Going global with social media

Implementing social media into your marketing mix can be pretty overwhelming. The plethora of  “dos & don’ts” and “top 10 tips” are often ambiguous and leave you more confused than when you started out!

To assist New Zealand based exporters, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise hosted a panel discussion in Auckland last week on how to go global with social media. Presenting to a “sell out” audience of over 100 were (L-R) Nick Houldsworth from Vend, Brooke Riley from Icebreaker, Alexis Lam from BurgerFuel and me:

As global exporters we all actively use social media as part of our sales and marketing strategies. Also joining us via Google Hangout was George Yousing from Wildfire – the enterprise social media software solution founded by New Zealander Victoria Ransom.

Alexis kicked things off and really highlighted the point of contextual relevance. It’s easy to think when starting out you need to participate in every social medium – you don’t. So really think about your target audience and their use of the increasing range of channels, what those channels actually do and how relevant they are to your type of business. E.g. Twitter – “I ate a burger”; Foursquare – “I am at BurgerFuel in Dubai”; whereas Pinterest however…

Brooke went on to talk about the importance of having internal company-wide buy-in to social media and how at Icebreaker it is now an integral part of their operating plan. Setting strategies and goals for each channel is fundamental. And it turns out that the old advertising adage of never work with animals doesn’t apply in social media – pictures of baby lambs get the most likes!

Nick from Vend, one of our popular add-on solution partners, related that their target market of small business retailers are typically people who have gone into business to do something they are really passionate about. The engagement these people have using a cloud based software solution like Vend, which is so far removed from the clunky systems they are used to, gives the Vend marketing team fantastic insights to create content to share on social channels.

This was a great segue to me. I talked about how at Xero we create loads of content to form the basis of lead generating campaigns that we then place on our social channels – compared with developing creative that would be placed on traditional paid media.

We can tell customer and partner stories of how Xero has helped their business using the compelling testimony we receive. Often this is turned into case studies – content – most of which resides on our marketing site. Of course the challenge then is to drive traffic to them!

One of the examples I used was our not-for-profit campaign – how we developed the campaign and communication plan, built the range of regional content based on sector insights, then drove the campaign via our social channels to drive traffic here, where we had an offer. The great thing about this campaign is that it has longevity – we can continue to use our social channels to reinforce these stories, which in turn all lead back to the offer. This wouldn’t be sustainable with a traditional advertising campaign run in all of our operating regions.

Steve Adams from Socialize – the team who produce some of our beautiful case study videos like these retail examples – facilitated a really interactive audience Q&A with loads of questions so it was great that the panel was a nice mix of B2B solution/service and B2C product expertise.

So, here are my tips you might like to consider when developing content to support your social media strategy:

  • Plan: Plan, plan & plan.
  • ROI: Make sure your content plan supports your sales & marketing strategy and you set very clear objectives for what you want it to achieve. Producing content is resource intensive, so make sure you are setting an ROI as you would with an advertising/media spend.
  • Measure: To determine your ROI, you need measurability. So make sure you have the right analytics in place. Design, build, learn, refine => lift & shift
  • Resourcing: Really consider how you are resourcing your marketing team and budgets if you want be more production focused – consider skills in writing, illustration, videography, photography, interaction design and build. Of course – it might still mean you need to use agencies and freelancers, but really ensure what their competencies are before appointing!

Finally – don’t be scared! Listen and engage with your audience. They will tell you how it really is more than any brand, media or advertising agency ever will!

One Comment

Gayle Buchanan
December 5, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Paula, you are a Xero star!

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