Digital Marketing Prospecting in Social

Tatiana Mejia
Tatiana Mejia Product Marketing Manager, Adobe

Posted on August 13th 2014

Digital Marketing Prospecting in Social

Engag­ing cus­tomers and prospects on an emerg­ing social media plat­form can be a bit of a gam­ble not unlike prospect­ing. Brand par­tic­i­pa­tion requires a com­mit­ment of time and resources with an uncer­tain return. Take Sec­ond Life, for exam­ple, a vir­tual real­ity world launched in 2003 that got brand par­tic­i­pa­tion from house­hold names like Gen­eral Motors, Warner Broth­ers, and Adi­das in 2005 and 2006 with promis­ing engage­ment and no real return. Although if Facebook’s recent acqui­si­tion of Ocu­lus for $2 bil­lion is any indi­ca­tion, Sec­ond Life may get some renewed inter­est as a social net­work for vir­tual real­ity.

Like strik­ing oil, hav­ing a social cam­paign or com­mu­nity effort go viral can have a huge pay­out and requires both luck and skill. Oil drillers are not buy­ing a lot­tery ticket with every new well they dig, they are mak­ing an informed deci­sion based on what they know of the ter­rain and pre­vi­ous experience.

Another exam­ple of a new social media plat­form is Face­book. In 2007, the com­pany launched Face­book Pages and seeded 100,000 busi­nesses. The busi­nesses that were cho­sen had no way of know­ing for sure that the pages plat­form would be suc­cess­ful. The plat­form wasn’t rolled out for every­one until 2009, so for about two years, those fan pages got all the atten­tion with none of the com­pe­ti­tion. By Novem­ber of 2013, there were 25 mil­lion small busi­ness pages. Today, hav­ing a Face­book fan page is con­sid­ered one of the cor­ner­stones of a social media mar­ket­ing mix.

The com­pa­nies that got in on the ground floor and gam­bled that it would pay off were the ones that reaped the ben­e­fits of early suc­cess with more fol­low­ers and less com­pe­ti­tion. These kinds of oppor­tu­ni­ties are still around. I agree with the sen­ti­ment that you are not late! Remem­ber the early days of the Inter­net when any dot­com name was avail­able? Many peo­ple think back to 1994 nos­tal­gi­cally and fan­ta­size, “if only I had started mar­ket­ing on Inter­net plat­forms then.” Some­day, peo­ple are going to think the same thing of the year 2014, when things like ephemeral mes­sag­ing and mobile app mar­ket­ing were still rel­a­tively new.

Can you afford not to place a bet?

Bat­ter Up: Ephemeral Messaging

Ephemeral mes­sag­ing, with Snapchat as its poster child, is a new social media plat­form that is rapidly grow­ing and just start­ing to get atten­tion. In Decem­ber 2013, when Snapchat turned down a $3 bil­lion offer from Face­book to buy it out, there were 30 mil­lion Snapchat users. As of April 2014, there were closer to 70 mil­lion users. Snapchat took a cal­cu­lated risk in turn­ing down that offer and it seems to be pay­ing off, with the user growth con­tin­u­ing to accel­er­ate. From the last quar­ter of 2013 to through the first quar­ter of 2014, Snapchat’s user base grew 67 per­cent, while Facebook’s increased by 9 per­cent on its mobile app.

Snapchat users like it because it is infor­mal, easy, and fun. Brands can inter­act with those cus­tomers and prospects in the same man­ner. Snapchat users sign up to receive mes­sages from a brand. This is a fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent type of inter­ac­tion ver­sus pas­sively see­ing an ad or pro­mo­tion based on demo­graph­ics and a social graph.

How 16 Han­dles Han­dled Snapchat

One of the first com­pa­nies to use Snapchat for a cam­paign was New York-based yogurt shop 16 Han­dles. The com­pany ini­tially announced the cam­paign on Twit­ter and explained the rules. First, a cus­tomer sends a pic­ture of him or her­self tast­ing the yogurt at a 16 Han­dles loca­tion. Then 16 Han­dles responds with a coupon on Snapchat for any­where from 16 to 100 per­cent off. The cus­tomer opens the coupon at the reg­is­ter with 10 sec­onds to use it, only then find­ing out the amount. After the cam­paign, 16 Han­dles reported receiv­ing 1,400 new inter­ac­tions from customers.

Audi Focuses on Millennials

Audi is another com­pany that cre­ated a suc­cess­ful Snapchat cam­paign. Audi has always been pretty vocal about try­ing to reach a younger demo­graphic in order to keep grow­ing its con­sumer base. The com­pany has done every­thing from cre­at­ing young, hip par­ties with craft beer and elec­tronic music, to part­ner­ing with Justin Tim­ber­lake for a series of Inter­net movies. With its goal of becom­ing the sta­tus sym­bol car for young, hip urban dwellers, Audi turned to Snapchat, which boasts a demo­graphic of 70 per­cent of users under age 25.

Audi used Super­bowl Sun­day to gain an audi­ence. Dur­ing the game, the com­pany sent out pho­tos with clever cap­tions, com­ment­ing on parts of the game and wel­com­ing its fol­low­ers to par­tic­i­pate. This helped it stand out from the com­pa­nies using stan­dard real-time Twit­ter cam­paigns. As a result, Audi saw an increase in engage­ment across all its plat­forms. Many fans shared their pri­vate Snaps pub­licly on Face­book and Twit­ter. Some went as far as to men­tion that Audi’s Snaps were the best part of the game. As a result, Audi’s Twit­ter fan base grew by 2,500 and the com­pany gained 9,000 new fans for its Face­book pages.

Ephemeral mes­sag­ing can be an impor­tant part of your social media mix, dri­ving engage­ment across mul­ti­ple social net­works. 16 Han­dles announced its ephemeral mes­sag­ing cam­paign on Face­book and Twit­ter and then used Snapchat to run it. Audi encour­aged fans to share their Snaps on Twit­ter and Face­book, which they did, ampli­fy­ing the company’s message.

Why Get­ting in on the Ground Floor Works

When Face­book started with busi­ness pages, the com­pa­nies who par­tic­i­pated first got the largest fol­low­ings and value. Seven years later, hav­ing a sim­i­lar impact is much harder and more costly. Today, Face­book is a mature mar­ket, like any other, ruled by sup­ply and demand. The sup­ply of con­tent has exploded as this plat­form has matured, but people’s atten­tion hasn’t, so Face­book tweaks the algo­rithm to pro­vide the best expe­ri­ence for its customers.

Brands have to con­tinue to work get their mes­sage in front of prospects and cus­tomers even after they become fol­low­ers. Face­book has stated it expects organic dis­tri­b­u­tion of an indi­vid­ual page’s posts to grad­u­ally decline over time and for fan acqui­si­tion to pro­vide value as a way to improve adver­tis­ing effectiveness.

Although work­ing with a new social plat­form is a gam­ble, it’s a cal­cu­lated one when you’re deal­ing with plat­forms like Snapchat. Ephemeral mes­sag­ing is full of active users and lit­tle brand pres­ence. It’s impor­tant for brands to start par­tic­i­pat­ing now and work­ing it into to their social mar­ket­ing mix to cap­ture the atten­tion of this new audience.

This post originally appeared on the Adobe Digital Marketing blog.

Tatiana Mejia

Tatiana Mejia

Product Marketing Manager, Adobe

Tatiana Mejia is a product marketing manager for Adobe Experience Manager focused on social communities and strategies essential to marketers integrating social into their digital properties. Mejia has extensive experience in SaaS, collaboration and productivity applications, and social marketing. She holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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