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HOW FORD MOTOR COMPANY MOVED FROM CONTENT PROVIDER TO CONTENT CREATOR
Source: http://www.socialmedia-forum.com/smwf-2015-in-pictures/

Why Ford of Europe’s Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs Mark Truby, a former newspaper business editor, worries about whether his company’s content is worthy of reading aloud over the breakfast table and how the launch of a new car in Germany with just 300 media present became the number one trending subject on Twitter and was watched in full by more than 360,000 people around the world. Ahead of #SMWF this June we wanted to find out more from the man himself:

1)    Mark your focus is very much about creating content and storytelling but how do you manage that? What do you need to consider?

“Over the past four years we have moved from a Ford of Europe communications team focused primarily on media relations and servicing the automotive press to a team focused first and foremost on constant storytelling to a broad spectrum of media and audiences. This was a major strategic shift and required new skills and resources.

We created a content team with writers, photographers, videographers, graphic artists – people with strong backgrounds in print, broadcast and digital journalism.  We augmented our Ford team with new talent on the agency side to help us tell more compelling stories and reach new audiences – such as tech, design and lifestyle press, as well as bloggers and digital influencers.”

 

2)    What are the key elements to consider when creating any content or story for Ford and what can other businesses learn from your approach?

“We try to keep it simple and ask ourselves a few questions.  Is the story interesting enough that a news editor would just have to have it for their newspaper, TV broadcast or website? Would the average person find it interesting enough to read or view, and share online?  Would a husband read it aloud across the breakfast table to his wife, for example?

You have to be really honest with yourself on these questions or you will waste time and effort on the low-value stories. If a story passes those first hurdles, then we ask whether the story – once read or watched – could truly improve our corporate reputation or raise someone’s opinion of our vehicles and technologies. We have all read a story or seen a feature on TV that forever changed our perception of a person, company or organization.  We quote it to friends or share it on Twitter.

This is the power of great storytelling whether you are creating it yourself or working with journalists. So, simple rules but a difficult task. It takes a lot of creativity and hard work to create content that is entertaining, interesting and meaningful.”

 

3)    How can you reach new audiences most effectively through social media and how is this different to the traditional days of PR?

“Certainly online video, infographics and other forms of digital storytelling are amazing tools. The same rules apply — entertaining, interesting and meaningful – but when you get it right the payoff can be huge.  That dialogue and feedback you receive from social is very valuable.

Key for me is authentic storytelling rather than lists and click-bait.  Look at the way the Star Wars film franchise is engaging with their fans ahead of the next movie.  It’s really exciting and that’s what we are trying to do with something like the upcoming launch of the new Ford Mustang.  We are starting to better utilize listening tools online to understand where and what conversation is happening and what content people are viewing and engaging with related to Ford.  We are building relations with digital influential to help tell our story. Our approach is to bring them inside Ford and trust them to tell the story with their own unique point of view and authentic voice.”

 

4)    You talk about making events more global through livestreams and social media but how do you best manage that and what do you need to be aware of?

“We recently unveiled our new Ford Focus RS. It’s a 320+-horsepower, all-wheel drive performance car with a lot of fans around the world.  We held the event in Cologne, Germany, but we considered it a global event. We hired a producer with live TV experience to produce the show.  We worked with rally racing and internet star Ken Block to do a spectacular driving entrance and create teaser videos.  The event was livestreamed around the world and more than 360,000 people watched the full 40 minute event.

We also issued many shorter videos of the cool driving sequences that received millions of views.  Ken Block – who has millions of followers on social media – helped us share these assets. So the 300 media who attended in person got everything they needed to write stories and shoot videos of the launch of the Focus RS.  At the same time, we were able to make it a global digital unveiling. On the day of the event #FocusRS was at one point the No 1 trending topic on Twitter globally.”

 

5)    At #SMWF this June what do you think will be the challenge most concerning delegates in the world of social media and digital marketing currently? 

“We are all trying to crack the same code — how to truly engage with the world and your audiences through social and digital media. It’s a fun, ever-changing landscape but the challenge of finding your distinctive, authentic voice and creating truly compelling content is huge.

HOW NEWS UK ENSURES ITS CONTENT PROVOKES EMOTION.docx
HOW NEWS UK ENSURES ITS CONTENT PROVOKES EMOTION – WHETHER THAT’S INTRIGUE, TEARS OR LAUGHTER.
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For content provider News UK social media has had a huge impact on what and how and what it produces for its readers. The shift in its business has seen big changes as consumers become publishers in their own right – so is it change without risk? We interviewed News UK’s creative content director Tiffanie Darke to find out more. Having worked on The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Express and The Observer her journalism background is extensive. In her latest role she heads up the new Native Advertising Unit for News UK, covering The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun.

