Social media and word of mouth is the new advertising and nothing else is needed – well, according to some social media’gurus’. As Ramon De Leon said at Le Web, advertising (the old version) is the tax on being boring. He may be right to an extent, but there’s no doubt that his Domino’s franchises will still benefit from the the national advertising spend that the parent company provide. I wouldn’t call Ramon a social media guru, given I reserve that term for those who talk more than they act and the key thing that he does is act – and continue to deliver on his commitments.
However, social media – on its own – does not replace other means of marketing. It complements it, adds to the mix and is undoubtably one of the key ways to develop relationships with brand fans and advocates. Working with ‘influencers’ – meaning people with a strong online presence that may have an influence on a potential customer – is now extremely common with markets. But the problem has been how can you determine who is an influencer. Peer Index is one of the services that have grown over the last few years to help answer that question. By bringing together a person’s social media profiles and activities they provide a ‘influence ranking’ that brands and agencies can then use to find people who may talk about their brand.
But how good is the ranking? Does it replace the more manual method of reviewing blogs and working with them to develop a relationship? On the one hand, it’s quicker and cheaper to ask for a list of a few 1000 people that may meet the criteria set then spending day and weeks working, reading, understanding the audience you are trying to reach and finding the right people to talk to. But the success rate is probably harder to forecast.
Over the last few months, I’ve been targeted with 3 different Peer Perks which demonstrate that its not always that easy to use the services to generate online activity – it all depends on how you create the filters.
The first, the least successful for me was for the launch of a new lottery. The brand’s marketing plan obviously included a lot of space for social media and WOM, given it also partnered with Klout as well as Peer Index. But I wonder what the target audience was and why I was targeted? Trying to find blog posts that mention that lottery, the campaign did not appear to be that successful!
The second was with Guinness, as part of their campaign this autumn. Influencers who opted-in received 6 half-pint Guinness Glasses as well as an entry into a draw to win a ‘Guinness Class’ trip to Dublin. They were also out in the pubs, offering sampling and more chances to win at pubs around the country for 2 months. As well as using Peer Index, Guinness also appeared to do targeted outreach, providing additional content and placing sponsored posts across specific blogs (eg this one with Tiki Chris). The third level was the more usual PR, ie this AOL piece. There’s a lot more to this integrated campaign, but you can see here how Guinness have used different types of influencers to provide widespread coverage. Although I’d hazard a guess that these 3 elements were managed by 3 different agencies
The third perk was for Cravendale Milk. Again as part of a larger set of outreach activities, Cravendale sent out sets of Epic Straws (that link will probably die at some point, as it’s campaign related) along with vouchers for their milk. I’ve loved playing with the straws but I’ve not cashed in the milk vouchers for myself as its unusual if I get through more than a pint in a week! They did the more regular PR and also worked with Britmums to target what I would say is a better audience than I – Moms! This was combined with all sorts of other promotions, such as on-pack vouchers to get your own set of straws. All of this generated a lot of coverage, from what I can see the most out of the 3 I was offered.
A mixed bunch then. The first, not for me at all. The second, definitely right for me, giving me both a physical object to remind me all about Guinness and the opportunity to win a greater prizes. The 3rd I like as a campaign and I LOVE the straws, but it probably better targeted at parents than someone like me. I’ll be passing on the straws and milk vouchers to my family as they’ll make far more use of both.