KPCCRadio (via YouTube)
The key to social media success for any business boils down to this: Teach your audience something new.
That's according to Sasha Strauss, founder and managing director of Innovation Protocol, who came to KPCC's Crawford Family Forum on Oct. 2 to share his thoughts on the new face of marketing and how social media has put more power in consumer's hands. With him on stage was Lawrence Crosby, PhD, dean and professor of management at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.
Here are 7 key social media questions and answers by Strauss:
1. Should my business shift to an entirely digital strategy as opposed to one that includes traditional media — paper ads, billboards, etc.?
"Respect that your customer actually goes on a journey in their exposure to you. All of us can take our businesses and project what it's like to be a customer over a period of time, and you recognize that there is a place for a print brochure; there is a place for a sales sheet at the register; there's all these different assets. So when instead of saying, 'should I be all digital, or all print or all traditional?'. [Be a] hybrid of all."
2. How do I as a marketer plant a conversation among consumers about me so that people are favorably disposed or even driven to my website?
"The answer is to teach. The nature of [Internet users] is that they're constantly inquiring. If I'm sitting in front of my computer I'm pulling, constantly. Well this is actually the optimal place to start a conversation with the consumer. And what they're pulling on is they're looking for answers to questions: what should I do in this situation? Where should I shop? Who would recommend those stores? Well, if you want to start a conversation with your consumer … help them make their decision with conversation, or information, or a how-to video, or a sample of a conversation."
3. Do blogs have a marketing value?
"What the blog has become is a venue for [an] 'expert' — and I put it in quotes because any of us can blog — to showcase whatever it is most relevant to share. My suggestion to all of you is yes blog, please do, create that content. If we're all trying to build businesses, have an intention: ask yourself first, 'who will be reading, what will they need from me?' Contextual content is king."
4. Does "business to business" have any relevance in social media?
"I would argue that it has more relevance [than business-to-customer business]. It's still humans building relationships with humans. So what we're seeing more and more, is that not only [are channels] being used to broker that type of trust, but it's also become a proof of your expertise. When I am socializing about what I do, teaching it to as many professionals as possible, not only consumers, it makes me sound like an expert."
5. What should I do as a business after a customer has already transacted with me?
"If your intention is to retain the relationship that you've constructed, to relate to your public, to sustain that relationship with your public, you need to have an ongoing discourse. Show them how to use the product, give them a direct line to customer service."
6. At what point does posting too much become detrimental to the brand?
"Yes, share. Yes, engage. But no one wants to be spoken to that often, especially from a corporation. There's a time and a place. And this is where a strategic plan around your communication [comes in] — a social media plan."
7. Should I get my customers to do video testimonials on YouTube?
"It feels good when your customers are publicly willing to say that they like you. Problem is, everybody has customers that are willing to put their names on billboards and participate in commercials. What I'd rather ask you to do is have that customer talk about the journey, not just how much they love you. The challenge they were confronting, the conversation they had with you, how you helped them solve that problem."
Sasha Strauss: founder and managing director, Innovation Protocol, a consulting firm that focuses on innovative strategies to build and develop brands; professor of brand strategy in the USC Marshall School of Business and the UCLA Anderson School of Management. @SashaStrauss
Lawrence Crosby, PhD: dean and professor of management, Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. @DrLarryCrosby