1) What are the most important elements of great, shareable content – what do you look for?

“Great shareable content needs to be original, and either funny/moving or informative.”

 

2) How should businesses ensure their content stands out from the rest?

“To stand out, businesses should try and produce content that tells their audience something they don’t know already or make them laugh or cry.”

3) As a journalist you have witnessed the move from professional writers producing content to now anyone being able to do so. In this new, freer world what controls should businesses put in place to ensure quality control of content produced under their name?

“Businesses can’t control what people are saying about them but they can define who they are and what they stand for through paid, earned and owned media. How influential they are in this project is determined by how others go on and speak about them.”

 

4) Is there a danger of enabling consumers to also be publishers in today’s world – how can brands or brand owners retain an element of control?

“There’s always an element of danger when you encourage people to talk about your brand but you can’t and shouldn’t attempt to stop consumers or anyone else talking about your business. What you can and should be doing is producing your own content that defines your business. If that content is original, useful or entertaining then you will ensure better success.”

 

5) What do you feel is the biggest challenge currently facing your business in the world of social media or the biggest issue you see the industry facing as a whole?

“At News UK, we see the rise of social media as an opportunity rather than a challenge as it can drive traffic, brings in new readers and influences opinion formers.”

Project Description.docx
Project: Social Media Campaign

(Group assignment with 4 members maximum, no exceptions. It can be fewer members but not more than four).

You must choose any of the social media marketing platforms we have reviewed in class session 8-9 to develop the project. You have several “How To” documents to exemplify the use of each platform so you can follow the steps. I have also provided you with several examples of how companies have used the social media platform in marketing.

Choose a business (B2B or B2C) or non-profit organization that could benefit from social media campaign and develop a campaign outline. Include the following:

· Specific campaign objectives (in reference to the social media marketing process [slide 12 in the session] and brand objectives [session ch 5 slide 18] such as create awareness, develop brand familiarity, create positive images (associations feelings), create sales )

· Identification of the target audience (provide a good description of the target. DO NOT just describe the audience on one characteristics, e.g. age).

· Detailed description of the social media marketing activities. Each of the social media platforms we have reviewed has its own marketing tools. Apply them.

· In this part you must not only ‘tell me the story’ of what you are going to do. BUT you must actually do. In other words, if you use Instagram or Pinturest I expect pictures. If you are suggesting ‘compelling stories’ then write it.

· Metrics to be used to judge campaign success. You must be precise as to how you will determine if you achieve your objectives. Each of the social media platforms we have reviewed has its own marketing tools and metrics. Apply them.

· Timeline for the specific campaign. Indicate how many ads, videos, stories you will place and when.

· Budget for directs costs incurred. You may have some indication of the costs of the ads by referring to the platform you use.

Now that you have thought about what you want to do, write an Introduction for your plan outline that explains why the social media initiative is important and how it integrates into the overall marketing activities and the overall objectives of the business.

Requirements

Make sure:

· You identify integration in the different areas listed in the “questionnaire” provided to you, and provide examples of such integration. Provide evidence that can illustrate such online-offline integration. Provide as many examples in each case as possible. Illustrate with web pages and offline material whenever possible.

· Avoid copying text from other sources. This is a practical assignment not an essay.

· If you happen to support a point, e.g. that you have selected Instagram because it is the most used platform in Kuwait, then you must provide a reference to support this statement. You indicate the source of the information every time you refer to it. The reference must be in the body of the document and a list of all references in the bibliography at the end of the document.

· You must submit your assignment via email to my GUST address: riquelme.h@gust.edu.kw.

· Make sure your assignment covers all bullet points indicated in the assignment.

· Put page numbers to the document, identify Figures with titles and number on top of the figure. Do the same with Tables. If these figures and tables come from external sources provide the source at the end of the Table or Figure.

· Use font 12, Harvard style of citation, and double space in your report. No more than 3,000 words. You can certainly do this assignment in fewer words.

Social-Media-Strategy-Module-Whitepaper.pdf
Social Media Strategy  A white paper on Social Media Strategy by Sally Falkowl 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  2

Social Media1 Overview Over  the  last  ten  years,  there  has  been  a  fundamental  shift  in  how  people  access 

information and news. Companies traditionally used the media to get their messages out 

to  their  audiences  via  marketing,  advertising,  or  public  relations.  Marketing  and 

advertising push a message out to the masses. Companies use public relations to supply 

news to the media and expert sources to provide stories about their industry. The goal is to get media 

mentions of their company, products, or services. 

