Wednesday 30 June 2010

Part 2: An Applied Social Media Strategy.

asocialmediastrategy Hello everybody I know it’s a few months late, but in this post I will look at how a well considered strategy is working for a business, and where it might be improved. This is the second part, following on from An Introduction to Social Media, so if you missed the first part and want to have a look, click here.

The Business

The business I’m looking at is called Luminaire, it’s a live music venue based in London. They actually utilise social media very well, and thus I have decided to use it as a case study. As a business they:

- Provide a venue for live music events (with catering service/ bar facilities).

- Sell tickets for those events.

- Sell music, related media and merchandise.

Their Approach

Luminaire harness social networking and sharing sites as part of a strategy which promotes bands/ artists, stimulates ticket sales, and sells music and similar merchandise. Their approach incorporates:

- Twitter. Luminaire use Twitter to inform followers of the latest bands that will be playing and the popularity of ticket sales. It is also used to share information about music and related merchandise they are selling. They have also used it as a vehicle to conduct a survey to identify their customer base more clearly, in terms of where they live and how they travel to get to a music event at Luminaire.

- Song Kick. Again, Luminaire use it well to promote the business, its location, forthcoming bands and videos/ pictures of the latest events. Song Kick is a highly appropriate social media site for Luminaire; which is important when considering what social media to use for your business.

We haven’t previously covered Song Kick so if you are not sure what it is, it’s a site where you can track and receive updates on live music events, and buy tickets.

- MySpace. Luminaire’s MySpace page is really a vehicle for advertising upcoming shows and interacting with their customers, business associates and artists. Its good for keeping in touch with them and, gives people visiting the MySpace page a real insight into what people think of the venue by their comments; whether they are positive or negative!

- Facebook. Similar to MySpace, in that they can promote events, show customer comments on their ‘wall’ and display photos of the latest gigs! Again the comments of people that have been to the Luminaire carry real weight and will encourage others to visit.

- Last FM. is a popular internet radio site for music. Luminaire has a profile, and each track it plays lets other users know something about what it likes. It allows Luminaire to recommend songs from their music collection to other users, as well as promoting its business venue and forthcoming events.

What can be taken from their strategy?

Strength in Numbers. Luminaire make use of a wide range of social sites, this is important as with more sites they have a greater presence on the internet and are more likely to drive people to their site.

The Right Kind. They have used the right sorts of social networking and sharing sites to reach the right target audience of people that will use their venue. For another company however, like Mole Valley Farmers, a retailer of agricultural supplies this strategy would not work because they are not in the music industry. So, the types of social media site you choose to incorporate into your strategy should be well thought out!

It Achieves Goals. It promotes bands/ artists, stimulates ticket sales, and sells music and related merchandise. This is reflected by their followers on Twitter, MySpace and Facebook.

What can be done better? This is a tricky one, as they currently operate a fairly sound strategy, and any improvements are certainly open to interpretation! Here is some food for thought… they currently use a lot of the mainstream social media sites. Tapping into some of the less conventional social media sites may offer opportunities to reach more niche groups; but this should be weighed up against the time and energy that goes into them. They need to publish content that is attractive and engaging. With an estimated 2.5 million tweets a day on Twitter alone, uploading content regularly that is interesting and often controversial will not only attract visitors but will work to engage them.

Where do I go from here?

Well you should begin by following this formula:

  1. Identify the community you want to target. Think about the community you want to target. What is their age range, income range (and likely disposable income), their profession, gender and geographic location? These are just some of the questions you might want to ask. Another important question- Are my customers computer literate? If the majority are not or do not tend to use computers, then maybe a more traditional form of media is better for your business.
  2. Define your objectives. So identify what it is that you want to achieve, and I don’t just mean make more money! While the profit motive will probably be your overall aim, increasing the quality and quality of traffic (i.e. the right sort of people and in large numbers) to your site, or promoting awareness of your brand are more interim targets.
  3. Allocate Resources. Whilst social media networks and sharing sites are free, the effort that goes into putting a plan into action will cost money. So budgeting for training and labour costs is sensible.
  4. Consider your social media platform(s). Here you need to consider your approach. Do you really need a MySpace account, or would a blog and Twitter account do the job more effectively?
  5. Instigate your plan of action. Don’t let all that planning go to waste, get out there and make it happen! It’s important to remember that a social media strategy is not successful over night; it may take time to build interest in your FaceBook page, blog, twitter account, MySpace page or whatever else you use. So hang in there and generate interesting content. In the words of Kevin Costner ‘if you build it they will come.’

Final Thoughts.

Plan Plan Plan! Follow the method above, to layout what your strategy will do. Don’t waste time on social sites which are related to your business (i.e. If you sell farming supplies, the Last FM probably isn’t for your business).

Spend money to make money. If you only have a small amount of time and money to spend, you need to factor that into your strategy. As generating content, writing posts or engaging with an online community takes time, which is expensive, especially if you employ someone to do it.

Social media isn’t for everyone! Not all businesses will find a social media strategy conducive to achieving their business targets (i.e. their target audience do not tend to use the internet regularly, or are not following the latest developments via Twitter or Facebook, or networking through Linked In).

Social Media competes with other forms of communication. Social Media competes with other forms of communication such as talking face-to-face and traditional media like TV, radio and newspapers. It is therefore not always the best medium for communication as other more established forms may do the job better! Social media is great for real-time news events but again competes with mainstream media like BBC News 24.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paul, nice to know that Mole Valley Farmers has registered on your radar! We currently use Twitter and Facebook; are there any other networks you would patricularly recommend for us, as an agricultural retailer? I've used MySpace before but wasn't sure if it was a very good fit? Any others you'd recommend?

    Much appreciated :)