being on Facebook?”

The answer can vary widely based on the brand’s greater business goals, but there needs to be a clear underlying purpose for that brand’s presence on a social media platform that can then be measured against. All the panelists agreed that brands need to have goals and a comprehensive content strategy that caters to those goals before their Facebook presence even launches.


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