These methods  are  a  one‐way  communication, where  a  company  delivers  a message  through  the 

media, but  individuals have no real way of responding. Today, this one‐to‐many mass media model 

has given way to the social web and a new way of communicating with people has emerged. 

Since  people  have  tired  of  receiving  one‐way  communications,  they  are 

looking more and more for news and  information  in places other than the 

media. This trend  is  likely to accelerate — Forrester Research predicts that 

by 2012, half of all US newspapers will have ceased production. 

People no  longer rely on the media. New tools enable them to network, read blogs, post comments 

and reviews, actively gather news and information, and share this with others. 

People are engaging in conversations. Conversation is the new marketing. 

Tapping  into  these  conversations  shows  where  your  audience  is  spending  time 

online, and what subjects and issues are of interest to them. As of 2010, over 80% of 

US  companies have  started using  some  form of  social media marketing,  and  their 

biggest barrier to success in this new medium is a lack of knowledge. 

To  reach  your publics  successfully,  you need  to move  your marketing  activity  from  the  traditional 

“push” method, where you broadcast your messages to thousands via the media, to a “pull” strategy, 

where you make it easy for people to find your information, whenever and wherever they want it. 

Start telling your stories directly, and do it in a way that sparks conversations. 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  3

 

The value proposition of Social Media (Web 2.0) or online PR is: 

 Participating in online conversations that shape 

perceptions about your brand 

 Building relationships with influencers in your field 

 Creating a community of supporters 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  4

The Need for Strategy For the past 100 years, companies have had the  luxury of deciding what they will produce and sell, 

what their brand message will be, and how they will deliver it to their audience. 

The Internet has changed that. 

We’re in the age of social media marketing. Strategy in this new business environment is just as vital 

as it has ever been. 

Don’t get distracted from the importance of strategy by the slew of new social 

media tools. Don’t get  lured  into spending money on resources  just because 

“everyone is doing it”. 

Social media offers you the opportunity of doing in‐depth research at virtually 

no cost. It  is possible to set goals and get ROI2, but you have to know where 

you’re going and what you want to achieve. 

There are 10 steps to this: 

1. Map the brand’s social graph 

2. Listen to the conversations – who is talking about you and what are they saying? 

3. Analyze the content. Share of Voice, sentiment, gaps, trends, opportunities 

4. Set Goals and define metrics and benchmarks. 

5. Identify influencers in each node of the social graph  

6. Develop a content strategy based on what you have found. 

7. Create a tactical plan for implementation and choose the right social media tools. 

8. Create and publish content. 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  5

9. Engage in the conversations and facilitate conversations about your brand and your industry. 

10. Monitor and measure results. 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  6

Step One — Mapping the Social Graph

 

You  have  to  figure  out which  stakeholders  are most  important  to  you  –  customers,  competitors, 

employees, the media and now a new group – bloggers. 

There are tools you can use, like Rapportive, to find these people and figure where they are online so 

you can begin to evaluate who your most important stakeholders are. 

Step Two – Listen to the Online Conversation

Market research has always been fundamental to marketing success. 

The social web makes  it much easier to  find out what people are saying about 

you, who you  should be  talking  to, what  they are  interested  in, and what you 

should be talking to them about. 

Tap into the online conversations to find out: 

 Who is talking about you – find your “tribe” 

 What they are saying about you, your competitors, and your industry in general 

 Is it positive or negative 

 Where are the conversations taking place 

 What communities talk about you 

 What are your competitors doing in social media 

No brand exists  in a vacuum.   PR practitioners have  long known  that  it  is 

important to map the environment in which the company  operates  and to 

know who the stakeholders are.  Now social media has expanded that need.  

We have to know where they are online and who they are connected to.

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  7

 What’s the buzz about them 

 What content resonates with your audience 

 Are there subjects of interest you could provide content for 

 What social sites have the most conversation 

 Who are the “fire‐starters3” you need to connect with 

 Who are the influencers in these blogs or communities 

 Where are the opportunities and threats 

Once you have this  information, you can allocate your resources wisely. You’ll know where to start, 

and what social sites you should be concentrating on. When you know the  lay of the  land,  it’s much 

easier to plot a path to your destination. A social media marketing strategy is your roadmap. 

