Helge Tennø tagged me as part of Mitch Joels’ Challenge to write about your Social Media Marketing Best Practice.

Mine is simple – Participate. As Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said “The notion of looking on at life has always been hateful to me. What am I if I am not a participant? In order to be, I must participate.”

The only way to get ahead in online marketing is to understand what type of content or experience consumers are seeking out online. It’s not to say that you have to have a blog or Bebo page before you can advise someone about it, but you need to understand how to use each tool successfully.

So you’re targeting a teen audience and decide setting up a Bebo profile is the way to go. All well and good, but what is going to make the profile of interest to the target audience. Ignore the consultant repeating the advice Kevin Coster received in Field of Dreams – if you build it, they may not necessarily come.

In my opinion, PR agencies are becoming media companies. To date, we have largely been concerned with providing content to engage with a limited set of stakeholders, be it the media or Government, in order to engage the public at large. We are now moving to the point where we will create content and share it through a variety of mediums, with the Internet providing a portal direct to consumers.

The web is essentially a magazine and in order to attract the consumers you are targeting, you need to understand what they are reading and why they find it entertaining. You can only do this by consuming similar content.

A great example of a company participating online is EA. In response to YouTube user posting a video about a glitch in their new Tiger Woods video game, EA replied with a video that showed that what the user found might not be a glitch.

EA Tiger Woods video.

Couple of reasons why I like the EA effort

  • If you look at the video, you’ll see that it’s a video reply to the original video. This shows that EA realise that there’s an active community on YouTube as opposed to the passive audience that TV typically draws.
  • They’re obviously listening to what their customers are saying about them and cleverly leveraged the original video as a viral marketing effort

In contrast from a local perspective I see lots of competitions where brands ask consumers to upload videos, but inevitably very few entries are uploaded. The reason for this is simple, only a small percentage of consumers actively create content (and the quality varies like a spectrum of colours.) This is okay in the United States where there is a huge online audience, but it’s miniscule by comparison in Ireland. I bet there are many marketing managers out there questioning the ROI on a handful of videos.

I met with Colin from Zoo Digital last week and he was showing me the Adidas Originals site they created for Champion Sports. He really impressed me with their approach to get content for the website. The guys approached a number of Irish users on YouTube who they thought would be a good fit for the competition and asked them to submit content. It’s an approach that works and that has proved successful, because Colin and his team understand the audience.


2 Responses to “Participate – Social Media Marketing Best Practice”  

  1. 1 Paul Matthews

    I definitely agree that participation is crucial if you are to be taken seriously in social media. Often, I find, people/organisations are intimidated by the very nature of social media so sit and develop the best strategy for diving right in.

    I’m sure you agree Piras, and no doubt you have suggested to your readers before, participation doesn’t necessarily mean plunging in boots and all. Individuals/companies get hung up developing the perfect strategy; I don’t believe there is a perfect social media strategy.

    Rather than waiting to execute the perfect strategy, one should begin by dipping in ones toes, developing the strategy along the way, perfecting it through participation.

    In saying this however, it’s all well and good to preach participation; like the EA example though, it is important to participate relevantly.

  2. 2 Piaras

    You’ve hit the nail on the head Paul

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