by William Crane, Bonfire Social Media Community Manager
Recently the Red Chair Group made it’s way to Bridgetown and I was fortunate enough to get a seat. The event was billed as ‘Operational Social Media Training for Senior Managers and Executives’. A tall order.
The Red Chair Studio event followed the full-day Red Chair Executive program. This half-day class was described as a fast-paced program “designed to teach mid-level managers and Account-level Social Media professionals how to properly manage, measure and grow Social Media program.”
So with that in mind, I trucked to the top of the Pacific First Center. Overlooking the West Hills and the rest of downtown Portland, the view was stunning on a sleepy Friday morning.
Presented by the creator of the BrandBuilder blog, Olivier Blanchard played a perfect balancing act between presenter, teacher, and comedian. His loose presentation style helped to convey the information without seeming rehearsed or stiff.
My initial thought: Red Chair Group was spot-on. The program was fast-paced, holding my attention. I would much rather be at top speed for a few hours, as opposed to an entire day session at a slower pace.
Here are my key take-aways:
Social Communications, Not Social Media
Names do mean something, they actually mean quite a lot. If any one knew this, it should be someone like Olivier who specializes in online branding.
One of his main points was that the term social media does not properly reflect what social media actually means. Social Media refers to the channels we use to communicate through.
By starting to use the term Social Communication, it more properly grounds this marketing discipline and also, importantly, distances itself from the “buzzword.”
What are we trying to do?
Blanchard focused a lot on planning. Now this may sound simple, but it’s not. Planning not only takes time, but it also takes resources. Secondly, when businesses look at implementing a social marketing campaign, it should not be done blindly. Or just attempting to follow behind what others are doing.
What is a business looking to achieve? Often it is not merely increasing Facebook fans or Twitter followers. Instead they want to increase awareness about their products, services, and ultimately increase sales.
Using the proper channel is necessary to accomplish your goal. Maybe it’s not Facebook for your client, maybe it’s a Phone App or FourSquare. Look at your customer base and what you are trying to communicate to whom. Then look at your tools, platforms, etc. and use the right one.
Social Media is NOT Free
Businesses need to budget for Social Media. Just because you can open up a Facebook or Twitter account for free, does not mean the campaign should be run on the cheap. Or by one person. Companies need to see that in order to move needles and get results, you must invest. Just like any other marketing campaign.
Did you just roll your eyes? I know, I know. Legal stuff bores must of us, but really, it is important. Mainly, Blanchard pointed to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255. This governs electronic communication and deals with disclosure. An example of disclosure: I attended this Red Chair event for free. I must disclose this to you the reader, or be in violation. Got it?
How to Measure Success?
This was probably the biggest point I took away from the entire four hour event. If you are going to measure success of our marketing campaign, it needs to be grounded in the business world. While increasing friends and followers should be important, it cannot be the end result. The end results should impact the bottom line.
If your social media marketing campaigns are not increasing awareness, loyalty, or sales, then you will have a hard time justifying your campaigns (and their budgets).
Overall, Red Chair Studio met my expectations. The attendees were a mixed bag of agency types and in-house marketers. Blanchard did a great job preparing and presenting valuable information to take back to your clients or business.