Free Tools

Dashboards4 

Social Mention 

 

iGoogle page – make a “Listening Post” 

 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  8

NetVibes 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  9

Paid Tools

Now that you know just how much there is to be tracked, here are some 

of the paid tools that can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you: 

 Radian6 

 Sysomos 

 Nielsen BuzzMetrics 

 Visible Technologies 

 Trackur 

 BuzzLogic 

 Alterian SM2 

 Scout Labs 

 Jive Software 

 eCairn Conversation 

A comparison of several tools – http://www.pr2020.com/files/PR_SM‐Monitoring‐Comparison.pdf 

Sources to Find the Information

Blogs 

 Google Blog Search 

 IceRocket 

 BlogPulse 

 Backtype – for blog comments 

Trends 

 Google Trends 

 Google Insights for Search 

Message Boards and Forums 

 BoardTracker 

 BoardReader 

Multimedia 

 YouTube 

 Truveo 

 MetaCafe 

 Viral Video Chart 

 Flickr 

 PhotoBucket 

Twitter 

 Search.Twitter.com 

 Twilert 

 Twazzup 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  10

Step Three — Analyzing Gaps, Trends, Opportunities

There are millions of online conversations daily. Once you have collected the data, you can analyze 

the mentions of your brand, find out what your share of voice is in a particular conversation, get the 

ratio of positive to negative mentions, discover who talks about you and on what platform, find fans 

and detractors, and identify threats and opportunities. 

“Share of Voice” is defined as the percentage of the mentions that are about your brand / company / 

organization in the particular niche or market you’re active in. Do people use a generic description of 

what you do, or do they talk about your products or services specifically? 

Example 

Do women talk about dry skin treatment and natural skin care products, or do they mention specific 

brands and products? Do  they mention your products? What percentage of  the  total  conversation 

about “dry skin” mentions your products? 

Are  the  comments  positive  or  negative? What  is  the  ratio  of  positive‐to‐negative?  Are  your  key 

messages  appearing  in  these  conversations?  If  not,  what  content  is  trending?  How  are  your 

competitors faring in these conversations? 

The context of your content  in a competitive setting shows how your brand stacks up against your 

competitors online. 

Share  of  voice  leads  to  market  share.  Establishing  and  tracking  share  of  voice  used  to  be  an 

advertising metric, but since the most trusted form of advertising  is now conversations,  it’s become 

an  important one  for social media. A gain  in share of voice  is an  important measurement  for social 

media programs. 

 

Every day, another blog, social network, or social media site seems to pop up. There are now literally 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  11

thousands of places online where conversations are taking place. Here’s a sample: 

How  can  you  effectively divide  your  time  and  resources  so  that  you participate  in  the places  that 

make the most sense for your business? Part of your research – listening to what’s being said online –

includes who is talking about you and where the conversations are taking place. 

Examples 

A  skin  care  company  discovered  that  there  is  conversation  about  “dry  skin”  in  gardening  forums, 

where moms talk about skin care on blogs, while crafters and medical professionals talk about  it  in 

their niche social networks. There is content posted about “dry skin” on Delicious, StumbleUpon, and 

Kirtsy. There is also a lot of chatter about skin care on Twitter. 

A  natural  soda  company  found  that  there  are  people  on  Twitter 

talking about their brand, their competitors’ products, and ginger ale, 

ginger  brew,  and  ginger  beer  in  general.  Beverage  and  cocktail 

bloggers mention the brand. Mom bloggers are not talking about the 

brand that much. 

Once you know where the majority of the conversations take place, and which groups you need to 

concentrate on, you can sensibly allocate your resources for best ROI. 

According  to  eMarketer,  the  number  of  influencers  is  growing  as more  and more  people  publish 

content online.  It’s no  longer about how many people did we reach,  it’s have we reached the right 

people who want to engage and communicate with us? 

This means that large networks are not always the best place to concentrate on. There are many small 

social  networks  built  around  a  group  that  is  passionate  about  a  subject.  Find  the  ones  that  are 

relevant to your company or organization. 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  12

Step Four — Setting Measurable Goals Define Metrics & Statistics

Now  that you have  listed  to  the conversation of your  stakeholders and analyzed  that content, you 

should know what your goals will be.  The insights you get from the listening phase should show you 

where you opportunities lie and what you should be addressing. 

Remember when you set a goal to make it measurable.  If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. 

Work out what metrics will enable you to measure your goals.  Do not make vague goals such as “we 

want to have more brand awareness 

More than what?  How much and in what time period? 

In order to measure your progress towards your goals, you have to have a starting place. This is your 

baseline. You need to take a snapshot of where you are now with regard to the goals you have set so 

that you can track your progress over time. 

