Building Your Brand Through Social Media
Lessons learned from the panel for marketing higher education? Well, I’ve been blogging about some of them. Embrace social media because that’s where you’re prospective students, students, and alumni are; do your research on where your students, etc. are in social space; be transparent and learn from those who are committed to your brand; engage your fans and develop campaigns to reach them; understand the differences between social media platforms. Now, a paraphrasing of the panel discussion:
Q1. Good from Greenwala: How should brands embrace social media?
A. Wiedlin from MySpace: Some brands like Adidas more easily embrace the transparency of social media. Others like Chevy Tahoe surprised us with their campaign in the MySpace green section.
A. Alvarado from MEC: Which social media depends on brand. Embrace it. It’s happening. How will you be a part of the conversation about your brand?
A. Payne from Paine PR: Do your research. Get to know Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc. Find out which social space your customers are in, and use the right tools to communicate in that space to them. Keep a conversation going so that you don’t have to “go back to them” to find out what’s happening.
A. Jacobson from Facebook: Listen! Listen without fear. Your customers will tell you how to shape your product/campaign, e.g., Chase.
Q2. Good from Greenwala: Whose responsibility is it to keep content current in social media?
A. Alvarado from MEC: Depends, but take advantage of your friends on a network.
A. Payne from Paine PR: Think transparency. Brands should manage content, e.g., Drucker Institute on Twitter: agency got them started, Drucker took it over.
Q3. Good from Greenwala: How do you measure/assess social media?
A. Wiedlin from MySpace: Advertising measures impressions, but this is wrong for social media. Measure instead return on engagement! The value of social media is that you get to engage your customers! What’s that worth?
A. Jacobson from Facebook: Measure awareness. You get to reach influencers.
A. Payne from Paine PR: There is no magic answer; traditional measurements for advertising don’t fit in social media and no one has come up with the alternative. So take a holistic approach; find out from your customers in social media what they think about your brand; track changes in conversations.
A. Alvarado from MEC: No one answer; use campaigns to get your customers engaged about your brand and measure it; e.g., Indiana Jones promotion Battle of the Bands with 10 universities that received 2,000,000 votes on micro site.
Q4. Good from Greenwala: What are the pros and cons of engaging in social media?
A. Wiedlin from MySpace: Social media are not going away. Be transparent! At first, HP had an objective to control the conversation about their brand. They have come to see it differently now.
A. Alvarado from MEC: Be transparent; win fans by participating in it. Running banner ads on MySpace is not participating in social media. Take advantage of having people who want to talk about your brand.
A. Payne from Paine PR: Maybe for the first time connect with customers who want to talk about your brand. A negative side to social media is that brands have not yet developed rules for employees on social media: what about negative tweets or comments in social space? Do you try to stop that?
A. Jacobson from Facebook: If you get in social media and it works, more of your customers will participate.
Q5. From an audience member: Social media is free, right?
A. Alvarado from MEC: Relatively free, compared to traditional media like television. The medium is free.
A. Wiedlin from MySpace: Social media is not free. You must build a site and a presence. It costs money to do great things.
Q6. Good from Greenwala: Where’s it all going?
A. Jacobson from Facebook: Facebook is a technology platform for all of us. So, where are we headed?
A. Wiedlin from MySpace: That’s the brand difference between Facebook and MySpace. Facebook sees its brand as a technology platform. MySpace sees itself as an entertainment portal. We’re a content provider by and for people.