RSS Ray invited our own VP of Innovation, Jason Billingsley, to discuss social media marketing strategies for online retailers on RSS Radio October 5, 2007 at Online Market World in San Francisco.
In case you missed it, here are some outtakes from the segment:
What is the definition of social media?
Social: anything there's interaction with
Media: using video, text, audio, RSS to get the word out and converse
What's important for retailers to understand about social media?
The most common thing people approach Jason with is fear, especially manufacturers are afraid of talking openly through social media. Or, our demographic is 55+, this isn't appropriate for us. Jason disagrees, everyone consumes content no matter how old they are.
How do you become comfortable by social media?
Don't just launch a $100,000 rich media microsite, start by participation in channels where conversation is already happening. Commenting on blogs, etc. Sponsoring popular podcasts like Ask A Ninja, sponsored by Toshiba.
What is the next step toward implementation?
Start with blogging, you don't have to come out of the gate full steam. You can slowly proceed with it.
What is a blog?
Not a lot different than a website. The difference is there's commenting and it's attached to the content that is being produced so it's highly interactive. And RSS feeds allow people to control how they receive or syndicate content.
The best thing about blogs is transparency and openness. You can learn more about your customer than any other medium - complaints and ideas among others.
How will blogging help business?
Think of the blog as interconnected water coolers? If bloggers of like mind link to each others' posts, this builds a nice ecosystem and circular flow of traffic and customer bases can both benefit from that.
Common mistakes in retail and social media?
Jumping stages in ecommerce evolution stage, missing out quality content creation - headlines, imagery, instead of relying on ERP data which may not be the most important, highest performing data on a website. What's your focus? Are you content focused, conversion focused, acquisition focused, content focused, or optimization focused? Know who you are.
The number one mistake retailers make is being too closed. They blog about a topic but don't have comments enabled. That's just publishing a web page. It's not creating conversation.
Another is over-estimating the ROI of a campaign. Not everyone is going to launch a YouTube campaign and have it go viral the first time. Also doing things that offend your market is dangerous (fake blogs etc). You can't post product marketing offers and expect people to beat down the door looking for those products. That's not how social networks work.
Social media may not be appropriate for everybody. So right-sizing your campaigns is an important thing.