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Inspiring Our Audience to Share: What You Need to Know for High-Leverage Social Marketing

Inbound Marketing

As expected it has been another year of huge growth for social media and for using social marketing during televised special events. At the 85th Annual Academy Awards over 8.9 million tweets were shared, with tweets reaching 85,000 per minute during the best picture award for Argo. This would make it the third largest social media event of 2013, after the Super Bowl which boasted over 52 million social interactions and the Grammys with just over 15.5 million. (Source Twitter, February 2013 and Trendrr).

This trend matches my observations of friends and family. Everywhere we look people are flipping around on their phones and tablets. The old idea of the TV couch potato has sprouted arms holding a touch screen. Most people want the same things, they want to be entertained, they want to be inspired and they want to be connected to their friends and family. The hard part for most advertisers will be getting people inspired to talk about you when they choose to talk. While watching the Super Bowl I’m likely to talk about touchdowns, but it might sound a little odd for me to share how great my toilet smells thanks to the good folks from Johnson Wax. Of course with the right budget and creative I’m sure we could make it fun.

The Potential of Social Marketing

The second screen viewing market is expected to keep growing at double digits over the next few years. TV and set top device manufacturers are gearing up to introduce more second screen features in a big way. So much so that media giant Sony has focused its design philosophy on the upcoming PlayStation 4 device to feature at its core social functions. For the first time ever, the social content abilities of a new gaming device have been given a higher bullet point than processor power. They have embedded dedicated hardware inside the unit to allow gamers and, perhaps more importantly, content users to capture and share what they are seeing with others. The ability to do this in real time while playing a game or while sharing a personal video opens up many new opportunities for smart brand positioning and social marketing.

According to a recent Nielsen report about 40% of Americans use tablets or smartphones while watching TV at least once a day. The correlation with these numbers and the penetration of smart devices is almost one to one. Almost every person who has the ability to utilize second screens while watching television will choose to do so at some time. This will continue to grow as the devices become easier to use and more ubiquitous.

The thing that excites me is that social marketing isn't limited to the annual Mega events. We are free to explore the other 364 days of the year. This new landscape offers a long tail variety of opportunities for every brand. The lifestyle connections that we can build with our audience tend to be the more organic, long-lasting campaigns that can inspire real growth and inspire people to want to advocate for your product.

Successful Social Marketing is About Making Your Customer Care

Finding the social causes that matter to your target customer and discovering how the product can relate to that thing is the key. People will feel inspired to share things when it resonates with them or supports a cause that they believe in. We are becoming agents for our brands, finding the causes and concerns that fit our brand identity. We guide the brand and its association with the right groups, charities, and events. While it is a given that we create rich content and make it easy to share, true social marketing is crafting the desire to share which will promote the brand. Creating this desire can come from correctly matching the aspirations of our target market to the products they consume.

The good news for social marketing is that people are talking and sharing more than ever before. The challenge is that we need to aim higher than just creating chatter. The problem isn’t so much about creating something that is just plain interesting, it’s creating something that makes sense for the brand and connects on a real level with the motivations and concerns that inspire the target customer.

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