Tags: Engagement, Monetization, Social Media
I’ve seen a bunch of articles and tweets recently talking about “the direction” of social in 2011. One of the key themes has been that there will/should be a greater focus on engagement as opposed to sheer number of fans or followers in the social space.
As I see it, this has been the point all along. Having large numbers of fans/followers is quite meaningless unless they are engaged with what your team is doing. I’ve often said that I’d rather have 1000 fans that were really plugged into what I was doing, than 10,000 fans who paid little or no attention. Having said that, when looking to integrate corporate sponsorship activations, you need to demonstrate some worthwhile populations as well. It’s a balance that needs to be achieved. Engagement and populations are both important in combination.
Beyond the obvious benefits of fan loyalty, and the fact that the social space provides an opportunity for fans to interact with each other as well as the brand, there is a key reason why engagement matters from a monetization perspective:
Engaged Fans Will Participate
When holding a contest or promotion, you want your fans to really grab on to your idea – especially if these promotions are sponsored activations. Beyond the opportunity to simply win something, ongoing engagement with fans simply helps to foster their participation and buy in when you ask them to.
Engagement is about the day-to-day interaction with fans. This is why you benefit from dedicated resources working in this space – commenting on photos that are uploaded, answering questions, thanking fans… that stuff matters and helps build/strengthen relationships. This needs to happen on a continual basis.
Selling in the social space can be tricky – you can easily pollute your Facebook Wall or Twitter stream with too much sponsored content. Fans will be more accepting of this content if the engagement levels are high and the “what’s in it for me?” factor is clear.
Too often, teams simply throw up content that is readily available elsewhere, like the team website. Social is all about engagement and fan content – so use the social space for what it does best. That takes time and resources, but the cost/time justification can be offset by appropriate monetization strategies.
Tags: 2011, ROI, Social Media, Sports Marketing
Have a look… And happy 2011!
Tags: Monetization, Social Media
What do I mean, when I say social media monetization? I mean that I will help you organize, categorize and build dollar elements/inventory out of your social media spaces.
One might consider a comparison to be with banner ads and websites. But we don’t call banner ads “website monetization”, they are simply just banner ads and are an accepted piece of corporate sales inventory. Web sites have been monetized for a while now so we don’t think about this anymore.
Part of the difference is that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are free for teams (and anyone for that matter) to use. In social media, we have a free medium that attracts tens of thousands of daily visitors – doesn’t monetiztion make sense? Of course it does! As brands/sponsors large and small are incorporating social marketing strategies, innovative teams are wise to take note and proceed carefully. Benchmarks and expectations are being set, social populations continue to grow and new media are constantly emerging as well as new features and functionality.
So that’s what monetization means to me and my clients. How you begin to price these structures out is another story.
Tags: Sales, Social Media, Sponsorship
The rapid rise of activations in the social space has teams building deals/packages with social elements, but without a breakdown how these items are priced out. Now, that’s a good problem to have – but teams need to be careful as they are setting standards and precedents on how their social inventory is valued and priced.
Some teams have hundreds of thousands of fans/followers – this is a premium buy for a sponsor and should not be treated as a value add activation. Innovative sponsorships look to position the social element at the core of the deal and then build in value adds around it. If you are suddenly “throwing in” custom tabs and contests on Facebook, you run the risk of having to justify any increase in this area down the line. Teams need to be aware of how social sponsorships can factor in renewals, and how this is positioned against new business.
Beyond that – social $ spend is a number that teams need to be tracking. If their in-house/CRM systems are not set up to track it, then there needs to be some sort of excel sheet that accounts for what % of deals or entire social deals that are being quoted and sold to your corporate partners.
Tags: Facebook, Social Media, Solutions Selling, Twitter
Probably the most important aspect of social sales is determining what the goals of the sponsor/partner are. There are several variables involved and a number of factors to consider. For example…
Does the sponsor have an existing social presence?
What is their strategy? Do they even have one? Is the existing focus on customer service, or loyalty, or engagement? Something else? Do you they look to you for thought leadership? Are they in social because they feel they need to be or because it’s part of their marketing mix? What is the size of their current social population? What platforms do they use (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc…)? What kinds of resources are responsible for running/administering their social media activities? How does social fit into the rest of the organization?
What are the goals of the social sponsorship?
What will make the promotion successful for the sponsor? To grow their friends/followers? Drive traffic to their website? Awareness of new products/services? Launch a social media campaign? Brand/team alignment? Track the promotion via key words or coupons? Is the social component tied to existing activations? How long should it run for? What sorts of initiatives have they done in the social space before and what were the outcomes?
These are all important considerations and “must ask” questions required to build successful deals. Again, these aren’t rate card/commodity sales – they are solutions.