Step‐by‐Step Example 

1. Through listening, a skin care company starting on a social media strategy might discover that 

one  of  the  groups  that  talks  about  dry  skin  is  medical  workers.  They  listen  to  these 

conversations for two weeks, initially. 

2. Through analyzing these conversations, they establish that their leading competitor has a 38% 

share of voice in this conversation, while they have a 5% share. 

3. Through brainstorming, they come up with an idea that will improve this scene. 

4. They set their competition’s share of voice as their benchmark and set a goal: “To increase our 

share of voice to 20% in 12 months.” 

5. The metric  for  share  of  voice  is  “brand mentions  in  a  desired  conversation”  (in  this  case, 

“medical workers talking about dry skin”). They record this using the statistic “share of voice”, 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  13

which plots the metric over time. They measure this weekly and track their progress. 

Examples of Statistics 

 # of positive brand mentions per week 

 # of comments on blog posts 

 # of retweets5 

 # of clicks on links posted on Twitter 

 # of visitors to the website 

 # of followers on Twitter 

 # of coupon downloads 

 # of video views 

Everyone on the team has to agree on what goals you’re aiming for, and how you’ll know when you 

hit them… or not! 

First, determine your benchmarks so that you know what you’re potentially aiming for and measuring 

yourself against. Looking at what others in your industry are doing helps you to establish benchmarks 

and set realistic goals for your business. Are you going to try to beat your competition outright? Or 

perhaps beat them only locally, for now? 

Once you have figured out where you’d like to be in the future, you can express these ideas as goals. 

So long as your goals are measurable, i.e. expressed as quantity and usually vs. time, you will be able 

to move forwards and track your progress easily. 

Below are examples of types of social media goals. The next section gives specific goal examples. 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  14

 

Brand Reputation

Dell  failed  to  service a particular  influential blogger, who eventually blogged about 

their  service. The blog caused a  flood of negative comments about Dell’s customer 

service. This had such an impact that it created a public relations “hell” for Dell. This 

was aptly named the “Dell Hell”. They set a goal to reverse the problem. The ratio of 

positive‐to‐negative  comments  became  one  of  their  key  performance  e‐indicators.  They  have 

definitely achieved their goal. 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  15

Brand Awareness

Skin MD Natural  launched  their  lotion  in social media and created  interest  in  the phrase “shielding 

lotion” as a search term. From this, more than 400 mommy bloggers have written about the product, 

and the content spread through social media sites like StumbleUpon, Kirtsy, and Delicious. 

There  are  now  search  queries  for  their  brand  and  the  generic  phrase  “shielding  lotion”  in many 

countries in the world. 

Share of Voice

Reed’s  Inc discovered  there  is a  vigorous  conversation online about ginger beer, ginger ale, ginger 

brew, and the health benefits of ginger. However, the number of mentions of Reed’s and their brands 

was very low. They instituted a social media program to engage brand fans and mom bloggers so that 

they can increase that share of voice. 

R&D6 Expenditure

Dell’s “Idea Storm”, Starbuck’s “My Starbuck’s  Idea”, and Crayola’s “Kid’s Comments” are concepts 

that help these companies tap into the wisdom of their consumers. 

 

98% of consumers indicate:  

“I’d definitely buy a product I helped to evolve.” 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  16

Step Five – Finding the Key Influencers

What  is  influence?  It can be defined as “implicit or explicit effect of one thing  (or 

person) on another.” 

What  influences people online has changed dramatically  in the  last few years. The 

idea  that  the  newspaper,  magazine,  TV  station,  or  individual  with  the  most 

followers or subscribers has the biggest influence is no longer valid. 

Today,  influence  is about accuracy and trust. You want to reach the bloggers and social networkers 

who have  influence –  those who can cause others  to  take action, change  their perception and / or 

their behavior. They might not be the A‐list7 bloggers or power users in a network. It is someone that 

other people  trust and  listen  to. They’re  the ones who  send a  flood of  traffic  to your blog or your 

website, because when they link to you or recommend your product, their followers take action. 

Examples 

Fiskars have been making scissors for 360 years, but didn’t have a very hip image. 

When they did a survey of what consumers thought about Fiskars, people said that 

if Fiskars were a drink,  it would be milk,  if they were a snack, they’d be crackers. 

Not  very  trendy  or  attractive!  However,  they  did  find  that  there  was  a  lot  of 

passion about scrapbooking and crafting online, which is something you need scissors to do, so Fiskars 

decided  to become part of  this passion. They  reached out  to  five  influential women  in  the crafting 

field and got them on board as ambassadors for the Fiskars brand. 

