Traditional marketing have little value once you are in the social media sphere. Not that traditional marketing theory is completely irrelevant, but the “shout the messaging as loud as you can until you get people’s attention” certainly won’t work on Twitter or any other of the social media sites.
Thus, the AIDA – Attention – Interest – Desire – Action becomes irrelevant for most cases of social media marketing.
I have developed a new marketing framework called LEAP for social media strategy, as in “Listen – Engage – Action – Pass it on”.
Social media is perfect for listening and monitoring what goes on in the market. What are people interested in? What do they think about your products and services? What are feedback from users? What are potential new markets? Are people even interested in what you are doing – or not at all? Use tools like Tweetdeck or Google blog search / Google Alerts to stay abreast of what is going on in your market. Update: Also check out Backtype for real time search into what people are saying about you (Thanks Johan!).
The best way to get attention online is through engaging with the community – or getting people to actively debate between themselves (i.e. you could facilitate engagement, but not actually take direct part in it). To create engagement without your own involvement you need to get people to feel something for your brand. Some people refer to this as creating “Lovemarks” as in “Loyalty Beyond Reason”. Apple could be defined as a typical Lovemark-type brand. The fans of Apple will stand up for the brand and defend its products in blogs, communities etc when critics attack the brand – and Apple does not even have to get involved. This rarely happens to for example Microsoft…
Other examples of user engagement could be Alternate Reality Games or online games in general where you go and actively create an engaging (and addictive!?) user experience in order to promote your brand and get people involved with it. There are already many examples of this from the media / entertainment industry such as:
This can also backfire, when the online experience becomes more popular than the product itself, as we have seen with the ARG for the Norwegian movie “Rottenetter” which got loads of people involved with the ARG but the movie itself got really bad reviews.
Action is the only part of the AIDA we kept in the new model. In AIDA “Action” refers to “leading customers towards taking action and/or purchasing”. In LEAP that action could also include sharing information with other users such as blogging about your brand or signig up to something.
4. Pass it on
The most important part of using social media as a marketing strategy is to tap into the word of mouth effect. That could mean referrals/recommending to others, customer reviews, tweets, feedback, sharing / posting on facebook or other community sites such as LinkedIN etc. Sharing what you purchase is a form of image projection as well – we want people to admire the choices we make when it comes to our choice of lifestyle (anything from the books we read to the food we eat). There are also new services popping up, like Blippy where users share anything they purchase. Watch this space…