Razorfish’s New Social Influence Marketing Report

In the midst of reports that Microsoft is dumping them, the folks at Razorfish are at it again with a new white paper demonstrating what marketers should be thinking in a world where “actions speak louder than advertising.” (This white paper runs about 100 pages shorter than their last one, so we’re already off to a good start.)

I always encourage y’all to read these reports entirely, but in the meantime, here are their key points:

– Brands must socialize with consumers: It won’t be enough for brands to craft powerful messages and push them through different media channels. They will need to participate directly in conversations with consumers and provide more meaningful value exchanges. Hardly a new or earth-shattering sentiment – but that doesn’t make it any less true.

– Brands must develop a credible social voice: Brands will need to focus on developing credible voices for SIM. These voices will need to be more engaging, personal, humble, authentic and participatory than traditional advertising messages.

I definitely agree with this. Every time I sign a new client who wants to engage in social media, I insist they truly understand the commitment required. That “credible” voice most often doesn’t come from me. I’m just the facilitator. Y’all know my high school cafeteria analogy – social media is just like the high school cafeteria where everyone sits according to shared interest. It’s my job to find your target lunch table and get you invited to sit down. But ultimately, your customer doesn’t want to talk to me – any more than a traditional reporter does. They want to talk to the company. For me, that’s what makes a “credible social voice” – to have that client commitment of participation.

– Brands must provide a return on emotion to their consumers: Social media is a great tool for building symmetrical brand relationships, in which both the brand and the consumer reap equal returns from their relationship.

– Brands must know the effect of influencers throughout the marketing funnel: It is essential to know how influence changes in each stage of the marketing funnel. That information should drive when to focus on which influencers and how to surface content from those influencers on corporate-owned digital properties.

Again, this is where I draw a parallel to traditional PR. The goal is the same: identify the key influencers and persuade them to tell your client’s story.

– Brands lack significant credibility in the digital realm and on social platforms: Brands should explore new ways of marketing on the social platforms that help build trust and credibility first and foremost. It is no use devoting significant marketing efforts to this space unless you’ve already figured out how to serve as a trusted brand. The social platforms require a new marketing language – one that mustn’t be overlooked.

I also really enjoyed the new Social Influence Marketing (SIM) Score that Razorfish has released. The SIM Score measures two critical attributes:

– The total share of consumer conversations your brand has online (measure of reach)

– The degree to which consumers like or dislike your brand when they talk to each other about you online – consumer sentiment (measure of likability)

And, I think their Top Ten Ways to Make the Twitterverse Work For Your Brand will be useful for newbies to the micro-blog. If you’re already using Twitter on behalf of your clients, I would hope you’d already know these tips.

Finally, the report touches on two remaining trends that I think have tremendous potential for marketers and brand managers pros alike:

Social Ads: As the reports states, “Social ads are about infusing social content and a user’s social graph directly intothe ad unit itself. Advertisers can build social features into the ad units – when and where appropriate.”

Social Graphs: Razorfish defines the social graph “as the network of personal connections through which people com municate and share information online. These personal connections can be based on common interests, professional experiences and offline social relationships.”

Once again, brevity is not paramount to Razorfish as this report does run longer than it needed to be. But, I didn’t find this white paper as tedious and redundant as their last. So, I encourage you to check it out.

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