The goal  for  this campaign was  to  raise awareness and create  fans  that were passionate about  the 

brand. They have built a community of over 8,000 passionate Fiskars supporters.   This  led  to other 

rewards: 

 Product development – they ask Fiskateers for feedback on  ideas, and Fiskateers take pride  in 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  17

that 

 Marketing –  launching different stamp designs and ask Fiskateers which they  like, which helps 

identify which stamps are going to be the most popular 

 Sales – those stores where the Fiskateers were  involved showed three times higher sales than 

others 

There are  influencers  in each node of your social graph – some customers are more  influential than 

others.  Some bloggers are more important and their voice will carry more weight. 

It is vital to know who the influential voices are in each node as these are the voices that create the 

narrative about your brand online, 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  18

Step Six — Develop a Content Strategy Back in 2001, Forrester Research asked people why they returned to a website. The 

overwhelming answer was “content”. This holds true today. Success in social media 

depends on the quality of your content. Quality content engages people.  In social 

media, people are creating, reading, saving, tagging, and sharing quality content. 

If you don’t produce the kind of content they value, it won’t be re‐published or shared. 

How do you know what kind of content to create? Listen and observe. In the past, we had to rely on 

agencies to have a “bright idea”. However, when you really listen to your audience, you will discover 

the core content that will elicit a response. Opportunities easily spring to mind. 

Example 

A mortgage company discovered that young mothers  in their first home were very concerned about 

the  housing  market  and  the  subprime8  mortgage  fiasco.  They  were  looking  for  information  in 

language  they  could  understand.  The mortgage  company  realized  an  opportunity  to  connect with 

these moms via informative articles and video interviews with their experts. 

Example 

A  non‐profit  involved  in  drug  rehabilitation  found  out  that women  turn  to  blogs  for  information, 

advice, and recommendations (2009 BlogHer Social Media study). The study also revealed that what 

they value most  is a review or comment from someone who has used that product or service. Since 

women are the ones who most often call the rehab centers – a wife, mother, or sister of the addict – 

it was obvious that they needed to create content around the stories of women who had saved their 

families with this program, and get it out to women bloggers. 

Telling your story online in the right place to the right people gets results. However, you need a well‐

thought‐out content strategy based on solid research to get those results! 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  19

Step Seven — Tactical Planning Perform Tactical Planning & Pick Tools

There’s  a  wide  array  of  social  media  tools  to  choose  from  and  the  task  can  be 

confusing. Not  to mention  that new  tools pop up all  the  time.   Nevertheless,  if you 

have all your data analyzed, and your content strategy  in place,  it’s easy to pick the 

right tools. Your research will tell you where to start. 

Every  social media  success  case  study has excellent  content  that perfectly meets  the needs of  the 

people for whom it was intended. Just as in any conversation, the right content gets people’s interest 

and attention. If you are off topic or boring, you get no positive results. 

Social Media  has matured  and most  companies  are  expected  to  have  a  presence  on  Facebook, 

Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. However, there may be other social sites you need to include for your 

business. Bear in mind that each platform requires its own strategy and you need to know where to 

allocate resources. 

If the majority of the conversation about your product  is on Twitter, you’ll need a spendmore time 

connecting with the people who talk about you there.   The same  is true  for any of the other social 

networks. 

You need to decide why you are using that channel, who to connect with and why, and what content 

you need to produce in order to get the attention of the right people on that network. 

You will need someone with technical skills to help you get your tools in place. You will probably need 

a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn account, and a YouTube Channel for starters. 

Here’s the list of categories of social media tools: 

 News Feeds (RSS9) to syndicate all your content 

 “Share  this”  buttons,  tagging,  and  bookmarking  applications,  to make  it  easy  to  share  and 

forward your content 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  20

 Blogs – platforms and plug‐ins 

 Microblogging (Twitter) 

 Podcasts 

 Images – and image sharing networks 

 Video – and video sharing sites 

 Social Networks – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, niche networks 

 Social Media News Sites – Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg 

 Social Media News Releases, with multimedia and social bookmarks 

 Search optimized articles, with feeds and commenting 

 Widgets and Apps 

 Social Media News Room – create a social media content hub on your website 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  21

Step Eight — Create and Publish Content Once you have a content strategy based on solid research, bright ideas will naturally flow about what 

to create and how  to deliver  this content. Experimenting with a Facebook page and a Twitter  feed 

isn’t  enough.  You  have  to  create  supporting  content:  a  company  blog,  an  interactive  website, 

interesting articles, images, and videos. 

