Social Media Can Meet Several Meaningful Goals – Presentation Coverage from BlogWell

The following is part of a series covering the BlogWell conference which took place at Chicago’s Gleacher Center on Thursday, January 22.

Stan Joosten, Director of Holistic Consumer Communications for Proctor & Gamble began his presentation at BlogWell by emphasizing the importance of not treating social media as “shiny object media”. In other words, don’t be fooled by the latest and greatest fancy new thing.  Instead have one or more goals in mind before you start any social media initiative.

Know Your Competition

One potential goal for getting into social media is the defensive strategy of making certain that you know the full range of potential competitors and have a chance to become part of the conversation before you’re forever left behind.

His example of this need focused on the otherwise mundane and esoteric world of sock knitting. This unusual topic apparently has a wide following on the web, as evidenced by the over 14,000 posts at http://socknitters.com/phpBB2/ alone.

In this example, a sock knitter based in the Midwestern part of the United States who has been a loyal buyer of yarn at her local yarn retailer posts a comment on a forum requesting a sock pattern. A response to that post directs her to an Australian woman with a Facebook account who is happy to share the ideal pattern. That woman then directs her to the web site of a Swedish woman who has the absolutely perfect wool yarn to use in her sock knitting that only comes from one specific type of sheep.

The local retailer has forever lost a customer and never saw it coming.

Know Your Brand

Another potential goal of becoming involved with social media is to truly understand the current state of your brand. According to Joosten, your brand is not what you want it to be or what you say it is but rather what the public says it is. Now, thanks to social media, marketers can easily see exactly what that is.

Empower Your Brand Fans

The third potential goal Joosten discussed involves working with the brand fans you already have. According to him, this is the biggest missed opportunity for brand managers. He encouraged all marketers to give their brand fans tools to support the products they already love.

A strong example of this was the creation of a web site where consumers can add their reviews of Dawn® dishwashing products. As a result, in spite of Epinions.com only having 30 reviews for Dawn dish soap, P&G customers have added thousands of reviews of the various Dawn products, including over 775 for Dawn Direct Foam alone.

Replace or Augment Market Research

The final potential goal Joosten discussed was as a more dynamic, broader replacement for – or supplement to – other forms of market research.

His example for this is the http://BeingGirl.com site sponsored by Always and Tampax where girls who are maturing can ask the on-site doctor questions about that process and its implications. The site gives Always and Tampax brand managers a very real insight into the needs and wants of their target market and the exact words, phrases and questions they express with respect to the products. As a result, at least one brand manager said that they “don’t need focus groups any more”.

Proctor and Gamble is proving that multiple marketing goals can be met via the intelligent use of social media. Think carefully before beginning your initiatives and you can apply these goals to your program as well.

Guest blogger James R. Dickey is Executive Director of Marketing for Unitrin Specialty. His personal web site is at jamesrdickey.com. Watch for more of his coverage of BlogWell coming soon.

About James Dickey

You can follow James on Twitter: @jamesdickey.

One Response to Social Media Can Meet Several Meaningful Goals – Presentation Coverage from BlogWell

  1. Ruth Seeley says:

    Can't wait for posts on the other seven presentations – this one was great!