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Social media: bringing it all together

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Social media gets more social

Since social media can engage users in a personal way, the first and most persistent use was in marketing, but not every company has the resources to generate a social media marketing program. One option is to hire a company that specializes in that activity. Ignite Social Media was founded as a social media marketing company to provide planning and strategy, community management and social media promotions. The goal is to generate consumer engagement over social channels through creation of content that is tailored to a particular audience.

“Wherever social media is found, there is a community,” says John Andrews, chief marketing officer of Ignite Social Media. “It might be a fairly general group such as small businesses or a very specific one, like people who are interested in making their own yarn or doctors interested in blood-borne diseases.” Valuable insights are difficult to obtain from outside the community, so Ignite Social Media provides human involvement to catalyze engagement. “We become actively involved in these communities on a daily basis and generate content of interest to them,” he says.

Ignite Social Media is data-driven in that it uses analytics to measure consumer responses to its content, but does not rely on computers to select what is delivered. “You are more likely to be struck by lightning than to click on a banner ad,” Andrews claims. On the other hand, when a social media celebrity such as Jerome Jarre posts on Snapchat (snapchat.com), at least some of his 8 million followers are likely to respond. Working with social media influencers as well as creating its own content, Ignite Social Media tries to get conversations going that are engaging to consumers and valuable to its clients. “We are the trigger,” explains Andrews, “the catalyst that creates interest. After that, the community can sustain and magnify the impact.”

Although the approach is labor-intensive, Andrews is confident that it is the most effective approach. “You can’t build a relationship with a computer,” he maintains. “And people are aware when they receive inappropriate automated content. It can create negative attitudes toward a brand.” He cites his own experience after posting a humorous Tweet about a rival basketball team not appearing on his cable schedule, not mentioning that it was because they had been ousted in the playoffs. “Some friends laughingly re-tweeted the comment,” he says, “but after my cable company picked up on it through Twitter, they sent me a message saying they would help me if I sent them the serial number on my cable box.”

Admittedly, humor is notoriously difficult for social media text analytics to understand, and perhaps customers will be glad to know their cable service cares, even if somewhat ineptly. The lesson to be learned, though, is that just because a lot of data is available does not mean it will be interpreted correctly. The important thing to remember is to keep a human hand on the rudder to steer in the right direction and end up with meaningful results.

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