By Mark Helfen
On April 13, Sudha Jamthe spoke on the subject Social Media Marketing Best Practices - For You, Your Product and Your Business. Her presentation was wide ranging and covered many topics. Here are some of the key ideas.
- Marketing jobs are changing. In two years, social media will be part of your job. Each of us has the power to change now and add value to your companies marketing, and to increase your value to your employer.
- Over the evening, the three main social media sites were discussed - Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter. Jamthe is a fan of what she calls the "platform play" - using the API that these sites support to build applications that interact with them. Companies can use these applications to increase their brand awareness and loyalty.
- The old model was to speak with customers at specific occasions, for specific purposes. In the new model customers are holding a conversation on-line, whether or not you are there, even if your not listening. You need to measure your visibility, and you need to be there now.
- The objective is to form a deeper, longer lasting relationship with customers. An example is someone who is in the PR world, who forms a relationship with opinion leaders, journalists, etc... This relationship transcends a single job or product, the PR person knows at least some of the personal interests and facts about the person. Their value is in maintaining these relationships over their career.
- Social media is an additional part of your marketing mix. One more area to assign budget to - not a replacement for any current part.
- Even someone as "passionate" about social media as Jamthe can be overwhelmed. There are "too many sites, too many technologies." She focuses on Facebook. Her advice is to use the tool/site that makes you most comfortable, but for her everything is linked - she posts at Facebook, but her postings show up everywhere else.
- There was some discussion of Facebook versus Linkedin. For Jamthe, Linkedin is another channel, Facebook is a two way conversation. But between the three sites, the particular choice for a marketing campaign depends on the particular customer base.
- The first part of a social media marketing campaign is to try to analyze the current discussions about a product or idea - Jamthe's first action when helping a new client.
- Facebook now supports profile pages. You can create a profile for a product, person, brand, company etc... At no charge. Visibility at no cost
These sites can give you analytic data to understand your current visibility, and the effect of your marketing programs.
A good source to follow to keep up on these is Mashable:
(As an exercise for the reader, go to search.twitter.com, and enter your favorite consumer product. You might be amazed as to how much is being discussed. )
Jamthe related several stories about her experiences:
- When she started consulting at Intuit, she first developed an "asset list" of their social media resources. The executives were "blown away" to find that there were 14 people using social media resources to contact customers. This is an example of the disconnect between parts of the company.
- On the last election day, Starbucks gave a free coffee to people who voted. Jamthe went to the local Starbucks, took pictures of people waiting for their coffee, posted this on her Facebook page, and got a surprising amount of reaction - she described it as "the thread that wouldn't die". This "keeps the brand alive for people who are loyal, and gives a venue for people who are not loyal to comment." In any case, it generates lots of PR for Starbucks.
- She told the story of "Natalie at Dell," a Dell computer employee who developed a following on Twitter about computers. Eventually Natalie changed jobs. She became "Natalie at Petco," taking her Twitter account with her. Suddenly all of those followers were seeing postings about pet food. According to Jamthe, the managers at Dell learned a lesson from this, as should all companies using social media, about who owns the on-line identification.
You can reach Sudha Jamthe at:
A blog: http://coolastory.com
Mark Helfen is a Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer. He can be reached at