In many ways, social media is a whole new world for marketers, but success is based on basic concepts that also drive traditional marketing: produce a quality product and connect with your consumers.
Dana Arnold, public relations and social media director at Hiebing, and David Stidham, VP of marketing for Culver’s restaurants, summed that up at July’s Social Media Breakfast meeting this way: “You can’t win online if you’re not winning offline.”
“What you’re doing offline is far more important than what you’re doing online,” Dana said. “Make sure your product is quality.”
“Great companies have always known how to connect with their consumers,” David added. Social media just presents new opportunities for doing so.
In traditional marketing, the company is speaking to the consumer, Dana noted, while social media gives the “megaphone” to the consumer. If the company produces a quality product and has built trust with the consumer, the consumer will use that megaphone to advocate for the company.
How do you build that trust? Think on your guests’ terms and surround them with your story – provide a consistent message and deliver on it.
Dana referred to social media consumers as “guests,” and said it is important to get to know them and their level of activity in social media.
There are four types of people on social media: voyeurs (who simply watch what’s going on but don’t interact), gatherers (who share and sometimes comment and retweet), evaluators (who blog and create content), and architects (advanced users who might even create videos, have their own youtube channels, etc.).
Dana said the Culver’s has a lot of gatherers in its target audience, and the goal is to post content that will get them to interact
“We want to test the boundaries of what our audience will and will not do,” she said.
As for the story part, she said, the elements to a great story are: An emotional connection + engaging + simple + portable (can be shared).
Culver’s, which is based in Sauk City, Wisconsin, and has 484 restaurants in 21 states, has created its story around the theme: Welcome to Delicious. Elements include family, quality and transparency. The story is told in many ways, including traditional marketing and social media, but it is told consistently.
“Everything we do has a digital application to it,” David said. “Integrating social and traditional platforms is integral to sharing our story.”
Dana noted that social media requires an investment, not just money but time, especially since social media is constantly changing.
Other key points made by Dana and David:
Clearly define your social media goals and your strategies: Determine your primary purpose with social media (whether it is sales, awareness, loyalty, or customer service).
Develop a promotional calendar to guide your social media activities.
Measure your succes: Set benchmarks; measure yourself against yourself; measure yourself against your competitors.
Engage with your guests around topics they care about.
The most powerful purpose within social media can be listening and learning – then adjusting and/or responding.
People are transitioning to mobile and tablets so be sure you are engaging them there.
Surprise and delight.
Engagement translates into advocacy. Give your audience a reason to share content: Insightful visual Facebook and Google+ posts;
Reward outstanding acts of brand love (send thank yous or certficates); Create outstanding acts of guest service yourself.
In summary, they said, “We want to deliver the same quality online experience that we deliver in the restaurants.”
Make sure to show your appreciation to our sponsors who keep this a quality event with fantastic food at terrific venues (and did we mention for no charge to you?!):
Thanks to Jeffrey Powers at Geekazine for capturing this presentation on video: