Recently I was interviewed by Chief Marketer about how brands are reaching out to women through social media. The reporter was interested in how brands were and were not “getting it right.”
As I wrote here last month (OMG, that long), it’s become increasingly clear to me that the brands that are doing excellent work using social media tools to reach their customers generally have done and do a good job in traditional media. Sure, even the best companies make the occasional mistake with a campaign, product or program but for the most part, their marketing communications are sharp (often clever) and do not patronize the consumer.
These companies already understand that it’s important to respect your customer. In all that you do. They just have to figure out how to translate that imperative using the social media toolset in a way that is authentic to the brand and relevant to the customer.
It’s more than just getting the mechanics right. That’s the price of entry into social media engagement with your customer. I’ve been saying it for years, and I’ll keep on saying it: there is NO excuse for misaddressed e-mail – for example, the “Dear XXX” pitch about toys (children’s toys) that many parent bloggers got last week – or grammar errors – like “conscious” for “conscience,” also from last week’s in-box.
As Marketing Mommy said on Twitter:
@sgetgood My reply to him: “Despite my efforts to break into the porn star business, I’ve yet to use the moniker XXX.”
The poor interns come in for a lot of flack when we talk about these often humorous mechanical mistakes, but really, it is management’s job to create a system with the proper checks and balances.
If you MUST mass e-mail bloggers (and I wish you wouldn’t), invest in a decent CRM system and assign your interns to getting the data entered properly. Not on cutting and pasting pitches. Buy everyone who drafts, edits or sends customer facing emails a dictionary and make it a requirement that it be displayed on their desks. Why? Because it will be a constant visual reminder to check not just the spelling of words, but their meaning. Spell check and online dictionaries can’t do that.
The mechanics are the first, most basic level of getting blogger outreach right. We can do it. I know we can.
Your message is the second, more important level of “getting it right.” My favorite fantasy is that next year, even more companies and their agencies will see the light and understand that what they should be doing is sharing compelling ideas and stories with their customers. Exciting things that will make them want to write about the brand.
Instead of trotting out formulaic pitches and recycling the same product launch templates from project to project, client to client, brand to brand.
Be careful though.This requires more than just identifying the blogger’s passion that drives interest in your product and inserting the message point in an otherwise bland pitch. That’s a start (I guess), but it’s not enough. There is honestly still far too much of this sort of pitch circulating in the ether.
Really getting it right requires that you connect with that passion. To do that, you need to know the bloggers you are reaching out to. It still comes back to the 3 R’s as coined by good friend and colleague David Wescott in 2007 – respect your customer, be relevant and build a relationship over time.
Good blogger relations is still (and always will be) a commitment, not a one night stand.
Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women ticket giveaway – Stay tuned: I will pick a winner this weekend from the comments on this post. I also have one ticket each for the Texas Conference for Women in November and the Massachusetts Conference for Women in December. Watch for a post next week about the conferences and details on how I plan to give away those passes. More than likely it will be on Twitter, not here on the blog as finding time to write is a bit problematic for the next two weeks due to my schedule.
Next week, I will be in NYC most of the week, digging in to my second week on the job as VP Sales Marketing for BlogHer and speaking at a PRSA event on Friday. The following week, I travel to Orlando to present a social media workshop at AARP’s Orlando@50+ conference.
In between all of that we are trying to find a place to live for 3 people, 3 dogs and 2 cats. Fun times! We need a rental within about an hour’s commute to Manhattan by train until we sell our house in Massachusetts. If you’ve got leads, let me know. We’re leaning toward western Connecticut but open to all suggestions.