Tags: Sales Skills, Social Media, Solution Selling, Sports Marketing
Most sports marketing inventory is sole via a transactional sales model. There is a cost for space – be it in arena, advertising, or website… it’s based on size/time and availability/frequency. That’s not to say there are not sales skills required – there are, but the buying process is transactional – it is largely a commodity; there are rate cards.
Selling the social space is different. It’s a solution sales model – a consultative process. Ideally, effective social media campaigns are a collaborative endeavor including the team (sales person, digital resources and perhaps others) and the sponsor. It’s not a rate card-quote-and-negotiate strategy. Here are some key elements to keep in mind when selling the social space:
- Does the sponsor have a social presence or strategy?
- What are the goals of the campaign for the sponsor?
- Will it increase social populations?
- Duration – how long will the campaign run? Why?
- Will be in featured on the team page/sponsor page/both?
- How is pricing structured and justified?
Sellers need to know what they are talking about. This sales model is called “solution consulting” for a reason. Lack of knowledge often comes off the wrong way, and sellers often try to “sell around it” and end up coming off like snake oil salesmen.
The Triple Win
A “successful” social campaign addresses 3 elements:
- For the team ($, partnership)
- For the sponsor (brand leverage and association)
- For the fan (to win, or get “closer” to the team)
Each of these parties needs to have a “what’s in it for me” factor. The social space belongs to the fan – so their need is paramount. Reckless selling in this space won’t be tolerated. The team’s need is clear – this is a premium buy with a lot of upside and room for innovation, fun and excitement. It’s the aspects of the sponsor that need careful considering and planning… Sellers need to develop consultative sales skills in order to uncover and develop these opportunities. That might require some training and planning to achieve.
Tags: Branding, Social Media, Sports Marketing
Your social spaces should have as much of the same look and feel as your website. This is a lot easier to do with Twitter, but there are ways to make your Facebook page fall into line with your website.
Just like the rest of your marketing efforts, your social spaces should reflect the same level of consistency in appearance. Here’s an example:
If they don’t look the same – the first question should be “why”? In most cases, there hasn’t been enough attention placed on integrating the look and feel of these platforms. Social media has moved from an after-thought or value add space to a front/center position. So by now, if a teams’ social spaces do not share a consistent look it reads as sloppy or second class. The only reason that a teams’ social spaces do not share any consistency is because that is a part of a larger strategy at work.
Tags: Social Media, Sports Marketing
Over the course of the 80′s and 90′s, pro athletes became increasingly inaccessible to fans. Skyrocketing salaries, the proliferation of endorsements and merchandise and the high cost of tickets to games worked to separate fans from their teams and players.
In the social space, fans can benefit from a direct connection to players. There is the ability to interact and see players in a different light. Social media is about humanizing a brand – the past 20 years saw the development of athletes into brands… social media can help close that gap.
As there are currently an ever-increasing number of players getting involved in the social space – one thing is clear. Authenticity really matters.
It was a topic I was considering – was the authenticity factor of short-term significance? We are all accustomed to seeing athletes on TV in advertisements and are aware of the construction at hand. Would people come to expect and decode the same construction of social media?
Who knows what the future will bring – but in the present, it is very clear that authenticity does matter. Remember, the social space belongs to the fans. And that is the primary difference between social media and other media (including digital) – it’s not yours. And that’s ok.
Tags: Marketing, Sales, Social Media
“Social media is not about making money, it’s about relationships”
Watch out for statements like this…
Social media as it relates to sports teams, organizations or athletes is about marketing. The last time I checked, marketing is about making money – isn’t it? Marketing is not sales (obviously), but it is about awareness, brand, positioning… and there are several tools available to do this in order to drive sales.
There are many who continue to drive home the message that social media is about “relationships” – and yes this is true, but isn’t all marketing? The same for sales; I have trained dozens of sales people on the value of “relationships” as it directly relates to sales. Social media is a marketing tool – its time to demystify exactly what social media is and does from a marketing perspective.
Now, having said all that, there is 1 very important rule to marketing and selling in the social space…
It’s Not Yours
Your fan page is exactly that, it belongs to your fans. It’s a place you build for them. As such, you are best to not go around selling things left and right as it will turn your fans off. The vast majority of the social content online is generated by them. Listen to what they tell you and give them what they want.
With sports brands, its possible to build a fan base of several hundred thousand fans quite quickly – but remember, they can unlike and un-follow you just as fast.
If something is wrong, they will tell everyone about it – and in doing so, will tell you about it as well. You can’t control that – but you do have the opportunity to address it, deal with it/fix it and tell them about what you learned and what you did about the problem. These things happen in real-time, so you need to stay on top of it. Similarly, there are times when its best just to leave things alone.
Remember: Fans first… and success here depends on the triple win for the fan, the team and the sponsor alike.
Digital wing man and social media consultant.
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