Do  you want  bloggers  and  online  reporters  to write  about  you  and  send  you  traffic?  Give  them 

excellent content. 

Example 

A hotel or  resort should be writing about  their destination – give people  ideas of where  to go and 

what to do. Use great images and videos. Look at how Intercontinental Hotels* did this. 

Example 

A non‐profit can create compelling content  that motivates bloggers  to write about  their cause. The 

Fresh Air Fund generated over 400 blog posts from this social media news release†. 

Example 

The “Will it Blend” videos have engaged millions of people around the world and increased BlendTec’s 

sales by 500%. 

Example 

The Microsoft bloggers led to a change of perception about Microsoft as a corporation. 

When the content fills a need, people will share the content, and they’ll link to it from blog posts and 

tweets. This can raise your search visibility and drive lots of traffic to your content. 

                                                       

* http://videos.howstuffworks.com/adventure/intercontinental‐videos‐playlist.htm#video‐788   † http://freshair.smnr.us/  

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  22

Step Nine – Engage & Facilitate Conversations It’s not enough just to push out content. Social media is not just another marketing channel you can 

use  to  reach  your  target  audience.  Content  should  be  created  with  a  view  to  inspiring,  and 

participating in, conversations about your brand. 

Social media  is  about  a  two‐way  flow  of  conversation.  People  are  no  longer willing  to  be  passive 

bystanders. They want to take an active part in the conversation. 

Customer engagement can get you through the toughest of times –  it’s both a customer acquisition 

and retention strategy. 

Engaging Your Audience

Followers and traffic are good and well, but are they engaging with you? 94% of Internet users active 

in social media say they expect a company to have a social media presence, and to be able to actively 

engage with them. 

Despite all their marketing and PR efforts, Microsoft was still perceived as a faceless corporate giant. 

When Robert Scoble started blogging, he put a human face on the company and engaged with their 

users and developers. Microsoft now has thousands of employees blogging and it has changed those 

perceptions. 

Dell has also demonstrated how to engage and succeed with social media. 

On a small local level, The Boston Court Theatre in Pasadena, CA, is doing a stellar job 

of engaging the local arts community and growing a strong support base. 

The  Forrester  Research  report  “Social  Media  Playtime  is  Over”  clearly  shows  that  dabbling  or 

experimenting  is  not  enough.  You  have  to  deliver  genuinely  interesting  and  valuable  content  that 

meets the needs of your audience and actively engages them. 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  23

Our recent study of the top 100 companies in the small, medium, and large categories revealed that 

only a very small percentage are actively engaging their audience. The playing field is wide open and 

this is a strategy that can reap large rewards. 

Facilitating Conversations

Word of mouth has long been the holy grail of marketing. Peer reviews, opinions, and comments are 

now  the number one  influencer prior  to purchase or decision online. Not only do you want people 

engaged with  you, but  also  you want  them  talking positively  about  you  to each other.  Facilitating 

these conversations should be your ultimate goal. 

Make it easy for them – provide excellent content that they will want to share and discuss. Then give 

them tools to make it easy to do this: send to a friend buttons, share this, bookmark this, subscribe, 

discuss, comment, like, and tweet buttons.. 

Since word of mouth, online conversations, reviews, and comments are regarded as the most trusted 

forms of information today, getting people to talk about your product is the goal. 

Example 

A skin care company saw this comment about their product posted in the GardenWeb forum: 

“I work in restaurants and using barrier skin shields is very common. One of the bad things about 

washing your hands  constantly  is getting  small open  cuts on  the hands  that allow bacteria and 

viruses to enter freely. I am sure this is a problem in hospitals too. A shielding lotion works well to 

handle this.” 

Example 

Carnival  Cruises  offers  their  customers  tools  to  post  their  cruise  stories  online,   with  images  and 

videos, so that friends and family at home can share the experience. 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  24

Step Ten — Measuring and Reviewing Why Measure?

“During a recession, with dollars stretched, marketers are under increased pressure to prove their 

programs. Social media, being largely experimental for many brands, needs to measure to quickly 

‘course correct’ programs  in  real  time. During  times of cutbacks, marketers must know what  to 

cut, and in order to do so, measurement is key.” Jeremiah Owyang: Altimeter Group 

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. It’s that simple. You need to know where you are when 

you  start, what needs  to be achieved, and as you move along  the path, you have  to have  tools  to 

measure your progress. That way you can see if you are on track and adapt fast if things go awry. Your 

measurement  has  to  be  based  on  business  objectives,  and  those  objectives  have  to  be  set  as 

measurable goals. Just setting up attributes to track on a dashboard is not enough. 

