Whilst the Search and Social Media Marketing (SSMM) skills and techniques we’ve learnt, discussed and explored through the course have been vital, I’m really interested in how to take this back to my colleagues and clients I work with on the Plings project. How can we move SSMM away from an afternoon in a spreadsheet, through to something we *all* discuss and understand? How can SSMM be at the core of project planning, rather than a bolt on from the side?
Whilst this may sound negative, I think it is often the reality. We like to think we have the capacity to dwell upon and scrutinize Google Analytics, but we are often pressed for time and resources to only take a cursory glance, or just use the top level figures. Equally, whilst Twitter is well documented as a channel for feedback, discussion and listening – the stream can quickly and easily be lost, with a sense of swimming against the tide. The challenge therefore is how we can best present these as opportunities rather than chores.
In thinking this through, I picked out some of the actions we have been taking in relation to Plings and SSMM. For those that don’t know, Plings is a project that aggregates and publishes information on "places to go, things to do" for young people in England. Whilst these beneficiaries of our toils are important, our key focus for SSMM is in fact the people who are responsible for the data – those in local and national government. Without their input, the project would falter. Therefore, our SSMM strategy needs to deliver enough carrots and sticks to keep them engaged.
I’ve picked out five examples:
OK, don’t *literally* scare them off, but make it clear that social media is here, and is in use, right now. We use a combination of Twitter Search and Social Mention to track the key phrase "youth club". This gives people a flavour of how people are talking. I might be over playing it with the scary term, but you get my gist.
I underestimated how much people enjoy a seeing our listing on a search engine results page (SERP)! With Google Webmaster tools, Meta Descriptions and XML Sitemaps, we’ve managed to get a nicely formatted listing for Plings. This is a very visible before/after SSMM action – people get it!
A good SSMM story is only as good as the time and effort you put in. With the help of PushON, we recently set up filters and contexts in Google Analytics to illustrate the volume of long-tail non-branded search terms we get to Plings. We also discovered that these people were more engaged on the site, spending more time there. These are not default reports or figures – but make impressive SSMM tools.
With Plings we are not "selling" products or widgets, but we are keen to stress how it can deliver savings. Through a Facebook Ad Campaign we undertook recently, we were able to use Facebook Insights to get to a cost of around about 89pence for the install of our app. This detail isn’t easily available for Return on Investment (ROI) for printed marketing, for example, so our SSMM detail starts to get people hooked.
OK, this doesn’t *actually* involve any of the tools we’ve used, but is a vital ingredient. If we can imagine that our goal is to get everyone on board our mythical SSMM bus, then we need to get out and cajole people. With Plings, we hold regular events for our stakeholders. We even give people cakes! Our point here is that whilst we may have published our SSMM related findings in a blog or white paper, finding the time and space to talk it thru with a cuppa, is vital
Once you’ve decided on the ways to gather your SSMM tribe, then the related task is to establish the metrics and matrix to assist you all. How do you chart a successful "conversion"? How do you agree on that KPI? Is there a clear pathway for your audience? With Plings, we’ve been inspired by some of the work of Matt Locke and Ewan McIntosh, who in turn drew on the seminal ‘Metrics for Pirates (AARRR!)‘ work of Dave McClure. We think we can work with this as a matrix to underpin all our work. It is vital to establish this, otherwise the whole SSMM effort could just be a series of nice stories, but no plot.
I think that is our task. To build an effective SSMM campaign you need many eyes, ears and arms. These people will be around, but the trick is to engage them through the relevant stories, and make sure you all have access to a timetable.
I put these thoughts together with some pictures for the end-of-course presentation:
– please let me know your thoughts: Steven works for Substance as the Technology Enabler, mostly focused on the Plings project. He tries very hard not to use metaphors and analogies when explaining stuff, to varying degrees of succes.