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The Four Questions to Answer for Success in CPG Social Marketing

Monday, July 13, 2009

By Guest Blogger: David Berkowitz
Director of Emerging Media & Client Strategy
Digital communications agency 360i

Do you need a Facebook strategy? Should your brand be on Twitter? When CPG marketers are assessing various social marketing opportunities, answering four questions can help determine whether or not the opportunity makes sense for the brand:

1) Does the opportunity meet your brand’s objectives?

2) Does the opportunity leverage your brand’s existing arsenal of assets?

3) Does the opportunity abide by the social media rules of the road?

4) Does it provide significant value exchange?

These questions, as well as other tips and best practices, are detailed in 360i’s recently-released Social Marketing Playbook, a freely available 56-page guide on how to develop, execute and measure a successful social marketing strategy.Here, we’ll take a look at a number of CPG campaigns and ongoing social programs to see how these marketers applied the four questions when devising their strategies:

1) Does the opportunity meet your brand’s objectives?
This the hardest to answer for another marketer in hindsight, but sometimes the objectives are clear. Consider how
Tyson Foods uses its Twitter account. Its profile description says, “This account currently focuses on hunger relief efforts: yours, ours, theirs.” That implies that the account’s mission is to raise awareness of hunger issues and showcase Tyson’s role in helping the cause. Tyson’s posts on Twitter show its laser focus. It links to news stories on hunger, shares videos relating to the issue, and retweets others’ relevant posts. With about 4,000 followers, Tyson is meeting its objectives tweet by tweet.

2) Does the opportunity leverage your brand’s existing arsenal of assets?

A brand’s arsenal can include online content, brand partnerships, messaging, promotions and even its brand advocates. Red Bull uses a number of its assets well on
its Facebook Page, which has about 1.1 million fans. Red Bull posts updates for fans at least weekly, including video clips and information on events it sponsors. The brand has posted 15 photo albums, and fans have contributed an additional 2,500 photos. They have also developed customized pages for more specialized communities, such as Red Bull Air Race and Red Bull Racing. Lastly, Red Bull has developed more applications and customized content than just about any brand on Facebook, including a tab on its page showcasing Twitter updates from its sponsored athletes. Red Bull gives its arsenal wings on Facebook, so it’s hardly surprising that it’s one of the most ‘fanned’ products or brands on the site.

3) Does the opportunity abide by the social media rules of the road?

The Social Marketing Playbook outlines a number of social media rules, including the importance of transparency and of listening before leaping in. Oscar Mayer’s partnership with House Party in June is an example of a social marketing effort that clearly followed the rules.

Oscar Mayer sponsored events on June 20, where House Party members signed up to invite friends to gatherings at their homes featuring Oscar Mayer products. Oscar Mayer sent hosts party packs that included coupons, plates, aprons and other goodies. The day of the events, over 17,000 partygoers attended, and hosts uploaded 3,300 photos and shared 2,600 blog posts. The program made it easy for participants to share content in ways that suited them. They became brand advocates without compromising their own identities and personalities.

4) Does it provide significant value exchange?

Ultimately, any social marketing program needs to clearly provide value for consumers. This value can take the form of utility, information, entertainment, self-expression, socialization or tangible goods.
Vitamin Water launched a program on MySpace to offer free MP3 downloads from Amazon, with redemption codes under bottle caps.
Here, the value’s straightforward, but it doesn’t always have to be so cut and dry. Tyson Foods offered information through Twitter and Oscar Mayer offered tangible goods to kick off the party but included self-expression and socialization as key elements. Vitamin Water also provides other forms of value through MySpace, such as information about new artists and forums where its nearly 8,200 fans can interact.

As useful as these four questions may be for assessing past or current social marketing efforts, they’re most valuable when planning ahead, so consider anything you’re currently working on and make sure you address these questions accordingly. If all four questions can’t be answered, or you’re not thrilled with your answers, there may be an opportunity to improve the program before it launches.

For more insights into social marketing strategies for brands, follow
@360i on Twitter.