What you are going  to measure will depend on what goals you have  set  in  the  initial part of your 

strategy.  Based  on  listening  and  research,  you  should  have  determined what  actions  you  need  to 

focus on  in social media. Measure what you did and what impact  it had, and then you can see what 

result it had. 

Having mountains of data is all very well, but “what does this mean?” is the crucial question. 

Being  able  to  evaluate  the  data  and  come  to  a  conclusion  you  can  use  to  tweak  or  expand  your 

program  is  the point. You need  to  tell your  story  to others,  the client, your  superiors, and  the “C” 

suite. 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  25

Return on Engagement

Forrester Research stated the following: 

“We propose a new metric, engagement, that includes four components: 

 “Involvement 

 “Interaction 

 “Intimacy 

 “Influence 

“Each  of  these  is  built  from  data  collected  from  online  and  offline  data  sources.  Using 

engagement,  you  get  a more  holistic  appreciation  of  your  customers’  actions,  recognizing  that 

value  comes not  just  from  transactions, but  also  from  actions people  take  to  influence others. 

Once engagement takes hold of marketing, marketing messages will become conversations, and 

dollars will shift from media buying to customer understanding.” 

There are many tools available today to track engagement. 

What to Measure

You will have defined your metrics and statistics  in step #5. These should  include the  likes of “how 

many people  clicked  a  link  in  a blog post?”,  “how many  times was  a message  retweeted?”,  “how 

many followers does the person who retweeted you have?” etc. 

In this step, you’ll record your measurement of each metric. This is keeping statistics. Once you have 

completed your measurements, you’ll review each statistic. 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  26

Share of Conversation

Share of conversation  is another  important factor that should be tracked. It measures the degree to 

which a brand is associated with the problem or need that it is setting out to help with. 

Reviewing Your Results

Reviewing your results is imperative for the following reasons: 

 You can identify your winning actions and enhance these 

 You can identify your unhelpful actions and eliminate these 

 You can identify your non‐optimum strategies and adjust these 

 You can continuously adapt to market changes 

 You can ensure you are taking effective steps towards achieving your goals 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  27

Conclusion

Social media is not a fad – it is here to stay.  Your customers expect you to interact with them where 

they are – and today that’s on social websites. They expect you to be active and effective online. 

A well‐planned  social media  program  based  on  listening  to  your  audience will  result  in  deepened 

relationships with your customers and other stakeholders. By tapping into the knowledge and desires 

of your customers, your PR strategy and content will be right “on the money”, and meet the needs of 

your audiences. 

 

Markets  have  become  conversations.  Successful  companies 

know how to… 

 Listen 

 Learn 

 Respond 

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  28

Contact Us Whether you are new to social media, or are a seasoned veteran in need of “filling in the gaps” in your 

knowledge, our  training  courses  and  coaching  can  guide  you  step‐by‐step  through  the 10  steps of 

social media research, setting objectives, planning, implementation, and quality control. 

The  result  is  not  a  certificate.  It  is  you,  successfully  implementing  social media  in  your  business, 

competently and confidently, with effective, measurable results. 

Enquiries

     

Sally Falkow 

 

sally.falkow@meritusmedia.com 

http://www.twitter.com/sallyfalkow 

2400 Lincoln Ave  

Altadena, CA 91001 

626 296 6218 

     

     

 

Copyright © 2011, Sally Falkow | Rev. 1.  29

Glossary of Terms

                                                       

1 social media: the technology that enables us to share our thoughts and ideas online. 

2 ROI: Return on Investment. What you get out versus what you put in. 

3 fire‐starter: someone who can start a “conversation fire”. In other words, a person who can get others talking about 

something. 

4 dashboard: a term now used generally to refer to a web technology based page on which real time information is 

collated from various sources. Adapted from Wikipedia 

5 tweet / retweet: the equivalent of a cell phone text message, sent via Twitter. It often includes URL links. A retweet is 

such a message that has been sent again or forwarded by another person. 

6 R&D: Research & Development. 

7 A‐list: a group of desirable or admired people. 

8 subprime: being of less than top quality; used to refer to the market of people whose credit ratings are low. 

9 RSS: Really Simple Syndication. RSS is the technology that allows one to syndicate and distribute content on the web. The 

most widespread use is in distributing news headlines and blog posts. 

 

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