14 Marketing Life Lines in Case of Social Armageddon

14 Marketing Life Lines in Case of Social Armageddon
Jamie Lee Wallace - Mon May 24, 2010 @ 02:49AM
Comments: 10

Last week on {grow}, Mark W. Schaefer wrote a post called Is the Social Web Heading for a Meltdown? The overwhelming consensus of the {grow} community is that - yes - a social meltdown is a matter of when, not if.

If you think that social will, eventually, succumb to some crisis - government restrictions, a massive user exodus due to privacy concerns, or some as yet unforeseen disaster - maybe you should be asking yourself what your brand will do to survive such a calamity. Where will you go to hunker down until the storm passes? How will you keep the lines of communication open with your audience? What is your emergency back-up plan if the public systems fail?

If your social strategy is focused on platforms owned by other people (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc), you should be thinking about ways to create direct points of contact with your audience - ways that don't rely on third-party participation. Here are a few idea starters to get you brainstorming about how, where, and when you can create these life lines:

  1. Blog: A core element of most content marketing strategies, the blog should be considered your online home base. Encourage people to subscribe (via RSS or email).
  2. Newsletter: As a supplement to the more frequent blog, create a digital newsletter that gives you a direct line to your audience members' inboxes.
  3. Webinar: Offer a Webinar on a topic that is important to a certain segment of your audience. Webinar registration typically requires an email address and can be tied into an auto opt-in for some other, more regular form of communication (like the newsletter).
  4. Podcast: Another form of typically regularly scheduled communication, listeners can subscribe to a podcast channel.
  5. Standalone Community or Forum: There are a number of options for creating your own community of forum. This type of endeavor requires quite a bit of up front and on-going work, so it's not for companies that are short on resources or cash, but it can be very effective for building relationships with a super targeted audience.
  6. Downloadable Content: This category includes white papers, case studies, special reports, and all those types of offerings. There is always a debate running about whether such content should be behind a "gate" that requires an email address, but - if you choose to require the email address - this can be an effective way to capture additional contacts. If you want to try a hybrid solution, you can make the email an optional field, but offer an additional piece of content or some other incentive (like a discount or free consulation) if the email is provided.
  7. Virtual Event: One of the best parts of marketing digitally is the lack of geographical limitations. Think about hosting a virtual trade show or product demo that caters to your audience no matter where they live in the Real World.
  8. Training: Offer free training to your existing customers. Training can be offered in the form of conference calls or Webcasts.
  9. Premium Content: In some cases, putting a price tag on certain pieces of content is appropriate. The check out process for this kind of content provides another chance to capture user data.
  10. Mobile App: Think outside the computer and get mobile. A mobile app can be a great way to stay top-of-mind and independent from those third-party communities.
  11. Sweepstakes/Contests: People love prizes. Whether you're running a sweepstakes with a valuable grand prize or coordinating a contest (perhaps one that asks your audience to submit videos, photos, case studies, etc), cost of entry can include subscription to one of your key communication pieces - blog, newsletter, podcast, etc.
  12. Survey: Everyone wants to let you know what they think. Surveys can be a great way to get people involved with the pressing questions of your business. It's not always typical to require an email address, but if you offer to send a copy of the report that results from the survey, most people won't have any issues.
  13. Game: Create a customized game around the concept of your product and invite your prospects and/or customers to play.
  14. Offline Event: Don't forget about meeting people IRL (in real life). Though your regular touch points may be digital, don't underestimate the power of a little face time. In many cases, social and digital should be just the toe in the door that eventually leads to that in-person get together.

How else would you suggest keeping in touch with your prospects and customers if the social Web took a header?

About the Author: Jamie is a freelance consultant and copywriter who partners with small businesses, start-ups, and creative professionals to define and market their brands. Her specialties include brand development, social media strategy, and content marketing. Enjoy more of her posts, or drop her an email.

 

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Comments: 10

Comments

1. Sarah Mitchell  |  my website   |   Mon May 24, 2010 @ 09:28PM

Hi Jamie,

Thanks for the nice reminder that we all had ways to market before social media came along. I would add 15 Speaking Engagements - My social media presence drives a lot of traffic to my business door but it can't beat the pulling power of standing in front of a crowd and giving a talk on your area of expertise. Public speaking is still my most reliable way to land the big fish.

2. Jamie Wallace  |  my website   |   Tue May 25, 2010 @ 09:54AM

@Sarah - Great call! You've exposed my lack of expertise in that arena, but there's no doubt about the value of those kinds of opportunities ... IRL still trumps virtual in most cases; so if you can use the virtual relationship to land the IRL meeting, you're more than halfway there! Tks! :)

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